Diabetic path has no end but many beginnings
One of the biggest misconceptions facing newly diagnosed diabetics is the belief that with proper medication and lifestyle changes, they can cure themselves of the disease.
“People with this belief come to their diabetes education class motivated to make whatever changes are necessary to rid themselves of this dreaded disease only to learn there is no cure,” says Manuel Guajardo, RN, with the Texas A&M Health Science Center Coastal Bend Health Education Center Diabetes Education Program. “They’re now faced with the fact that the rest of their lives will be aimed at merely controlling their diabetes.”
However, this initial enthusiasm is not misguided. Guajardo points out controlling one’s diabetes can begin with minor changes in regards to diet and exercise, changes that would serve to benefit any individual, regardless of diabetes.
“It’s all about making choices – the choice to begin walking on a daily basis, the choice to begin eating a more balanced diet, the choice to begin taking medications as prescribed,” Guajardo says.
Besides controlling the disease, many diabetics find these new lifestyle choices lead to a variety of other positives such as weight loss, reduced cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
“Once a person with diabetes realizes that controlling diabetes is very doable, the idea is not to set huge goals right away but to encourage the development of healthy habits,” Guajardo says. “With this and the expression of genuine care and concern for a person’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being, a diabetes educator can assist patients with overcoming any barriers or misconceptions that could impede their road to success.”