5 Things You Should Do After a Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis

It's natural to ask yourself—"What did I do?" The important part is to move past this.
If you have type 2 diabetes, you may have found out after having a major complication such as a heart attack, stroke, or diabetic coma. About one-quarter of the estimated 24 million Americans with diabetes don't even know they have it.

Or you could have experienced symptoms such as blurry vision or excessive thirst, or just happened to find out from a routine blood test during a checkup.

However you are diagnosed, it's difficult to make instantaneous lifestyle changes. Most people need to gather their wits, talk to the experts and get up to speed on a confusing array of medical terms.

But there are a few things you need to do right way.
  • Don't let the past haunt you. Type 2 diabetes is partly genetic; many people have childhood memories of grandparents or other relatives with diabetes who died after amputations, blindness, heart attacks, or strokes. A lot has changed in recent years. Previous generations had no way to test their blood sugar at home, little or no medication options, and no knowledge about the benefits of diet and exercise. You have tools to control diabetes they could only dream of.
  • Don't go on a crash anything. Moderation and consistency are crucial in type 2 diabetes. You'll learn how to eat at consistent times, limit your total calories, and space your carbohydrate intake out throughout the day. Even exercise needs to be done on a routine, because it can lower blood sugar too. "People who have wild swings in their diet or wild swings on their activity level—that actually makes it more difficult to manage the diabetes," says William Bornstein, MD, an endocrinologist at the Emory Clinic in Atlanta.

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Last Updated: October 20, 2009

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