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Diabetes Mellitus actually means “sweet urine” -now that I have your attention!!Being diagnosed with diabetes, can be very confusing at first. It is important to take things slowly, gather information, and talk to your health care provider about what steps you need to take to get your blood sugars under control. Here are a few things to think about, as you begin your journey of diabetes

Blood Glucose Monitoring

Your health care provider will prescribe a blood glucose monitor. This is a small machine that uses a small drop of your blood to tell you what your blood sugar is. So, first you must know what a normal blood sugar is:

  • Fasting at least eight hours (fasting blood sugar level) — between 80 and 130
  • Before meals — between 70 and 130
  • One to two hours after meals — lower than 180  

Your provider will tell you how often they want you to check your blood sugar. Typically for Type 2 diabetics, I recommend you checking your blood sugar every morning – after awaking and before you eat or drink anything. This is very important, if you check your blood sugar after you eat – your blood sugars will be elevated and they should be. So, remember – check them after you wake up, but before you eat or drink anything.

Medications for Diabetes

There are a multitude of medications available for diabetes. If you are diabetic, and your provider recommends medications – then I recommend taking the medications you are prescribed. I will be talking more about how important diet and exercise are in the treatment of diabetes. But, if your diabetes is to a point in needing the medication – TAKE IT!! You can and should include a change in diet, and addition of exercise. But, until you have lost weight and your blood sugars are better controlled, the medication will help to stop and prevent future damage caused by diabetes. Usually your provider will try to manage your diabetes on oral medications, but insulin or an injectable medication may be appropriate as well. It is very possible with dietary changes, exercise and weight loss – that with time you can stop your diabetes medication – BUT only under the supervision of your health care provider.

When newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, it is important that your provider also start you on a medication class called ACE Inhibitor – this is actually a class of anti-hypertensives that is known to protect a diabetics kidney’s from microvascular damage (this is damage that diabetes can have on your kidneys – severe damage can lead to kidney failure and ultimately – dialysis). You provider will also start you on a cholesterol lowering medication. Because, very strict control of your cholesterol, helps to prevent heart attacks and strokes associated with diabetes.

It can be very frustrating for the newly diagnosed diabetic – to suddenly be placed on 3 or 4 medications in one day. There is a reason for each medication. Diabetes can cause permanent damage to many of your major organs. Early treatment and control of diabetes may save your life.

Why Is Exercise So Important In Diabetes

I think exercise is the most missed concept, when it comes to diabetes. So many Americans, especially in the south, just want “to take a pill”. Rather than making the dietary and weight loss changes, our unfortunate laziness – has caused this “just take a pill” phenomenon

When a diabetic takes part in low impact aerobic exercise, the physical activity actually forces glucose from your blood stream into your muscles. Thus, lower your blood glucose level. It also helps you lose weight, making your body use it’s own insulin more efficiently.

Remember to talk to health care provider, before starting any activity program. Always start exercise slowly, and listen to your body – if you feel dizzy or fatigued, then STOP!

If you are a newly diagnosed diabetic, take a deep breath – You can do this!!

Coming up on the next blog – The Diabetic Diet – Is There Anything I Can Eat?