Diabetes Education Lessens the Fear of the Unknown

When an individual is confronted by the reality of being diagnosed with diabetes, he or she may have a temporary panic attack. The new diabetic may be overwhelmed with feelings of fear, anger, and anxiety. Feelings of fear will arise due to the lack of knowledge concerning diabetes; feelings of anger erupt in thoughts of the unfairness at this disease’s seeming randomness; and feelings of anxiety begin to erode any confidence the diabetic once had for the future. With diabetes, the individual can grow morose not knowing how to handle diabetes.

However, medical health providers want to discuss the disease and reassure the patient. Often they will go into a quick summary of causes, symptoms, and treatments, leaving most of the details to a diabetes educator or licensed nurse at a later appointment. The provider will also make sure the newly diagnosed diabetic will have access to diabetes information in the form of booklets, manuals, and/or pamphlets. Moreover, the doctor will prescribe medications and/or insulin injections and discuss a plan of treatment for the individual. Diet, exercise, and stress control may be discussed. Also, the doctor may tell the patient to give up caffeine and alcohol if he/she drinks. Other appointments will be set up for future examinations and medical checkups throughout the year in order to oversee the diabetic’s progress in managing diabetes.

As the diabetic reads as much as he or she can on the subject and begins to understand more about the diabetes mellitus, certain details will appear. One such detail is that there are two main types of diabetes: diabetes type 1, sometimes known as juvenile diabetes and diabetes type 2, known as adult onset diabetes. Also, if either has diabetes 1, they are more than likely younger adults, less than 30 years. Although other sources such as a viral infection could be the cause, usually type 1 diabetes seems to be genetically influenced. For example, the probability of developing type 1 diabetes increases to approximately 20 percent if both parents have this type of diabetes.

Instead, if the diagnosis is type 2 diabetes, the individual may be over 45 years old. Many type 2 diabetics contracted the disease after the age of 45. Another detail the diabetic will discover is that both heredity and environment can predispose an individual to diabetes type 2. For example, if both parents have diabetes type 2 the probability of their children developing the same condition increases dramatically. It is also true that environment plays a large part in the development of type 2. Being both overweight and inactive has taken its toll on the health of many. Over 798, 000 individuals become newly diagnosed with diabetes 2 each year.

Discovering more about diabetes, the diabetic will comprehend how broadly the disease can affect the body. Symptoms become familiar as he or she learns about them, for example, how thirst and frequent urination are two symptoms. Or, how irritability and moodiness can strike at the oddest times when least expected. These were some of the things which had once troubled the diabetic, not understanding the source of the problem. Now learning the complications of diabetes, such as heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage, and even the threat of amputation, the individual grows aware of the necessity of taking charge of his/her life.

Determined to be involved in managing diabetes, they will both follow the doctor’s orders:  monitor their blood sugars; eat a diabetic diet and lead an active life; take their medications and/or insulin injections; and make routine visits to the physician. Each will also involve family and friends in their plans to live as fully and well as they can. Each will have realized both the seriousness of the disease and the possibilities for a good life despite being diagnosed with diabetes.

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