Elements to consider when managing a type 2 diabetes diagnosis

A diabetes diagnosis can be overwhelming but you can manage diabetes to have a long and active life.

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If you have just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (T2D), you might feel overwhelmed with the news and may be looking for answers. Learning that you have a chronic disease can be very frightening.  However, you are not alone in this. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a little over 10 percent of Americans have T2D. The good news is that diabetes can be controlled and managed in such a way that you can have a long, productive and active life.

One important element to consider when working with any chronic disease is to keep a positive attitude. While you are responsible for managing your diabetes, remember that there are people who know how to treat it and will be there to help you. Your health care team may include your doctor, nurse, dietitian, diabetes educator and pharmacist.

As important as your health care team is, your support group, your friends and family, are also an essential part of the process of dealing with diabetes. Having good communication with those close to you is vital. They can help you with the day-to-day tasks that are necessary to take care of your diabetes. The use of “I” messages is an effective way to communicate your feelings and needs to those close to you without sounding defensive or blaming.

Choosing what to eat and being physically active are also important elements when managing diabetes. Do not feel discouraged. Every little step towards making healthy lifestyle changes helps. Remember that you do not need to do it all at once. Start from where you are and set small, achievable goals. This might mean starting with a five-minute walk once a day or adding one serving of a non-starchy vegetable into your diet every day, and increasing each week. These small steps are likely more achievable than trying to change all at once. After you are successful with one small change, then add another. You will get there!

When searching for information about diabetes, look for reputable, non-profit organizations such as universities and government websites. The American Diabetes Association and the Joslin Diabetes Center are two good sources of information for someone who has recently been diagnosed with diabetes. Both of these sites have detailed information on topics such as what to eat, how much to exercise, medications and more.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH) website from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) encourages four steps to managing diabetes for life:

Step 1: Learn about diabetes.

Step 2: Know your diabetes ABCs.

Step 3: Learn how to live with diabetes.

Step 4: Get routine care to stay healthy.

Finally, it is important to take medications as prescribed, to check your blood glucose levels if advised by your doctor and to go to your appointments. For the best diabetes care, always check with your healthcare team. For more information on diabetes programs, visit the MSU Extension webpage on diabetes.  


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