Welcome to the DC family. If it's not too presumptuous, I thought I'd offer these tips that I've learned from other DC members. They've helped me navigate through the first few months of diabetic life. I hope they can do the same for you.
1. Check your BG (blood glucose) levels regularly. Some check 2-3 times/day, others check 6+ times. It's what's best/convenient for you. At the very least, test first thing in the morning (fasting) and before bedtime.
2. Keep all doctor's appointments. Ask lots of questions and make sure you are satisfied with the answers. Also, let the doctor know everything you've been doing between visits. Whether it's the right thing or not.
3. Research, research, research. You don't want to be in the dark about this disease or your medications. We can give you answers but they are our personal opinions. We're no experts, so your search for knowledge needs to come from outside professional sources, as well.
3. Drink plenty of water. The general rule is 8 glasses a day but more is always better. ESPECIALLY when your BG's are too high.
4. If possible, meet with a dietician or take a diabetes education class. They'll be able to give you a general idea of what to expect, a basic meal plan, ideas of what not to eat til your levels start to lower, and are another source of information and support.
5. Take notes. Not just of the things that are pertinent to you now, but the things/ideas that may be of assistance to you in the future. Write it down, save it on the computer/flash drive or print it out. This way it is easily accessible to you.
6. Cook with as much fresh foods as possible. Also, just because you have D, doesn't mean that you have to give up you favorite recipes. You'll just have to learn how to substitute bad ingredients with good. Have fun with it and don't be afraid to try new things.
a. Read labels. Counting calories is good for loosing weight but counting carbs is best for lowering BG levels. Check with your doctor/nutritionist as to how many carbs you should have with each meal/snack.
b. Eat REGULARLY. Shoot for the same time, every day. Starving yourself or eating sporadically won't do your numbers any good. If your eating patterns are all over the map, you can't accurately monitor your levels.
7. If you're Type I, watch out for dangerous lows. If they occur, keep on hand something that will raise your levels when you drop. Glucose tabs, a juice box or a can of soda all work in a pinch. The point is to eat/drink something that will take affect quickly.
8. Get a medical bracelet, regardless of what type you are. If you're ever in a position where you can't articulate what is happening to you (extreme highs/lows), the bracelet will alert people to your health condition(s) and what is possibly going on. You can check with your pharmacy or online for designs options and pricing.
You also need to keep a journal. It should, at least have DAILY records of:
1. When you test and what the BG level is.
2. What food/beverage you eat/drink and when.
3. What medication(s) you take and when.
4. What exercise you get in and when.
It seems like a lot, but don't be overwhelmed. It gets easier with time. Just keep one more important thing in mind. We'll do our best to be of support, but this is your journey to walk. We can't make you test, eat (or not eat), exercise, etc… these things are all on you. But we're here for you and have your back whenever you need us. We also look forward to what it is that you can help us with, as well. Because whether we've been in this fight for a while or new to the battle, we're all learning from each other and that's what makes this place, this family, so special. Be blessed.
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