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

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.

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.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) offers the following suggestions to help navigate treatment after you have been diagnosed with diabetes:

  • Create a healthcare team. Finding the right team of skilled health professionals will help you manage your diabetes and get the most out of your care. Ask your doctor to help you build a team to assist you in reaching your goals and feeling better. As part of the care management resources available to you, you may receive an outreach call from a nurse. When a nurse calls, be sure to return the call and take advantage of the services offered to you.
  • Be the star player on your team. Self-care is the best way to maintain your good health. You can help keep yourself well by eating right, staying active, taking your medicine, monitoring your blood glucose and making and keeping doctor appointments.
  • Keep a close eye on your blood glucose levels (or blood sugar). Your doctor may want you to start checking your glucose levels at home. If so, you will need a small machine called a blood glucose meter. Your health care team can help you find the best meter for your needs. Keeping your blood glucose levels in a healthy range is key to controlling your diabetes.
  • Take your prescribed medications. To help keep your blood glucose in the target range, it’s vital that you take your medications as prescribed by your doctor. If you believe you’re having side effects, be sure to call your doctor or pharmacist.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider.

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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.