If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, follow this advice from certified diabetes educator Christine Tobin, president of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association.
Take your diagnosis seriously. “Ninety-nine percent of diabetes management is done by the person with diabetes and his or her family,” Tobin says. “With the help of your health care team, you can manage this disease well and be very healthy.”
Study up. Check out sound sources such as the American Diabetes Association, which offers certified training programs across the country to help people learn how to manage their diabetes. Visit Diabetes.org or Stopdiabetes.com, or call 1-800-DIABETES for more information.
Skip the guilt. “Stop playing ‘could-a, would-a, should-a,’” Tobin says. Instead, realize that many causes of diabetes are beyond your control, and focus on the things you can change.
Keep a journal. Jot down how much you eat and exercise, and take your notes with you to discuss with your doctor. Don’t hold back, Tobin says. “This is the first step toward identifying what healthy changes you can make.”
Set goals. Keep them specific, Tobin says. For example, “I will stick to a one-inch wedge of pie for dessert” is better than “I will try not to eat too many sweets.”
Ask for support. “Good diabetes management takes time and work,” Tobin says. Don’t be shy about letting friends and family know how they can help, and encourage them to attend support classes.
Get a diabetes ID tag and wear it. If you have extreme highs or lows, it could save your life.