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Type 2 Diabetes: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed
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Product Description

After Gretchen Becker was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1996, she educated herself on every aspect of this chronic condition — by reading medical and scientific books and journals, talking with doctors and listening to her own body. In 2001, she marshaled everything she had learned as a "patient-expert" into the first edition of this book, which she has now completely updated and revised. The First Year?—Type 2 Diabetes uniquely guides you step-by-step through your first year with diabetes, walking you through everything you need to learn and do each day of your first week after diagnosis, each subsequent week of the first month, and each subsequent month of the crucial first year. In clear, concise, accessible language, Becker covers a wide range of practical, medical, and lifestyle issues, beginning with coming to terms with your diagnosis and then moving on to subjects including: Choosing the diet that is best for you The role of exercise Daily blood-glucose testing routines and understanding lab tests Medications and supplements Networking with others Insurance issues Traveling and socializing

Customer Reviews:

  • Interesting and not what I expected.
    This book was not what I expected, but I really enjoyed it, however there are a few concerns with this book.

    First there are inconsistencies within the book that are concerning. Some times she says one thing then states the opposite which can be confusing. I know she does not want to diagnose or give advice that might seem medical, but the reader can get confused.

    I did not like how she often repeated information for the sake of a chapter. She mentioned certain topics several times which could have been combined into one ore two. This was disheartening because of the level of knowledge she has on the subject.

    She has some misstatements that the reader must be aware of. One is that she mentions that herbal treatment is controversial and is not tested the way drugs are such as double blind test. I disagree because they are tested more frequently and more harshly then drugs which proves there safety and effectives. The still go through the double blind and single blind test that drugs would have to go through. They are not recommended by the FDA because of an obscure rule of the federal government, which left the control of the herbs to the companies themselves; which they have done a great job thus far. Just because the drug companies do not test herbal remedies, doesn't mean they are not safe or effective. Herbal remedies are tested by a third party which makes the tests more creditable. The controversy is with the drug companies because they want to sell more drugs and don't want to test the herbs. The doctors who do not have time to read the actual studies on the herbs do not recommend them because of what the drug companies tell them. I know, I worked for a drug company for many years.

    I do believe that herbal remedies should come with warnings also, but not for the reasons she states everyone is different and has different effects on different people.

    While there are some other issues that are small, these are the biggest.

    I do like how much information she gives and in the manner she gives it. She explains diabetes better then other authors and doctors to the point of an advanced person. She has done her homework and it shows. She is very knowledgeable and explains things for the masses with a lot of examples.

    I like how much advice she does give which is great because it feels like no one can help you and even though I went to my hospital's Diabetes Self Management Classes, I learned far more form this book. I should have spent the $16.00 instead of the $2,100 for the classes. I am going to recommend this book to my doctor.

    I highly recommend the book with this warning, read as much as you can on every subject in the book or not.

    ...more info
  • Increasing one's awareness of the effects of diabetes
    This book helps to expand one's awareness and knowledge of the problems people can encounter when diabetes strikes. Surviving, improving one's quality and quantity of life are reach able objectives but not realistic unless you first follow the suggestions outlined in this book....more info
  • A good book for a new diabetic
    I bought this book the day I was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic, along with two other texts. This one was far more comprehensive and better indexed. Even now that my diagnosis has changed to Type 1 (LADA), I still turn to it daily as a reference. It has detailed information about the various tests that are being done in the early stages that was invaluable to me when my pcp said I was too old to be type 1, but I didn't have any of the known risk factors for type 2.

    I'd strongly recommend this book for any adult newly diagnosed with diabetes. I haven't found anything comprable for Type 1, as yet....more info

