The first recommendation is simple: from the beginning of diabetes mellitus (DM) it is vitally important to become aware of everything related to this condition of the endocrine system that develops when the body loses the ability to produce enough insulin or to use it effectively. So, what is next?
- Make a follow-up appointment with your treating doctor. Regular or frequent medical appointments (usually every three months) will help you stay on track with your DM treatment.
- Find information and read about your medical condition. In the matter of diabetes, the search for knowledge will never hurt; as you learn more information about the disease, you will be closer to achieving control of it. *
- Keep a journal or record of your habits. To achieve an optimal treatment of diabetes, it is very useful to take notes in detail about your exercise routines, medications (doses), glycemia measurement (blood sugar) and food, among others. The idea is that this information is shared with your doctor so that he can make the adjustments that he considers appropriate within your diabetes plan.
- Above all, take care of yourself and love yourself. Diabetes is not only treated with medications and healthy habits - such as a balanced diet and regular exercise - but also through emotional strengthening. Get together with friends, share a good time with the people you love the most and, if necessary, do not hesitate to contact a professional therapist to listen and guide you in the process of accepting the diagnosis.
- Talk to people who also have diabetes mellitus. Knowing that there are other human beings with the same condition of yours will allow you to express what you feel from the equality of the situation; in a space of knowledge, identification, learning and humanization facing his new diagnosis.
How to accept the diagnosis?
- Give yourself time to accept it. Consider that you are experiencing multiple changes and challenges from now on, and that you are not forced to adapt to your new condition immediately, precisely because you have the right to give yourself time.
- Be honest with yourself and with others when expressing your feelings. Do not hold your emotions inside, express them, share them with your loved ones. This way you will be closer to understanding diabetes and the way you are managing it.
- Learn to relax. Stress can affect your blood glucose levels. Try to take life calmly and the possible difficulties that arise; Doing relaxation exercises, meditating, or practicing yoga may be helpful for that purpose.
- Keep your spirit up. It takes time, patience, and understanding to come to terms with the diagnosis of diabetes. Although it is a disease that generates multiple fears, you can clarify your doubts and live one day at a time - following the instructions of health professionals - without worrying about tomorrow.
Company, a strength
In this process that, for a certain time, all people with diabetes mellitus live, surrounding oneself with family and friends becomes a great strength, since the patient's life environment directly influences the way in which he adopts the illness. In this sense, loved ones should know that:
- Diabetes is not a fatality: Although we know that it is a delicate matter to deal with, it does not mean that it is impossible to manage. You must always think more about the positive than the negative.
- Your friend or family member needs time: When we do not properly experience a health condition, we probably do not fully understand what it represents for our loved one. It takes time to process all the news that has come with diabetes; understand it and be patient, listen without making judgments or giving advice.
- You must learn about diabetes and make changes too: Accompanying a person with diabetes mellitus should not be limited to listening to what they have to say about their condition or going to the doctor with them. If your loved one is diagnosed with this disease, it is very important that you strive to know everything related to diabetes and its treatment; in addition, support and accompany that person in the implementation of changes in their lifestyle, also modifying theirs (joining their exercise routines, following a diet equal to or similar to that of their loved one, etc.).
Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease that, poorly managed, can complicate a person's life through various conditions, some more severe than others. However, both the patient and their loved ones should see it, rather than as an enemy, as an opportunity to improve their habits in general and find, every morning, new reasons to resurface from difficulties; repeating, like a mantra: today is a good day to be happy.
ReferencesALAD Magazine [PDF]. ALAD Guidelines on the Diagnosis, Control and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus with Evidence-Based Medicine Edition 2019 [published in 2019; accessed April 27, 2020]. Available at: http://revistaalad.com/guias/5600AX191_guias_alad_2019.pdf
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases [website]. Symptoms and causes of diabetes [published in November 2016; accessed April 27, 2020]. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/informacion-de-la-salud/diabetes/informacion-general/sintomas-causas