After seeing the response to this post, I thought I should make it readily available. I will update it every so often as new information becomes available, or as I remember something important enough to require an update. As always, my goal is to help you survive and thrive with diabetes – it can be done!
You’ve been told you have Type 2 Diabetes. Your A1c is something higher that 6.5. So, now what? You have three basic tools to control Type 2 Diabetes: medication, exercise and diet. Using all three, you can control and manage the disease. But, what in the world is diabetes?
(I have used survival guides most of my professional life. A survival guide gives you just enough information to ‘get your work done’ if everything is normal and is a reference resource until you gain experience. And, I probably should have written this a while back, but it just occurred to me that it might be needed. Plus, it also helps that I have a number of the pieces in place to which to refer. Could it be seredipity?)
Your doctor has told you that you will probably have to take some medication to lower your A1c. No surprise. The doctor wants to get your A1c down ASAP – think of it as getting the poison out of your system. So, meds are a very normal route. In fact, they might start you on metformin, one of the most widely prescribed drugs fo diabetics.
But, what if you don’t want to take a medication? Well, there are those who decide they want to control diabetes through diet and exercise – and some are successful! Some control and beat back the disease through the diet and exercise route. But, the number who are successful is limited – very limited.
The first goal is to get your A1c down as soon as you can. You can always stop taking meds if you see your numbers dropping and getting an A1c 6.0 and talk with your doctor; there is no rule that states you have to take them forever. This is a decision you should make after talking with your doctor. So, think about taking the medication.
For me, it was a no brainer. I knew diabetes could cause serious damage and could lead to death. Think I am kidding? Diabetes is the 7th Leading Cause of Death in the United States. And, if that doesn’t catch your attention, there are a long list of complications that Diabetes causes. I chose to take the meds to get myself back to ‘normal.’ Diabetes normal is not good enough for me. Normal is normal is normal, even if it’s done with the aid of medication!
Regardless if you are taking medication, or not, you should start to exercise. Read about my post on exercise to get a beginning point. I still just walk, but a lot faster than I did at the beginning. If you are going depend on exercise to gain more control, you will need to use cardio exercise and resistance training (aka weightlifting). And, plan to spend about an hour a day, five or six days a week of exercise time if you have the weights at home. If you go to a gym during a busy period, figure at least two hours a day.
You are going to have to start glucose testing at least twice per day. Keeping track of your glucose is important to gaining control. Most of the instruction I have seen is either incomplete, or really cause pain. For complete instructions on how to get a good reading without pain, read this.
And, you are going to examine your diet. Chances are it will change. Mine did – a lot. I started a lower carb diet and over the course of nine months I lost about 60 pounds between diet and exercise. Diet is so very, very important as you work to control diabetes.
And, to bring it all together, I have strongly recommeded a food diary. Keeping one was so helpful in the beginning as I was lowering my A1c – it told me what I could and could not eat if I paid attention to my meter readings. The food diary continues to be a tool for success and something I go back to when I see my numbers creeping up. You can read about it here and then download it by following the instructions in the post.
Just so you know, I started my War On Diabetes with an A1c of 13 – that’s pretty high. My most recent test gave me a 6.1. Blood pressure 114/80. Weight seven pounds up over a year’s time, which I am losing – I got a bit cocky when I had a test result of 5.9! I lose the weight, keep up with my diet and meds, and I should be at about a 5.8 or lower when tested again. I mention all of that just so you know I have first hand knowledge of what you are facing – and KNOW you can be successful!
As always, thank you for reading. God Bless and know you can beat the enemy; you CAN control diabetes.