  • Get this book for any newly diagnosed person!
    Luckily my husband ordered this book for me just after I was diagnosed in December. Using the information in this book, I decided to ignore my GP's wait and see attitude, do frequent testing, and demanded anti-GAD testing when my BG initially went down, then began to climb after 3 months of an extremely strict diet (I'm thin to start with). Based on this test my diagnosis has been switched to LADA - something that might not have happened until my BG went thru the roof if I hadn't read this book. (I'd give it 20 stars if that were possible)...more info
  • Great information!
    I have just received my diagnosis and gone for individual session and 3 hour class session. So far, this book has been more helpful than all the facts "that were recited quickly to me" at the certified diabetes education center, sponsored by the local hospital (at the tune of $300.00). Since I've always had to have books around me, this particular book is very good for me because I can refer back many times to those areas that get "fuzzy" while I'm trying to figure out the exact changes I need to make in my personal life. I like it that the author puts everything in layman terms but is very knowledgeable in medical terms. I recommend this to anyone who has been recently diagnosed with diabetes and is trying to "digest" all this new information quickly. This is a great resource, you can re-read and refer back to info many times, and the price of the book (for all the info) is much cheaper than paying for individual and group classes where many instructors are not good communicators!! The knowledge that we have is our "power" because ultimately WE are the ones that have to manage our own diabetes -- no one else can do it for us -- day in and day out!! We should keep this book handy for many quick references....more info
  • Clearly written but not dumbed-down
    After going through several books and websites I found Gretchen's book to be the best organized, most clearly written, and most important, not at all dumbed down for the masses. The book presents a smart combination of what you need to know about your day to day life with Diabetes together with detailed scientific/medical information. For me, that made all the difference. For the first time I was starting to understand what this disease is about and make some sense of the myriad of treatments, diets, medications, tests, tools, and whatnot. Gretchen manages to compose a book that's smart but not theoretical and contains information that is actually useful for making better choices in your life. In addition, the book has a good number of categorized and annotated references allowing you to explore further whatever topics interest you the most (up to and including nutritional biochemistry)....more info
  • A lot of very good information.
    I was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and my doctor recommended this book. It's got a lot of information in it, presented in clear, understandable language. When there are different points of view on topics (like diets) she doesn't take sides but presents the issues. Worth a read if you're trying to figure out what being diabetic is all about and how to handle it....more info
  • The best book for the newly diagnosed and the long termer
    I bought this book when I was diagnosed type 2 in November 2003, and it was invaluable in putting everything in perspective. Diabetes is very frightening in the beginning, and if you don't know anyone with it, very isolating. This book let me know that there are ways to deal with it, that it can be handled, and that there are others out there going through the same thing.

    The medical and science information is invaluable - what the tests mean, what they tell you. The information on meds and insulin and supplements is great too.

    I read it from cover to cover when I got it, and have referred back to it every since.

    Another reviewer seems to think that so much information isn't necessary, but I completely disagree. Only when I know everything I can about something like diabetes will I feel comfortable with it. I am 42, and will, hopefully, be dealing with diabetes for another 50 or so years. Knowing all I can is very important so that I do live that long.

    Also, that reviewer states that a toxic environment is more to blame than anything else for diabetes type 2. Not true. Most people do not get diabetes no matter what they eat or how fat or inactive they are. If one doesn't have the genetic predispostion, type 2 won't appear. And some of us, hard as it is to believe, have always been active and have eaten healtfully for many years, yet still we get the diagnosis. It's a very complicated medical issue, and while some environmental factors may contribute, they aren't the primary factors.

    Also, the large increase in the number of people with diabetes has many reasons, not just junk food and inactivity. Genetically, in years past when food was not always cheap and available, the ability to hold on to fat was a positive genetic trait, and therefore one that survived for thousands of years, helping people survive through times of famine. Now that we don't have famines (at least not in developed countries), we don't need that ability, but it takes thousands of years for changes to take place. Additionally, the criteria for a diagnosis of diabetes has changed and that created a huge increase in the number of people who are now diabetic. Finally, as the population ages and lives longer, more people will be diagnosed. The truth is that about the same percentage of the population has been diagnosed with type 2 now as ten years ago, despite what has been termed the diabesity epidemic.

    This is an excellent book, giving the reader the information he or she needs to be assertive about medical care and aggressive in treating the disease. I can't say enough about it, and would say that every type 2 should have a copy....more info
  • Best resource available!
    I don't understand why doctors don't recommend this book to their patients. My mom was diagnosed with Type II diabetes last year. Since mom took care of my dad (who was diabetic for 25 years) she felt confident that she would be able to control her disease without too much trouble.
    Wrong! Within six months mom confided to me that she could understand why dad had such hopelessness concerning diabetes. So much misinformation and myths abound, and the diabetic diet is more confusing than it needs to be.
    So I bought this for mom and she loves it. In the last month (since reading this book) she is feeling positive again and feels much more in control of her own life and health. She has information to take to the doctors with her and understands the different treatments, etc.
    Since I am a candidate myself, I'm buying a second copy to learn what I can about preventing diabetes and how to be more supportive of mom.
    I highly recommend this book.
    ...more info
  • Great book.
    This is a great book on teaching people how to deal with diabetes. How ever why get yourself stuck on medication when you have a chance to avoid them? Polysaccharidepeptides (PSPs) are by far a growing alternative solution to helping our bodies deal with the immune diseases, like diabetes and MS. I recommend the book "Kiss your life hello" by Howard Pieper. For more information on PSPs go to info
  • Best book I've read on Diabetes Type II
    When I was diagnosed with Diabetes Type II as an adult, it really threw me for a loop. I found this book about 6 months into the first year, and I wish that I'd found it sooner. Written by a fellow diabetic, not a doctor from "on high," it speaks in a language that the layperson can understand, and demystifies the condition in plain language based on scientific research. In my opinion, this is the best book on the topic available at this time....more info
  • Type 2 Diabetes
    Couldn't have made a better book purchase for explaining very simply what type 2 diabetes is, how to treat it, etc. Very happy with this purchase, it is very informative and a must have for anyone that has been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes....more info
  • Amazing book!
    I was given this book about a week after I was diagnosed with Diabetes and it was an incredible help. She explains many of the terms that I had heard thrown around and what exactly is happening.

