Recently Diagnosed with Diabetes? Start Here!
So where do you start? How about right here and right now!
Know Your Numbers
People living with diabetes have trouble processing blood sugar (glucose), either because they don’t produce enough insulin, or because their insulin doesn’t work as well as it should. Your doctor will give you a glucose target range that is particular to you. Staying in the ideal range is a matter of balancing food, activity, and medicine.
You’ll also want to be aware of your A1C, which is a simple blood test that reflects your glucose level over the past three months. It’s a good indicator of how well you’re managing your diabetes.
Eat Well and Mind Your Carbs
As a person living with diabetes, it’s up to you to choose foods that will keep you well nourished, while keeping your blood glucose levels in your target range. It’s a big job, but that’s where your meal plan comes in. It’s a guide for when, what, and how much to eat.
Other people prefer something called the glycemic index (GI), which ranks carbs from 0 to 100. Lower GI foods like beans, brown rice, tomatoes, or yogurt impact blood sugar less than high GI foods like bread, mashed potatoes, and fruit juice.
Another cool tool is the Diabetes Plate Method. It helps you create a balanced meal without counting or weighing your food. Picture a dinner plate divided in two. One of the sections is divided again in half. You know your meal is healthy if the large section is filled with non-starchy vegetables, and the two smaller sections contain lean protein, like chicken, turkey, eggs, or cottage cheese, and carbs. Talk with your healthcare team about the best meal planning method for you.
As a diabetic, it’s up to you to choose foods that will keep you well nourished, while keeping blood sugar levels in range.
Get Moving and Keep Moving
Physical activity is important for everyone, but especially for people with diabetes. That’s because exercise helps control blood sugar levels. It also lowers your risk of heart disease, reduces blood pressure, and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
The key is to find something you really enjoy doing. Some people say an exercise partner helps them stick with it. Find ways to build movement into your day, like taking the stairs instead of an elevator, or walking rather than sitting during a long call. Little steps soon become miles.
Take Care of Yourself
Although food, medicine, and exercise are the big three when it comes to managing diabetes, don’t forget about other self-care steps. Keep up with regular visits to your dentist, eye doctor, and other specialists. Pay attention to stress, because hormones produced during times of stress can spike your blood sugar. And keep an eye on minor injuries. If a sore or cut, especially on your foot, doesn’t heal within a couple of days, let a healthcare provider take a look.
Welcome to Your New Normal!
Life is full of surprises. Finding out that you have diabetes might not be the kind of surprise you were hoping for, but here you are, ready to tackle the future with information and a positive attitude. You’ve got this!
While you can’t change your diabetes diagnosis, changing a few habits will help keep you healthy and strong. Partner with your care team on a personalized care plan that fits your lifestyle and your preferences. You absolutely can live a full, busy life without letting diabetes get in the way!
While you can’t change your diabetes diagnosis, changing a few habits will help keep you healthy and feeling strong.
HCD Can Be Your Partner
We have a wide range of diabetes supplies, including blood glucose monitors, CGMs from Dexcom and FreeStyle Libre, and testing strips, and we can ship the supplies you need right to your door each month. Plus, we coordinate with your healthcare team and insurance company, and handle all the paperwork. Let us give you a call by entering your phone number on the bottom left of the screen. We are eager to help.