What positives can diabetes bring?
I do not believe being diagnosed with diabetes is necessarily a totally negative prospect. There are certainly detrimental aspects of the disease (constant monitoring, injecting, health-related issues), but I have found there to be a number of positives as well. In fact, a positive attitude towards an irreversible fate is possibly the only way to move forward, and with the right mindset could improve your life in ways you never imagined.
1. MORE ORGANISED
A newly diagnosed disease requires absorbing a lot of new information, self-motivation and above all organisation. I have to take two types of insulin each and every day (Toujeo – background and NovoRapid – with food), test my sugars a minimum of four times a day using my GlucoMen areo2k tester, record my results, reorder prescriptions and have regular doctors appointments. I made the decision very early on that being organised would ensure diabetes had as little impact on my daily life as possible. As a result, every aspect of my life has become more focused, and this newly found organisational clarity is working out great. I get up in the morning about an hour before I used too pre-diagnosis (7 am) and have finally managed to start my blog in a way that isn’t affecting my other business or any other aspect of my life. It truly is an UpSwing.
2. EAT BETTER
Diabetes (type 1) technically doesn’t mean you are excluded from eating or drinking anything you want. However, there are other health-related issues associated with diabetes and eating well is an obvious way to minimise the effects of the disease. For those of you who have the condition you will be acutely aware of blood sugar lows, and how making good choices with the food that we eat is massively beneficial. You don’t want to eat a high-calorie chocolate bar every time your sugars drop. I have found I’m eating far more fruit than I ever had before and moving towards an overall Mediterranean diet (probably a good idea considering I’m half Greek).
3. LESS BOOZE
In my heady days at University I would have been considered a binge drinker; lots of alcohol and as often as my restricted finances allowed. In recent years however my thirst for the devils’ liquor has somewhat diminished. That being said I still enjoyed a drink and would often consume far more than the government recommended guidelines. Diabetes does not prevent one from partaking in the consumption of a delicious alcoholic beverage or two, but we do need to be careful and a little forward-thinking. Snacks need to be on hand for changes in blood sugars, regular testing is required and social groups need to be made aware of Hypo/Hyper symptoms. I have found it a lot easier to significantly reduce my intake to one maybe two drinks if any at all. I have more fun with my friends, I feel much better the next day and I am achieving more of my goals. Win, Win!
4. MORE EXERCISE
Diabetes can cause possible health implications for the body’s organs. The excess glucose in the blood causes damage to the blood vessels which can lead to a heart attack. There can also be complications with the kidneys, eyes, and feet. This is why regular checkups with the doctor are required. However, correctly managing your blood glucose levels with insulin, healthy eating, and regular exercise can minimise these risks. I have always been very active but since being diagnosed with diabetes a 5k run now has a purpose greater than not looking terrible on a Cypriot beach in mid-July. I love the endorphin rush one receives after a hard workout and now my motivations have changed, the buzz is even stronger. If diabetes gives me the motivation to exercise more and makes me feel better; I can’t argue with it.
I imagine a large proportion of you reading this do not have any significant health concerns. I was once part of this tribe and consequently, I was relatively ignorant of many diseases, much less diabetes. A final positive outcome of my diagnosis would be the better understanding I now have for people trying to manage their health problems and the wider economic, socio-economic and political issues that health impacts every day. Being a proud citizen of the UK I have only good things to say about our magnificent National Health Service (NHS). As a result of my condition, I have joined Diabetes UK, a fantastic organisation, as well as a number of other diabetes and health related forums. I try and engage with people and offer advice from my experiences and most importantly encourage not only the acceptance of the disease, but the possibilities despite it.