Just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes?
“My first memory was when I was 14 years old, I had an upset stomach—some days I didn’t feel right. I think I might have had it then but not known.” (Anonymous)
If you’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes you might be feeling upset, angry, scared, shocked and confused. Don’t worry, these are normal reactions to being told you have diabetes. For many young people with type 2 diabetes, the diagnosis doesn’t happen overnight and they often haven’t previously had any obvious symptoms. Many feel a sense of relief to know that it is manageable and with the help and support of family, friends and health professionals, they can learn to confidently manage their diabetes.
Remember help and support is available and you are not alone, and:
- Make sure you are registered with the NDSS. It is free to register and provides cheaper products and free services to people with diabetes. There is a pharmacy locator that will help you find the nearest pharmacy that provides NDSS products.
- There is a Diabetes Australia office in each state and territory that can help and support you and let you know about local activities and events. You can become a member of your local diabetes organisation. Membership provides access to many valuable services and benefits available only to people who pay an annual subscription fee to be a member of the Diabetes Australia organisation in their state or territory.
What to expect
“It was conditional ‘confidence’ that I could handle it—only after clarifying with the doctor that I could still play sport, travel and drink alcohol. Then I knew I could cope with whatever the hell I had.” (Anonymous)
As a young person with diabetes, you may feel different from your peers. You may want to live life more spontaneously than your diabetes will let you. You are likely to feel frustrated and at times overwhelmed by it. This is why it’s important for you to get help and advice from your doctor or diabetes educator, so you can control and manage your diabetes, rather than it controlling you.
Telling your friends
One of the hardest things to do may be telling your friends you’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes. There can be confusions and different ideas about diabetes. Your health professional should be able to give you advice about how to tell your friends… but only you can decide when. Friends can be great sources of support and fun which is important.
Telling your teachers and employers
It is important that your school or work knows that you have diabetes—if only because you may need to inject yourself, take extra breaks for food and testing or one day you may have a hypo and need to rest and recover from it.
While not compulsory, it is advisable to declare your diabetes to your employer. If you don’t, you may not be eligible for workers’ compensation.
There is more information about telling your teacher and employers in living with diabetes.
What to look out for
When something is not right with your blood glucose levels you can have a hypo or hyper.
‘Hypo’ is short for hypoglycaemia—which means low blood glucose levels. When your BGLs drop you might find yourself with some of the following symptoms:
- trembling and shaking
- behaviour change—tearful, irritable
- confusion and lack of concentration
- numbness around lips and fingers.
It’s important for you (and your family, friends and colleagues) to recognise the signs of a hypo and be ready to treat it. If you ignore the symptoms, you could have a severe hypo where you become unconscious. This can be life-threatening if not treated quickly!
|Starburst Lollies||Lifesavers||Apple juice|
|Sesame snacks||Jellybabies||Honey on bread|
Read more in our fact sheet Managing hypoglycaemia.
‘Hyper’ is short for hyperglycaemia—when you have high blood glucose levels. Signs that you are having a hyper can include:
- needing to pee often
- sore stomach
- blurred vision
- not feeling hungry
You can get more details of on hyper at the Diabetes Australia website.