    She also stresses that IT NOT YOUR FAULT! This was a big help to me because I was doing the typical "If I had lost some weight.... If I exercised more...."

    I would recommend this book for anybody with Type 2 Diabetes regardless of how long they have had it....more info
  • Complete, solid information
    I was given this book by a friend who has had Type 2 for many years. She's insulin-dependent and said she wished someone had given her the book when she was first diagnosed. I buy it now for anyone I know who has been recently diagnosed. This book gave me so much information that I didn't get from nutritionists, classes, doctors, etc., and four years into my diagnosis I'm still medication free--controlling my diabetes with diet and exercise. My A1c stays around 6.3-6.7 and I return to this book often for a "refresher." It's invaluable, easy to read, and comes from someone who has been there. Too bad Gretchen Becker didn't have her own book when she was diagnosed!...more info
  • A volume no one deserves to have to own, but many of us need...
    I expect that after I get my next diabetes blood test in a couple of weeks, and then see my new doctor in my new city a week or so later, I will have to accept the fact that yes, I am diabetic. I have been climbing the scale toward that status for two years, and my promises to my old doc to change my diet and lose weight and get more exercise have not panned out in significant measure. Whether this means that before May 1st I will be sticking my finger and measuring my blood glucose at home or not, Ms. Becker's book is properly a part of my collection. It's a good effort. My main criticism is that it is more technical/scientific than I wanted at this stage of my acceptance. Several other reviewers found it depressing, and finally, at the end of it, I did too, but that is not the author's fault. Those of us who qualify to read it have a permanent and dangerous condition that never takes an hour off. I admire Gretchen's discipline and record-keeping and extensive reading and networking about diabetes---but Lord, I don't want to have to imitate all of her efforts. I will be consulting her book frequently as this first year of my disease unfolds, and I feel it was worth every penny I spent on Amazon to get it. I wish owning her volume was the "cure" instead of just the road map to minimizing devastation. But a guide to reducing the ravages of this genetic/lifestyle affliction is the best we can hope for at this time. If you are on the edge of a diagnosis, as I am, buy the book and read it slowly. You will be sorry you need to, but glad you did....more info
  • This is the one to get.
    When I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, I immediately bought half a dozen books on the disease, and friends and family gave me a few more. This is absolutely the best of the bunch. It's comprehensive, and covers as much (or more) as any other book on the market. It's well written, and obviously done by somebody with a brain who doesn't just parrot somebody else's propaganda, but has some wit and skepticism. It also provides good starting points for further research, so you can keep up to date....more info
  • A Great Starting Place for Type 2 Folks
    Many of the reviews written here diss this book for not covering this or that, especially the emotional rollercoaster that can attend this or any other lifestyle changing condition. The "negatives" can also be interpretted as "matter-of-fact". She does not talk about how to get rid of the condition, but neither does she bring false hope that all of us who are type 2 diabetics can somehow be cured. It's true that some can control the condition with diet and that some who lose enough weight and are careful can reverse the diagnosis. It's not the norm, however. Most will live with diabetes and all of its possibilities, some controlling their levels with diet and pills, some with diet and insulin injections. Some will never be able to control it; some will not be willing to try. The author is not trying to bring doom and gloom or to touch every single variation on the theme. It is a refreshing dose of reality in fairly concise language.

    The two most important statements in the book are that I am in charge of my health care and that if I am a smoker, one of the simplest and best ways to help my treatment is to stop smoking. Taking charge of my health care made a monumental change in the level of attention that I received from my physicians and the quality of information that I received. I was suddenly treated with much more respect, and as more of a participant rather than a mere receiver of instructions to be blindly followed. My appointments changed from 8 minute data sessions to 30-45 minute discussions of how things worked and what could be tweaked to make things work better. Very important change in relationship with my main doc; it was good before, but now is great!

