My blog posts are usually about living with type 1 diabetes, however, and some of you might not know this but, I facilitate a diabetes support group for people with type 2 also. And, I have learn so, so much from my fellow people with type 2 over the years.
Our type 2 diabetes group in Clare has been running for ten years and new people often arrive to our group where they have been given their diagnosis, a prescription and sent on their merry way: no education/information, and no referrals to all the resources we have available in Ireland to help people manage their diabetes.
There are a number of resources available to newly diagnosed people with type 2 diabetes so why aren’t they being told about them??? I just don’t get it!!! So, I’ve put a couple of things together that I hope you will share with anyone you know who may not be aware or with people who live with type 2 diabetes.
THERE ARE HEALTHCARE SERVICES FOR PEOPLE WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES!
Diabetes is a complex chronic condition and being told to take medication and watch your diet is not sufficient at all. I feel that’s it’s important that you, the person with diabetes, get the information you need to take charge of this journey and I’ve put together some suggestions for you as a place to start.
TIPS FOR PEOPLE NEWLY DIAGNOSED WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES
SHELVE THE GUILT
A lot of people feel like they brought this diagnosis on themselves, that they didn’t heed warnings and feel guilty that they didn’t do more to prevent it. BUT did you know that about 30% of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes do not fit the profile? Did you know that type 2 diabetes can be hereditary? That is still a big number of cases that are not preventable.
So, let’s just shake off that guilt together and put our time to better use.
There may have been nothing you could have done to prevent your diabetes, so let's not dwell on the past and focus on managing your diabetes the best you can.
"The diabetic, who knows the most, lives the longest."
Dr. Elliott P. Joslin, founder of the Joslin Diabetes Centre, the world’s largest diabetes research center, diabetes clinic, and provider of diabetes education.
Type 2 diabetes isn’t just about food and medication. There is a lot more to it. Learn about how diabetes happens, about what factors influence blood sugar/glucose levels and how your medication works gives you the power to manage it better.
WHERE TO LEARN
There are a number of high quality, FREE type 2 diabetes education courses you have access to: CODE, DESMOND and X-PERT.
DESMOND and X-PERT are both run by the HSE and your GP will need to refer you on to these courses if they are available in your area.
CODE (Community Orientated Diabetes Education) is provided by Diabetes Ireland in most communities in Ireland. The waiting lists are usually not very long. To register for CODE contact one of the three Diabetes Ireland Offices: Sligo 071 9146001, Cork: 021 4274229 or Dublin: 01 842 8118. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Diabetes Ireland have an online type 2 diabetes education course that anyone can complete.
FIND OTHERS LIKE YOU
There are a few diabetes support groups around Ireland: ours in Ennis, Co. Clare and one in Cork. You just have to be brave enough to step inside the door and the welcome you will receive will make you glad you took that step inside.
You can also meet more people with type 2 diabetes when you attend the diabetes courses mentioned above - imagine sitting in a room with 10 to 15 other people who all have diabetes!
Diabetes is a lot to deal with! BUT you don’t have to do it alone.
There are also ways to connect with people online using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
BLOGS TO FOLLOW:
There are so many people who live with diabetes sharing their experiences in the form of blogs and it’s a great way to to learn more about type 2 diabetes by reading the experiences of others like you. And, you can do both social media and blog reading without participating, if you are shy and uncomfortable.
Here are a couple of suggestions but there are loads more personal experiences of living with type 2 diabetes on the internet - find one you like.
THE FOOD PART OF DIABETES - THERE IS A REASON WE HAVE DIETITIANS!!!
Food plays a HUGE part in influencing blood glucose/sugar levels. But do you know what foods are the worst offenders? Do you know that you can still eat the foods you love in a way that lessens the impact of your sugar levels. This is why a visit to a dietitian is an important part of learning to manage your diabetes, especially if you don’t have access to any of the diabetes courses.
“A dietitian is an expert in dietetics; that is, human nutrition and the regulation of diet. A dietitian alters their patient's nutrition based upon their medical condition and individual needs. Dietitians are regulated healthcare professionals licensed to assess, diagnose, and treat nutritional problems”
HSE COMMUNITY DIETITIAN
Not all regions have a HSE Community Diabetes Dietitian but most would have a community dietitian and can be accessed through a referral from your GP.
Attending a registered dietitian is not as expensive as one might think and most health insurance plans do cover some of the cost nowadays. You can find a registered dietitian in you area from this website by typing the word “diabetes” into the KEYWORD search.
THE NOT-FOOD PART OF DIABETES
Most advise on living well with type 2 diabetes tends to focus on what you eat and getting more exercise. However, there are more than 42 factors that influence blood glucose/sugar levels and knowing that there are elements outside of your control that will play havoc with those numbers can be empowering.
Stress, illness, other medications to treat illnesses can all influence glucose levels. This website give some tips beyond food on managing those factors.
And this webpage, DiaTribe has the best advice I’ve ever come across for people who are newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
LONG TERM ILLNESS (LTI) BOOK
Every person with diabetes in Ireland is entitled to a LTI book which provides all of your diabetes medication and supplies free of charge. As opposed to the Medical Card which has a small charge for prescriptions. The LTI is a government sponsored scheme. The LTI Book different from a Medical card and a GP services card, which since 2015, you can have in addition to your LTI if you qualify.
Usually, this process has been started for you while you are in hospital but just in case it hasn’t been heres some info.
You can get an application form from your local health office or your GP, it needs to be completed by you and your doctor and must be returned to your local health office. Apply through your community welfare officer at your local health centre or download the application form here.
TYPE 2 CYCLE OF CARE PROGRAMME
If you have a medical card or GP Visit Card and your GP is registered with the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) you will receive two visits a year, an Annual Review Consultation and a Second Consultation to help manage your type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Cycle of Care (CoC) was introduced nationally by the HSE in October 2015.
CHECK WITH YOUR PHARMACIST IF YOUR MEDICATIONS LEAVE YOU AT RISK OF HYPOGLYCEAMIA e.g.
Insulin or Sulphonylureas such as Gliclazide (Diamicron®) or generic versions such as Diabrezide, Diaglyc, Diacronal MR, Diaclide MR, Gliclazide, Zycron MR.or the post prandial regular Nateglinide (Starlix®).
If you do take these medications you will need to:
NOTIFY THE NATIONAL DRIVER LICENCE SERVICE NDLS
If you have Drivers’ License you must notify your local National Driver Licence Service (NDLS), so that it can noted on your driving record. This is required by law. If you have more questions on this please email email@example.com or telephone 1890 40 60 40 or www.ndls.ie
NOTIFY YOUR CAR INSURANCE COMPANY
ASAP! As soon as you can after you have been diagnosed. Car insurance companies CANNOT increase your insurance premium because of your diabetes-it is illegal for them to do so. However, if you do not inform them that you have diabetes and you make a claim the insurer can invalidate your cover.
Driving with diabetes does mean that you have to be a little more responsible behind the wheel, for example, "Don't Drive under 5 mmols" and always have fast acting sugar in the car. Diabetes Ireland have put together this easy to follow guide on “Driving and Diabetes" and what those precautions are. It's very much worth a read.
THE OTHER EMOTIONS
A diagnosis of diabetes can come as a shock, and sometimes people can feel angry. The emotional side of a diabetes diagnosis can take its toll.
Those first days, weeks & months are really difficult. You are trying to accept the hand that you have been dealt, wrestle with the guilt that maybe you could have prevented your type 2 diabetes, and you are trying to bring it under control with new gadgets, medication and overhauling your eating habits.
You might be sitting in the doctor’s office and while s/he is trying to explain diabetes to you your mind is racing with the “how” and the “why”.
This website, EverydayHealth has some really useful information on how to recognise if you are going through the 5 stages of grief since your diagnosis and ways to address them.
Remember, you can do diabetes by yourself, but you don’t have to - strength in numbers:-)