Healthy Living

How to Handle a New Diagnosis of Diabetes

Have you just been diagnosed with diabetes? These tips will help you learn how to manage the disease.

Your doctor just diagnosed you with type 2 diabetes. Now what? A diagnosis of diabetes can be frightening and challenging, and you know you are at risk of heart disease, vision problems, and kidney failure. You have also heard that you could lose your lower limbs if you don’t take care of yourself.

Type 2 diabetes is overwhelming. You must make lifestyle changes that will take a strong will and dedication. Your body will no longer respond favorably to insulin, and your blood glucose levels might be sporadic. You are not alone. In 2015, over 30.3 million Americans had diabetes. This is approximately 9.4% of the population. Out of the 30.3 million, 23.1 million were diagnosed, but there are 7.2 million more who go undiagnosed.

Diabetes is at epidemic proportions, but it can be managed and you can still live a good, long life. Begin by becoming educated on what diabetes is and what you can do to control it. Enroll in a diabetes education program or discuss the challenges with your doctor. Stay abreast of new findings and learn how to self-test your blood sugar and stay within target ranges.

Target ranges for diabetes are:

  • 72 mg/dL to 126 mg/dL before meals
  • Less than 154 mg/dL two hours after eating

These ranges and scientific readings are confusing, but if you work with your doctor, you will quickly learn what they mean.

Treatment plans will help you stay in control of your blood sugar. Follow these tips and tricks religiously, and you will be okay.

Ways to lower blood glucose levels

Depending on how resistant your body is to insulin will depend on the treatment plan your doctor recommends. Lifestyle changes will be a part of your diabetes care, and these include diet changes and exercise regimens. You may be prescribed oral medications or insulin injections to control your sugar levels. The sooner you begin to manage your diabetes, the easier it will be to control you high sugar levels.

Create an eating regimen

Every diabetic diagnosis should include an eating plan. You can work with a registered dietitian or search for answers on the internet. Donna Starck R.D. CDE of UnityPoint Health Des Moines urges you to keep a food diary. "Written records can help you identify your healthy habits and areas where small changes might be helpful," she says.

In your eating diary include the foods you like and your daily eating schedule. Document your activities, determine the best portions to eat for weight loss and control, and figure out a sodium budget to target blood pressure. Choose healthy fats to keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels within the accepted medical range that fits your body.

Eat a low carbohydrate diet to prevent blood sugar spikes. Include eating heart-healthy fats to keep cholesterol levels in range, consume grains that are full of essential fibers and proteins. Start to cut down on portion sizes and include fresh vegetables and low-sugar fruits.

There are fantastic cookbooks for diabetes your entire family will enjoy, recipes on the Internet, and helps can come from a nutritionist.

Exercise is essential

Eat well and partner up with exercise to keep your energy high. The Amerian Diabetes Association recommends at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity a day. You can walk, swim, ride a bike, or jog. Work in resistance training into your daily exercise activities that include pushing, lifting, and pulling at least two times a week.

Exercise improves your health by keeping blood sugar levels in check, decreasing cholesterol and triglycerides, and increasing good cholesterol. Exercise decreases blood pressure, intensifies strength, flexibility, endurance, and helps with feelings of well-being.

Physical activity must be part of your routine

You do not need to visit the gym every day to stay in shape, but you need to stay active. Every time you walk, push, pull, stretch and lift doing these activities is right for your body.

Take a walk with your pet, spouse, children, and friends every day. Bike or walk to do neighborhood and short errands. Climb stairs instead of taking the escalator or elevator and avoid sitting for over 30 minutes at a time.

Take your medications as prescribed

If you are prescribed medicine to control blood sugar with type 2 diabetes, take it religiously.

Diabetes progresses over time, and your ability to make and use insulin decreases as you get older. Changes in your body happen as you age, and you may not even notice these changes. These variations make it possible for blood sugar levels to fall back into a normal range, help you lose weight, and keep up your energy without medication. However, you will need to continue to monitor your blood sugar levels to determine when changes in medicine can be made.

There are over seven types of blood glucose-lowering medications, several types of insulins, and some injectable drugs to help lower your blood sugar.

One of the generally used medications for type 2 diabetes is metformin. If you have friends or family with diabetes, this drug will be familiar to you. Metformin has been used in diabetes treatment for a long time. It regulates hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Your dosage will be adjusted by your doctor as needed.

Side effects of oral diabetic medications:

Be aware that diabetes medications can interfere with nutrients in the body. Diabetes drugs are chemically developed and could excrete certain nutrients from your body. Some medicines also block the absorption of nutrients from what you eat.

Other side effects can include nausea, stomach aches, vomiting, dizziness, and tiredness. If you experience these side effects, contact your doctor for changes in medication amounts or types.


Another conventional treatment for diabetes is using injectable insulin. In the past, those with diabetes could only control their symptoms with diet. There was no such thing as injectable insulin. These unfortunate patients died from their diabetes symptoms within a few years after being diagnosed.

Insulin comes in many forms. Regular human insulin is identical to what your body produces and there are long-lasting rapid acting chemically produced insulins that can control your sugar levels. Your doctor can help you choose from different formulas and ways to take insulin based on your needs and lifestyle. Options for injecting insulin includes insulin pens, needles, and pumps.

Insulin is a miracle drug for the treatment of diabetes, and more research is being done to provide more ways to control your diabetic symptoms.

When you are diagnosed with diabetes, take the time to educate yourself.  Arm yourself with all the information you can find to make the changes in lifestyle that type 2 diabetes requires. Good diabetes care will keep you from developing the diabetes-related complications like heart disease, kidney failure, and loss of limbs. Invest in a glucose meter so you can self-test your blood glucose levels at home, take personal care of your health and adjust your medications as needed.