These challenges are in no way a closed shop because different people react very differently to the condition, both physically and mentally, and what may be simple for one diabetic could most certainly be a great challenge for another. We will now take a look at possible scenarios which you may well associate yourself with.
Testing your blood glucose level
It may sound very simple, it may sound irrelevant to some people but there is no doubt that many people have a phobia for needles, blood and testing your blood glucose level has been a challenge for many people. However, it does seem as though the vast majority of diabetics very quickly adapt to this regular activity because in essence it is the key to controlling diabetes and ensuring that they are able to live as normal a life as possible.
You should not underestimate the impact which needles and blood can have on some individuals who have been known to faint, collapse or shake with terror – but these are fears which can be overcome!
For some diabetics the issue of driving in their home country, where regulations seem to differ from country to country, can be very challenging indeed. In many countries you will need to inform the regulatory authorities that you are diabetic although in some instances this will only be applicable if your medication has the potential to bring on a hypoglycaemic episode. It is advisable to check out the relevant regulations in your particular country because they do differ across the world.
The issue of insurance is also one which should be looked into in great detail because the vast majority of countries will request that diabetics inform their insurance company of their condition if they are looking to drive. There is the potential for your insurers to be invalidated your cover, as well as your driving licence, if the relevant authorities are not made aware of your condition. This could then potentially leave you open to significant damages in the event of an accident or even criminal charges. It is vital that you monitor this particular issue because in many cases it is simply a matter of involving your doctor to ensure that you are abiding by the rules and regulations.
Changing your diet
One of the first impacts the diagnosis of diabetes will have on your everyday life is your diet. You will very quickly become more aware of the contents of individual foods, very quickly learn how they impact your blood glucose levels and no doubt changes will need to be made in your eating habits. However, while certain foods will have a significant impact upon your blood glucose levels this is not to say that you cannot treat yourself on occasions by trying to balance your food intake, sugar intake etc.
The automatic assumption for those who have been diagnosed with diabetes is that they will not be able to eat their favourite ice cream, sweets, etc but if you are sensible and take a balanced approach this is not always the case. Individual circumstances will be very different, you will need to take specific advice from your doctor and ultimately you will need to ensure there is no danger to your health going forward. Changes will need to be made in your diet but this does not mean that you will have to cut out everything that you have ever craved!
Over the last few days we have covered the issue of blood glucose testing in public and the fact that many ill informed and sometimes ignorant people look on this as some kind of threat to their safety and their health. Even though the vast majority of people would prefer to do their blood glucose testing at home or in private there will be occasions where needs must and you may well be obliged to test in the open and in public.
This is something that can be difficult to get your head around because other people will react very differently wherever you are. Perhaps if you have a simple response ready for those who confront you about your blood glucose testing in public, explaining what you are doing, there is no risk and time is of the essence, they should understand. This is perhaps another example of misinformation and the ill educated public on the subject of diabetes, the risks and everyday activities of diabetics.
Telling the family
The very first time that you hear the words you have been diagnosed with diabetes will likely make your heart jump, make your blood pressure rise and could potentially cause a period of major concern or panic. Some people find it difficult to inform their friends and family that they have developed the condition but in reality your friends and family are there for you, they want the best for you and they could be a very useful support mechanism in the future.
While they say a problem shared is a problem halved, some may agree and some may not agree, there is no doubt that discussing diabetes when you are ready and in your own time can be very beneficial. Remember, your family and friends are there for you, they care for you and many would be a little upset if they thought you were suffering alone.
These are just a number of the many challenges which can face diabetics and while many are simply down to misinformation and ill informed individuals, with often forceful opinions, it can be difficult to get your head around various situations in the early days. The ability to talk to people who’ve been there, done it and bought the T-shirt can be a godsend and to all intents and purposes diabetes should not in the main stop you from living the life you always dreamed of.
There is a need to balance your food cravings against your blood glucose level, your health against activities such as driving, etc and you also need to be aware that many of your friends and family will be a great support for you going forward.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.