Diabetes Type 2

Getting the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes

Finding out that you have diabetes which is a long-term illness, can prompt all sorts of emotions. Though some people took the diagnosis in their stride, many felt shocked and angry; others said they just couldn't believe that they had diabetes. People can feel overwhelmed when they realise that diabetes lasts forever, requires long-term medication, and needs to be actively 'controlled' by a combination of diet, exercise and medication. Some of those we interviewed who had had diabetes for some time recalled how they were 'in denial' about the disease in the early days. 

It helped some people accept their diagnosis if they knew others who had diabetes or where there was a history of diabetes in the family. Several said they had no problem accepting the diagnosis because they knew what was involved having seen other people managing to live a normal life with diabetes.

For others however, the knowledge of a family history of diabetes had not prepared them and they felt taken aback by the news that they too had developed the disease. 

The fact that diabetes can be a “silent” disease - one that does not immediately display physical symptoms - can make it hard to accept at first. Some felt they were too young and too fit or active to be diabetic and felt complete disbelief. 

Others had received the diagnosis when they were getting treatment for other health conditions or at a time in their lives when they seemed to have other more immediate problems to cope with. 

For some, diabetes didn't seem that big a deal until they were confronted with physical proof that the condition was affecting them, for instance the loss of eyesight or physical strength were the kind of signs people said had triggered a change of attitude. 

Some said they were unsurprised by the diagnosis because they knew that their lifestyle had put their health at risk. Several suspected they might have had diabetes for years before being diagnosed. 

Many people who had, at first, felt overwhelmed by the diagnosis were reassured by the support and information offered by specialist nurses, pharmacists or support groups (see Looking for information and support). 

Last reviewed March 2016.

Last updated September 2010.



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