5 Mistakes New Diabetics Make
If you have just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you may be overwhelmed with all of the information being thrown at you at once. Many still leave their doctor’s office or hospital with questions so they turn to the web for answers. To help you out, here are 5 big mistakes new diabetics make.
Being in denial of your diagnosis - We’ll call our friend “Frank”. When asked by another friend about a 2 years ago if he had diabetes, he replied, “Oh no, I don’t have diabetes. My blood sugar is fine.” However, Frank was taking metformin at the time, which was keeping his BS down. He failed to mention that, and I have to admit, I think Frank believed his response on some level. I think Frank was in denial of his diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Facing a new diagnosis can be frightening, unsettling and overwhelming. At the time, Frank was overwhelmed with his diagnosis and the easiest thing to do was to tune it out. Additionally, Frank was not ready to make the changes in his diet he needed to make to manage his blood sugar. However, I am happy to report that today, Frank has accepted his diagnosis and made a decision that enough was enough. He has lost 25 pounds and is now a rock star when it comes to testing his blood sugars daily. It took time for Frank to absorb and process his diagnosis and the implications it would have on his life. However, once he finally accepted his diagnosis he was able to move forward.
Fasting, doing low carb or doing keto while on glucose-lowering medication or insulin without doing your homework – Lowering your carbohydrate intake is key to success with type 2 diabetes. However, many people dive right into it, without lowering the dose of their diabetes mediation or insulin. Drastically decreasing your carbs without decreasing doses of your medications and/or insulin can be downright dangerous, putting you at risk for seriously low blood sugar that can put you in the hospital or worse. It’s best to talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about a strategy to safely lower your doses of medications and/or insulin during your diet transition. Eating less carbs is important to decreasing your blood sugar and insulin resistance over time. This is because to truly improve these 2 things you need to decrease the amount of insulin in your system. This brings us to our next point
Thinking you can eat what you want and just cover your spike in blood sugar with more insulin – So this is a bad idea. Why? Because ultimately the more insulin you put into your system (insulin either made from your body or given by an injection) the more your body decreases the number of insulin receptors in your body. This means less insulin can get used by the tissues in your body. This causes your blood insulin level to go higher, as well as your blood sugar. It creates vicious cycle. So it’s nearly impossible to lower your blood sugar with this going on. To make things worse, since the extra blood sugar can’t get used, your body converts it into a form of energy that it can use later; fat.
Starting a new diabetes drug or insulin without a glucometer—this can be dangerous. The danger is usually not that your blood sugar will be high, it’s that it will dip too low. It’s true that most people will probably experience symptoms of low blood sugar when it gets low. These symptoms may include shakiness, jitteriness, palpitations, fast heart beat, confusion, irritability and sweating. However some people may not experience symptoms until their blood sugar is dangerously low, to the point where they may become too confused to help themselves or may even lose consciousness. When starting a new medication or insulin, it’s important to test your blood glucose throughout the day. In the beginning, it might be necessary to test your blood when you rise, before each meal and before bed.
Not consulting a dietitian—There is lots of confusion about which foods to eat or not eat when living with diabetes. A dietitian can help assess your nutritional needs and point you in the direction of the foods most suitable to meet your needs. It’s ok to eat carbs, although chances are you will need to decrease the amount of carbs you eat every day (If this is the case don’t forget to adjust your medication and/or insulin as discussed in #2). Your dietitian can help you choose slower burning carbs that don’t spike your blood sugar quite so quickly. She can also help you adjust your diet so you are getting less of what you don’t need while not sacrificing the nutrients and energy you do need.
Avoiding these pitfalls is the first step to taking charge of your health, and we can help. Our Health and Medicine Coaches are Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Pharmacists, Registered Dietitians and Personal Trainers.
We are on the front lines with you.
We are here to help you set your goals,
devise a plan of attack,
implement a strategy
and enjoy sweet victory.
So what are you waiting for? Let's do this!
Love your new life...
Our coaches have helped our clients:
We provide remote or in-person health and medicine coaching to our clients
in the comfort of their own home.