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Senior woman is having doctor's visit at her home.

You've Been Diagnosed with Diabetes. Now What?

By Sue Ridder, BSN, RN, CDE September 25, 2020 Posted in: Diabetes Care

Now is a great opportunity for you to take a look at this disease as something you can live with, and how it can actually make you healthier because you're going to have a different focus on diet and exercise now. For me, being diagnosed with diabetes, it drew me more to think, “How can I have a healthier diet?”

Diabetes Can be Helped with Diet and Exercise

Part of the answer being to eat more fruits and vegetables and drink more water. It helps me to remember my focus on exercise, because exercise burns blood sugar; get out and be active! If you've never had an exercise routine before, now is a great time to start. Go ahead and take the walk around the block, or go for a walk over your lunch hour. If you really want to join a gym, do that! Find something you enjoy; the best thing you're going to do for yourself is to be active in something that you enjoy doing. If you're someone that only drinks soda, stop drinking soda, stop drinking juices, and stop drinking sugar-sweetened drinks. Start drinking more water!

Schedule with a Diabetes Educator

The next thing I would encourage you to do is to schedule an appointment with one of the Diabetes Educators. We can help put this all in perspective. It can be really hard when you're only getting information from various websites, or getting information from your aunt, uncle, neighbor and everyone's telling you what you can and can't do. Find a trained educator that will be able to put that together for you. We can make this something you can live with.

Why Do I Need to Test My Blood Sugar?

Many people diagnosed with diabetes ask why should I test my blood sugar? For me, I don't think I really know how I feel unless I test it. I look at testing as kind of speedometer. You don't really know how fast or slow you're going unless you're actually looking down at the speedometer. You can be driving in traffic, and believe that you're going the speed limit, but actually when you look down you recognize that you might be going 10, 15, even 20 miles an hour over the limit. You felt fine because everyone else was driving that speed. The same can be said for your blood sugar. We get used to how we feel on a day-to-day basis, and if we don't test our blood sugar we may not even recognize that our numbers are higher or lower than they’re supposed to be. Testing is a great way to keep yourself honest, as well as to give you the great information when you're succeeding and the exercising and your diet are really paying off.

How Often Do I Need to Test My Blood Sugar?

For most people with diabetes, testing once a day is all you need to do. Find the best time of day for you. Providers like to see a variety of tests, for example first thing in the morning and also 1 to 2 hours after a meal. However if you feel like you can't get that done, at least get testing in once a day when it fits in your life. This is a disease you will have for the rest of your life, so we want this to be something you can feel successful in!

For more information or to schedule an appointment, reach out to our CHI Health Diabetes Education team.

Sue Ridder, BSN, RN, CDE
Sue Ridder, BSN, RN, CDE

Sue Ridder, BSN, RN, CDE has been with CHI Health since 2005 and spent part of her nursing career as a psych RN. Currently Sue works in the primary care clinics to provide diabetes education to patients and their loved ones in their medical home. Her true passion is helping people to identify and use their strengths to set and achieve their wellness goals.

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