    Also remember that this is an INTRODUCTION to this condition, not the be-all and end-all of information. It helps the reader to formulate good questions to bring to their physicians and other members of their health-care team--questions that might otherwise go unasked and thus unanswered. Most of us are not well enough informed about this or any other subject when we first start learning about it.

    I've purchased three of these and given two of them away to newly diagnosed folks who have thanked me profusely for the great info that they've received and the hope that this book brings. It is a reality check that shares both benefits from good self-care and dangers from ignorance and neglect with this thing called type 2 diabetes. Lots of folks saw the horror stories, some folks saw the offer of light at the end of the tunnel. Look for the light. It's in there!...more info
  • Excellent book to put everything in a context
    I think unlike a lot of the reviewers of this book, I came across the book after already attending a number of diabetes education classes. I was simply thumbing through books providing information on type 2 diabetes and when I read a few random pages of this book I was hooked. The book is an enjoyable read, practical, informed and relevant. I had great diabetes education classes, however, this book allowed me to put all of the great information I learned in those classes in context. Becker's descriptions and explanations, from the various lab tests, to the role of exercise and diet, was informative, balanced and most of all pragmatic. I recommend this book to anyone who has been recently diagnosed....more info
  • It's a great help
    This book was so helpful in filling in all the gaps (there were many) in my doctor's explanations/instructions for me, a newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetic. The author offers a straightforward primer on diabetes - what is it? This includes good technical explanations of the disease. How does it work? It discusses the possible effects of diabetes poorly controlled. What can you do to live with it? It discusses the benefits of weight loss, diets and exercise, not by just saying its good for you; but giving a technical explanation why these activities actually modify the way your body responds in the face of diabetes. I was very satisfied with this book and am so happy that when I went onto Amazon to look for Bernstein's book (recommended by my doctor), Amazon recommended Dr. Becker's book in addition. So far, it has been the best resource to help me cope with this new disease....more info
  • Very informative
    This is the best book I've seen on type 2 diabetes. I ordered several this is the only one that answered most of my questions. It is always good to hear from a person who has "been there done that" She divides her information in an orderly easy to understand fashion. This is the book for the totally bewildered who has just been diagnosed and can't find the straight story....more info
  • Very Satisfied
    Book was in great condition. Came on time. Couldn't be more satisfied. This book has been very helpful! I love the direct talk in the book! Anyone can understand it. I'd recommend it!...more info
  • Great info - strong on food & exercise - weak on emotions
    It says on the cover that Gretchen Becker is a magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Radcliffe College with four years of graduate study in biology at Harvard, and a writer and editor specializing in medical books.

    And she writes like it. If you learned everything in this book, The First Year, you would know more about Type 2 Diabetes than 90% of doctors. Which is to say, there's a lot more information than anyone needs. However, there is a lot of good stuff on eating, exercising, and glucose testing, and it will help you get started with making changes you want to make to protect your health.

    On what to eat, Becker gives a good description of all the major diabetes diets, and says different ones work better for different people, and it should be your choice which to try, which is true. She seems to lean towards a low-carb approach, which I also think is correct. She gives some very good advice on how to start and keep up an exercise program. I like the fact that she suggests other ideas besides walking - especially her take on weightlifting, which can be very effective.

    First Year is weaker on issues of stress, emotions, and social support. Most of her advice on getting social support involves using the Internet. I guess this makes sense for a health writer and editor who lives in small-town Vermont and spends most of her waking hours at a computer, but most of us will probably do better connecting in person. Social support from family, friends, and other people with diabetes is key to coping with chronic illness, as I point out in my first book, The Art of Getting Well. And there are skills, attitudes, and strategies that are crucial in getting support, which Becker doesn't mention.

    Her section on depression is also weak. She only talks about depression caused by diabetes, and ignores the many life causes of depression that can contribute to diabetes in the first place. Her stress stuff is a little confusing. She calls heavy eating a stress, and says the same about other behaviors. She says long-term emotional stress doesn't affect sugars much, but seems unaware of the effects of long-term economic and social stress. These are some of the subject of my new book. The Politics of Diabetes, which will be out by the end of the year (hopefully.)

    Where we do agree is that diabetes is not the fault of the person who has it. Her first chapter is called Not Your Fault, which is also in the first chapter of my book. But we disagree on whose fault it actually is. She says it's all in the genes. Genes certainly play a role, but environment is much more important, and she lets the modern social environment off the hook completely.

