Managing newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes involves building a health care team, learning about diabetes, and making new choices to support your health.
As we all go through the twists and turns of life, we know that taking on something new requires a fresh mindset and plan—and managing Type 2 diabetes is no exception.
If you're newly diagnosed, your doctor may recommend a management strategy involving a diet of healthy foods and exercise, either alone or in combination with medication, depending on your specific needs.
A new diagnosis may seem daunting, but it's nothing to fear. By taking certain steps and with the support of your medical team and loved ones, you'll become acclimated to life with diabetes in no time.
Step 1: Consult with Your Team
You don't have to go it alone when you're newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Surround yourself with experts, like a well-informed primary care physician and endocrinologist, who can provide you with information about your disease and help you devise a treatment plan that's perfect for you.
Type 2 diabetes can affect other areas of your health besides blood sugar, and your diabetes doctor may be able to make referrals for specialists accordingly, such as ophthalmologists, podiatrists, or cardiologists.
Registered dietitians and certified health and wellness coaches can also provide support and specialized knowledge to help you make the lifestyle changes necessary for newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes management. Additionally, your local Rite Aid Pharmacist can provide details about any new prescriptions and supplies you'll need for treatment, like a Rite Aid TRUE Plus Glucose Shot for treating hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Step 2: Take a Deep Breath
Getting used to this new aspect of your life and all that comes with it may take some time. That's why discovering healthy methods of stress management—and utilizing them—is so important when managing a new diagnosis.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), mind-body therapies such as meditation and yoga can have positive effects on your physical health when done in combination with your prescribed treatment plan.
Emotional and physical stress can wreak havoc on blood glucose levels, so finding a way to manage your emotions will encourage overall well-being for your mind and body, too.
Step 3: Get Cooking
Reducing or eliminating processed foods and calorie-loaded drinks is a great way to make an initial change when optimizing your diet for Type 2 diabetes management. Next, incorporate a variety of fresh whole foods with fiber, protein, and healthy fats into your new balanced diet. These foods will help you stay full longer and keep your blood sugar in the designated range.
Resources like Harvard's Healthy Eating Plate can act as a road map for putting together your meals. Additionally, consider calling on the guidance of a registered dietitian to create nutritious, fun meals you'll love to cook and eat.
Step 4: Catch Some ZZZs
Being well-rested is too often viewed as a luxury only some of us can afford, but getting the proper amount of sleep actually plays an essential role in metabolism and glucose management.
Interruptions to the circadian rhythm—your body's natural clock—can result in sleep deprivation and an interruption in your body's ability to utilize glucose efficiently. So if you've been newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, getting a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night should be on your list of healthy habits to adopt.
Step 5: Take a Walk
Speaking of healthy habits, exercise is an important part of any diabetes management plan as it helps your body use insulin better, keeps your heart healthy, among other benefits.
The ADA recommends incorporating about 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week. Get started with an activity that feels safe and manageable for you, such as a walk around the block. If your doctor recommends weight loss as part of your diabetes management plan, physical activity will help with that, too.
As you get used to managing Type 2 diabetes, call on your loved ones to join you in your healthy lifestyle modifications. Their camaraderie and encouragement will provide a foundation of support as you make sustainable lifestyle changes for your health—one shift at a time. And as you age and your needs evolve, make it a routine to revisit your diabetes management plan and adjust accordingly, so you can continue to live your best and healthiest life.
By Samantha Markovitz, NBC-HWC
ADA Diabetes Spectrum, Mind-Body Therapies in Diabetes Management
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Health, Healthy Eating Plate
Everyday Health, Type 2 Diabetes: Why Sleep Quality Matters
American Diabetes Association, Fitness: What We Recommend
These articles are not a substitute for medical advice, and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise, or medication regime.