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NEWLY DIAGNOSED

DIAGNOSED - NOW WHAT?

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, confused and shocked when newly diagnosed with diabetes. 

The first thing you should do when diagnosed with diabetes is research the condition. Whether you’ve been newly diagnosed with type 1, type 2, gestational or your child has been diagnosed with diabetes, you need to read further guidance related to the diagnosis. 

Gathering an overview of life with diabetes is an important first step on the road to managing you or your child’s condition. 

Articles to begin with if you’re newly diagnosed with diabetes

Newly diagnosed type 1 management  
3 min. read

Newly diagnosed type 1 management  

While you may be alarmed to hear there’s no cure for type 1 diabetes, you can rest assured the condition is very treatable. Checking your blood sugar levels and administering insulin every day is going to be your new normal, but you’ll quickly find a routine that suits your needs.  

Newly diagnosed type 2 management 

Newly diagnosed type 2 management 

The majority of people with newly diagnosed diabetes have type 2 diabetes. The good news is there are plenty of ways to manage type 2 diabetes ranging from small lifestyle changes to medication. A care pathway for newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes is a great way to help understand the disease and guide a treatment plan. 

Are you aware of cardiovascular risk?

People with type 2 diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared to someone living without diabetes. 12,13

Learn how you can reduce the risk.

Related articles about managing diabetes

Causes of diabetes 

If you’re newly diagnosed with diabetes, there’s a good chance you’re wondering how on earth you got into this situation in the first place. While there’s no common diabetes cause, there are a multitude of triggers (sometimes working together) that can lead to a diabetes diagnosis.  

Type 1 diabetes triggers:  

  • Genes 
  • Environmental factors 
  • Viral/bacterial infection 
  • Chemical toxins (sometimes in food) 

Type 2 diabetes triggers: 

  • Family history 
  • Obesity 
  • Physical inactivity 
  • Increasing age 
  • Bad diet 
  • Pregnancy 

In short, a diabetes diagnosis could have its roots in genetic makeup, family history, environmental factors and even ethnicity. 5,6

What immediate action should I take? 

No matter which type of diabetes you’ve been diagnosed with, there are certain things you can do overnight to help improve your diagnosis. 
  

  • Watch your carbs  
    Once eaten, carbohydrates are broken down by the body and turned into glucose. As a person with diabetes, you need to carefully manage your blood sugar levels and ensure they stay below a dangerous level. Managing your carbohydrate intake is a great way to do this. 7

  • Be mindful of portion size  
    A low glycaemic index (GI) diet can help you manage blood sugar levels and managing the quantity of food you eat is certainly a great start when it comes to reducing your sugar intake.  7

  • Move your body  
    Exercise is a recommended way to move glucose out of your blood and into your cells. Try to map out an exercise routine that’ll fit into your everyday life and slowly increase your physical fitness. 7,14

Alongside medication and/or insulin treatment plans, the above lifestyle changes can go a long way when it comes to managing diabetes. Always speak with your healthcare professional to ensure you’re making positive changes. 

Test your blood sugar levels

Eating less sugar, exercising more and making a conscious effort to control your portion size is all well and good, but unless you know how to test your blood sugar levels you won’t be able to track your progress. 

Blood sugar levels can be tested in several ways: 

  • Finger-prick test  
    Pierce the skin with a small needle (lancet) to draw blood for testing. 8

  • Flash glucose monitor   
    Small sensor worn under the skin that can be scanned for a blood sugar level reading.  9

  • Continuous glucose monitor  
    Small device under the skin that continuously measures your blood sugar levels and relays data to a device. 9

How a diabetes care team can help

Remember, you’re not alone! It takes a team of dedicated healthcare professionals to ensure you’re keeping on top of your diabetes, and everyone’s there to ensure you lead a ‘normal’ life.10

Going from hardly having any contact with healthcare workers to liaising with a team of professionals may be slightly alarming at first.10 Below are just some of the friendly faces who could help tailor your diabetes treatment plan:

 

  • Primary care doctor 
  • Endocrinologist 
  • Foot doctor 
  • Pharmacist 
  • Eye doctor  
  • Nurse 
  • Dietitian 
  • Diabetes educator

 

Regular visits with your diabetes care team not only helps you manage every aspect of living with diabetes but also provides a real sense of comfort knowing you’re in good hands. 

 

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References
  1. Diabetes.co.uk. Diabetes cure. Available from: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/Diabetes-Cure.html. Last accessed: May 2022.
  2. WHO. Diabetes. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes. Last accessed: May 2022.
  3. International Diabetes Federation. IDF Atlas 10th Edition, 2021. Available from: https://diabetesatlas.org/idfawp/resource-files/2021/07/IDF_Atlas_10th_Edition_2021.pdf. Last accessed: May 2022.
  4. NIDDK. Diabetes, Heart disease & Stroke. Available from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/heart-disease-stroke. Last accessed: May 2022.
  5. NIDDK. Type 1 diabetes. Available from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/type-1-diabetes. Last accessed: May 2022.
  6. NIDDK. Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes. Available from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/risk-factors-type-2-diabetes. Last accessed: May 2022.
  7. NIDDK. Diabetes Diet, Eating, & Physical Activity. Available from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity. Last accessed: May 2022.
  8. Diabetes UK. Checking your blood sugar levels. Available from: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/managing-your-diabetes/testing Last accessed: May 2022.
  9. Diabetes UK. Flash glucose monitors and continuous glucose monitors. Available from: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/diabetes-technology/flash-glucose-monitors-and-continuous-glucose-monitors#readings Last accessed: May 2022.
  10. Diabetes.co.uk. Diabetes healthcare team. Available from: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/nhs/diabetes-healthcare-team.html. Last accessed: May 2022.
  11. Mosenzon O, et al. CAPTURE: a multinational, cross-sectional study of cardiovascular disease prevalence in adults with type 2 diabetes across 13 countries. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2021; 20:154.
  12. Almdal T, Scharling H, Jensen JS, et al. The independent effect of type 2 diabetes mellitus on ischemic heart disease, stroke, and death: a population-based study of 13,000 men and women with 20 years of follow-up. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164:1422–1426
  13. Fox CS, Coady S, Sorlie PD, et al. Trends in cardiovascular complications of diabetes. JAMA. 2004;292:2495–2499.
  14. American Diabetes Association. Blood Sugar and Exercise. Available from: https://www.diabetes.org/healthy-living/fitness/getting-started-safely/blood-glucose-and-exercise. Last accessed: May 2022