There has been a lot of progress and innovation in diabetes management and there are many products out there to help you learn about and manage your diabetes diagnosis.
Whether it be prediabetes, type 1 diabetes, or type 2, having diabetes, or diabetes mellitus, can be hard. With lifestyle changes and some self-care, some are able to manage their diabetes with diet and exercise, while others have to follow a complex diabetes management plan. Diabetes education includes learning about diabetes terms, symptoms, medications, and equipment. All are important in understanding risk factors, the types of diabetes, diabetes complications, and, in general, how to lead a healthy life with your new diabetes diagnosis. Luckily, there has been a lot of progress and innovation in diabetes management and there are many products out there to help you learn about and manage your diabetes.
There are three main types of diabetes, type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. If you are unsure what type of diabetes you have, talk with your healthcare provider. Some people can have their diabetes managed by their primary healthcare provider while others need to go to an endocrinologist who specializes in diabetes care.
When you consume food and beverages, your body breaks down the nutrients and absorbs them into your blood. One of those nutrients is glucose which is a simple sugar and is essential to life. When a person’s blood glucose levels or blood sugar increases after a meal, the pancreas is signaled to release insulin. The pancreas makes insulin which is a hormone. Insulin helps the body convert the glucose in the blood into
energy which aids in everyday body functions.
When someone has diabetes, the pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or the insulin doesn’t work as well as it should. When this occurs, too much glucose builds up in the blood, increasing blood sugar levels. High blood sugar is harmful to the body in several ways.
Effects of Diabetes
If diabetes is ignored or managed poorly it will lead to other health consequences, forcing lifestyle changes to be necessary. Diabetes can contribute to conditions that affect the heart, specifically heart disease, kidneys, vision, nerves, and skin. The management of diabetes must be taken seriously. If you are struggling with diabetes management, have a serious talk with your healthcare provider, family, and friends about methods to help you with your diabetes management. Fortunately, there is a ton of ways you can receive a diabetes education and products, from whole grain foods to oral medications, to help you learn and manage your diabetes.
Products That Will Help New Diabetics
Reading is a wonderful way to educate yourself on diabetes and how to manage it. There are many great books on diabetes on the market today. Remember to always look for a reputable book and author. You don’t want to waste your time or money on a book that contains unsupported claims about how to cure diabetes.
A good book to start with for new diabetes is Bright Spots & Landmines: The Diabetes Guide I Wish Someone Had Handed Me by Adam Brown. He shares diabetes tips about diet, physical activity, mindset, and general self care. Many people who have read his book say that it was greatly beneficial to them. Note that the author is not a doctor, but is a diabetic who wrote this book to help other people with diabetes.
If you want to learn some diabetic-friendly recipes, try a diabetic cookbook. Obesity has a strong link to Type 2 Diabetes, and weight loss management with a doctor as well as healthy eating can have an effect on your experience with diabetes. There are tons of cookbooks on the market from various sources, often from dietitians, that will teach you diabetic-friendly recipes. A highly rated cookbook that focuses on
new diabetics is Diabetic Cookbook and Meal Plan for the Newly Diagnosed: A 4-Week Introductory Guide to Manage Type 2 Diabetes by Lori Zanini. If you prefer magazines, there are also several cooking magazines that focus on diabetic recipes.
Educating yourself about diabetes is essential. With the help of your health care provider, you are in control of your health and need to know how to manage your condition. Education is the first step to managing your diabetes.
- Glucose Monitoring System
A glucose monitoring system is a device used to test your blood glucose. Your healthcare provider should let you know how often they would like you to check your blood glucose. Some diabetics only have to check their blood glucose a couple of times a week, while others have to check it several times a day. The frequency of your blood glucose checks will depend on your diabetes regiment, how you are feeling, and
your provider’s instructions. If you are feeling unwell, it is a good idea to check your blood glucose, or your blood sugar levels. Oftentimes, especially with new diabetics, feeling unwell is a sign that your blood glucose is too high or too low.
Fortunately, there have been many technological advances in glucose monitoring systems and checking for hypoglycemia. There are ones that upload your blood glucose numbers to your phone and send them to your doctor. There are ones that don’t require you to prick your fingers multiple times a day. The type of glucose monitoring system you will need and how often you should check your blood glucose
will depend on your healthcare provider’s instructions. Talk with your healthcare provider to see what type of glucose monitoring system would be best for you. Talking with your insurance company may be necessary to see if they will cover the cost of your glucose monitoring system or if you will have to pay out of pocket.
- Journal or Phone App
Using a journal or app on your phone to record your meals and blood sugars can be very helpful to new diabetics. By recording and looking back at your notes you will be able to see if there are any recurring patterns or adjustments needed. This is especially important if you are starting a new medication or regiment. Having a record of your meals, your carbohydrates intake, and your blood glucose will help your healthcare provider identify if there need to be any changes to your regiment. It is also useful to record any symptoms you have while taking your diabetes medication. Some medications can cause side effects and your body needs time to get used to the medication or your provider may want to try a different medication.
- Glucose Tablets
Having low blood sugar is no joke. If your blood glucose is prone to dropping, you should carry some type of quick glucose source at all times. There are many brands of glucose tablets on the market today. These tablets are used to raise blood sugar fast when your glucose levels are too low. Having blood sugar that is too low is dangerous and can lead to losing consciousness.
A diabetes diagnosis can be very scary and daunting. Diabetes management is very important to your health and should be taken seriously. Remember that just like learning any new skill or topic, it takes time and practice. Leading a healthy life, including healthy eating and physical activity, talking to your dietitian about getting in the target range of your cholesterol and joining a support group are all great first steps. You will not be able to learn everything in just one day. It will take time to learn your body and what works best for you. For even more information, ask for a referral from your doctor or dietitian, visit the website of the American Diabetes Association, or go to diabetes.org.
About the Author
Victoria Derlin is a nurse who started her career working in acute care and now works in primary care. She is passionate about advocating for nurses and patients. In her spare time, she rides horses, reads lots of books, bakes delicious pies, and spends time with her family. You can connect with her on instagram @nurse.vicki.rn