Those of you that have followed us for some time are probably already aware that Patrick (the hubs) has type 2 diabetes.
When he was first diagnosed, we found that while we had a basic understanding there was so much we were fuzzy on and many things we didn’t know.
There are also a lot of misconceptions regarding Type 2 floating around out there–what causes it, who can be diagnosed with it, etc.
We got some amazing news today and were inspired to share a bit, but before we get into that, we thought we’d start a brief discussion on Type 2 to help spread awareness and hopefully help clear up some confusion! Also, we strongly recommend checking out the American Diabetes Association for reference, which was first recommended to us by our doctor when Patrick was first diagnosed.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a form of diabetes (the more common type) in which your body is insulin resistant. Your pancreas produces a ton of insulin at first to try to keep up with the fact your body is resistant, but as time goes on it simply cannot produce enough to keep your blood glucose levels down.
Type 1 is not the same as Type 2 and we’ve found a lot of people have been very confused by this. We do not have personal experience within our family with Type 1 (in which the body doesn’t produce insulin), though we’ve have some close friends with Type 1, so we aren’t going to talk about it except to reiterate the fact that they are not the same.
If Type 2 isn’t the same as Type 1, what’s the difference?
The main differences between Type 1 and Type 2 are:
- Type 1 is far less common
- Type 1 is typically diagnosed in children/young people
- Type 2 = body is resistant to insulin
- Type 1 = body does not produce insulin
What’s an A1C test and why is it important?
Your A1C (determined through a blood test in a lab) gives you an idea of your average blood glucose levels over the last 3 months or so. This is important because you could have a super high or low blood glucose reading regardless of whether or not you’re diabetic, but a 3 month view let’s you know if you’re in trouble or not overall. Your A1C level will let your doctor know where (if you’re in the diabetic range) you fall. We’ve seen different organizations report A1C ranges differently, but the American Diabetes Association (which our doctor recommended Patrick and I refer to since it’s considered to have some of the most accurate info) states the following:
- A1C of less than 5.7% is normal
- A1C of 5.7% to 6.5% is pre-diabetic
- A1C of 6.4% or above is diabetic range
Once Your A1C has been determined can it change?
Of course! Blood sugar levels change constantly and depending on how you choose to control (or prevent) Type 2, your goal is continually to bring down your A1C through whatever methods recommended by your doctors to a normal range. Since A1C levels give you such a broad view of blood glucose levels Patrick’s doctor doesn’t like to check more than ever 3 months. Again, he isn’t at the point where he has to check his levels daily and an A1C blood test (performed in a lab) and daily glucose level checks are not the same. Also, changing your A1C can take time–a lot of time!
Do you have to take medication and do regular sugar checks with Type 2?
This can really vary from person to person. Patrick is not at a point where he has to check his blood sugar levels daily and we have (so far) been successful at keeping him at a point where he does not yet require medication. This can change and may likely change over time, but we are very hopeful it doesn’t for many, many years!
If you have Type 2, blood sugar is the only thing you have to worry about, right?
Wrong. We were told upfront that as time goes on and if Patrick could not keep his under control that he will be at risk for high blood sugar, issues with cholesterol, etc. Insulin is a hormone, so as you can imagine, having too much of it flooding your body regularly can effect more than just your blood sugar.
Type 2 Diabetes is just for “fat” people, right?
No. While being overweight or living an unhealthy lifestyle can certainly increase your risks, Type 2 Diabetes is also more prominent within certain age groups and ethnic groups.
If you don’t use medication or insulin, how can you help control your Type 2 Diabetes?
Diet, exercise and general lifestyle changes are recommended changes for people with Type 2, but for some it can really make or break whether or not you keep your Type 2 Diabetes under control. Because Patrick’s diabetes was caught at a time where he wasn’t in serious danger of doing some real damage to his body (in the immediate future) we were given the chance to try to control his Diabetes through changes to diet, exercise and his general lifestyle. Some of those changes include:
- Really monitoring starch/sugar/carb intake
- Upping non-starchy veg
- Being intentional about food choices and portion control
- Staying active
- Getting enough sleep
- Taking the time to eat meals throughout the day
Type 2 Diabetics must only eat lettuce, right?
|You mean this isn’t Type 2 friendly? But there’s fruit! 😉|
Like anyone, Type 2 Diabetics have to eat balanced diets; we’ve just made sure that we follow this fantastic “Create Your Plate” rule we first read about when Patrick was first diagnosed. Basically it states that 1/2 of your plate should be filled with non-starchy veg, 1/4 with grain or starch and 1/4 with protein. For a visual guy like Patrick, this was EXTREMELY helpful. Check it out!
When we travel we make a point of seeing and doing as much as we can in each destination and part of that is sampling local food–we’re total foodies. No, Patrick cannot partake in everything and sometimes that’s a bummer, but once you’re determined to make the best of it you find some delicious stuff you can enjoy that doesn’t derail your Type 2 diet. But yes, sometimes he is a bit bummed when the kids are trying the good stuff. 😉 I try to stick as closely as I can to what he eats (keeping in mind my own food allergies), so I think that helps!
How does Type 2 and ADHD work?
To put it bluntly–it doesn’t. Being an ADHD Severe Combined Type adult (our boys are also severe combined typers–woohoo!) means Patrick struggles with impulse control, a lack of long-term planning, etc. He’s got a lot of strengths, but planning is not one of them–I say that with love as his wife of nearly 11 years. While he’s embraced his Type 2 diabetes, it’s taken some serious planning and prepping (by his wife) to really make sure we made the changes he needed. I think for any Type 2 diabetic with ADHD it’s really going to take some serious support and assistance to get on the right track and stay there. Honestly, it’s that way with anything the spouse or parent of an ADHD individual has to tackle. This is just a very serious matter of health versus an everyday task like forgetting to take out the trash or put an appointment in the family calendar.
Our Good News
Now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, we’re so happy to share our good news with you guys! We are happy to say that we just got Patrick’s most recent A1C results back and he has lowered his levels significantly! He has done it through hard work on our entire family’s part to make sure he eats the way he needs to eat, stays active, doesn’t skip meals, etc. And it has paid off! He still has to continue to work hard–he always will. Unfortunately, no matter how low we’re eventually able to get his A1C he will always have to maintain his Type 2 Diabetes lifestyle, but we are so happy that at this stage in the game we’re able to control his Type 2 without medication. We know this could change as time goes on, but we’re so thankful for now and hope his body continues to play ball for some time!
So that’s it! I know we often focus on travel and ADHD, but since this is a major factor in our lives that affects everyday life along with travel (we don’t consume artificial sweeteners so finding the right foods while on the go takes some research and time) we thought it was probably worth talking about. It’s also something that affects a lot of parents our age, so why not talk about it? No shame!
If this isn’t your thing, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled travel posts next week, but we do plan to include some Type 2 travel posts here and there as it affects so many. We also have some fun (Are they really fun? Probably more relatable than fun. Funny in a laugh-so-you-don’t-cry kind of way, perhaps! lol) ADHD posts planned soon.
Hopefully this was helpful and we look forward to continuing to share with you guys!
Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions above are our own based on our personal experiences and research and should not be taken as fact. Please consult with your doctor prior to making any changes, decisions, etc.