Learning to live with diabetes

Accepting a diabetes diagnosis can be similar to going through the grieving process: you must learn how to live with your new reality. Some people will need more time to adapt, while others will take action right away. The key is to go at your own pace and find support to help you accept your condition.

Stress and anxiety

It is normal to feel stressed after being diagnosed with diabetes. The disease can cause stress for different reasons:  

  • Diabetes is a chronic and permanent condition.
  • Symptoms are annoying.
  • You depend on a treatment.  
  • You need to change your lifestyle.
  • The treatment may have side effects. 
  • There are many risks of complications.
  • Your self-esteem may suffer.
  • You may experience prejudice or discrimination (at work, applying for insurance, how others see you).  

Unfortunately, stress can have a negative effect on blood sugar in two ways. First, when you are stressed, your body releases hormones that raise your blood sugar level in order to give your body the energy it needs to fight the stressor. Second, stress can trigger adaptive behaviours like eating more or less, drinking alcohol excessively, or losing your motivation to maintain healthy habits and follow a strict treatment plan. 

It is important to recognize your emotions and understand what need they are signalling, such as a need to be respected, heard, understood, supported or comforted.

Once your stress is under control, it is important to take action, because if you do not accept that you have diabetes, you could compromise your health. You will need motivation to make good lifestyle changes and incorporate your treatment plan into your daily routine.   

In fact, the more you know about diabetes, the less you will fear and the more likely you will become actively involved in your treatment, which will mostly fall on your shoulders. You may be anxious about having so much responsibility, and this is why it is important to ask for help from a family member, friend, health professional, such as your pharmacist affiliated with Accès pharma, or a mental health professional to support you in this process. There are many organizations and support groups (often associated with hospitals or CLSCs) in every region of Quebec that can provide people with diabetes with a wealth of information. 

Telling your loved ones

A diabetes diagnosis can be very stressful for you, but also for your friends and family. If you do not feel equipped to deal with the reactions and expectations of your loved ones, you can turn to organizations like Diabète Québec, which offers training and educational activities for everyone.  

Making lifestyles changes

Obviously, a diabetes diagnosis comes with a lot of adjustments and challenges. You need to take a look at your lifestyle and build new habits that will help you stay healthy and better manage your illness. Some people find taking medication to be challenging, while others are more concerned about changing their diet or incorporating physical activity into their routine. No matter what is causing you stress, it is important to make one change at a time to give yourself the best chance of succeeding and avoid any risks of relapsing. Your pharmacist affiliated with Accès pharma is also there to support you and answer any questions you may have about your treatment and condition. 

To find out how to adopt healthy habits that will help you keep your disease under control, please read our full article on 5 ways to balance your blood sugar every day.  

When you are at home, it is easier to watch what you eat and remove any sources of temptation. But these are harder to resist when you go out. You could always tell your host about your condition in advance to avoid being in an embarrassing situation. And if you want to go a restaurant, try to stay away from all-you-can-eat buffets, because they tend to make people overeat.    

Still, you need to be kind to yourself and let yourself make mistakes. Although your diagnosis may be overwhelming at first, with time and with the help of health professionals and your friends and family, you will find different ways to manage your diabetes every day and gain confidence.

Many organizations, such as Diabète Québec or Diabetes Canada, can provide activities, training and support to you and your loved ones. And remember that you are not alone. In fact, according to the International Diabetes Federation, if everyone who had diabetes formed their own country, it would be the 3rd biggest country in the world! 

This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice and pharmacist-owners affiliated with Accès pharma cannot be held responsible for this information. The information was true and accurate at the time of publication, but it is subject to change.

Frequently asked questions

You got more questions?

  • However, here are some general tips:

    • Monitor your blood sugar levels
    • Understand your medications
    • Follow your treatment plan
    • Take the correct dosage
    • Follow dietary guidelines
    • Avoid self-medication
    • Be aware of drug interactions
    • Be consistent and punctual
    • Be cautious of missed doses!

    In case of doubt, come see us; it's worth it!

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  • With insulin, the most common side effects are hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels counteracted by sugar intake) and weight gain (which can be managed through diet and an active lifestyle).

    For more information, come see us!

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  • At all times, it is important to avoid extreme temperatures (freezing, sunlight, etc.).

    Do you have any questions?

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  • Carefully check the labels of over-the-counter medications - or better yet, speak with your pharmacist, as several medications can impact blood sugar levels in some individuals:

    • Cough, cold, and fever medications;
    • Anti-inflammatories;
    • Dietary supplements and vitamins;
    • Allergy medications;
    • etc.

    In case of doubt, come see us; it's worth it!

    Make an appointment

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