You have been told you have non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM).
Your type of diabetes affects 2-5% of the population in the UK. You may have felt a mixture of shock and relief on being told you have NIDDM. To feel shock is normal. Relief may come from knowing now why you may have felt unwell for some time.
What is non-insulin dependent diabetes?
NIDDM happens when your body is unable to produce enough insulin or when the insulin it produces is not used properly.
Insulin is a hormone that allows the foods you eat to give you energy to keep you active. Without enough insulin the sugar level in your blood becomes too high and you develop the symptoms of diabetes.
What are the main symptoms of NIDDM?
- Thirst and a dry mouth
- Passing more urine than usual, including during the night
- Blurred vision
- Itching of the skin or genitals
Why have I got non-insulin dependent diabetes?
No one really knows ... although it is known that people who are overweight are more likely to get NIDDM. You may also have relatives with NIDDM.
You can check your own blood sugar levels at home by testing your urine or blood. Your clinic will explain how and when to do this.
How will my non-insulin dependent diabetes be treated?
Healthy (high fibre, low fat, low added sugar) eating is the most important part of your treatment. Please try to:
- Eat regular meals
- Avoid being overweight
- Eat more high fibre starchy foods, eg wholemeal bread, wholegrain cereals
- Eat less sugar and sugary foods, eg sweetened drinks, cakes, chocolate
- Cut down the amount of fat you eat
- Cut down how much salt you use
- Drink alcohol only in moderation
- Avoid special diabetic products. They can be high in fat
- Don't smoke
- Take regular exercise
Exercise combined with healthy eating will help to lower your blood sugar levels. Keeping your blood sugar levels within the normal range will help you to have a long and healthy life. If your blood sugar levels are still too high, you may need some extra help from a diabetes tablet or insulin.
You play a vital part in your own treatment and care so please do not ignore your diabetes. Looking after yourself and learning about your diabetes together with modern treatments means you will be able to look forward to a near normal, healthy and long life.