I've Been Diagnosed With Diabetes... Now What?

Diabetes diagnosis is life changing, there's no way to sugar coat it, as it were. But that doesn't mean that it's a change for the bad and all downhill from here. The initial days around diagnosis are incredibly confusing, because the likelihood is that you've been feeling poorly for quite some time. You've probably been experiencing the symptoms of extreme thirst, going to the toilet frequently, feeling incredibly tired and may have lost weight too, but not knowing what was causing them. So now you know what the problem is, there's an element of relief. But there are also so many questions, ranging from what diabetes actually is, to what will the future be like now? Well, let's start at the beginning...

Type 1 diabetes happens when the pancreas stops producing the hormone insulin. It does this, and I stress, NOT because of anything that you've done. We don't know what causes the body to attack its insulin producing cells, but it has and that's why you've probably now been told that you will need to have insulin injections and or medication. Insulin is important because it acts as the key to unlocking the cells that help us make energy, as it pushes the glucose from the food we eat that gets into the bloodstream, from there and into the cells.

Which leads onto why you've been told your diet might need to change. Now this is not to say that all foods are now off limit, it means being clever and informed about the food choices that you're going to be making. Although all foods are important, and a balanced diet is key for everyone, with diabetes or without. Carbohydrates will become a big focus as far as diabetes management is concerned, because the different things that we eat containing this macronutrient can have different effects on blood glucose levels.

You might be feeling a little bit afraid of these 'hypos' that have been mentioned, and they are to be taken seriously. It's important to know what the symptoms of a hypo are, and to always carry a sugary drink or glucose tablets with you for emergencies. Regular blood glucose testing, in my opinion, is the key to knowing what's going on with blood glucose levels.

Another fear that I had personally when I was diagnosed was telling people. There's nothing to be ashamed of with having diabetes, which is important to remember. But when you're diagnosed it's almost as though you need to rediscover who you are, because in some ways you're not the person that you were before. You'll find that you have more strength than you ever realised was possible, which relates to the question of what the future might hold for you. I hope that the future will be everything that you hoped it would be before diagnosis, if not to make you even more driven and motivated to succeed than you were before.

The people that you meet in the future, and tell that you have diabetes will for the most part understand and in my opinion will take their queue on how to respond to it, from you. There may be people who don't understand, but that's just people in general, some are good, some are not so good. But if you can get having diabetes right in your own mind, then just take a deep breath and move forward, and past them. I think everybody may cope with the shock of diabetes diagnosis in their own way. But what served me well then, and continues to be my outlook now is very much just taking it one day at a time. It feels like a long way off now, but those days quickly turn into years as you learn to manage your condition and before you know it you'll be at a point where you can encourage others through their diabetes journey.

Every journey starts with the first step


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Meet The Author

My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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