November 08, 2011
Loriann Lomnicki Gross
If you’ve been recently diagnosed with diabetes, you may feel overwhelmed by all there is to learn about caring for yourself. But if you follow these simple steps, you’ll be headed in the right direction:
- Get informed about the type of diabetes that you have. Ask questions at your medical appointments. Keep notes so you don’t forget.
- If you are prescribed medicine, know what you are taking. Learn the basics of how it works and any side effects you might expect. Your pharmacist can be a great reference.
- If hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a possibility, be sure that you, your family and friends can recognize the symptoms. Eat regularly and carry a healthy snack with you just in case.
- If your healthcare provider wants you to monitor your blood glucose levels, test regularly and keep a log of results. Bring your log to all appointments so your healthcare team can see how your treatment plan is working.
- Eat a healthy diet to reach or maintain a healthy weight. Meet with a diabetes educator or registered dietician for a personalized plan. The “Healthy Plate” method is a great way to start.
- If your provider says it’s safe, begin an exercise program. Daily physical activity, like walking, helps bring your glucose under control and maintain it. Exercise also has many benefits for your heart, lungs, circulation and state of mind.
- Keep a wallet card or other form of medical identification stating that you have diabetes, in case of an emergency.
- Join a diabetes self management support group for advice and support from others living with diabetes. The North Shore-LIJ Health System offers a number of diabetes support groups to choose from.