We know it can be hard to read the word ‘Diabetes’ in your regular health check-up reports. You feel overwhelmed and confused and end up asking yourself questions like, “Why me? What now?” and more! When newly diagnosed people with diabetes, find themselves in a state of shock. However, diabetes doesn’t prevent you from leading a ‘normal’ life. According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2018 an estimated 1.5 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed among U.S. adults aged 18 years or older.
Diabetes is a serious, but still common medical condition. According to the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control) National Diabetes Statistics Report for 2020 cases of diabetes have risen to an estimated 34.2 million. If you have diabetes, all you need to do is manage your blood sugars and regularly monitor them to be sure they are within their target range. There are various ways you can manage your diabetes—through diet, exercise, medical support, and even some emotional help from your loved ones! Your diagnosis is simply the first step, here are the next steps that you might need to take:
What type of diabetes do you have?
There are different types of diabetes, like prediabetes, gestational diabetes, the main two types are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. They differ based on what causes them.
In type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use it well—and your body’s cells can’t use glucose for the energy it needs.
In type 1 diabetes, your pancreas does not produce insulin. It requires monitoring blood sugar levels and administering multiple daily insulin injections with a pen, syringe, or a pump.
Understand your medications and treatments
It is crucial to understand the intensity of your diabetes and the kind of treatment you are about to receive. Although not everyone with diabetes goes straight onto medication, it is quite common to; so make sure your doctors answer your questions on:
- When should I take the medicines?
- How much should I take in a day?
- What are the side effects that I should expect?
- How do I treat or deal with common side effects?
- Will the medication react with any other medication I am taking?
Understanding your diet
Your diet is the major component that directly affects your blood sugar levels. Many people who are newly diagnosed with diabetes struggle with altering their diets for the first few months. They need to work on improving their diet with the help of a dietician or nutritionist to help fight diabetes.
- Include a variety of foods, including vegetables, whole grains, fruits, non-fat dairy foods, healthy fats, and lean meats or meat substitutes.
- Try not to eat too much of food that falls under one category, include vitamins, minerals, and low-carbs
- Space your meals evenly throughout the day, in small proportions.
- Avoid skipping meals
Do you exercise? Get active!
Another aspect of living a full and healthy life with diabetes is being active. No matter what physical exercise you choose or how you approach it, know that any type of physical activity helps lower your blood sugar. Some types of good physical activity include:
- Aerobic activity (walking, biking, swimming)
- Being active throughout the day (taking the stairs instead of an elevator, parking your vehicle away from your destination)
- Strength training (lifting weights or resistance bands)
- Flexibility exercises (stretching and yoga)
Diabetes is a chronic disease that may require re-evaluation and change in the treatment plan over time. Although this may all seem overwhelming at first. But remember, managing diabetes takes time and cannot be achieved overnight! There is a learning curve to all this, gradually you will get better and more comfortable with all the tasks and changes you need to undertake. Dive deeper. Take action to live a long, healthy life surrounded by people who know exactly what you’re going through!