1.5 million people will be diagnosed with diabetes this year.
Look—we know it can be hard to hear that you have diabetes. You feel overwhelmed and confused. You ask yourself, “What now?”
Well, the good news is you have a community to fall back on. You don’t have to maneuver this by yourself. You have the support of countless others who have felt the same shock. Your diagnosis is simply the first step. There are ways you can manage your diabetes—through diet, exercise, medical support and emotional help. Dig in. Take action. And know that we have everything you need to help you live a long, healthy life surrounded by people who know exactly what you’re going through.
Getting started with type 2
To use glucose as energy, your body needs insulin. But with type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use it well—and your body’s cells can’t use glucose for the energy it needs. When glucose stays in your blood, it can cause serious problems.
While there is no cure for type 2 diabetes, there are ways to manage your condition—through a balanced diet, an active lifestyle and (in some cases) medicine.
Take your medicine
Medicine can be another key to managing your type 2 diabetes. Work with your doctor to see what medicines can help you keep your blood sugar in your target range. Some people take both pills and insulin or insulin by itself. If you’re starting new medicines, ask your doctor, pharmacist or diabetes educator the following questions:
- How many pills do I take?
- How often should I take them, and when?
- Should I take my medicine on an empty stomach or with food?
- What if I forget to take my medicine and remember later?
- What side effects could I have?
- What should I do if I have side effects?
- Will my diabetes medicine cause a problem with any of my other medicines?
Living with type 1
If you have type 1 diabetes, it means that your pancreas does not produce insulin. It requires monitoring your blood sugar and administering multiple daily insulin injections with a pen, syringe, or a pump.
If you’ve just learned you have type 1 diabetes, know that you have an array of tools at your disposal to help you manage it. Finding ways to manage your blood sugar levels, managing your insulin intake, diet, exercise, and working with your diabetes care team can help you feel healthier and help you stay on top of your condition.
Remember, millions of people live healthy lives with type 1. Find others with type 1 and ask them what they do to stay healthy. You may be curious about an insulin pump, and find someone who uses one. You can get tips and tricks that will make life just a little bit easier.
The important thing is to share your feelings with those around you and don’t feel shame in asking for help. Reaching out is key to living a vital life with type 1.
Type 1 Self-Care Manual
Calling all types: eat well and move
No matter if you live with type 1 or type 2, diet and exercise are two of the most powerful tools you have. Not only do they help you control your blood sugar, but they can mean the difference between feeling run down and feeling great.
New diets can feel restrictive and there is no one-size-fits-all diet. While you need to make changes in what and how much you eat, you have access to plenty of guidance. Start with an ADA-approved cookbook and remember to:
- Eat a variety of foods, including vegetables, whole grains, fruits, non-fat dairy foods, healthy fats, and lean meats or meat substitutes
- Try not to eat too much food
- Try not to eat too much of one type of food
- Space your meals evenly throughout the day
- Avoid skipping meals
Another part of living a full and healthy life with diabetes is being active. No matter what you do or how you approach it, know that any type of physical activity helps lower your blood sugar. Other benefits of physical activity include:
- Having more energy
- Relieving stress
- Keeping your joints flexible
- Lowering your risk for heart disease and stroke
- Feeling great
Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have questions about which activities are right for you. Some types of good physical activity to consider include:
- Aerobic activity (walking, biking, swimming)
- Being active throughout the day (taking the stairs instead of an elevator)
- Strength training (lifting weights or using resistance bands)
- Flexibility exercises (stretching and yoga)