31 August, 2020
Type 2 diabetes diagnosis … so what’s next?
Diabetes educator Rebecca Barnes shares her advice for those recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes
IF YOU or someone you know has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes recently, you may be experiencing a range of emotions and have many questions.
So, what is type 2 diabetes and how does it affect the body?
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition in which the cells in the body become resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to lower blood glucose levels.
We need insulin to push glucose from our blood into our muscles and give us energy. It is not known what causes type 2 diabetes, but we do know it is associated with modifiable lifestyle risk factors and has strong genetic and family related risk factors. Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adults over the age of 45 years but is becoming more prevalent in children, adolescents and young adults.
Type 2 diabetes can be managed with a combination of regular physical activity, healthy eating and weight reduction.
Most people will require oral medications and/or insulin injections as their condition progresses. Managing diabetes is not always easy but can usually be managed within your daily routine and by making a few lifestyle changes.
The first step in effective diabetes management is understanding diabetes and your body.
There is a lot of information available about type 2 diabetes and it can be difficult to know what steps to take when you are first diagnosed.
The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) is a government program that provides diabetes education, information and support services to people living with diabetes. The NDSS recommend the following steps.
Step 1. Register with the NDSS
Registration with NDSS is free to all eligible individuals who are diagnosed with diabetes. A GP or diabetes health professional will help you complete the NDSS registration form. Once registered, you will be able to access a range of subsidised products - available at your NDSS access point or local pharmacy - including blood glucose testing strips and have free access to health information, education and support services through Diabetes Queensland.
Step 2. Set up your diabetes healthcare team
Initially you may see your GP for your diabetes care but there are other health professionals that can assist you with diabetes management and overall wellbeing. Engaging with a diabetes educator can empower people in managing their diabetes. They educate, coach and guide people living with diabetes to help people understand how this chronic condition can affect their lives. A diabetes educator can help people in setting goals specific to their lifestyle, to improve their
health by providing expert advice, support and annual cycle of care checks.
Step 3. Find support
People who attend diabetes support groups become more confident in managing their diabetes
and research shows they are less likely to suffer depression or stress as they have the knowledge to manage their diabetes better. Support groups offer the opportunity to meet other people living with diabetes and in a group environment people can learn coping and management skills and build friendships with other people living with diabetes.
Step 4. Be informed
Monitoring and assessing your blood glucose levels (BGLs) is an important part of managing your diabetes. Initially this may seem overwhelming but the more you know about your body and how your blood glucose levels are affected by the food you eat, physical activity
and medications taken for diabetes, the more you will be able to manage it. Your diabetes healthcare team can help guide and support you and there are websites including Diabetes Queensland and Diabetes Australia that can be accessed for free which offer diabetes education programs and resources.
Just remember, you are not alone, and your diabetes healthcare team are always available to provide support and advice.
CQ Rural Health runs a column every fortnight in the Callide Dawson Leader.