Do I look like I have diabetes?
Let’s talk about type 2 diabetes and what that “looks like” to some people.
When I was in my early 30’s I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I had several complications during my last pregnancy, one of which was gestational diabetes. In gestational diabetes, you have diabetes during the pregnancy, but the expectation is that it goes away when the baby is born and your body returns to normal. In my case, my blood sugar fluctuated for a couple of years after my daughter was born, but never really settled back to a normal state.
I remember sitting in the doctor’s office when he gave me the diagnosis, and I was outwardly nodding my head to indicate that I understood what he was saying….but on the inside I was freaking out! I was remembering all of my family members and others that I knew who suffered from diabetes including several visions of my grandmother….and I couldn’t help thinking “I don’t look like I have diabetes!”
That thought stayed in my head for a long time, as I was in denial about the whole diagnosis.
I was breaking a lot of the rules that I had established in my mind about what someone with diabetes was supposed to look like.
On top of that, I was a healthcare professional. I was supposed to be the image of health. I was supposed to be the one with the answers. I wasn’t supposed to have DIABETES!
Why do we do that to ourselves? When you work in the healthcare or public health field, for some reason, we believe that we are exempt from diseases. That myth needs to be busted and shattered and destroyed!
Just because you devote your life to the profession of health does NOT mean that you will live a life that is 100% disease free. You are not exempt from these conditions. So please, free yourself of that believe right now and also take that expectation off of your friends and family members who are healthcare workers and public health professionals.
Of course I settled down and snapped out of the state of denial and began making lifestyle adjustments and changes, and it is a process that will continue to evolve and change for the rest of my life…..because you never stop learning, improving, and growing.
A few common risk factors for type 2 diabetes
Risk factors increase your chances for developing the disease.
-Are over 45 years of age
-Have family members that have type 2 diabetes
-Have had gestational diabetes with pregnancy
-Physically active less than 3 times a week
-Are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, or Alaska Native
Now, these are not hard and fast rules. Don’t think that if you are of a different ethnicity then you’re not going to develop diabetes. Because if that were the case, I broke two of those rules when I was diagnosed. I was not overweight and was way younger than 45 at the time of my diagnosis!
These are just some of the common risk factors, meaning these factors should not be ignored and may increase your chances of developing the disease.
If you have any of these risk factors, then I would recommend discussing it with your primary care physician or practitioner.
There are so many things that you can do to prevent the onset of diabetes and to manage the disease if you have already been diagnosed.
In future podcast episodes, I will share tips about how to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, as well as strategies for managing type 2 diabetes if you’ve already been diagnosed.
For now, just know that being more active can help you prevent and manage type 2 diabetes. Try to exercise regularly, and in addition to that, eat more fruits and vegetables and less high fat foods. Strive to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
The goal right here today is for you to realize that if you have preconceived notions about how someone with type 2 diabetes is supposed to look like, then rethink that.
This will be an ongoing conversation here on the podcast.
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Alright everyone, until next time…have a fantastic rest of your day!