Newly Diagnosed with Diabetes? Here’s Where to Start

Family finding healthy activities gardening together

What you need to know about a diabetes diagnosis

Being diagnosed with diabetes shouldn’t cause you to panic; take a deep breath! Thanks to modern medicine and science, there are more ways than ever before to help you manage Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes effectively. With simple changes to your lifestyle, including diet, stress reduction, exercise, and medical and emotional support, you can enjoy a happy and active life.

Diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes

If your diabetes diagnosis indicates you have Type 1, that means that your body’s pancreas is not able to produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes means you will need to monitor your glucose levels (also referred to as blood sugar) and administer insulin injections every day at times determined by your doctor.

OKRA glucose meter

A Type 1 diabetes diagnosis can feel challenging at first, but fortunately, there are a wide variety of tools available to help you manage your health and wellness. Glucose meters are small and discreet and can easily pair with your smartphone to remind you when it’s time to test your blood sugar.

It’s essential to work with your doctor to monitor your glucose levels, the amount of insulin you’re taking, your meal plans, and your daily exercise. Your healthcare team will help you to stay healthy and active and feel your best.

Diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes

If your diabetes diagnosis is for Type 2, this means that while your body is making insulin, it is not making enough, so you will need to monitor your glucose levels (blood sugar). While Type 2 is serious, it is a condition that can be successfully managed by eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, and taking the medication (pills and/or insulin) prescribed by your doctor.


Your Next Steps for Managing Diabetes

When you receive a diabetes diagnosis, it can create many questions and concerns. Social media and internet discussion groups can offer a great deal of information and support, but it’s essential that you follow the advice given by your doctor and the healthcare team (which may include a dietician, physical therapist, and registered nurses) you are working with.

When you have a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, it’s important you incorporate the following activities into your treatment plan:

  • Develop healthy meals
  • Engage in routine exercise
  • Use test strips and a glucose meter to test your blood sugar
  • Take the medications prescribed by your doctor
  • Learn to recognize high and low blood sugar and how to address each one

What to Do for Diabetes

Whether your diabetes diagnosis is for Type 1 or Type 2, knowing how to manage your condition is important for preserving your health and wellness. Staying aware of your dietary choices and committing to regular exercise are two of the most effective strategies you have. When you eat well and stay active, you’ll be able to control your blood sugar better, and successfully managing your blood sugar means you’ll feel great instead of feeling tired or sluggish. Here are the top two things to do for optimal diabetes care:

1. Diet

Following a new diet can feel strange and even unpleasant at first, so there is where your healthcare team can be a source of support and strength. Having diabetes doesn’t mean you can never have a piece of birthday cake, enjoy an ice cream or waffles again. What it does mean is watching ingredients, monitoring portion size, and ensuring your meals are spaced throughout the day.

Focus your meals on vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, fruits, and healthy fats such as nuts or avocados.

  • Eat your meals at a slower pace, so you don’t overeat.
  • Drink plenty of water or a no-calorie beverage with your meals.
  • Try to eat your meals at set times throughout the day.
  • Avoid missing meals

2. Stay active

Even with a diabetes diagnosis, living a full and healthy life is 100% possible if you commit to staying active. Whether you enjoy walking, swimming, lifting weights, yoga, biking, or taking exercise classes at the local gym, any form of exercise will help to keep your blood sugar regulated. In addition to helping to manage your diabetes, regular exercise will also help you with the following:

  • Increase your energy levels
  • Reduce any stress you’re experiencing
  • Keep your joints moving and flexible
  • Reduce your risk for heart disease or stroke
  • Boost your mood and outlook on life

It’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor about which activities will be right for you and your unique health situation.

OKRA refill kit

OKRA Care is Expert Care for Diabetes Management

At OKRA Care, we have over 25 years of experience creating FDA-certified blood glucose meters and test strips. Our diabetes management tools are available without a prescription, and insurance coverage is not necessary. We’re here to give you the tools you need to maintain your health. Learn what to do for diabetes on our blog and contact us to subscribe and regain control of your health!