May 24, 2023
Tips for People Newly Diagnosed with Diabetes
When you have newly diagnosed diabetes, knowing your next steps is crucial. Here are US MED's tips for living with diabetes.
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When you have newly diagnosed diabetes, knowing what steps you should take next is crucial. And even if you’re not at risk of developing diabetes, almost 1.5 million people will receive a diabetes diagnosis this year alone. That means there’s a strong chance someone you know will eventually deal with this condition – and it’s a good idea to know what to do when a friend or relative tells you, “I was just diagnosed with diabetes.” The best way to prepare for this scenario is as simple as doing some research.
Are you interested in learning needs of patients newly diagnosed with diabetes? If so, look no further – this article is filled with the tips you need to start the lifelong process that is managing this condition. Whether you’ve been newly diagnosed with diabetes type 1 or type 2, read on for expert advice from the team at US MED!
What is diabetes?
Before you’ll be ready to learn about living with diabetes or supporting a friend or family member dealing with this condition, you’ll want to review the basics. While everyone thinks they know how diabetes works, brushing up on the fundamentals is a perfect place to start when you’re just diagnosed with diabetes. Let’s take a brief look at the two basic forms of diabetes – type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
What is type 1 diabetes?
When you’re managing any type of diabetes, understanding the role insulin plays in your body is a must. Typically, this hormone helps glucose in the bloodstream enter cells. Unfortunately, diabetes can complicate that process.
If you have newly diagnosed diabetes type 1, your pancreas is mostly or entirely unable to produce insulin. That’s because your immune system has mistakenly identified the islet cells in your pancreas as a threat and started attacking them. These cells are responsible for insulin production, so their destruction will inevitably lead to a buildup of glucose in your bloodstream.
Symptoms commonly seen in people newly diagnosed with diabetes type 1 include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Fatigue and weakness
- Blurred vision
- Increased urination frequency
- Excess thirst and hunger
What is type 2 diabetes?
Just like type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes involves problems with the body’s ability to use glucose as fuel. However, this form of diabetes is not solely caused by the pancreas’ inability to produce enough insulin. While insulin production issues are still a factor, type 2 diabetes is also associated with increased insulin resistance in the body’s cells.
It’s also worth noting that type 2 diabetes is far, far more common than type 1 diabetes. Out of the 34 million-plus Americans who live with diabetes, 90 to 95 percent have type 2 diabetes.
Many symptoms linked to newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes are identical to those seen in type 1 diabetes. Along with the symptoms listed above, keep an eye out for:
- Slow-healing sores
- Skin that is darker than usual (particularly in the armpits and neck)
- Regular infections
Tips for people with diabetes
Now that you’ve had a chance to brush up on the diabetes basics, it’s time to dive into the tips you need to know when living with this condition. If you have diabetes or know a person who has diabetes, you should take some time to learn about:
Managing blood sugar
When you have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar under control is essential. We’ll talk about the concrete steps you can take to pursue this goal in a bit. For now, let’s focus on the blood sugar testing process.
To successfully manage your blood glucose, you need to keep a watchful eye on your glucose levels and take steps in response to this information. Make a point of testing your blood sugar at various points throughout the day, such as before meals, 2 hours after meals, at bedtime and before, during and after workouts.
Your testing schedule will vary based on factors like the type of diabetes you have. Still, the goal is always the same: looking for patterns in your blood glucose levels and learning how to respond to these patterns.
You’ll need access to the right equipment to test your blood sugar multiple times daily. Standard test supplies include:
- Glucose meters
- Test strips
- Lancing device
- Control solutions
Have you noticed any diabetes symptoms in your everyday life? If so, you shouldn’t hesitate to call a doctor. Diabetes is a progressive disease, so diagnosing and treating this condition as soon as possible will make it much easier to manage in the long run.
Once you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll need to visit your doctor every so often to ensure things are going well and adjust your treatment plan as needed. If you aren’t having any problems meeting your treatment goals, scheduling doctor’s visits every six months is a good idea.
On the other hand, it’s best to set up appointments every three months if you find it challenging to meet your goals. Either way, your doctor will check your weight/blood pressure and review your treatment plan and medications during these visits.
If you’re living with diabetes, especially newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes, it’s essential to remember that developing this condition doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Type 2 diabetes is often thought of as a consequence of being overweight, but things aren’t that simple in reality. Lifestyle factors are involved in the development of type 2 diabetes, but so are genetics. This is why some overweight people never experience diabetes and why some people who aren’t overweight still develop type 2.
While living with diabetes is never easy, there are ways to make this condition more manageable. Consider finding a diabetes educator if you don’t already work with one – these are certified healthcare professionals specializing in diabetes education and self-management. Many health insurance plans cover visits to diabetes educators, as does Medicare Part B. Additionally, joining a support group is an excellent way to connect with other people dealing with the same issues you are.
If you need extra assistance with the learning needs of patients newly diagnosed with diabetes, you’re in luck. You can find more diabetes resources recommended by the pros at US MED right here.
Even if you know what to look for during blood sugar tests, you’ll need strategies for actually controlling your blood sugar. The good news is that diabetes management doesn’t have to be too complicated. A big part of this process involves making lifestyle changes like:
- Building a healthy meal plan. If you’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes, you might think you’ll never be able to eat carbs again. Despite this, carbohydrates are an essential part of any diet. The key isn’t cutting them out entirely but eating moderate portions of the right carbs. To learn more, check out our guide to the ideal diabetes diet.
- Getting regular physical activity. Just 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week will significantly improve your ability to manage diabetes. Even if you have a jam-packed schedule, you can fit physical activity into your day with simple choices like taking the stairs and parking at the far end of the office parking lot.
- Taking medications as diagnosed. Has your doctor told you to take insulin or any other diabetes medicine? If so, you need it to control your condition. Be sure to treat these medications as seriously as any other prescription.
Manage diabetes with supplies from US MED
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes both last a lifetime, which can feel intimidating if you’re at the very start of your diabetes management journey. By following the tips in this article, you’ll be ready to manage this disease or support a friend or family member who’s just diagnosed with diabetes.
No matter what type of newly diagnosed diabetes you have, you’ll need a trustworthy supplier of diabetes testing supplies and any other diabetes-related products you might want (such as CGM systems and insulin pumps). Since 1996, US MED has shipped these supplies and more to people in all 50 US states – and we’ve earned an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau in the process. Take a look at the products we have available today!