You’re Diabetic, Now What?

Your doctor gave you the dreaded diagnosis. Your blood tests are in and it’s confirmed. You’re either prediabetic or fully diabetic. What is there left to do? Well you could wallow in your own self doubt OR you could take a stand and get your life in order! Let’s go with the second option and take your life back!

For starters, you can ask your doctor the list of questions from the previous post, Questions to Ask Your Doctor. Those questions can help you get started on the right path. Another thing to ask your doctor for are specialist recommendations. Just like in the previous post, Your Diabetes Care Team, you’re going to need some help from specialists, like a podiatrist (foot doctor) and ophthalmologist (eye doctor).

Hopefully, if you’re just prediabetic, you won’t need a complete team behind you. Your Primary Care Physician (PCP) might be able to prescribe you some of the usual diabetes medication, like metformin, and monitor your numbers from there.

I’m not going to lie. I wish I had been more on it with my medication when I was diagnosed as prediabetic. Sometimes, I wonder if I would be where I am today if I had taken it seriously. Take this time to rethink your life and get serious with your prediabetes before it becomes diabetes. Don’t skip any of your medications, I promise they help. I know with metformin there are some side effects the first couple of weeks, those are normal as your body adjusts to the medication. It’s not normal if it lasts beyond two weeks, consult your doctor if this occurs.

As a prediabetic, ask your doctor if they can refer you to a dietician to help you get on the right diet plan to curb your appetite and lose weight before things get serious. Losing just 10% of your current body weight can drastically reduce your chances of developing full blown diabetes.

If you’re not so lucky and you’re fully diabetic, there’s still hope. The key to diabetes is never losing hope in yourself. Believe in your own strength and seek support from others. If your family and friends don’t understand or you don’t feel comfortable confiding in them, look for support groups on Facebook. I recently joined one and I have been able to share my support with other diabetic women. We also share recipes and advice with each other. It’s a very supportive environment.

If you ever feel like you need additional support, you can always reach out to me and I’ll be one of your biggest cheerleaders.

Now that you’re diabetic, do not ever let this diagnosis and disease define you. Let this one setback show your strengths and make a difference in your life for the better. It’s a long journey to managing and controlling your diabetes, but you can do this! Remember, your Diabetic Care Team is there to support you. And while I absolutely appreciate you reading my content, don’t let this be your one-stop-shop for information. Let my content guide you to your other questions and find your own answers. I hope my content can help guide you to asking the right questions and lead you on your own path. Remember, no one knows your body better than you do.


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Questions to Ask Your Doctor

So your doctor has officially diagnosed you with diabetes. That’s pretty heavy, but don’t let this be your downfall. Let this diagnosis be the start of your amazing journey. Here are some questions you can ask your doctor to help you on your journey.

  1. What are the results of my blood tests (especially my A1C)? What was my previous A1C and what should my goal number be?
  2. What is my blood sugar target? How often do I need to test my blood sugar levels?
  3. What diet and exercise changes can I make to be healthier?
  4. Are oral medications an option for me?
  5. Could non-insulin injections help me manage my diabetes?
  6. Why are there two types of insulin (basal, or long-acting, and bolus, or rapid-acting)? Are either of them right for me right now?
  7. What is low blood sugar and what can I do to avoid a low blood sugar?
  8. Can you recommend a diabetes education program or a diabetes educator?
  9. Do I need to consult a dietician?
  10. How many times should I check my blood sugar each day?

These questions can help you and your healthcare team come up with a treatment and management plan. Knowing this information can help you come up with a plan for exercise, diet, and diabetes management.


Spread the Word

Did you like this post? Do you know someone that could benefit from it? Share it with your family and friends!

Follow the Young and Diabetic to get a free Diabetic Log download!

Use it to log your medication, blood sugar, exercise, and food every day.

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Want to see more from this blog? Take this survey to tell me what you want to learn more about!


References

Healthmonitor, Guide to Diabetes, pg. 16.

What is Blood Sugar and A1C?

