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******updated review in 2014******

We bought this and 'Diabetes for Dummies' when my husband was diagnosed with Type 2. Between the pair of them, these books have been utterly invaluable in educating us about how to cope with the condition, and how reduce the damage caused by diabetes.

From near hospitalisation at his diagnosis, following the medical advice and leaning heavily on Gretchen's understandings and knowledge, my husband has reduced and kept his BG levels under control. His level of risk has dropped dramatically, and he's now been off medication for over five years. So it works - long term.
Gretchen's approach is to give you bites of information in chunks that you can absorb and understand -- a little on each area to start with, becoming more in depth as you become familiar with the terms and how your condition affects you.
It's a very different approach to the textbook style, and it means you don't get overloaded with technical info too early on.
She's very good at giving real life examples, and it helps to know that the author herself has written the book from her own personal experience. Many doctors and nurses have theoretical knowledge -- but Gretchen's viewpoint is from a fellow diabetic, and it is very insightful.
Where you may find it tricky is that you can feel a bit lectured now and then. There's also quite a lot of time spent discussing depression, foods you can't eat, and so on -- this may be helpful for you but for us it was overkill at times! (Does anyone really test 20 times a day, or get up at 2am to test?!)

Overall, however, The First Year gave us masses of information and plenty of encouragement. It dismisses many myths and expensive options which are dead-ends, and targetted our efforts towards diet, exercise and understanding.
If you've just been diagnosed then this is a must-have for your shelf.

It falls just short of the five-star category -- there are sections which you won't find useful or which may actually discourage you! -- but it is generally easy to read, written by a real person and applicable to real people.
A diagnosis is only a beginning, and this book will certainly help you with the journey...
8/10
0Comment| 64 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 16 March 2004
Gretchen Becker writes from experience and also considerable knowledge in a very clear way. The chapters are short, clear and concise. They can be read in sequence or stand alone.
After diagnosis, many of us, find it hard to take on board what we are told at the clinic as often there is shock and denial present after what feels like intimations of our own mortality.
This book can help you review and learn at your own pace in your own home as and when you are ready. The format is set out to take you step by step through the first year after your diagnosis. It's a bit like someone walking alongside you and is very helpful and non-threatening.
Gretchen Becker also tackles the thorny issue of diet or way of eating and gives a comprehensive review of the various options.
There are good references, glossary and for this version she asked me to include information on resources available to us Type 2 Dmers (people with Type 2 diabetes) here in the UK.
Other than a flat fee for writing the chapter (already received), I have no financial interest in recommending this book.
I first read the US version and learned a lot despite 23 years of living with this darn disease. 26 years on after diagnosis and I am still learning. I would highly recommend anyone with Type 2 diabetes, (or their family) or even medics or DSN's (Diabetes Specialist Nurses) to read and have this as a reference and even better a loan copy for newly diagnosed people with Type 2 diabetes.
If you want to learn about your newly diagnosed disease and how best to manage it so you live with it and not be managed by it, then buy a copy, read, take on board the info in the book, and you'll be empowered to live a full and healthy life even with Type 2 diabetes.
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on 23 February 2005
This book is really amazing clear concise and it leads you gently from page to page and chapter to chapter. You are lead from a simple level of information at the beginning and pointed to other areas of the book for more indepth information.
You can take whatever level of information is suitable for you at any one time then come back for deeper understanding of what is happening to you and your body when your ready for it.
This is a book I will consult again and again during this my first year as a diabetic - Thank you Gretchen.
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on 10 July 2010
This was the first book I read when diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes in February 2010 and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is an excellent book that explains, simply, the disease, it's possible effects on you and what you can do to avoid them. I have since read other books (Blood Sugar 101, Diabetes for Dummies and Dr Bernstein's Diabetes Solution), all of which give additional information and in some cases differing advice about diet, but this book is still the best. It explains everything from the time you are first diagnosed to the end of the first year and one of it's key messages is that diabetes affects each person differently and the control over it is in your own hands, no one else's. Importantly too, although Gretchen Becker is American (and diabetic herself), the book is tailored to the UK market and has a chapter on the NHS. It has been said before, but if you only buy one book on type 2 diabetes, buy this one.
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on 16 November 2006
My husband was recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes - I can't remember when he last visited a doctor before all this kicked off so it came as an enormous shock to find he was ill and would need to adjust 50 odd year old habits for the rest of our lives. This amazing "bible" gives you answers to all your questions and worries. No matter what you're wondering , somewhere in the pages of this book you will find an answer! It currently sits on our coffee table and is frequently browsed through by one or the other of us each day to add to our data base!! If you need a book to help you through this confusing time buy this one - it's worth every penny.
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on 8 May 2007
My husband has just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The shock and panic - 'what do we do next' has been alleviated by this excellent book. It gives answers or advice to all your questions plus more. There is a very useful chapter dedicated to diabetes and the NHS with a lot of stuff we didn't know about.
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on 13 March 2004
Gretchen writes from experience and also knowledge in a very clear way. She conveys information and useful advice and highlights problems and possible alternative solutions or methods to seek one, in a down to earth and accessible format. The chapters are short, clear and concise. They can be read in sequence or stand alone.
After diagnosis, many of us, find it hard to take on board what we are told at the clinic as often there is shock and denial present after what feels like intimations of our own mortality.
This book can help you review and learn at your own pace in your own home as and when you are ready. The format is set out to take you step by step through the first year after your diagnosis. It's a bit like someone walking alongside you and is very helpful and non-threatening.
Gretchen Becker also tackles the thorny issue of diet or way of eating and gives a comprehensive review of the various options.
There are good references, glossary and for this version she asked me to include information on resources available to us Type 2 Dmers (people with Type 2 diabetes) here in the UK.
Other than a flat fee for writing the chapter (already received), I have no financial interest in recommending this book.
I first read the US version and learned a lot despite 23 years of living with this darn disease. 26 years on after diagnosis and I am still learning. I would highly recommend anyone with Type 2 diabetes, (or their family) or even medics or DSN's (Diabetes Specialist Nurses) to read and have this as a reference and even better a loan copy for newly diagnosed people with Type 2 diabetes.
If you want to learn about your newly diagnosed disease and how best to manage it so you live with it and not be managed by it, then buy a copy, read, take on board the info in the book, and you'll be empowered to live a full and healthy life even with Type 2 diabetes.
0Comment| 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 April 2014
Having read a lot of positive reviews on this book I looked forward to receiving it to gain an insight into this disease.
I read it cover to cover and learned nothing that a leaflet from the doctor didn't tell me and was just as confused,
It was really hard work to read and not worth the effort
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on 17 July 2012
I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes last week and thought this would be a good book to start with. It is written in an easy to read style with lots of detail. I have almost finished it already. I'm not sure it is really that helpful as most of the information is already on the internet. I didn't really want to know the technical details. I just really needed some basic guidance on how to look after myself and what I should be asking at my medical reviews as the NHS moves very slowly.
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on 23 October 2011
This book is brilliant for diabetics type 2. I bought it for my partner who has recently been diagnosed type 2. He is not a big reader (looses interest quickly) so I read the book highlighted main things that are relevant to us. So its an all round no nonsense book, with a little humor, you would find it really helpful no matter how far along you are after diagnosis. Would highly recommend it.
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