Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which you are resistant to the insulin produced by your beta cells (cells in the pancreas that make insulin), and in which you don’t produce enough insulin, leading to high blood sugar and other complications. It can be difficult to find out you have diabetes, and hard to cope at first. But it’s important to try to keep a positive attitude even in the face of any fears or uncertainties you may have, as stress can worsen the symptoms.
Keep it Real
It’s also important to remain realistic about your condition. For example, if you’ve been diagnosed with Type 2, it’s good to know that this disease will likely progress over time, through no fault of your own. Those diagnosed with Type 2 are at risk for heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. But in finding the right way to manage your condition, you will be able to live comfortably.
8 Steps for the Newly Diagnosed
Here are 8 steps to take when you’re first diagnosed:
- Get a second opinion. Get tested again to make sure your diagnosis is official.
- Meet with your doctor and go over a plan of action. Ask as many questions as you need to ask. Your doctor might refer you to a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) to train you in checking your blood sugar levels, and a dietitian to help you with coming up with a meal plan. Both a CDE and dietitian are covered by Medicare Part B.
- Start on medication prescribed by your doctor to lower blood glucose, and possibly also medication to lower cholesterol.
- Go on a specialized meal plan. This means eating fewer carbs, fats, cutting portion sizes, eliminating saturated and trans fats and sodas, and keeping a food diary. As a tip, try to fill half of your plate with vegetables or salad.
- Exercise regularly – at least 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise.
- Monitor your blood glucose to see what types of foods or activities tend to make your blood sugar spike or drop.
- Get your eyes, feet, and kidneys screened annually.
- Stay positive and find a support system to help you along the way. Go see a counselor for help in processing your diagnosis and making plans to thrive with diabetes.
It’s important to start on your plan towards health immediately. Even if you don’t feel sick at first, not managing your glucose levels now could lead to problems later, like damage to the nervous system, eyes, heart, and kidneys. Listen to your body to see if changes in your health plan need to be made.