Antonio is a 49 years young resident of New York City, living with type 2 diabetes. He was diagnosed a little over three years ago after a routine check-up with his primary care physician.
While Antonio wasn’t expecting the diagnosis, it wasn’t a complete shock either, as he had lost his mother to diabetes.
He was initially concerned because she had diabetes twenty years ago, when treatment wasn’t nearly as advanced as it is today. Back then, insulin injections were the only form of treatment for diabetics. It relieves Antonio that there is a myriad of options to manage and treat it now that weren’t available when his mother was treating her diabetes. He takes Metformin and has a monitor that allows him to test his glucose levels every morning and night. This potentially life-saving ability obviously makes him feel more at ease.
The most important change in Antonio’s lifestyle since his diagnosis is he now must carefully focus on diet and exercise in the interest of managing his diabetes. When he was first diagnosed, he was overly cautious about his sugar intake from candy and other sweet things he enjoyed. However, after some research and conversations with his doctor and a nutritionist, he was relieved to learn that he can still eat his favourite confectionary items such as Reese’s™ Peanut Butter Cups – just in moderation. This was all new to him compared to his mother’s experience when treating her diabetes.
A new focus on diet and exercise, along with his Metformin, are the keys to Antonio’s diabetes management. He eats more vegetables and makes himself a shake every other day to add leafier greens into his diet. His favourite shake consists of kale, cucumbers, celery, cilantro, ginger, green apple, pineapple, and the juice of one lemon. Not only does he find the shakes to be delicious, they also help him control his sugar and A1-C levels and give him more energy.
He also drinks turmeric tea, which he has learnt through his own research would help him with maintaining his blood sugar levels. So he aims to include turmeric in his meals. In regards to exercise, Antonio is admittedly not a big fan. He has, however, always enjoyed walking, so he tries to walk three to five miles a day. He also has a routine of exercises he does regularly (albeit begrudgingly) which includes push-ups, sit-ups, and planks.
Antonio’s treatment has remained basically the same since his diagnosis, the only change being his Metformin dosage, which has been adjusted over time to compensate for fluctuating blood sugar levels. When seeking information about support for his condition, Antonio usually consults with his therapist or his nutritionist. Google also provides him a wealth of information, as he isn’t interested in online or support groups. He also visits WebMD and other reliable medical sources to stay informed. Compared to the limited options in the days when his mother was treating her diabetes, Antonio is enthusiastic about more modern therapies. For example, he was encouraged to learn that, unlike the traditional insulin shot, there’s now available an injection that is little more than a subtle prick.
Antonio has yet to deeply research the whole realm of insulin, as his diabetes has not progressed to that stage. He makes it a point, however, to stay updated on current treatment developments for potential future reference. Interestingly, Antonio learned about that new insulin device during his participation in a market research study.
He believes participation in market research offers an avenue to new information and that joining the studies could be especially helpful for people who are newly diagnosed. While Antonio recognizes that there has been great progress in the treatment of diabetes and that a tremendous amount of research has been conducted, it will never be enough until the disease can be eradicated completely. He also believes increased investment is necessary to achieve that goal.
Until then, Antonio looks forward to the time when people can more easily manage it without needing pills or injections at all. He strongly encourages everyone diagnosed with diabetes to visit an endocrinologist regularly for help with managing it. To illustrate the importance of early healthcare intervention, Antonio has a friend with diabetes who was foregoing exercise, not eating properly, and hadn’t seen an endocrinologist.
Unfortunately, the late diagnosis resulted in serious complications and he needed to have his toes amputated. This is why Antonio calls out to all diabetes patients to have regular access to proper healthcare and nutrition professionals. The most important advice Antonio offers someone recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is to talk to people, ask questions, and gather information. He says “It’s all there, you just need to take the initiative.”