I have diabetes now what – Actionable Steps to Take

You've been diagnosed with diabetes, now take actionable steps. Manage blood sugar levels with diet, exercise, medication, and support. "I have diabetes now what" - our guide provides encouragement for this new lifestyle.

When you find out you have diabetes, it can be a lot to take in. But, there’s a good deal you can do to take control. First off, get to know what diabetes is and its types. It’s a health issue where the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin well. This makes sugar levels in your blood too high.1 There are mainly two types: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 means the body doesn’t make insulin at all. Type 2 means the body doesn’t use the insulin like it should. This happens because of things like genes, lifestyle choices such as being very overweight and not moving enough, and sometimes the body fights itself.1

Key Takeaways

  • Diabetes is a complex metabolic condition that requires active management.
  • Understanding the different types of diabetes and their causes is the first step.
  • Regular blood glucose monitoring is crucial for managing diabetes.
  • Dietary changes and physical activity are essential for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
  • Medication, including oral drugs and insulin therapy, may be necessary for effective diabetes treatment.

Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes happens when the body struggles with insulin. Insulin is essential for using blood sugar properly. This causes high blood sugar levels.1 It can lead to severe health issues without proper management. Learning about the types and causes of diabetes is key to dealing with it.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a long-lasting health issue with too much blood sugar. The body needs insulin, made by the pancreas, to control sugar and change it into energy. With diabetes, the body can’t make or use insulin well, causing high blood sugar.1

Types of Diabetes

There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.1 In type 1, the body doesn’t make insulin, so people need to inject insulin.1 Type 2 is more common and happens when the body can’t use insulin or make enough of it. This also leads to high blood sugar.1

Causes of Diabetes

The exact causes of diabetes aren’t completely clear. But, genes, not being active, and autoimmune responses seem to have a part.1 For type 2, a lot comes from how you live. So, what you eat, your exercise, and your weight all matter.2

Knowing the different diabetes types and causes is crucial. It helps in making a good management plan. Working with doctors is important for people with diabetes. They can help you control it, and avoid or delay complications.12

Managing Blood Sugar Levels

It’s key to keep blood sugar levels in check for diabetes control and to avoid issues.1 One big task is monitoring blood glucose often.

Importance of Blood Glucose Monitoring

Testing blood sugar levels regularly gives insight into your body’s response to food, exercise, and meds.1 This info helps you choose what’s best to stay healthy and lower complications’ risks.

Monitoring Techniques

You can watch your blood sugar with tools like finger-stick glucose meters, CGM devices, and lab tests.3 The finger-stick method is common and lets you check whenever. CGM tech helps by showing your glucose levels quickly, illustrating patterns, and guiding changes.

Interpreting Blood Sugar Readings

Knowing how to read your blood sugar results is vital for diabetes management.1 For those with diabetes, aim for 80-130 mg/dL before eating and less than 180 mg/dL two hours after.3 Your doctor can help set the best targets for you.

blood sugar monitoring

Monitoring TechniqueAdvantagesConsiderations
Finger-Stick Glucose Meters
  • Widely available and easy to use
  • Provides immediate results
  • Allows for frequent testing
  • Requires finger pricks
  • Measures blood glucose at a single point in time
Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM)
  • Provides real-time glucose data
  • Identifies glucose trends and patterns
  • Alarms for high or low glucose levels
  • Requires sensor insertion under the skin
  • May be more expensive than finger-stick meters
Laboratory Tests
  • Measure average blood glucose over 2-3 months
  • Provide a more comprehensive picture of control
  • Requires a blood draw at a lab or clinic
  • Less frequent than daily self-monitoring

Dietary Modifications

Managing diabetes includes making changes to what you eat. There isn’t a single diet for people with diabetes. But, sticking to healthy eating rules can help you keep your blood sugar steady.1

Healthy Eating Principles

To plan your meals the right way, include lots of vegetables. The American Diabetes Association suggests making half your plate nonstarchy veggies.4 People with diabetes should limit their daily sodium intake to 2,300 mg, says the CDC. This helps control blood pressure.4

Good fats can come from foods like avocado, nuts, and fish. Also, use healthy oils in your cooking, such as olive and canola oil. This keeps your heart healthy.5

Carbohydrate Counting

Those with type 2 diabetes might do well on a low-carb diet. This involves cutting back on fruits, starchy veggies, and grains.5 It’s best to avoid trans fat, which is in snacks and margarine, says the ADA.5

