Advice For Newly Diagnosed Diabetics

Sorry to hear that you have joined us! Diabetes is a lot to live with, but really, it is manageable! And if you are depressed, I can understand. Being depressed is pretty common with us, especially right after a diagnosis.

In fact, if you take care of yourself, you will be healthier and happier than you ever were. That paradox is something many of us experience. Learning about diabetes… will give you…power over the disease.

The first thing is to get a good doctor, if possible an endocrinologist, which is a doctor who specializes in diabetes. Have the doctor give you the tests that we get, particularly the A1c. Have you had that test yet? What was the number? Knowledge of these things will give you power over your diabetes and help to lift your spirits.

Have your doctor prescribe a blood glucose meter, test strips, and lancets. In most states, if you have a prescription for them they must be covered under your insurance policy. Test as often as the doctor says to or even more if you can afford more strips. The more you test, the more knowledge you will gain. That will give you more knowledge and power

Learning about diabetes on the Internet and through books will give you even more power over the disease. I picked my eight favorite diabetes Web sites, and one mailing list and newsgroup each a couple of years ago. Seehttp://www.mendosa.com/amiratop10.htm. The Web sites are for information; think of the mailing list and newsgroup as primarily being for support.

You can see my favorite books about diabetes athttp://www.mendosa.com/books.htm. One of these, Gretchen Becker, The First Year. Type Two Diabetes is just as the sub-title says: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed.

The related concepts of the glycemic index and the glycemic load are the most important and exciting areas of nutrition to learn about. The glycemic index is a scientific system of measuring how fast a carbohydrate triggers a rise in circulating blood sugar the higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response. The glycemic load is an even newer way to assess the impact of carbohydrate consumption. It is determined by multiplying a food’s glycemic index by its available carbohydrate content per serving. You can find the most complete lists of glycemic indexes and glycemic loads on my Web site athttp://diabetes.about.com/library/mendosagi/ngilists.htm

Besides this, everything that you can do to bring your diabetes under control falls under three headings:

  • Exercise daily
    Most of us prefer to walk. But for people with leg problems, swimming may be the best alternative. You certainly have a nearby health club that you can join.
  • Eat less.
    Eating fewer calories improves our blood sugar even before any weight loss, and weight loss is usually a beneficial side effect of eating less. Almost everyone with type 2 diabetes (myself included) is overweight. I know how hard it is to get down to the right weight, but every pound you take off gives you better control over your diabetes.

For most, but not all, of us this is still not enough. Take the medicine or insulin that the doctor prescribes. You may not have to take it all your life, once the effects of exercise and diet kick in. But your doctor will almost certainly prescribe it now to help you get your blood sugar in control. That’s all there is to it. Go for it!

This article originally appeared on mendosa.com on September 10, 2002. Last modified: January 25, 2004

Post by Adam R

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