I have Been Diagnosed With Diabetes: Now What: If your doctor diagnoses you with type I diabetes, what do you do? At first, you try to understand it and perhaps even go into denial.
And then it sinks in. Is diabetes treatable, does it recur, is there a natural cure for diabetes, will I have to inject myself everyday, does a diabetes diagnosis mean no more sugar? What happens to my quality of life? These are some of the nagging questions. We have heard of diabetes many times, but when it hits closer to home, we realize we don’t really know much about it.
Diabetes Diagnosis: The Next Steps
When your doctor says you have type I diabetes, what steps should you take?
- Ask your doctor about blood sugar monitoring and insulin delivery options and ask him to help you decide which option is the most appropriate in your case.
- Take heart. Millions who have type I diabetes can expect to live long and healthy lives. Being diagnosed with type I diabetes is not a death sentence. Your attitude should be “I’m going to fight this.”
- If you have type I diabetes, your doctor will advise you to be vigilant about the following: frequent need to drink water to relieve thirst, frequent urination (as sugar fills the bloodstream, tissues pull in more fluid resulting in thirst and increased urination); fatigue (tiredness and irritation come about when cells don’t have sufficient stores of sugar); erratic vision (again this is caused by tissue pull-in of fluids, even in the eyes); hunger pangs (when the body does not have sufficient amounts of insulin, it is more difficult for sugar to reach the cells) and weight loss (in spite of eating more).
Effective treatment for type I diabetes revolves around 5 key factors:
- Maintenance of ideal weight
- Healthy diet
- Regular physical exercise
- Blood sugar regulation
- Intake of insulin
The best approach is to keep your blood sugar level as close to normal as possible. Being able to do this also generates a positive outcome: you diminish your risks for diabetes-related heart problems by about 50%.
Don’t feel that your diabetes is a source of added stress. It doesn’t have to be that way. Take it slowly and gently. Maintain open communication with your health care team. Advise your doctor, dietician and diabetes support staff of any changes in how you feel.
Keeping a vigilant eye over your blood sugar is of paramount importance. Why? Because no matter how disciplined you are about following your medication and schedule, blood sugar tends to fluctuate without warning. This is why your doctor will encourage you to monitor your blood sugar at least four times a day.
Monitoring one’s blood sugar involves keeping an eye on what you eat, the amount of stress you face, your hormone levels (if you’re a woman), how often you engage in physical exercise, medications (if you’re taking other medications for other health problems, they may affect the effectiveness of your insulin intake), alcohol (diabetics are strongly advised to control their alcohol consumption) and illness (having fluish symptoms or other symptoms related to other disorders can alter your blood sugar levels).
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, the first thing you should NOT do is despair. You are not alone. After asking, “now what”, deal with it, do as your doctor says, and be positive.