If I've just been diagnosed with diabetes, what do I need to know?

Sherrie Pierce, DNP
Nursing Specialist

Every family will react differently depending on their relationships, their coping skills, their spirituality and their knowledge of the disease. Reactions will also be different depending on the relationship to the person with diabetes. Are you the child, spouse, parent or sibling? All these relationships have different meanings and require different levels of involvement in the management. The age of the person with diabetes will also affect the reaction to the diagnosis. A child or elderly family member will require more assistance to manage their disease. The important thing for those with diabetes and their family members to remember is that although the disease can be challenging it is not a disaster.

Depending on your family, you can expect different responses to your diabetes and different levels of enthusiasm for helping you work toward your diet and exercise goals. Some may partake wholeheartedly, looking at this as a team effort. Other families or family members may resent making changes when they aren’t even sick. You need to find the approach that works best for you. In some situations, you may be better off if you go it alone.

If you've just been diagnosed with diabetes, you need to know the kind of diabetes that you have. In this video, Ronald Tamler, MD, clinical director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes Center, explains why this diagnoses is important.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.