What I Wish I Had Known When I Was Diagnosed with Diabetes

Diagnosed with diabetes, now what? If you or someone you know has just been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s normal to have a lot of questions and emotions. It can be helpful to get insight from others who have gone through the same diagnosis, to know that you’re not alone, and to help you adjust. 

It’s okay to be sad

Unexpected or not, receiving a health or medical-related diagnosis changes your life to some degree. Many people impacted by a chronic illness experience an array of feelings from the diagnosis and resulting changes to their lives. This may include anger, sadness, denial, and frustration, among others. 

It’s important to remember that your experience is unique to you and your feelings are valid, but that you’re not alone. Anything you feel about your diagnosis, including wondering how you can be diagnosed with diabetes, is normal and okay. 

Technology is evolving all the time 

While a diabetes diagnosis is new to you, it’s not a new condition. This means that the results of decades of research can help you find the best ways to manage your diabetes and improve your experience. 

Thanks to significant advancements in technology, now you can monitor and regulate blood sugar in ways that are minimally invasive and more convenient. The DigiVibe device makes finger pricks almost painless. These will continue to advance and improve over time. 

Blood sugar monitoring will become second nature 

If you’ve never had to check, monitor, or manage your blood sugar, this can feel incredibly daunting. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or even scared to begin the process of blood sugar monitoring as well as its management. You will figure out what works best for you and is sustainable as part of your daily lifestyle. 

For many people, this means checking their blood sugar at the same time every day. Over time, you’ll also determine typical trends in your numbers, including what you need to do to help manage them, and as symptoms of low or high blood sugar.

Food and exercise are not the enemy

Two of the biggest influencers on your blood sugar numbers will be what you eat and how physically active you are. It can be frustrating to experience how different types or amounts of foods can spike your blood sugar and how exercise can cause it to drop. 

While this will take time to get used to, you will develop a keen awareness of the diet and exercise habits that make you feel best. Both nutrition and physical activity are essential pieces to leading a healthy lifestyle as well as managing your diabetes. Fueling your body well and moving regularly are key to maintaining steady blood sugar levels.

It’s more than sugar and carbohydrates 

While having diabetes is often associated with eating sugar and carbohydrates, it’s much more than that. Diabetes requires a whole-lifestyle approach, not a practice of just avoiding candy and starches. 

In fact, you can still eat many, if not all, of the same things you have always eaten. You just have to learn how they affect your blood sugar and make them a part of an overall healthy diet. 

Diabetes is about understanding the relationships between your blood sugar and all aspects of your lifestyle. This includes your hormones, exercise habits, nutrition, and general wellness, as they all play a role.

A support system is non-negotiable 

While your diabetes experience is unique to you, this doesn’t mean you’re all alone, nor should you feel that way. You may not know anyone else who has diabetes and could better relate to what you’re going through. If that’s the case, seek out a community that can.

You can find diabetes support groups both in-person within your local community and virtually. Seek out groups online designed to help newly diagnosed and individuals who are seasoned in diabetes management. 

These may be located anywhere in the world, but you can connect with them immediately online. Your neighborhood or city should also offer diabetes support groups that you could attend in person. 

You need to be your own advocate, too

There may be many experts on diabetes as a disease, but you’re the only expert on your body. You’re responsible for making and attending doctor’s appointments, making sure you have all of the necessary equipment, and managing your diabetes day by day. 

Get informed about diabetes as a condition and also how it impacts you and your life. Know the signs of high or low blood sugar and what works best for you to treat yours. If you’re given advice that doesn’t feel right to you, speak up and ask for what you truly need.

You can have a fulfilling, normal life 

Being diagnosed with diabetes can change your life, but it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t do all the things you intended to do before your diagnosis. Developing diabetes can feel like a setback on plans at first, but once you figure out how to best manage your condition, you will be able to move forward normally. 

Diabetes cannot take away your personal or professional goals, so don’t give it the power to do so.
What happens when you are diagnosed with diabetes isn’t entirely out of your control. While it’s normal for a new diabetes diagnosis to stir up emotions and questions, being informed, aware, and empowered to take action are critical components for success. Remember some of these words of advice if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with diabetes recently.