Many people in the US have or will develop type 2 diabetes, my friends. It’s unfortunate but true. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that about one out of every ten people has diabetes, and at least 90 percent of the cases are type 2 (https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/type2.html).
If you’ve just been diagnosed with this condition, you likely have a lot of concerns about your health now and in the future. While this is generally a chronic condition that you will have to live with for the rest of your life, there are treatments available and lifestyle modifications will help. As you begin to manage your diabetes, here are two things to keep in mind.
It’s not necessarily some sort of personal failing
The media tends to correlate type 2 diabetes with being overweight. While that is a risk factor, this disease develops through multiple factors that we are still learning about. Your lifestyle–sleep, stress levels, diet and exercise–does play a role, but so does genetics. There are people with type 2 diabetes who were never overweight and overweight people who will never develop it.
At the core, this conditions involves two factors: your body is resistant to insulin and is not producing enough of it. It’s not a condition that comes on quickly but usually develops, taking five to ten years to fully emerge. Treatment will include medication to lower your blood sugar, a healthy eating plan and regular exercise.
Taking care of it soon will pay off now and later
Type 2 diabetes is by no means a death sentence of any kind. However, it is a serious disease that you must pay attention to. While ignoring it may not seem like a big deal at first, over time, high blood sugar levels can damage your kidneys, blood vessels, eyes, heart and nervous system. One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that just being in prediabetes–the stage right before you become fully diabetic–can damage your eyes (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa012512). This is why it’s so important to manage your condition and any risk factors–such as weight or blood pressure–that apply to you. Otherwise, you could end up dealing with complications that are far worse than the effects you may feel from elevated blood sugar. Work with your doctor so you can manage your condition from all the angles.