Blood sugar is the main sugar found in the blood. We get the glucose from the food we eat. Blood sugar is an important source of energy for the body’s organs, muscles, and nervous system. The insulin produced by the pancreas helps to regulate the glucose in the bloodstream so that it can be stored and processed by the body correctly.

Hemoglobin A1C, also known as just A1C, is the average levels of blood sugar over a 3 month period. Hemoglobin is the part of the red blood cells that carries oxygen to the cells. Glucose attaches/binds with the hemoglobin and A1C tests are based on this attachment and show the heightened levels of glucose in the blood. This means high levels of glucose are attached to hemoglobin and in your bloodstream.

Normal people have an A1C of 5.7% or less.
Prediabetic people have an A1C of 5.7-6.4%.
Diabetic people have an A1C of 6.5% or more.

Check out this chart to get an idea of what your blood sugar should look like whether or not you have diabetes.
It’s also A good indicator to see whether or not you may have diabetes.

Glucose is fuel for your body when it is at normal levels. High sugar levels in the bloodstream erode the ability of cells in the pancreas to make insulin which can permanently damage the pancreas. This could also lead to the hardening of blood vessels.


Getting the A1C test will help your doctor determine if you have prediabetes or full blown diabetes and then counsel you on any lifestyle changes and monitor your condition. If you catch it in the prediabetes stage, you have the chance to reverse it and keep yourself away from diabetes.

I was told for two years that I was on the verge of getting diabetes. My doctor gave me multiple chances and I still didn’t listen. Now I have to work extra hard to lose the weight and fix my lifestyle. I don’t think I can fully reverse my diabetes now, but I can manage it to the best of my ability. It’s just a lot of work now.


I created a printable daily diabetic log where you can keep track of the medication you took, your blood sugar for the day, any workout you had, and the food you ate for the day. Click here to download the log and keep track of your day. I plan to come out with more printables to help keep you accountable with your diabetes, so stay tuned!


References

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease
WebMD
Live Science

Some Signs You Might Have Diabetes

DISCLAIMER: There is no true way to know if you have diabetes unless your doctor orders you a blood test that specifically looks at your blood sugar. However, this is a list of symptoms that could help alert you that something might be wrong.

Here is a list of symptoms that could indicate you have prediabetes or diabetes:

  • frequent urination – because there is excess sugar in your system, your kidneys work overtime to expel it but while the sugar is in your system, it soaks up water from all over your body causing frequent urination and leaving you thirsty
  • unusual thirst – ties in with the above symptom
  • blurred vision – high blood sugar causes the lens of the eye to swell
  • extreme fatigue – because the insulin in your body is not working properly, the sugar is not converting in to energy that your body needs to function
  • dry mouth – ties in with the unusual thirst
  • slow-healing sores and cuts – uncontrolled diabetes can affect the circulation of blood causing wounds to heal slower
  • itching of the skin – because the sugar in your blood is soaking up all the water in your body and dries out your skin
  • yeast infections – yeast feeds on glucose and likes warm, moist areas
  • numbness/tingling of the hands and feet – result of nerve damage
  • unplanned weight loss – your body is not getting the necessary energy from the food you are eating
  • nausea/vomiting – your body starts burning fat abnormally thus creating ketones, too much ketones can make you feel sick to your stomach

Sometimes you can have episodes of low or high blood sugar and it makes you feel out of it and you are not entirely sure what is going on. These lists could help you figure out which one you might be experiencing and then you can act accordingly.

Symptoms of Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

Image result for low blood sugar
  • Shaky
  • Nervous or anxious
  • Sweaty, chilly, or clammy
  • Cranky or impatient
  • Confused
  • Lightheaded or dizzy
  • Hungry
  • Sleepy
  • Weak
  • Tingly or numb in your lips, tongue, or cheeks

You might notice:

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Pale skin
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Nightmares or crying when you sleep
  • Coordination problems
  • Seizures

When experiencing a low blood sugar episode, take a couple glucose tablets, drink 8oz of juice or soda, suck on hard candy, or take a bite of a candy bar. Try to get your blood sugar up, but not too high.