    Why has the rate of type 2 diabetes gone up 400% in the last 30 years? And why do poor people get so much more diabetes than rich people? Why do African Americans and Native Americans have the highest rates of diabetes in the world? Africans in Africa don't have much diabetes, so it's not primarily the genes.

    I say that diabetes is caused by a toxic environment, full of sugar, stress, inequality and inactivity. Those who lack the power to fight off the environment are at risk for diabetes. The First Year gives very good advice on managing diabetes and living well with it. But I suspect that most readers will have difficulty carrying out her program, because the difficulties of their lives will get in the way. These are often the same difficulties that contribute to T2D in the first place. To deal with diabetes, we need to change our environment and increase our power.

    People need to build the power to eat healthy food when surrounded by toxic foods that taste good. We need power to move our bodies when our lives are set up to enforce inactivity. We need power to relax in a life filled with stresses and dangers. Most of all, we need the power to love ourselves when society does not seem to love us, and to take care of ourselves when so many other demands compete for our time.

    It's OK that The First Year doesn't deal much with emotional issues or practical life issues. The main thing is that you'll get a lot of valuable information. There will also be a lot that you want to skip, most likely. The daily, weekly, then monthly structure of the First Year series doesn't add much, in my opinion. The only way you'll get the first few days in a timely manner is if you doctor gives it you when you get diagnosed. And later on, the breaking up into months doesn't really make much sense. Chapter titles would have worked just as well.

    I do recommend this book if you have diabetes. There are probably others that might work better for you, though. You might also be interested in my books for a different perspective....more info
  • Can't say enough good things about it
    After being newly diagnosed, I went to a bookstore to compare this book with the "Dummies" book. I had read the Amazon reviews on both books, but was uncertain about which one to get, as both were highly recommended, the latter, particularly so by my physician and the diabetes educator. I ended up buying this book because of the following impressions:

    1) This book is entirely devoted to Type II diabetes, whereas the other is not. Type I and II are different diseases, and thus require different approaches in their management. Why spend time learning extensively about Type I?

    2) The book is very readable and addresses the condition from a personal "hands on" approach that the other book lacks. I especially got a lot from the author's experiance with monitoring for glucose control, both when she relayed her experiances and those of others, something I found was rare in other diabetes books.

    3) There was less dogma in this book than in the "dummies" book. By that I mean this book tries not present various approaches to diabetes management in an absolutist manner, as if they were verified by scientific study, because they are not. Readers need to understand that much of what is portrayed as fact in most popular books and even in many medical texts, is not verified. In fact, many points made in these books are very interesting if not plausible theories, but they remain not proven. Case in point,no single dietary method has been proven to be the best to manage type II diabetes. Being a scientist, I am aware the uncertainty that surrounds much scientific information and I found that this book presents issues in a more thoughtful and analytical manner.

    Overall, this is a good book. I am still getting new insights as reread it and learn more about the disease. ...more info
  • Is she reading my mind?!?
    An excellent guide for the newly diagnosed, providing a superb balance of empathy and information in each reading. Thank you, Gretchen Becker!...more info
  • Type 2 Diabetes and a new life
    The book is a wonderful tool for those who have just been diagnosed with diabetes. It supports your emotional needs from day one. The medical background is thorough and you get overloaded with information. All of the information is presented several times throughout the book in practical applications. You need to read the book several times and some chapters more than once to begin to understand the complexity of the disease and how to manage it. The author does stress that you need support systems and persons working with you and your doctor to get control of your body. I never truely understood how critical diabetes is and suffered daily from the effects of diabetes. I am now trying to gain back my life....more info
    This book has answered so many questions I had and answers for questions I didn't have. Greatest book I bought for learning about how to take care of myself and why I feel the way I do. Why I am hungry all the time. Why I crave sweets. Why I feel tired all the time and more. Great buy. You won't be dissappointed....more info
  • The Best I've Found, By Far
    Far too often, books on diabetes offer irresponsible oversimplifications and quick one-size-fits-all fixes. Becker explains the biological underpinnnings of the disease very clearly, and walks the reader through the current best thinking about diabetes management -- which means that she acknowledges the deep divisions among doctors, and the idiosyncratic ways that different bodies respond to treatment. She doesn't pretend that any single school of treatment has answers for all people.

    But she also knows how easy it is for people who've just been diagnosed to become overwhelmed by information- hence the structure of her book, which continually reminds the reader that common sense, presence of mind, and the development of the right daily habits are among the most important tools available for managing the disease.

    Thanks, Gretchen!...more info