Q:  I was just diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Now what?

A:  Don't panic. Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can be an upsetting and difficult, so it's important to reach out to a health care professional to ask questions and learn about your disease. Your health care provider (HCP) will prove to be an invaluable resource in helping you learn about diabetes and how to take care of yourself.

It's important to understand how to manage your diabetes because once a diagnosis is made, you are at a higher risk of developing other serious conditions such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and blindness. Although there is no cure, by working with your HCP you can develop a treatment plan that significantly reduces these risks and allows you to live a long, healthy life.

Many patients believe that they will have to give up all their favorite foods, especially sweets, when they are diagnosed with diabetes. This is not necessarily true. While nutrition does play an important role in managing diabetes, it's important to work with your HCP to determine what foods you can eat and in what amounts you can have them.

Since all patients have different nutritional needs, you and your HCP can develop a meal plan including healthy food choices, as well as some of your favorites foods.

Getting more physical activity is another tool that has been shown to help control diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels. Walking, jogging, and even dancing or swimming are all heart-healthy activities that help lower blood pressure, control cholesterol, and relieve stress.

Another key component in properly managing diabetes is blood glucose monitoring. When you are first diagnosed with diabetes, your HCP will help determine your target blood sugar goals and will tell you how often you should test your blood sugar throughout the day. It is important to keep accurate records of your blood sugar results so that your HCP can review them to determine if the current treatment plan is working.

Many patients can find the thought of testing their blood glucose everyday overwhelming. In time though, testing your blood sugar will become part of your daily routine. There are many meters available today that are designed to meet each individual's needs. Some are even small enough to fit in your pocket. These meters allow you to test anytime, anywhere. The test strips also take a very small amount of blood, which makes testing virtually pain-free.

It's important to seek support from your friends and family during this time. These are the people who can support your decision to make healthy choices and lifestyle changes that will positively impact your health.


Teri Sasse, RN, is the Director of Professional Marketing for Home Diagnostics, the makers of the world's smallest blood glucose meter TRUE2goTM. Also a Diabetes Educator, Sasse specializes in the education of people and professionals on treatment options for diabetes. Her past job experience involves educating newly diagnosed patients in the hospital setting and following up with their care in the home setting, offering support and guidance in their daily decision making skills. Teri has a masters of science degree in adult health specialty and has been a registered nurse for 25 years.