Diabetes Management as a Family Issue

As of 2008, there is no cure for either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. This may seem like a dim outlook for many people, and I certainly wasn’t happy to hear it when my husband came home from a doctor’s appointment with the news he had diabetes, Type 2.  There is no cure, as I knew already. Adding to this bleak moment, in his hand were sheets of paper describing how to manage this problem.

Little did I know we were both going to turn a corner and head into the healthiest living of our lives. Fourteen years later, management strategies continue resulting in good results.  While there will always be room for improvement, adapting to this way of life has been beneficial to both of us.

Proper management begins with a trip to the doctors for proper medical diagnosis.  Then, you arm yourself with as much information as possible about the type of diabetes you are diagnosed with. All management begins with controlling the glucose cycle. This cycle is affected by two factors:  absorbance of glucose into the bloodstream and blood levels of insulin to control the transport out.

An individual’s glucose level is very sensitive to both diet and exercise, so change in either should first be discussed with your physician.  My diabetic spouse began a journey of eating better and regular exercise.  It seems every individual has their issues with food and with exercise.  Basically, his lifestyle relationship to food used to be: all of it and to exercise: none of it.  We both began to eat well and exercise regularly and in accordance to National Standards.  This means at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, and a diet of small, but regular meals including 5 vegetables per day.  Good results yield good results.  My spouse found giving up the extra calories in cakes and cookies, hamburgers and French fries a sad thing.  And only at first.  He still eats those items, as an occasional treat, but now prefers “square” meals as they make him feel better longer. 

As a part of management, he still checks his glucose levels at least once a day.  Sometimes he checks it several times.  He adjusted so well to his new lifestyle; he actually had to return to the doctor to get less dosage of his medications.  No two cases are ever the same, so there is no guarantee this will happen to everyone.  Some people may go off medication entirely, some may get worse.  However, the application of good management techniques and watching glucose levels gives a person a good handle on this disease.   And there is no reason why one shouldn’t.  Glucose meters are readily available and are quite easy to use with a little practice and patience. With a small drop of blood to the testing strip attached to the glucose meter, the user is given the number, which represents their blood sugar level.

My spouse went a step further in management.  He was fortunate to receive diabetic counseling with a registered RN.  This is a free service through our medical insurance plan.  Every three months he contacts her, and they talk about all aspects, perfect or not, of his management practices from A to Z. 

In summary, learned and adapting to a change in lifestyle can really put a person out.  For our household, it was a very small price to pay for a change in feeling better, longer, all day, with no further illness showing up, and turning the corner into our mid-life years looking and feeling our best.