* Prices may differ from that shown
It came as a real shock when I was diagnosed with diabetes earlier this year; I have regular blood tests (including fasting glucose levels) for an unrelated medical condition and up until six months previously everything had been normal and my GP had told me I was at low risk of developing diabetes. A fasting blood glucose level of 11 led to a repeat blood test and when this was also raised I was officially diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The NHS quickly arranged an ECG, foot tests, a special eye test and an appointment with the diabetic specialist nurse. Whilst I am glad of this prompt treatment I was left with lots of questions about my condition and the advice on self-management amounted to "take your medicine and watch your diet" so I wanted to find a good book to educate myself on what lifestyle changes I would need to make. I found "Diabetes for Dummies" in my local library and being impressed with the dummies series in general decided to take it home.
Diabetes is a condition where the body does not produce any insulin or the body cannot use the insulin which is produced. Type one diabetes is the type of diabetes where you do not produce insulin and need to take insulin injections and type two diabetes, where insulin is produced but not used properly in the body, is often seen as a lesser form of the disease. I was under the misconception that type 2 Diabetes was a far less serious form of the condition and that all I would have to do was lose a bit of weight to control it but in reality it is still a very serious disease. The media like to paint type 2 as a disease caused by slothful lifestyles and, whilst lifestyle is a factor, there is also a very strong genetic component to the disease. I was pleased to note that the Dummies book took a non-judgemental approach to type 2 diabetics and it also covered type 3 or pre diabetes. Another type of diabetes has been talked about and this is type 1.5 which was not mentioned at all in the book.
The book sets out all of the various complications which can occur in diabetes often in more detail than needed. It is good to know, for example, that diabetes can cause problems in pregnancy or lead to kidney problems but for someone who is not suffering either of those complications then a blow by blow account of a kidney transplant or the nine months of pregnancy is not needed. I did feel reassured about the complications not being an immediate concern as the book told me they would not happen for ten years' time which was better than the scare tactics used by my diabetic nurse.
The day to day management of diabetes was discussed but I think having both type one and type two diabetes in the same book was a bit too ambitious. Different medication regimes and their merits and downsides were laid out which was useful as when my diabetic nurse mentioned a drug which could help me I looked it up and got some information. I did understand some things better after reading the book like what my blood sugar levels should be and what the different blood tests I get measure.
Where the book fell down was the section on diet and lifestyle and this is where I feel I need the most guidance right now. The diet section was confusing, it told me not to follow just about any commercially available plan but the list of food exchanges just left me bewildered. What I have been trying to find out is exactly how much carbohydrate I should eat in a day but have not been able to find this information anywhere. The recipe section contained a couple of interesting recipes but most of them were unappetising.
I did find some useful information in the book "Diabetes for Dummies" but did not like the book enough to purchase it to keep it at home as a reference to look up when I have got questions. It tried to cover type one and two diabetes in adults and children instead of breaking it down into different books which would have been more helpful. It contained too much of some information and not enough about day to day management for my liking. For a newly diagnosed diabetic I would advise searching the internet and looking at sites such as Diabetes UK where you will get the information you need presented in a far more appealing way.