People with diabetes don't have sufficient insulin to let that glucose into the body's cells, however, so instead of providing energy, the sugar just builds up in the blood.
Another emotional minefield often associated with type 2 diabetes is the concept of blame. Most people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, and many are sedentary. Being overweight alone, however, doesn't cause type 2 diabetes. There are other factors, such as a genetic predisposition, at play. But because exercise and losing weight can help prevent -- or, in some cases, reverse -- type 2 diabetes, society often blames people with the disease. (Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that is not caused by diet or lack of exercise.)
"I think there is a prejudice against overweight people and people with type 2 diabetes, and that's something they have to deal with," Solowiejczyk noted.
What's important, he said, is that if you're persistently having trouble dealing with any of the emotions that come with diabetes, you talk with your doctor, diabetes educator or therapist.
"You should be feeling bad or resentful or angry sometimes," he said. "Diabetes is hard, and all of those feelings come along with the disease. But if you're [irritable] and angry or if you're sad all the time, you're not going to take care of yourself."
The same advice is true for partners of people with diabetes and parents of children with diabetes, he said.
Learn more about the emotional side of diabetes, and the signs of depression, from the American Diabetes Association.
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