Ask the Expert: Advice for the Newly Diagnosed
Coping with a new diabetes diagnosis can be extremely challenging. So, we asked our experts on the first things to do when you've been newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and here's what Joanne, Meryl, and Kelly had to say:
Response from Joanne:
Dealing with a new diagnosis can be overwhelming at first. Give yourself time to be sad and grieve. It will take time to get used to having diabetes. I agree with Meryl's suggestion to try to see a Diabetes Educator to help get you started. Focus on the basics like eating regular meals, healthy food choices and monitoring your blood sugar. Reaching out for support can make things easier. There are people willing to be a listening ear or to ask questions. Type2Diabetes.com has many articles, recipes and a community of support waiting for you when you're ready.
Response from Meryl:
Being newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can feel overwhelming. I recommend the following to help cope with all of adjustments this new diagnosis brings about:
- Ask your doctor about meeting with a certified diabetes educator (CDE) and/or registered dietitian (RD). Both can provide with invaluable information on numerous topics: meal planning, carbohydrate counting, how to read a nutrition label, how to test your blood sugar, adjusting to life with diabetes, giving injections, managing high and low blood sugars, and much more!
- Look for support. Good support from family, friends, church, local support groups, Type2diabetes.com, etc. will make adjusting to a new diagnosis more manageable.
- Have a clear understanding of what your blood sugar target range is and what to do if it is outside of this range.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Response from Kelly:
A new diagnosis is often upsetting and feelings of fear can come flooding in. It’s okay to feel angry, sad, and to grieve. It’s normal to go through the five stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance. With that said, starting a treatment plan as soon as possible after diagnosis is more likely to help you now and further down the road. While elevated blood sugar might not be noticeable to you now, prolonged poorly controlled diabetes can cause complications. Maintaining tighter glucose control can help reduce complications. As mentioned, ask your doctor for a referral to meet with a Registered Dietitian and/or Certified Diabetes Educator to help you set up realistic goals and answer all your diabetes questions.
Carbohydrates are not bad, despite what some people may tell you. Carbohydrates are the body’s main fuel source, part of a healthy diet, and necessary when working to manage diabetes. It’s not a no-carbohydrate meal plan but rather a controlled-carbohydrate meal plan that will bring you long-term success and well-managed blood sugars. Ask your Dietitian, not your neighbor, about a meal plan that’s right for you, as they will take into account your specific needs, medical history, height and weight, activity level and doctor’s recommendations.
Just as carbohydrates are part of a healthy meal plan, some may need medications and/or insulin as part of their diabetic treatment plan. Needing insulin is not a result of your failure and you are not alone. Diabetes is a progressive disease and over time, the body can lose it’s ability to make insulin. The goal in diabetes treatment is to control blood sugar. While injections can be intimidating, there are many new products available to make it easier, such as insulin pens, fine-tip needles and low-profile insulin pumps.
A new diagnosis can be overwhelming and you may feel isolated, but you are not alone! There are so many people successfully managing their diabetes and living healthy, happy lives. Seek out support from trusted family, friends, your diabetic medical team and our type2diabetes.com communities, as support is the key to success. We’re here for you!
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your diabetes?