So you have spent your life thinking you were doing your best and trying to make the right choices for your body. Now, suddenly you are diagnosed with diabetes; making you feel angry, frustrated, and maybe guilty. Indeed, allow yourself time to digest and accept your diagnosis and give yourself time to mourn. I can’t tell you how long to allow yourself time to process, but don’t take forever; you have things to do.
Common reasons how you got here
Unfortunately, diabetes 2 is the most common form of diabetes. First, there are common reasons that are researched and discussed. However, in a minute, we will discuss other reasons that have affected many people without realizing it.
To begin with, many risk factors include lifestyle, weight, and where the weight is located (abdominal). Significant risk factors include:
- Family history; you may be genetically predisposed; meaning if you have immediate family members who have diabetes you can inherit this predisposition.
- Age; more often, as you get older, you are more likely you will receive this diagnosis given other factors. However, it is not unheard of much younger people are diagnosed with diabetes these days.
- Physical inactivity; studies show that 12% of clinically diagnosed diabetes and hypertension cases can be attributed to physical inactivity (Colditz).
- Excess weight; According to research, belly fat is particularly dangerous. Furthermore, excess adipose tissue (fat tissue) leads to metabolic syndromes such as high blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and triglycerides which can lead to heart disease.
- According to the CDC, certain ethnicities can be a precursor to diabetes.
Reasons people don’t realize or discuss
- We are not given an extensive nutrition education early in life. What is more, most of us are taught to follow the food pyramid created by the FDA (Federal Department of Agriculture). What has come to light, those recommendations are unhealthy, not based on true science and based on economics. In fact, it can be said, The Department of Agriculture is interested in promoting agricultural production and trade, not necessarily healthy diets.
- Thus, we are not armed against the big companies who falsely advertise the facts about what food they created. In fact, the big five food brands have spent billions of dollars on gaining a greater market share and accomplishing their end goal – to make as much money as possible. Accordingly, they pay advertising gurus to promote their brands; they know what to say to get most people to want and desire their companies’ products. How do most people fight against that?
- We as a society have become sedentary. We don’t have to get up to change the change, make a phone call, or for entertainment (TV, movies, games, etc.) Under the circumstances, we have everything at our fingertips, so why get up?
Dealing with the stigma
I have a very close family member recently diagnosed with diabetes 2. Aside from their frustrations about how they got here, another major concern was what others would say to them.
The psychological effects of being diagnosed with a chronic health issue can be overwhelming, and, let’s face it, it is life-changing and depressing. Nobody wants to find themselves in this position.
In fact, let’s talk about some of the psychological issues with a diabetes diagnosis:
The psychological effects of being diagnosed with a chronic health issue can be overwhelming, and, let’s face it, it is life-changing and depressing. Nobody wants to find themselves in this position. In fact, let’s talk about some of the psychological issues with a diabetes diagnosis:
- One of the reactions is guilt. Perhaps you thought you were making the right choices or didn’t realize how often you were eating to make yourself feel better (depression, anxiety, etc.), or maybe you didn’t foresee you would end up with this diagnosis. Whatever the reason you find yourself here, at some point, move on. Don’t sit on the guilt too long; do your best to accept it and find a healthier way of life.
- Ignore the “I told you so” crowd. People feel they have the right to judge you and take a superior stance. In fact, you should consider this as a passive-aggressive attempt at gaining power. So what do you say to these people”? First, perhaps don’t share your medical information with this kind of person. You know they will say it, so don’t waste your time. Your medical history is just that; it is none of their business.
You could respond with the following to the “I told you so” comments:
- Respond with “yes” and say nothing else. Short and sweet.
- “I understand; it is what it is”—showing acceptance.
- “I am having trouble with this diagnosis. I am working with my doctor to resolve it, and I’d rather not discuss it”.
Have a support system
Going through a health issue is scary. It can be overwhelming, and you don’t need people who don’t appreciate what you are going through. In fact, you need people in your corner to support you. Further, reach out to people that will support and encourage you through this time. We all need some help, so don’t be afraid to reach out to those willing to support your cause.
Finding yourself in a position to be diagnosed with any health issue is pretty stressful. Though diabetes 2 has become pretty common, that doesn’t mean you should sit back and accept it.
Your doctor should advise you on what you can do to alleviate some of the effects of this disease. In fact, empower yourself with knowledge from the science of your disease and things you can do, like changing how you eat and becoming more active. Remember, anyone can write articles online; utilize the professionals like physicians, organizations and, people certified who base their knowledge on science. More importantly, surround yourself with a support system that will encourage you with the work ahead.
You can do this! If you want to share your experience and knowledge on this topic please feel free to share in comments.