Once you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you’re tasked with trying to get your blood sugars under control. In time, you will hopefully understand your condition better, but there’s a pretty huge learning curve at the beginning. So how long will you have to wait before you start seeing some normal numbers again? Check out some of these tips from a diabetes forum where people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes shared how they lowered their numbers after diagnosis.

Your unique timetable

There is no set amount of time that it will take you to get your blood sugar numbers down. Everybody reacts to diabetes differently. Your neighbor’s experience may not be yours. So, if someone tells you it only took them three weeks before they were able to start seeing better control, don’t panic if it’s already been more than a month and you are still struggling. Forum username Just Joyce says, “How long it takes to get your blood sugars down is based on what you do and how much you work on it. I got [my A1c] down from nine to seven in six months. It isn’t going down overnight. This takes time. You have to work hard at lowering it.”

The blood sugar number-lowering process is going to take trial and error. The three main things that affect your blood sugar are:

  • Food
  • Physical activity
  • Diabetes medications

You’ll have to discover how each of them affect your blood sugar in order to figure out your ideal diabetes management. One of the best ways to do this is to test very frequently in the weeks after your diagnosis, so you can see how different foods and activities alter your blood sugar. When it comes to food, Haoleboy says, “The value of home testing is that it gives you a way to see how various foods and meals are affecting your blood glucose levels. Test just prior to eating and then two hours afterwards. For me, if my BG [blood glucose] is 40 points higher two hours after I ate, I know that the food (or something in my meal) is something I need to either eliminate or drastically reduce the portion size of.”

Including exercise in your routine, even a small amount, can significantly improve your numbers. Forum member SCLWKR lends the advice, “I have found that adding 30 minutes of exercise daily will help bring those numbers down quicker. Eat a small snack (15 grams of carbs and 15 grams of protein) 15 minutes before you exercise to give your body some on-hand energy so your liver doesn’t dump glucose into your system and elevate your BG. Don’t give up, stay focused, and understand that . . . [diabetes] shouldn’t run your life, it is now a part of your life that you can control.”

Lastly, it may take time to figure out the right medication and dose. This isn’t something you should do on your own. If you are struggling to get your numbers right, talk to your doctor about adjusting your medication. Jaybee52 says, “Took me about a month before my BG levels came down to normal levels. It depends on whether your doctor gets your meds right or how long [your] doctor takes to find what med or combination of meds works for you.”

As you’re trying to get your blood sugar numbers back down to a normal level, be patient, test frequently, and know that many others have already walked in your shoes. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the diabetes community for advice!

What was your experience getting your numbers under control following diagnosis? Share with the community in the comments below.