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Life with diabetes
Living with type 2 diabetes

Living with type 2 diabetes

Much of our everyday life is based arounds habits and routine, and any deviation can be a huge disruption. From leaving your phone at home, to forgetting your lunch, or missing the bus, a change in routine can put the whole day off kilter. So, what happens when you introduce a type 2 diabetes diagnosis into the mix?
Annabel Nicholson
3/12/21
6
min read
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Quick summary

  • Type 2 diabetes is a health condition that requires daily attention but as you learn to manage it, you'll find you can still do all the things you love.
  • While you work to get your blood sugar levels under control, you might continue to experience symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
  • Your new daily life after a diabetes diagnosis may include medications, regular medical appointments, and, if you choose to do it, blood glucose level monitoring.
  • Preparation and organisation are key—and importantly, remember to be kind to yourself.

We’ll be honest here—a type 2 diabetes diagnosis will of course change your life. It’s a health condition that requires daily attention and sometimes, particularly if you’re newly diagnosed or struggling to keep your sugar levels under control, it feels like it requires all your attention. But, with time and patience, the balancing act of life with diabetes will evolve into a new routine that comes to you naturally.

A word on mental health

The psychological impacts of a type 2 diabetes diagnosis are very real, and can rear their head at any time. You might feel emotional, perhaps a little scared, anxious, and overwhelmed, maybe even a bit sad—and that’s completely normal. As you get on with managing new medications or exploring major changes to your health and habits, we’d recommend regularly taking time to focus on your mental health. Here are a few things you can do to boost your mood if you’re feeling blue or struggling to find motivation.

Life will still be good

Now for the good news—having type 2 diabetes will not stop you from enjoying life! You can still drive, travel, and go to work. You can have a family, go on days out, eat out, dance, and do all the things that bring you joy. 

Type 2 diabetes isn’t a barrier to life—don’t underestimate how capable you really are.

The new everyday

So, what will your new everyday look like? While you’re in the process of getting your blood sugar levels under control, you might continue to experience symptoms of type 2 diabetes. We’ve put together a list of common daily experiences not to worry you, but to help you understand what you might be feeling:

😴 Fatigue

Regular tiredness, especially following meals, is fairly common in type 2 diabetes and is often due to high or low blood sugar levels.

🤯 Brain fog

Fluctuating blood sugar levels can cause ‘brain fog’, which includes difficulty concentrating, irritability, confusion, dizziness, or memory problems.

💧Thirst

When blood sugar levels are high, the body works hard to try and get rid of the excess glucose, making you feel thirsty no matter how much you drink.

😅 Frequent urination

The kidneys work hard to remove excess glucose from the body when blood sugar levels are high, meaning they process more fluid. This ultimately means you’ll pass urine more frequently.

😳 Emotional

Anxiety, denial, disbelief, anger, and depression are all emotions you might be feeling after your diagnosis.

Additions to your day-to-day

  • Your new daily routine might include the addition of type 2 diabetes medications
  • You’ll have to attend regular medical appointments
  • If you choose to monitor blood glucose, you’ll need to factor in the additional time required
  • Depending on your work, physical symptoms such as needing to urinate more or brain fog may impact your ability to do your job

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Look after yourself, everyday

Be kind to yourself

You and your body are in a new chapter and the most important thing to remember is that you have been diagnosed and are taking positive steps to manage your type 2 diabetes.

Be organised

If you’ve been prescribed medication, it can take time to get used to this new addition to your daily schedule. Do whatever you need to do to stay organised—set medication alarms on your phone, put post-it notes round the house, or invest in a pill box to keep next to the kettle. Keep a note on your phone calendar, diary, or fridge of upcoming medical appointments (including eye and foot checks), and make sure you know the procedure for taking time off work to attend appointments, where you need to go, and parking arrangements.

Be prepared

If you’re making changes to your nutritional and physical habits, preparation is key. Try to keep healthy food options nearby and plan ahead for the busy days to make healthier choices easier to achieve. Slowly incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, adjusting it depending on how much time you have each day. If you’re measuring blood sugar, make sure you have everything with you if you’re out and about, understand what numbers you’re aiming for, and know how to respond to your readings. 

Type 2 diabetes isn’t a barrier to life—ask as many questions as you need to, speak to others to hear their experience and advice, and don’t underestimate how capable you really are.

References

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