1. Don't panic.
Keep calm and carry on! Diabetes is not a death sentence. This is a very controllable disease, and with proper treatment through diet, exercise and medication it does not have to cause any complications.
2. Schedule an appointment with a diabetes educator.
Diabetes educators are trained to teach, support and help manage a person with diabetes from developing better eating habits to proper use of medication a diabetes educator is a must see for a newly diagnosed patient with diabetes.
3. Learn your labs.
Become informed about diabetes and ask your doctor questions regarding your current labs for diabetes. Learn what an A1C is and know yours!
4. Start with one new habit.
Pick a habit that you think if changing will result in improved blood sugar and start implementing it. Start slow. Don’t try to change everything overnight.
5. Monitor your blood sugar.
Learn how to use a meter and monitor your blood sugar at least once a day or more depending on your medications. This is a tool that can be used to establish patterns and is also helpful information for your health provider to review.
6. Add physical activity into your routine by moving more daily.
You may be thinking, "How can I possibly fit exercise into my schedule?" or "I'm already active in my job." Start with incorporating exercise on the two days a week you are off of work. Be sure you have alternative options to your normal exercise routine if it is affected by the weather (heat, cold or rain).
7. Eliminate sugar sweetened beverages from your diet.
This includes regular soft drinks, fruit juices (yes, even cranberry juice), lemonade and sweet tea. This will significantly reduce carbohydrate intake, thus reducing blood sugar and promoting weight loss.
8. Connect with others.
There is a very good chance you know someone with diabetes. Initial and ongoing support from others is important when you have diabetes. Connecting with others can motivate you to take care of yourself and ease anxiety about having diabetes.
9. Inspect your health plan.
Diabetes can be expensive, so it's important to know what your healthcare plan will cover. Contact your health insurance company with your questions.
10. Do daily foot checks.
Don't walk barefoot (even inside). Look at your feet closely every day and report any sores, ulcers, calluses, ingrown toenails and numbness to your doctor.
In honor of National Diabetes Awareness month, here is a list of the top 10 things to do or not to do after finding out that you have diabetes.
To learn more, schedule an appointment with Diabetes Education by calling 504-842-4057.