Five Healthy Habits For People Newly Diagnosed With Diabetes
By Sharon Howard, R.D., M.S., C.D.E., F.A.D.A.
1. Get On Board! Once the shock of your diabetes diagnosis fades, get busy learning all you can about diabetes self-care. There are a number of excellent books and websites to research. Look for the source of the material - medical institutions, qualified professionals, and credible websites. And we’re proud to say that this website, DiabetesCare.net, does not accept advertising; we bring you the accurate and news worthy information about diabetes with zero bias.
2. Gather Your Support: Your doctor is you point person for managing your diabetes. Keep regular appointments, and bring blood glucose logs, food records, blood pressure readings - whatever information that will help your doctor help you. Make a list of questions you need answered so you can optimize your appointment time. One important question: Who else should I have on my support team? You should talk with a registered dietitian (C.D.E. - certified diabetes educators are specially focused on diabetes) and get a meal plan, eye doctor, podiatrist, a nurse practitioner, and an exercise expert, if needed. Your non-professional support might start with letting family and friends know about your diagnosis - perhaps they too have diabetes. Tell your family how best to support you. Find a support group at your local hospital, or go online to find forums and groups you can communicate with.
3. Collect Your Tools: You will need a glucose meter and strips, supplied through your insurance company. Your doctor will write prescriptions for this as well as any diabetes medications. Have your lab work done when he requests it. Get your prescriptions filled and take your medicine as directed. Remove foods from your environment that are not supportive of healthy eating. (In other words, stop bringing donuts to the office for everyone - and yourself!) If you aren’t exercising regularly, what can you start doing? Would a pedometer that measures your steps, be a motivating tool?
4. Know Your Targets: Knowledge is power. When you are testing your blood glucose, what are your target numbers? If your value is not on target, what can you do to change it? How is your weight? Weight loss is an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes. How many calories and how many carbohydrates should you strive for? (Make sure you are logged in to DiabetesCare.net before clicking on that link!) How is your cholesterol, as well as your blood pressure? Know what these goals are, and how you compare.
5. Be The Best You Can Be: Diabetes can impact you more than just physically. You may feel emotional stress just trying to cope with all of this. Talk with other people that have diabetes, or get help from a therapist when you feel in need of psychological support.
Put yourself and your health first by focusingin a positive way. Your confidence in your ability to manage your diabetes will improve, and your well-being will soar.
About the Author: Sharon O`Melia Howard, who serves as a member of DiabetesCare.net’s Healthcare Advisory Board is also a registered dietitian with more than 25 years experience counseling individuals with nutrition issues including diabetes, weight loss, eating disorders, lipid disorders, celiac disease, renal disease, and bariatric nutrition. Sharon is also a charter Fellow of the American Dietetic Association and a Certified Diabetes Educator. Read Sharon’s DiabetesCare.net blog.