Smart Steps to Take Control

What to do after a diabetes diagnosis

Diabetic child

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed if you’ve been told you have diabetes. The important thing to know is you can manage diabetes. Taking steps now can improve your health and prevent complications. Here’s what to discuss with your doctor.

Learn what diabetes is
Your body breaks down the food you eat into blood sugar, which becomes your body’s main source of energy. Normally, the body keeps blood sugar steady. With diabetes, your blood sugar may be:

  • Too low (hypoglycemia): This can lead to shakiness, light-headedness, or weakness.

  • Too high (hyperglycemia): This can lead to increased thirst or urination.

Left untreated, diabetes can harm your eyes, mouth, heart, kidneys, and feet. The main goal of managing diabetes is to keep your blood sugar balanced.

Review your treatment plan
Your doctor may recommend one or more strategies:

  • Medication: Ask your doctor for instructions.

  • Blood sugar checks with a blood glucose meter: Ask your doctor to walk you through the steps, including how to track your readings.

  • Quitting tobacco: If you smoke, quitting is one of the best ways to help your health. Ask your doctor about smoking cessation aids.

Talk about healthy eating
What you eat has a big impact on diabetes. Your doctor or a dietitian can help you with a plan to eat better. Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Cut back on packaged and restaurant foods.

Discuss your daily routine
Physical activity, stress, and lifestyle affect your blood sugar, too. In addition to exercise, aim to sit less and be active during the day. Get up every hour to stretch or walk for a few minutes. If you’re more stressed than usual or not sleeping well, let your doctor know.