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"What life changes do I have to make once diagnosed with type 2 diabetes?"
Can I eat dinner with my family? I'm 32 and food is a huge part of how we bond. What else will I have to do?
A diagnosis of Diabetes Mellitus (DM) can be frustrating and overwhelming. You should speak to your endocrinologist about your diagnosis, management, and possible complications. You can definitely still eat dinner with your family, though the amount of food and types of choices might change. Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic condition in which glucose is not metabolized correctly and results in hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels). Type 2 DM is the most common form of diabetes and is due to a combination of both insulin deficiency and insulin resistance (meaning your body needs more insulin to have the same effect on blood glucose levels). Insulin is a hormone that is made and secreted by the pancreatic beta cells and is essential in the metabolism of glucose. Without insulin, glucose cannot be used by the body and builds up in the blood. Type 2 DM is highly related to excess weight and obesity. Having a sedentary lifestyle with minimal exercise and an unbalanced diet can make DM worse. Of course you can continue to eat with your family, but you should try to make healthy food choices and include all food groups while decreasing your intake of sugary "junk food". Obesity itself causes more insulin resistance, so weight loss is beneficial for patients with Type 2 DM. On that same note, exercise itself actually improves insulin resistance. In short, other than medications (which you should discuss with your physician), the best lifestyle changes for patients with DM are a healthy well balanced diet, weight loss (especially if obese), and regular exercise. You should follow up with your endocrinologist to discuss your diagnosis of Type 2 DM, lifestyle changes, and possible need for medications and glucose monitoring.
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