Whether you’ve just learned you have diabetes or have had the condition for years, there’s always more to learn to help you better manage your diagnosis. In doing so, you’ll reduce your chance of developing the serious complications that accompany diabetes, including heart disease, dental disease, eye disorders, kidney disease, nerve damage, and lower leg amputation.
Before developing type 2 diabetes, most people have prediabetes, meaning their blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Prediabetes is common; 1 in 3 US adults have it, though more than 80% don’t know they do. The good news is that you can take steps to help reverse the effects of prediabetes. The key to managing your condition is not letting it progress to type 2 diabetes which often includes lifestyle modification, including healthy eating, increasing activity, and weight loss if indicated by your provider.
Additionally, following up regularly with your primary care provider for annual exams and labs to monitor your progress is recommended. If you develop any early signs of diabetes, including increased urination, blurry vision, or increased thirst, it is important to contact your provider for follow-up.
If your condition does progress and you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, there are actions you can take to help. To understand and accept life with this new diagnosis, it is essential to learn all you can about diabetes and how to manage it. Here are a few brief tips on doing just that:
- Adapt Coping Skills. Reach out to your local diabetes educators or experts to learn ways to deal with stress, manage your time, and make the personal and emotional adjustments required to keep yourself healthy and well.
- Join Diabetes Support Groups. Find out what managing diabetes is all about and how you can lean on your community to help each other. Resources are available both for your physical and emotional health. Southwest Health has a Diabetes Support Group focused on educating the community about managing their condition with rotating guest speakers focused on different self-behavior for the management of diabetes, including- healthy eating, physical activity, and medications.
- Never Stop Learning. There are many ways to continue learning about diabetes and how to live a healthy life with this diagnosis. There are resources online and community outreach programs available with expert contributors to teach you more ways to live a full life with diabetes.
- Set Limits. Controlling your diabetes will take time and energy, especially in the beginning. So, don’t over-commit when it comes to extra activities and the demands of others. Learning to set boundaries for yourself will allow you more time to focus on your new diagnosis.
- Talk with Family and Friends. Find sources of support in the people around you, including family, friends, and community members. As mentioned above, diabetes affects many people in the US. People around you either live with the condition or are family members helping support them. If you start talking about living with diabetes, the people around you may start to feel comfortable talking about their condition.
Please join Southwest Health every 3rd Wednesday from 1 – 2 p.m. to learn more about managing and living with diabetes. Our diabetes experts are eager to help people around southwest Wisconsin learn about diabetes. Education helps everyone live better. Southwest Health’s Diabetes Education Nurse, Sandy Andrews, and Dietitian Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Katelyn Schobert, are hosting the Diabetes Support Group focused on educating the community about managing their condition. There will be rotating guest speakers focusing on different self-behaviors for the management of diabetes, including- healthy eating, physical activity, and medications and preventing complications.
To join the group, simply meet in Southwest Health’s 2nd floor Eastside Conference Room through the gold entrance at 1450 Eastside Road, Platteville, Wisconsin, 53810. No registration is required for this event.
“Education is empowerment. Discussing challenges and successes with others builds the confidence necessary to live healthy and well despite a chronic condition and its potentially serious complications. We encourage you to learn all you can about managing this condition as you can live a healthy life with diabetes.” Says Southwest Health’s Diabetes Education Nurse Sandy Andrews.
Don’t hesitate to contact your primary care provider if you would like a referral to Southwest Health’s Diabetes Education Program. Contact our Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist at 608-342-4709 for questions.