Adele Mackie is an Accredited Dietitian here at Diabetes Australia – Vic. She knows that being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can be difficult to deal with, emotionally and physically. For this reason, DA–Vic holds Getting Started information sessions to help people understand the condition and how to manage it. Adele explains below what the sessions are all about and offers advice on how to cope with a diagnosis.
People can experience many different emotions when they are first diagnosed. Many people experience fear because they are scared of the long-term complications that can arise from poorly managed diabetes, or they are scared about having to monitor their blood glucose levels or start taking insulin injections. Some people also feel angry and upset that this has happened to them and anxious about having to change their diet and lifestyle.
What is the purpose of the Getting Started sessions?
The Getting Started sessions are for people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, or for people who may have had type 2 diabetes for some time, but have never received any formal education or may need a refresher. The aim of the session is really to give people some information to get them started and on track with their diabetes management and to link them in with their local community health professionals for ongoing support with their diabetes management.
What can participants expect to learn from the sessions?
The sessions run for three-and-a-half hours with a dietitian and diabetes educator. We go back to the basics and explain what diabetes is, how and why we need to monitor blood glucose levels, different types of diabetes medications, the importance of healthy eating and regular physical activity, the importance of regular health screening as well as how to link in with your local community health care team.
What are the most common questions people have when they are first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes?
One of the most common questions is related to food. People want to know which foods will cause their blood glucose levels to rise and which foods they can and can’t eat. People also really don’t know much about diabetes itself and often have many questions relating to the condition. Also, most people want to know if they need to start testing their blood glucose levels, how and why they need do this, the target blood glucose levels to aim for and how to interpret the results.
What are the common feelings and emotions that people experience after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes?
People can experience many different emotions when they are first diagnosed. Many people experience fear, because they are scared of the long term complications that can arise from poorly managed diabetes or scared about having to monitor their blood glucose levels or start taking insulin injections. Some people also feel angry and upset that this has happened to them and anxious about having to change their diet and lifestyle.
What advice would you give to people who are feeling down or anxious about their type 2 diabetes diagnosis (or how can they keep positive)?
It is important to know that diabetes is not all doom and gloom like it is often depicted in the media. People with diabetes can live very long and healthy lives if they manage their diabetes well through healthy eating and regular physical activity. The keys to good health are the same for people without diabetes – healthy eating and regular physical activity – so you should not feel any different to the general population.
It is important to find out as much about type 2 diabetes as you can. This will give you the knowledge and power to make healthy lifestyle changes and include your whole family. Remember a healthy lifestyle is the same for everyone, regardless of diabetes.
Diabetes Counselling Online provide counselling and support services are also available specifically for people with diabetes.
Why is a supportive network of healthcare professionals, family and friends important?
Making lifestyle changes such as changing eating habits, increasing physical activity, regularly monitoring and interpreting blood glucose levels can be difficult at times. Including family members in these changes makes them a lot easier and sustainable. Having family and friends that understand about diabetes and the steps you need to take to manage your condition can help to make you feel like you are no different from anybody else. Sometimes you might need some expert advice, help to get you on track with your health or reassurance that you are doing the right things – this is where supportive network of healthcare professionals comes in.
Getting Started dates for 2012
Thursday 20 September, 5pm – 8.30pm
Monday 15 October, 9.30am – 1pm
Wednesday 21 November, 9.30am – 1pm
Monday 10 December, 9.30am – 1pm
Cost: $10 for DA–Vic members and $15 for non-members. Spaces limited to 12 people only.
Venue: Diabetes Australia – Vic, 570 Elizabeth Street, 1st floor (stairs only), Melbourne
RSVP: Bookings are essential. Please call 1300 136 588.
Funding to support this program is provided by the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS). The NDSS is an initiative of the Australian Government and administered by Diabetes Australia. The NDSS Agent in Victoria is Diabetes Australia – Vic.