Top Tips for the Newly Diagnosed
It’s important to take control of your diabetes as soon as you’re diagnosed, and that begins with
early detection. Symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 may include:
Excessive thirst and frequent urination
Fatigue, or a feeling of being "run down" and tired
Dry, itchy skin
Tingling or burning pain in the feet, legs, hands, or other body parts
High blood pressure
Mood swings or depression
Frequent infections, such as urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and skin infections
Slow healing of cuts and bruises
While these symptoms usually develop over time in individuals with type 2, they can set in
very rapidly in individuals with type 1.
Your doctor can perform a number of blood tests to determine whether or not you have
diabetes. A positive diagnosis is determined based on the following values:
An A1C value of 6.5% or more.
A random plasma glucose value of 200 mg/dl (11.1 mmol/l) or more (in the presence of
A fasting plasma glucose value of 126 mg/dl (7 mmol/l) or more.
An oral glucose plasma glucose value of 200 mg/dl (11.1 mmol/l) or higher at 2 hours
If you are given a positive diagnosis, you may experience a phenomenon known as the
honeymoon phase. During the honeymoon phase, blood sugar levels temporarily improve and
insulin needs may be reduced. This usually occurs in individuals with type 1, beginning shortly
after insulin therapy is started and lasting for weeks, months, or longer. It can be a confusing
time, but don’t let yourself be fooled – your diabetes has not been reversed!
If you find that you are now living with diabetes, fear and confusion may set in. But, millions
of people are living with diabetes – and you can too. Take these steps to get started on the right
1. See a CDE or RD/CDE
Find specialists in your area to help you learn to live with your diabetes. Certified diabetes
educators (CDE) are trained in “diabetes self-management training”. They can provide you
with educational and emotional support – and give you the time and attention that your doctor
may not be able to. It may be helpful to find a CDE who is also a registered dietitian (RD). A
RD/CDE can help you develop an individualized diet plan based on your lifestyle and habits.
Use dLife’s Diabetes Locator to find diabetes specialists by location, and make an appointment
as soon as possible!
Top Tips for the Newly Diagnosed, Continued
2. Deconstruct your diet
One of the most important steps to take after being diagnosed is to learn how your diet affects
your diabetes. Living with diabetes doesn’t mean that you have to give up the foods that you
love. With proper meal planning, you can make healthy food choices and eat well. Log your
eating patterns and share the information with a registered dietitian to develop a personalized
plan. Remember: the carbohydrates that you eat become glucose in your blood. Learning to
count carbs and manage your daily carbohydrate intake will help you avoid unwanted blood
3. Test, don’t guess
Regular blood sugar testing will help you identify patterns in your sugar levels. Testing will
help you learn how your body reacts to different foods, activities, and situations – allowing
better control over your blood glucose levels.
4. Call your insurance company
Check with your insurance company to see what doctors and services are covered under your
current plan. You may be eligible to receive free testing supplies and/or medications.
5. Get your team together
Diabetes management requires a team of specialists. Within your approved network, start
gathering referrals for a diabetes educator, endocrinologist, registered dietitian,
ophthalmologist, podiatrist, and any other necessary healthcare providers. Many people with
diabetes also suffer from depression. Adding a counselor to your diabetes team can help you
better manage both diseases.
6. Seek support
Remember, you’re not alone! Find out if your local hospital has a diabetes support group, or
find a virtual group – like the one at dLife! – online. Don’t be afraid to share your story.
Hearing from others who share your concerns helps.
7. Ask questions
Overwhelmed? Don’t know what to ask? Here are a few questions that you can bring up at your
next medical appointment. And don’t hesitate to call your provider’s office if you need more
information or have questions about your treatment. Remember, your doctors are there to help!
You can always ask questions to the dLife experts or search questions that other dLife readers
have asked in the past here.
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