If you've just been told you have diabetes, you can still keep up with the things you love. Manage your health the right way, and you'll live a rewarding, active life. Here's how.
1. Get Informed
Ask questions and learn as much as you can about:
- Changes you can make to take care of yourself
- Medical treatments you need
Start with your doctor. They can put you in touch with experts that can give you answers, like:
- Diabetes educators
- Other specialists
Talk to your friends and family members who have diabetes. You could also join a support group and connect online with other people who are going through the same things you are. Knowing more will help you make good choices.
2. Get the Right Care
You and your doctor will make a treatment plan to fit your needs. It could include:
Medicines. Whether you need them to treat your diabetes depends on things like your:
- Blood sugar levels
Lifestyle changes. You'll see your condition get better if you:
Blood sugar. Your doctor can teach you how to keep track of it and show you what to do to avoid highs and lows.
3. Track Your 'ABCs'
"A" stands for A1c. This test measures your average blood sugar over the past 2 or 3 months. Your goal is to keep your score beow 7% without risking low blood sugar.
4. Take Steps to Manage Your Diabetes
Once you know more about living with the condition, you'll be ready to put that knowledge into practice. A healthy lifestyle includes:
5. Stop Complications Before They Start
It's also important to know the warning signs of some common complications:
Eye problems called diabetic retinopathy can happen from damage to small blood vessels in the retina. That's a layer of tissue on the inside of your eyes. Talk to your doctor if you notice signs of trouble, such as:
Kidney damage called diabetic nephropathy is a complication that can lead to treatment with dialysis or a kidney transplant. To rule out problems, your doctor will check your blood pressure a few times a year and your urine protein (they may call it microalbumin) at least once a year.
Heart disease and strokes are more likely if you have diabetes. The risks go even higher if you:
- Are overweight
- Have high blood pressure
- Have heart disease in your family
Talk to your doctor about your chances of having these conditions and what you can do to lower them.
6. Get Help From Your Health Care Team
If you catch complications early, you'll boost your chances of success. Talk to your doctor whenever you have concerns. You may need something as simple as a lifestyle change or a tweak in your meds.
Your diabetes health care team is there to help. Their goal is the same as yours: let you keep doing the things you love with the people you care about.