When newly diagnosed with diabetes, most people find themselves in a state of shock. However, being diagnosed with diabetes doesn’t prevent you from leading a ‘normal’ life.
There are stories on the Diabetes Forum from people who have had all sorts of experiences when being diagnosed.
Most people receive great care from their GP and healthcare team, although some people report having just been given some tablets and been told to get on with it.
If this happens to you, make sure your doctor finds time to discuss your condition with you, or refer you to someone who can answer your questions better than they can.
No matter what your experience is when being diagnosed, the Forum is full of people who understand what you are going through because they have lived through it and been in your shoes. Feel free to bring up any topics or questions there and the community will do their best to help you out.
What type of diabetes do I have?
If you know the type of diabetes you have, read further guidance related to your diabetes type:
You will know that diabetes means that your blood has higher amounts of glucose/sugar in than normal.
However, you may have other questions about why this is the case and how diabetes will affect you.
- Our guide on what is diabetes will help to answer some basic questions.
- Read about the causes of diabetes and the effect of diabetes on the body
- Want to know how diabetes could affect your daily life? Read our guide on having diabetes
Understand your diet
The diet you have may depend on your diabetes type.
If you’ve been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you will need to be aware of how much carbohydrate is in meal times in order to balance your insulin doses.
Many people with diabetes find carbohydrate counting courses to be very helpful, with the DAFNE course receiving particular praise. Ask your doctor about the possibility of being put on carbohydrate counting course.
Diet can help people with type 2 diabetes to better manage diabetes. NHS diet advice has received a certain amount of criticism from diabetes patients over a reliance of the diet on carbohydrate; however, some NHS practices appear to be better than others.
Book a place on a diabetes education course
For type 1 diabetes, as mentioned above, the carbohydrate courses are very helpful.
For type 2 diabetes, a range of diabetes education courses exist, which help you to manage to your diabetes, whilst also providing the chance to meet others with diabetes.
Ask your doctor about the chance to join one of these courses.
Understand your medication and treatment
Not everyone with diabetes goes straight onto medication, but it is quite common to.
Make sure your health team have answered the following questions:
- When should I take the medication?
- How much should I take?
- Which side effects are expected?
- How do I treat or deal with any common side effects?
- Will the medication interact with any other medication I am taking?
- How does your surgery’s prescription service work?
Know your health numbers
Diabetes sadly means we have an increased risk of health complications developing. The development of complications is often linked with high blood glucose levels over a number of years in combination with high blood pressure and/or cholesterol.
It is estimated that around 35,000 deaths a year in the UK can be attributable to diabetes – about 1 in 20 of all deaths.
It is advisable to understand the part that blood glucose levels, blood pressure and cholesterol plays and take note of what the health targets for each of these are.
Get support from others with diabetes
Having support from others who know what it’s like to have diabetes can be very reassuring through the early stages of diabetes.
Join in on the Diabetes Forum and share your experience with thousands of others who are going through similar things.