I cannot tell you how many times I have had patients come in to my office and say something like “My doctor says I have diabetes, but I don’t think I do”. Some people think their doctor made a mistake or got their lab work confused with someone else’s. I’ve even heard some people worry that their doctor was trying to push diabetes medications on them to make more money. Of course mistakes can happen, but if you’re doctor says you have diabetes, you most likely do!
Generally, before someone is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes they have symptoms like frequent urination, extreme thirst, weight loss, blurred vision and feeling very tired. They usually feel so awful that they go to their doctor or the emergency room. At that time, they find out they have diabetes.
With Type 2, it is typically much less dramatic. Usually people have routine blood work done and based on the results they are given a diabetes diagnosis. They often do not feel any symptoms at all. In my experience in talking to patients that have diabetes, only a very small percentage of them claimed to have noticed any symptoms. If they do, they tend to be frequent urination and blurry vision.
My concern when I hear this type of skepticism from people diagnosed with diabetes is that while you may feel fine for the time being, the disease is doing its damage. Diabetes is a progressive disease, and failing to manage it can lead to mounting complications. On the other hand, when someone recently diagnosed with diabetes takes the initiative to manage the disease, they typically see better results in the long run. Some examples of the damage that diabetes can do if left unmanaged while the patient "feels fine" include:
A diagnosis of diabetes can be overwhelming and scary. I think denial is a pretty natural reaction to this news, and I understand the hesitation some people have when diagnosed. But don't just bury your head in the sand and put yourself at further risk! Talk to your provider about what your blood sugar numbers are and what they should be. If you are having trouble meeting your blood sugar goals, speak with a Certified Diabetes Educator. We're here to help!