If you have just been diagnosed with diabetes, this could be a very troubling time. You probably have tons of questions and no idea of where to begin. If you’re lucky, you have a doctor who is prepared to give you all the information you need to deal with your diagnosis and manage your disease. However, if you are like many newly diagnosed patients, you’ll get some basic information about your prescription, and you’ll be pretty much on your own concerning everything else.
There are a lot of excellent diabetic resources in the internet, including the American Diabetes Association, the National Diabetes Education Program, and the Centers for Disease Control. However, until you can take the time to review these resources, here are some things that you need to know about your new diagnosis:
1. It’s not the end of the world:
Diabetes is a serious disease that can have serious complications if not treated properly. For example, diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease, and stroke. However, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to die any time soon. In fact, your chances of survival have increased significantly because you’re getting treatment. Also, thanks to advances in diabetic treatment, people are living longer and healthier with the disease than they have in the past.
2. Pay more attention to your feet:
Having diabetes means that you will now have to think about things that never might have occurred to you before. For example, diabetics are prone to numbness in their feet and hands. This means you will be more likely to injure your toes without realizing it. Another issue is that the diabetes could cause circulation problems, especially in the feet. Those circulation problems could lead to poor wound healing. The combination of poor wound healing and infection is one of the major causes of gangrene in people with diabetes.
To preserve the health of your feet, you should wear well-fitting, close-toed, shoes to protect them from injury. Additionally, check your feet before bed every night to make sure you don’t have any cuts or other injuries. You should also wear diabetic socks to encourage blood flow. Learn more about the role these specialized socks play in diabetes foot care at diabeticsocks.com.
3. Sugar is sometimes your friend
Diabetics are often advised to avoid foods that are high in sugar, and with good reason – these foods can cause your blood sugar levels to spike, and that sugar can damage your nerves and blood vessels. However, there will be times when sugar can actually save your life. If you accidently take too much insulin, your blood sugar can actually drop so low that it can be life-threatening. When that happens, you must have sugar on hand to counteract the effects of the insulin. Drug stores sell glucose tablets specifically for this purpose, but you can also use hard candy, juice boxes, and even regular sugar packets.
You will need to carry a diabetic kit with you, so you can administer your insulin whenever and wherever you need to, make sure that kit also has some kind of emergency sugar.
4. You’ll have to screen your other drugs:
Some prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and even dietary supplements can affect your blood sugar. For example, Albuterol (the active ingredient in the asthma medicine Ventolin) can raise your blood sugar, while aspirin can cause it to drop. Before you start your diabetes treatments, you should consult a pharmacist with a list of the drugs and supplements that you are currently taking; to make sure they won’t affect your condition or interact with your diabetic medications.
If you do find that some products will cause a problem, ask the pharmacist about alternatives for the over-the-counter drugs, and consult your physician about replacing any prescription medications. Do not continue taking the over-the-counter medications, and consult your physician before you continue taking the prescription medications.
5. You’ll need to keep everyone in the loop
To get the best care possible, you will need to start seeing a doctor who specializes in diabetic patients. However, you will probably continue to see your regular doctor for your general needs. You need to make sure that both doctors are aware of your prescriptions and treatments, to reduce the risk of drug interactions and other complications.