Meal Planning and Portion Control

Use the Plate Method for meal planning. A quarter of your plate should be lean proteins like chicken. This keeps your blood sugar in check.4 If you need to eat 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day, the NHLBI has sample menus. These focus on balanced nutrition.4

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Avoid foods high in saturated fats, including some dairy and meats. Skipping these will help lower your chances of heart problems and stroke, per the NIH.4

If you need more help, a registered dietitian can create a meal plan just for you. They will consider your health, food likes, how you cook, and what you can afford.5

Exercise and Physical Activity

Exercise and physical activity are key for people with diabetes.6 They help keep blood sugar in check. But the benefits don’t stop there. Physical activity also boost heart health, lowers complications from diabetes, and makes you feel better overall.

Benefits of Exercise for Diabetes

In 2015, a big study found that lifestyle changes can really help those with type 2 diabetes.6 This means things like exercise make a big difference. A year earlier, another study showed that physical activity isn’t just good for your health; it can save your life, literally.6 Resistance training, like lifting weights, also helps those with type 2 diabetes feel and live better.6

Types of Exercise

When it comes to diabetes, different workouts have different effects. For those with type 2 diabetes, doing at least 150 minutes of heart-pumping exercise each week is recommended. You should also do strength training a few times.7 This combo is great for your health and blood sugar control.

Kids and teens with diabetes should be moving daily too.7 They need at least 60 minutes of exercise that gets their heart pumping. Plus, muscle- and bone-strengthening activities should be part of their week as well.7

Setting Realistic Fitness Goals

Starting to exercise means watching your blood sugar levels closely.7 Before you start, aim for blood sugar levels within certain ranges.7 It’s also recommended to check your blood sugar often while working out. If it drops too low, stop and treat it right away.7

After your workout, keeping an eye on your blood sugar is still important.7 Slow-acting carbs might be a good idea to keep your levels stable. This is to avoid sudden drops in your blood sugar.

By making exercise a regular part of how you manage diabetes, you’re ensuring better health.67 It’s a smart move for reaching your wellness goals.

Medication Management

For many, taking medicine is a key part of handling diabetes. Your doctor will help you pick the best plan. This might include1 pills, insulin, or both.

Oral Medications for Diabetes

There are many different pills for type 2 diabetes. They include metformin, sulfonylureas, DPP-4 inhibitors, and GLP-1 agonists. They all work to lower blood sugar but in different ways. Some help your body make more insulin, others make it use insulin better, and a few reduce how much sugar your body absorbs.1

Your doctor will look at a few things before they choose a pill for you. They’ll check your blood sugar, your health, and how you live. If your blood sugar is not well-controlled, they might change your dose or switch your medicine.1

Insulin Therapy

People with type 1 diabetes need insulin because they can’t make it.1 Some with type 2 might also need it. This could happen if their body stops responding to insulin or if other pills aren’t enough to manage their blood sugar.8

Insulin comes in many forms, like rapid, short, intermediate, and long-acting. Your doctor will help you choose the best type and how much you need. Sometimes, this means shots several times a day or using a pump.1

It’s very important to check your blood sugar often when you’re on insulin. This helps make sure your levels are okay and adjust your insulin dose as needed.8

i have diabetes now what

Being diagnosed with diabetes is a big deal. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, confused, or deny it at first.9 However, it’s crucial to start taking care of yourself.

Accepting the Diagnosis

It’s tough coming to terms with diabetes, but it’s necessary.9 Knowing there are types like type 1 (body doesn’t make insulin)1 and type 2 (body doesn’t use insulin right)1 helps you manage your health better.

Building a Support System

You’re not alone in managing diabetes.9 Surround yourself with supportive friends, family, and healthcare pros. Sharing your needs and involving them in your care helps a lot.

Seeking Professional Help

Working with a diabetes-focused healthcare team is key.1 This team might have your primary doctor, an endocrinologist, a dietitian, and a diabetes educator. They’ll craft a plan that’s just for you, including meds and lifestyle changes.1 Regular visits and updates with them keep your diabetes in check.

Preventing Complications

Managing diabetes well means stopping serious issues before they start. If unchecked, diabetes can harm our eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart.10 It’s crucial to keep blood sugar levels in check. Aim for 70-130 mg/dL before meals, under 180 mg/dL after eating, and an A1C less than 7%.10

Monitoring for Complications

It’s key to get regular checks, like blood and urine tests, to catch problems early.10 Eyes need checking yearly to prevent conditions like cataracts and retinopathy.10 Always look out for your feet, keeping them clean and dry to avoid issues.10

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Maintaining Healthy Habits

Choosing a healthy way of life makes a big difference in dodging diabetes troubles.11 This includes staying at a healthy weight, not smoking,11 and managing stress.11 Keeping blood pressure and cholesterol low also protects against heart issues.10 Don’t forget flu and pneumonia shots, which can be lifesavers.11

Be alert, have tests often, and live well to face diabetes head-on. With care and good choices, a full, healthy life is still very possible.

