10 things to do with a new diabetes diagnosis

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diabetes diagnosis 300x206 10 things to do with a new diabetes diagnosisI was asked recently what advice I would give to someone with a brand spanking  new diabetes diagnosis.

We have a diagnosed with diabetes section here for more in depth coverage on this issue, but I wanted to specifically answer this question here.

so here are the 10 things I would tell someone who has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, I am assuming some of the technical what is diabetes and why do I have a lazy pancreas have been covered by the good ol doctor.

I know at the time of my diagnosis, I had a ton of questions going through my mind but I had very few answers because truthfully a diabetes diagnosis simply tells you that you have it, it does not explain how you got it? even  who is responsible? its purely conjecture.

The physician at the time simply gave me a risk factors of what causes diabetes, at the time non of them fit me. Yes I was black but I wasn’t obese, my diet wasn’t  that bad and I was fairly active in my lifestyle’s so I couldn’t fathom just how I came to catch diabetes.

All I wanted to do with my diabetes diagnosis was tell the doctor to shove it and I know there are many of us who had the same reaction, since I couldn’t wish it away, here is a few things you can do with the diagnosis.

  1. Do not blame yourself for the diabetes diagnosis – Type 2 diabetes is caused by the body’s increased tolerance to glucose, which simply means that your body cannot utilize the glucose produced by the foods you eat. while there is a direct correlation between obesity and diabetes, it does not mean that you caused diabetes by being overweight. I am personally 5’11″ and I weigh 200 pounds I have always been fairly active even before my diagnosis, but I am a diabetic so while I am not the exception to the rule, there are a lot of predetermining factors to diabetes like family history and race which are by no means your fault and there is no way you could have prevented your diabetes diagnosis.
  2. Learn the basics of diabetes management The basics of diabetes management will include an effective diet plan and this means learning a few things about it: – learn how to count carbs, since carbs provide 98% of the body’s glucose, 58% from protein and 30% from fat reducing the amount of carbs you consume is crucial. Do not be afraid to experiment when you get your blood glucose meter, test an hour after you eat a food to see how your blood glucose is affected and adjust accordingly. Start with about 50 grams of carbs a meal and adjust forward or backwards depending on your glucose levels.                                                                                     – Choose aerobic exercises that will increase your heart rate and keep it there are recommended, exercise will also increase insulin sensitivity and help in weigh loss.
  3. Endocrinologist and medical team – One thing we do as patients is revere doctors and follow their advice blindly, they are doctors after all and yes we trust them. The right Endo will do wonders for your diabetes management, believe me and since this is a lifetime of visits, you need to shop around for one who is in tune with your needs, I have encountered many a people who say their Endo will not listen to their needs and are quick to just prescribe remedies instead of listening. Think of them as your pit crew and you the driver, their jobs are to offer advice and HELP you win the race not the other way around.
  4. Understanding your new diabetes diagnosis – Diabetes is a progressive disease and diabetes management is always evolving, taking the time to understand diabetes and learning as much as one can of the disease is crucial to its control. Understanding diabetes from an insiders point of view, researching the disease from others is important, a good starting place would be the American Diabetes Association.
  5. Keeping track of your diabetes management – Tracking  is a concept that is at the core of diabetes management, Keeping track of how many carbs one consumes will help with adjustments, keeping an overall food diary will help in determining the daily caloric intake. Keeping track of what times one takes their medications will help achieve optimal body acclamation to specific food and medicine intake times.
  6. There is no cure for diabetes – Alas its true, diabetes has no cure, anyone who purports that idea is  a snake oil salesman.
  7. Embrace the diabetes diagnosis – Diabetes is a major lifestyle  adjustment to the normal, it requires a commitment to change that can only be achieved if fully embraced, fighting or resisting simply will not  work and will delay the inevitable. Embrace the diabetes diagnosis and make the necessary changes to a healthier living.
  8. Making changes in diabetes management- With a diabetes diagnosis in hand you are overwhelmed by all the information and all the lifestyle changes you have to incur, the trick is to make minor changes at a time over a longer period of time instead of immediate radical ones.
  9. The importance of a support structure to your diabetes diagnosis – The changes associated with the diabetic lifestyle requires a major supporting cast in place and it is advisable to surround your life with those who will enrich your life and help you grow in it. If it is just friends or family who will work out with you or someone to talk to when you feel frustrated or down they are invaluable.
  10. The DOC and charitable works – Reach out to the online diabetes community in order to gain insight from people who have had several similar experiences and also do some charity work with the American diabetes association to enrich your life, while these are secondary, they are very much a part of the diabetic life

Update: July 31 2010

This Related tips for people with diabetes article from Bob Fenton of Exploring type 2 diabetes is  interesting and worth a peek.

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