Home Finer Points Types of Diabetes 7 Steps for Newly Diagnosed with Diabetes

7 Steps for Newly Diagnosed with Diabetes

I know the shock of being told you have diabetes all too well. Even my wife who is an RN was equally unprepared for the news about my condition. I was referred to the usual diabetes education and nutrition specialists. However, like most things in life, we have to take control and responsibility for ourselves.

The following is advice from the experts at Joslin Diabetes Center and the American Diabetes Association. I think may be helpful for those who are just starting out and maybe those of us who just need a review!

  1. Losing weight improves blood pressure and blood sugar. You only need to lose 5 to 7 percent of your weight to have a major impact on glucose levels.
  2. Get a primary-care physician. If you don't already have one, sign up with a primary-care physician who can work with you on an ongoing basis to keep your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels within recommended guidelines.
  3. Get educated. Find a diabetes educator in your area to help you learn about the disease. Working with an expert can make you feel more in control. Credible online resources such as the ADA are plentiful in addition to community support sites.
  4. Exercise. The ADA recommends 30 minutes of moderately vigorous physical activity most days of the week. Even if you don't lose weight, exercise can help improve your blood sugar levels.
  5. Take the drugs you need. Get a prescription for metformin. This generic, inexpensive drug can help get your blood sugar under control, with few side effects. If you've got high cholesterol, you may consider a prescription for a statin as well. If you're over 40 and have heart disease, take a baby aspirin every day.
  6. Make a plan for regular specialist checkups. At a minimum, you'll need annual eye and foot exams and a dental exam every six months.
  7. Get family members on board. It's more difficult to make lifestyle changes if everybody in the family is doing something else. In other words, it's tough eating vegetables if everyone else is having chips. Besides, it's a lot more fun to go for a daily walk with someone else than all by yourself.