Lifestyle Adjustments

Managing your lifestyle is key beyond just medicines.12 It’s vital for controlling diabetes and boosting your general health. This includes dealing with stress, not smoking, and sleeping well. These steps make a big difference.

Stress Management

Feeling stressed can mess with your blood sugar.12 Therefore, keeping calm is important for your diabetes care.12 Things like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can reduce stress.13 Also, be ready for when sickness hits. Stress can raise your blood sugar then, so plan ahead with your doctor.

Quitting Smoking

If you have diabetes, smoking is especially harmful.12 It makes diabetes-related health issues worse, like heart problems, eye issues, and nerve damage.14 Smokers get diabetes more often than nonsmokers. Plus, if you smoke and have diabetes, the risks of dying early from heart disease or stroke are high. Quitting is a big step towards better health and diabetes care.

Healthy Sleep Habits

Don’t underestimate the value of good sleep for diabetes.12 It affects how well you can control your blood sugar.12 Try to sleep 7-9 hours every night. It’s also helpful to stick to a regular sleep schedule. This helps your body keep its natural rhythms in balance.

Lifestyle FactorRecommendationBenefit
Stress ManagementEngage in relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yogaHelps lower stress and support better diabetes management
Quitting SmokingQuit smoking as soon as possibleReduces the risk of diabetes-related complications like heart disease, eye disease, and nerve damage
Healthy Sleep HabitsAim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night and establish a consistent sleep routineSupports hormonal balance and insulin sensitivity, making it easier to control blood sugar levels

Diabetes and Mental Health

Getting a diabetes diagnosis can be hard on your emotions. You might feel stress, anxiety, sadness, or get burnt out.15 If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you might also feel more depressed, anxious, or have trouble with eating.15 In fact, depression is twice as likely for those with diabetes compared to others.15 People with type 1 diabetes may develop eating disorders more, while type 2 diabetes can lead to binge eating in women.15 It’s as vital to care for your mind as it is for your body in battling diabetes.

Coping with Emotional Challenges

16 Diabetes burnout can leave you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.16 Emotional health plays a big part in managing diabetes well.16 Diagnoses can bring anger and stress, which may lead to depression.16 Denial is normal at first, but staying in denial can stop you from managing your health well.16 Spotting depression symptoms, like losing interest in things or having suicidal thoughts, early is very important.

Seeking Support for Mental Well-being

15 Between 33 to 50 percent of people with diabetes will feel diabetes distress.15 Shockingly, nearly half of all mental health issues in diabetes patients go unnoticed.15 Plus, only a third of folks with diabetes and mental health problems get the help they need.17 Those with diabetes might be more prone to depression, but getting diagnosed and treated can be a challenge.

15 The American Diabetes Association says your medical team should include a mental health pro.15 They also recommend regular mental health check-ins for folks with diabetes.15 Treatments like cognitive-behavioral therapy can work well.16 Getting help from a therapist or counselor is a key step in fighting depression.16 Building up tools and support for your emotions is crucial in handling diabetes and its mental health impacts.

Diabetes Self-Management Education

Learning to manage diabetes is very important. Diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) is key to good diabetes care. It teaches skills and knowledge for daily diabetes management. This education helps improve blood sugar, heart risks, and life quality for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.18

Importance of Diabetes Education

Knowing how to manage diabetes lets people take charge of their health.18 Studies show joining diabetes education programs leads to better blood sugar control,18 less complications,18 and better health.18 It also teaches skills to handle the challenges of daily life with diabetes.

Resources for Diabetes Education

Many resources are available to help people with diabetes. Health experts, like certified diabetes care and education specialists, run DSMES programs. These programs discuss meal plans, taking medicines, and changing lifestyles.18 Also, hospitals, community centers, and diabetes groups have workshops, support groups, and online help.18

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Being part of diabetes education is vital for self-care and a better life. It equips those with diabetes with essential skills and knowledge. This way, they can manage their health condition and aim for the best health outcomes.18

Diabetes Management Tools

Recent advances in diabetes tech have handed us more ways to keep our health in check.113 Tools like blood glucose monitors and phone apps help us track our levels easily.

