It can be scary to hear you have diabetes. But think of it this way: now that you know, you can manage your condition and expect a life that is both healthier and longer. There are a few steps to take when you first learn of your diagnosis. Your doctor will likely have other steps for you to take as well, but these are the basics:
1. Learn how to use your blood glucose monitoring tools
You need to keep track of your blood sugar levels, and that means using tools to test them. Tracking your blood sugar levels is a great way to learn what works for you in terms of diet, medications, and lifestyle changes. It will also be important to share the information with your doctor during check-ups. Despite the important health benefits of achieving greater control of your blood sugar, many people with type 2 diabetes are a little afraid at first to use a lancet to prick their finger for testing. The good news is that the latest tools for blood glucose monitoring do not hurt as much as you're imagining. Instead, it's a small prick on your fingertip or elsewhere that will give you very valuable information.
Ask your doctor how often to check; the American Diabetes Association notes most people do so before a meal and about two hours after .
2. Start getting a treatment team together
Diabetes treatment will take more than just you and your doctor working together. You'll also want to consider how other professionals may help improve your diabetes control. For many people, this may include a dietitian who can help construct a diabetes-friendly meal plan. Certified Diabetes Educators are also available to help you get used to life with diabetes and to help you manage your symptoms and avoid complications.
3. Educate yourself
One way to make a diagnosis of diabetes feel less overwhelming is to learn all you can about the condition. If you're armed with knowledge, horror stories and worst-case scenarios are less likely to scare you away from doing everything you can to help yourself. You can also better educate others in your life about your condition if you know all about it yourself—and your friends and family members will likely want to know what's going on so they can help.