Being told that you or a loved one have diabetes can be overwhelming. Many people will experience anger, sadness, and denial when they find out. These are perfectly normal reactions. So what should you do when your physician or primary health care provider tells you that you have diabetes?

Be committed to managing your diabetes

Diabetes will change the way you live, but it is a manageable condition. Proper diet, lifestyle, and medications will help to lower your chances of developing diabetes-related complications. The most important step is to be committed to improving your health and taking control of your diabetes. Manage your diabetes - don't let it manage you.

Become a diabetes expert

To properly manage your diabetes, the first step you need to do is to learn as much as you can about your condition. Becoming informed about your diabetes will help you make healthier decisions. You are the most important person that will be taking care of your diabetes, so the more you know the better you will do.

Ask for help

Fortunately there are many people that can help you with your diabetes. Your team of primary health care providers, including your family physician, nurses, diabetes educators, dietitians, and pharmacists, are all here to help you take care of your diabetes. They are all dedicated to working with you so you can tackle your diabetes with sufficient knowledge and tools.

Improve your lifestyle

Having a good diet and lifestyle is very important. Some lifestyle tips are:

  • proper eating is crucial for people with diabetes - a dietitian can help put together an eating plan that fits with your lifestyle
  • aim to exercise every day - this lowers your blood sugar, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and your risk of diabetes complications
  • quit smoking

Make a plan and stick to it

You will work with your diabetes team to create a plan to manage your condition. This plan is a summary of the things you need to do to tackle your diabetes. Here is a checklist that you can use to make your plan with your diabetes team:

  • your meal and snack plan - what you should be eating and when
  • your medication - how much and when to take your medication or insulin
  • lab testing - what tests you should have
  • home blood glucose meters - how often and when you should test at home, as well as how to interpret your numbers
  • proper foot care - what you should do for your feet
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