Blood Glucose Monitoring Devices

For both types 1 and 2 diabetes, steady glucose checks are a must.1 Today, we have gadgets like CGMs and classic fingerstick devices. They let us watch our levels all day. This tracking gives us key info for smart choices in managing our diabetes.

Diabetes Apps and Technology

Monitoring tools are just the start. There are lots of apps and tech made just for diabetes care.113 They can help with daily tasks such as checking blood sugar, figuring out insulin, meal planning, and keeping up with exercise. Using these can make it easier to spot trends and choose what’s best for our health each day.

With the newest in diabetes tech, you can really get a grip on your health. You and your medical team can fine-tune your plan together.1132

Diabetes and Family Life

When someone in your family gets diagnosed with diabetes, everyone feels it. It becomes a challenge for the whole household. Talking openly about it and sharing tasks in managing it will help a lot. This way, the family feels like a team where everyone is in the know and is helping.1

Involving Family Members

Teach your family what diabetes means and how they can lend a hand. They should know what your treatment involves. And they can support you practically and emotionally. This support might come in ways like cooking healthy meals together, working out as a group, or being good listeners. Remember, diabetes is a group challenge.9

Diabetes-Friendly Family Activities

Make looking after diabetes a thing the whole family does. Think about fun stuff that also keeps you all healthy, such as walking together, biking, or playing games that make you move. Eating good food is important too, so make meals that help control diabetes as a team. And, embrace every small success or learn from any hiccups as a family.

Doing this as a group makes adjusting your lifestyle easier and fun.1

By involving your loved ones, your support circle grows stronger. Life at home becomes more about your health and wellness. Families dealing with diabetes jointly become not only more united but also stronger.9


What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases. The body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it well. This causes high blood glucose levels.

What are the main types of diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes happens when the body can’t produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body can’t use insulin effectively.

What causes diabetes?

Genetics, lifestyle choices such as being overweight and inactive, and autoimmune reactions can cause diabetes.

Why is maintaining healthy blood sugar levels important?

Keep healthy blood sugar levels to manage diabetes and avoid complications. Checking blood sugar often is key to successful diabetes care.

How can diet help manage diabetes?

Diet plays a major role in diabetes management. Even though there’s no single perfect diet, eating healthy helps control blood sugar.

How can exercise benefit someone with diabetes?

Exercise is great for diabetes management. It helps control blood sugar and offers many other health benefits.

What role do medications play in managing diabetes?

For many, medication is crucial in diabetes management. Your doctor will create a medication plan just for you.

What should I do after being diagnosed with diabetes?

It’s a big deal to learn you have diabetes. But, staying active in your care starting from day one is vital.

How can I prevent complications from diabetes?

Preventing complications is key in diabetes management. If not managed, diabetes can harm your eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart.

What lifestyle changes can help manage diabetes?

Changing some things in your life can greatly help in controlling your diabetes and staying healthy.

How can I address the emotional challenges of living with diabetes?

Feeling emotional after a diabetes diagnosis is normal. It’s important to focus on your mental health along with your physical health.

Why is diabetes self-management education important?

Learning about self-managing diabetes is crucial. It provides the knowledge and skills needed for daily care.

How can technology help with diabetes management?

New diabetes technology offers more tools for effective management. Devices and apps can help monitor, analyze, and act on your health.

How can involving my family help with managing diabetes?

Diabetes affects the whole family. Involving them openly can make you all feel better informed, supported, and empowered.

Source Links

  1. https://diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/newly-diagnosed
  2. https://www.sunlife.ca/en/tools-and-resources/health-and-wellness/preventing-and-treating-illness/my-doctor-says-i-have-diabetes-now-what/
  3. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/tips-newly-diagnosed-type-2-diabetes
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-diet/art-20044295
  5. https://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes/diet-changes-newly-diagnosed
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6908414/
  7. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-and-exercise/art-20045697
  8. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351199
  9. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/emotions/coping-diagnosis
  10. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/diabetes-complications-reduce-risk
  11. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-management/art-20045803
  12. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/diabetes-lifestyle-tips
  13. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-management/art-20047963
  14. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/diabetes/prevention–treatment-of-diabetes/living-healthy-with-diabetes
  15. https://mhanational.org/diabetes-and-mental-health
  16. https://diabetes.org/health-wellness/mental-health
  17. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/living-with/mental-health.html
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4833481/