Symptoms of Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)

  • Heavy thirst
  • Blurry vision
  • Peeing a lot
  • More hunger
  • Numb or tingling feet
  • Fatigue
  • Sugar in your urine
  • Weight loss
  • Vaginal and skin infections
  • Slow-healing cuts and sores
  • Blood glucose over 180 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl)

If you are already diabetic and you have a glucose meter with you, check your blood sugar to make sure whether you are high or low.

There are a lot of signs that could indicate you may have diabetes. I hope this list helps to lead you in the right direction. If you can catch it while it is still close to under control, there is a better chance that you will be able to get it under control and a chance you could even reverse it before it gets serious.

If you have any of these symptoms and you are suspicious that you have diabetes, call your doctor and set up an appointment. Do not let your doctor talk you down, this is your body and you want to make sure it is healthy. Better to be safe than sorry.


Related Content

What is Diabetes?


References

WebMD
Medical News Today

What is Diabetes?

The most basic definition of diabetes is “a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine.”

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps glucose from food be better absorbed into cells to be used for energy.

Blood glucose is the body’s main source of energy and comes from the food that is ingested.

Diabetes affects the insulin the body produces and its ability to absorb the glucose from the blood and transform it into energy for the body. Either the body does not produce enough insulin for the amount of glucose in the blood or the body does not produce any insulin at all.

There are different types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, gestational, and prediabetes.

Type 1 is when the body does not make insulin. The immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Insulin injections are required every day to stay alive.

Type 2 is when the body does not make or use insulin well. The body may still be able to produce insulin but the body has developed resistance against the effectiveness of the insulin and the blood glucose is not absorbed efficiently.

Gestational diabetes develops in some women during pregnancy. These women did not previously have diabetes. However, if not treated properly, it could become Type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes occurs in people who are at serious risk of contracting Type 2 diabetes. They are showing signs of diabetes and if not taken cared of in a timely manner, will become Type 2. Most times those with prediabetes do not know they are at risk and they do not consult their doctor and change their lifestyle resulting in a confirmed diagnosis of Type 2 that may or may not be out of control.

If you do not know the signs of prediabetes, you might not know you have it until it is too late. It is very important to know what prediabetes looks like. I will do a post at a later date about the signs of prediabetes.


One of the last pictures I have of my dad, when I graduated from high school in 2012. Also one of our last family photos before he passed away.
Last family photo before my dad passed away.

Who is most likely to develop Type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes typically develops in men and women over the age of 45, there is no gender disparity. Diabetes does not always care about how old you are or what gender you identify as, it will get you if you do not take care of yourself.

It can also develop in those who have a family history of diabetes. For instance, my dad got diabetes when he was 18 years old, both my grandmas got diabetes in their older age, my dad’s sister got diabetes around the age of 20, and my cousin was born with Type 1. Diabetes is a big chunk of my family so I was not completely surprised when I was diagnosed. BUT at the same time, my younger sister does not have diabetes at all. She is a lot more active than I am but she eats way more sugar than I do.

Diabetes also develops in those who are overweight. I was obese for my height, age, and gender, so it was no surprise. My dad had been pretty hefty at 18 years old, too. Likewise, my sister is basically a muscular twig so she might evade the disease a little longer than myself.

However, do not let this give you a false sense of security. If you do not take care of yourself and watch what you eat, diabetes will get you.


How does diabetes affect your body?

Diabetes itself is just the fact that your insulin cannot do its job sufficiently for whatever reason, but diabetes can really affect your body and lead to many health problems, such as:

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • kidney disease
  • eye problems
  • dental disease
  • nerve damage
  • foot problems

In my experience, diabetes is not a direct cause of death, but it can really screw up the body and weaken it to many other diseases and issues that can kill you. We do not know the exact cause of my dad’s death, but we know that had he not been diabetic, we could have had twenty more years with him. He died at the age of 43.


Related Content

Some Signs You Might Have Diabetes


References

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease