I Have Diabetes: What Will Happen to Me?

The first question that many people who are diagnosed with diabetes have is, “what is going to happen to me?” Perhaps you have a family member who had complications related to diabetes or you’re afraid that your vision will be damaged because of diabetes.

Here’s the good news: the answer to this question is “Not much” if you do a few simple things, none of which are complicated and many of which you may already be doing. To learn what to DO to be healthy with diabetes, we suggest that you sign up for our free email program that covers the basics of diabetes management.

The Good News:

The data that’s been gathered from studying people with type 2 diabetes over the past 30 years is clear – people with diabetes are doing better than ever. There are many people who are living long, healthy lives with diabetes.

Living a healthy life with diabetes can probably be summed up by three simple words: don’t ignore it. Many people also feel a sense of doom, like “it doesn’t matter what I do, I’m going to have problems because diabetes is really bad.” This just isn’t true, but believing that it is can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. People who think that they’re doomed often don’t face diabetes head-on and take the few simple actions that could prevent problems down the road.

It’s also easy to get overwhelmed when you’re diagnosed with diabetes, and not knowing where to start may mean that you don’t take any action at all. The truth is that often, it’s not WHAT you do as much as it is just taking some action that leads to success in managing diabetes.

Pretending that diabetes will just go away if you don’t pay attention to it is a dangerous game. It’s much better to accept the diagnosis, look at your numbers, and take actions based on what they’re telling you. You will learn how to do just that when you sign up for our online class.

In short, while having diabetes isn’t so bad, ignoring diabetes can be very bad.

Track your numbers!

If you’re one of those people who is feeling overwhelmed, here’s the place to start. The most important thing you can do with diabetes is find out where you are today, which you can do by knowing your personal results for these five numbers:

  1. Your LDL cholesterol (the amount of fat that has built up on artery walls).
  2. Your Blood Pressure (a measure of the pressure against the walls of your arteries).
  3. Your A1c (your average blood glucose level over the last 2 – 3 months).
  4. Your eGFR (a measure of how well your kidneys function).
  5. An “All Clear” from your doctor at your yearly eye exam.

Knowing these numbers tells you where you are right now and where you need to focus with your doctor. Paying attention to these numbers is the key to preventing complications and thriving with diabetes. Here are the general guidelines for people with diabetes:

  1. A1c Target: 7% or less
  2. LDL Cholesterol Target: Less than 70 mg/DL
  3. Blood Pressure Target: 130 / 80 mmHg or less (BOTH numbers need to be at or below the target)
  4. eGFR Target: 60 mL/min/1.73m2 or higher

It turns out that whether or not you will have problems with your diabetes isn’t a mystery. The five numbers can tell you exactly how you’re doing and what your future looks like. If your question is “How likely is it that diabetes will interfere with my life in the future?”, the answer lies in these numbers. Know these numbers now and have them checked at each doctor’s appointment. By tracking them consistently, you’ll always know exactly where you are with your diabetes and where you need to focus.

Another Factor That Matters:

There’s one more very important determinant of how you’ll do with diabetes, and it isn’t a number – it’s whether or not you smoke. If you don’t smoke, you can know that you’ve already reduced one of the most important risk factors for developing complications.

If you do smoke, quitting is probably the most important thing you can do to be healthy. Smoking doesn’t just add to your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other complications like neuropathy, it multiplies your chances of having them. There are many different types of programs that can help you quit – if you have diabetes, trying several different approaches until you find the one that works for you is a very, very worthwhile investment in your health.

Far from being a death sentence, it’s completely possible to live a long healthy life with diabetes today. And the future looks even brighter! Given the new medications on the market, the knowledge we’ve gained about treating complications and the success that so many people have when they focus on their numbers, there’s no reason not to expect that there will be fewer and fewer complications among people with type 2 in the future.

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The medical information on Diabetes – What To Know’s website is provided as an information resource only. The content is not in any way intended to be nor should you rely on it as a substitute for professional medical evaluation, diagnosis, advice and treatment.

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