Hesperian Health Guides
Diabetes as a Second Chance
Diabetes is a serious disease but it is manageable. Managing diabetes gives people an opportunity to make positive changes so they can live a healthy, active, and productive life.
Without knowledge of how to take care of your diabetes, life can be very hard. But with support and knowledge, people can become healthier than they were before. Because their health depends on it, they may take on other issues in their lives and communities. They might fight for healthier food, fairer wages, stopping chemical pollution, making it safer to walk, or other things that help them be more active, eat better, and lower the stress in their lives.
You can live with diabetes
People with diabetes have to change the way they eat and live. Here is some advice to help you make changes:
- Start with small changes. For example, instead of stopping sugar drinks all at once, try cutting back over time. Slowly reducing the amount of sugar you eat or increasing the amount of exercise you do is easier to manage and you will be more likely to stick with it.
- Decide for yourself what you want to change. Set a goal like walking more, smoking less or not at all, or being able to play with your grandchildren.
- Find support. Family, friends, or other people with diabetes can help you make changes. Diabetes groups and classes can connect people with diabetes to support each other.
- Find help for hard feelings. It is normal for people with diabetes to fear the future, to be sad about the loss of health, or angry about needed changes. Feelings of sadness, depression, or hopelessness can stop a person with diabetes from making changes he needs or wants to make. It can be helpful to talk about these emotions and learn ways to feel better. For more on depression, see Mental Health (in development).
- Find your reasons for wanting to be healthier. What do you want to do and how do you want to feel better? For example, think of your family and why you want to be alive and healthy to help them long into the future. Positive goals help you make changes and keep going.