Diabetes is a common disease in the United States. The prevalence of diabetes among adults continues to go up, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2017 Diabetes Report Card. Just over 30 million people in the US population had diabetes in 2015. 1 Fortunately, there are a lot of lifestyle changes that you can make to improve your health if you are diagnosed with diabetes.
Type 1 Vs.Type 2 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes — known as insulin-dependent diabetes, used to be called juvenile-onset diabetes as it was once thought to only begin in childhood. However, contrary to popular belief, type 1 diabetes is not a childhood disease. More adults have type 1 diabetes than children. It occurs in people of every race, age and shape, and size. Typically, the body transforms the carbohydrates that you eat into glucose. Usually, your body makes a hormone called insulin to get the glucose from the bloodstream into the individual cells of the body. However, in type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce any insulin. Therefore, a person with type 1 diabetes will need to take insulin for the rest of their lives. Many people with type 1 diabetes learn to manage their condition and live healthy, long lives. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. If you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it affects the way your body metabolizes glucose. Your body does not make enough insulin to maintain your blood glucose at normal levels.
Stress and Diabetes
It turns out that stress has a lot to do with diabetes. Worry can come from social things like problems in your marriage or physical things like illness. It can be chronic or short-term. When you are under pressure, it causes a physiological response that prepares your body to take action. This is called the fight or flight response. The purpose of the reaction is to help you get away from danger. This response affects your hormones. If you have diabetes, stress hormones may alter your blood glucose levels significantly. Also, when you are under a lot of stress, you might not take care of yourself as you should, which can also affect your diabetes. You might not feel like exercising or forget to take your medications.
There are lots of things that you can do to reduce stress, including:
Learn relaxation exercises
Make changes that will reduce stress
Talk with a professional
How A Psychologist Can Help You Manage Diabetes
If you are like most people, you might find it difficult to make lifestyle changes that are needed to manage your diabetes. However, for people with diabetes, making healthy lifestyle changes is essential. Psychologists and other mental health professionals can help you make the changes needed to improve your eating habits, increase activity levels and develop a more positive outlook about living with diabetes. A psychologist can also help you develop effective strategies to stay healthy, such as:
Smart Ways To Take Control Of Your Diabetes
Regularly testing your blood glucose levels.
Taking your medications, as prescribed
Completing other diabetes self-management activities
If you are newly diagnosed with diabetes, you may have trouble accepting the diagnosis, especially if you feel great physically and do not have advanced symptoms of the disease. The problem is that denial keeps you from doing what you need to do to stay well. A psychologist can help you address denial.
They can also help you cope with other emotions like guilt, disbelief, depression, and anxiety. Not dealing with these emotions can lead to clinical depression and anxiety, which can significantly affect your diabetes. Psychologists have the professional skills and training to help you get the help that you need to take care of your mental health too.
Your Treatment Plan
You may be referred to a psychologist by your doctor, dietician or other health care practitioner. A psychologist may work with you either as part of your healthcare team in a clinical setting. You might also see them on your own in independent private practice. They often work with both you and your family. The reason that they work with your family members is to help them understand how to best support you. When you first meet with a psychologist, they will likely ask for an overview of your health, home, and social life
This will help them understand your needs and develop an individualized treatment plan just for you. The psychologist will inquire about your overall physical and emotional health, health beliefs, and behaviors. You will be asked to identify your strengths and areas for improvement. They will want to know how much you understand about diabetes. Treatment may involve keeping a diary to help track behaviors. You’ll be asked to schedule and keep regular follow-up appointments, as well. How much you get from treatment depends significantly on your follow-through with the recommendations made.