I have recently been diagnosed with diabetes. What should I do?
Being diagnosed with diabetes can be unexpected and shocking. However, in today’s day and time, there are many ways available to manage and control diabetes that allow you to lead a normal life.
Learn about diabetes and your type
The first thing you need to do after being newly diagnosed with diabetes is to find out the type of diabetes you have and make sure you get enough knowledge about it from your medical team.
- Type 1 diabetes: A situation that occurs when the immune system destroys the insulin-making cells in the pancreas, thereby causing an insulin deficiency in the body. There is currently no cure for Type 1 diabetes, but the condition can be managed with the help of medications and changes in lifestyle.
- Type 2 diabetes: It is a long-term condition wherein the body cannot use insulin properly, leading to a state of high blood sugar levels that might harm the body’s organs.
- Gestational diabetes: It occurs because of high blood glucose levels in mothers during pregnancy. This type of diabetes usually develops between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy and goes away after the baby is born. However, the woman might develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
- Pre-diabetes: Sometimes, the blood glucose levels might be high but not high enough to be considered as diabetes. This is known as pre-diabetes. It is crucial to take this seriously for efficient management of blood glucose levels.
What do you do after you have found out the type of diabetes?
Move and exercise
Regular exercise and movement are one of the best ways of losing weight and thus controlling type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association suggests that a person with type 2 diabetes should:
- Indulge in at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise throughout the week.
- Complete two or three sessions of resistance training, on consecutive days of the week.
- Try to move around throughout the day as much as possible and avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
- Try not to avoid any sort of physical exercise for over two days in one go.
After being diagnosed with diabetes, the first step is to include diabetes meals in your new lifestyle. However, there is no standard rule for a diet that can apply to all diabetics. Some general guidelines to keep in mind are:
- Eat a variety of food rich in nutrients: whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.
- Time your meals that are good for diabetes evenly throughout the day.
- Don’t overeat.
- Try not to skip meals when you’re on medication.
- Go for smaller food portion sizes.
- It's crucial to restrict your carbohydrate intake in your diabetes friendly meals.
Among macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fats), carbohydrates have the highest impact on blood glucose. Therefore, it is important to cut back on carbs when following a diabetic diet plan.
Lo! Foods provide super delicious food delivery for diabetic patients that are 60-80% lower on carbs. These diabetes meals are one of the best ways of enjoying your favourite delicacies, with no worries about carbs and blood sugar levels.
Apart from lifestyle and dietary changes, medications might also be required by diabetics for controlling blood sugar levels. Some of the most common drugs prescribed are:
- Metformin (Fortamet, Glucophage)
- Pioglitazone (Actos)
- Saxagliptin (Onglyza)
- Sitagliptin (Januvia)
- Canagliflozin (Invokana)
- Glipizide (Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL)
Can I put my newly diagnosed diabetes into remission?
By following proper steps towards changes in lifestyle, yes you can!
What is meant by Remission?
A situation where HbA1c are below 48 mmol/mol (<6.5%) for more than a year without taking any medications, is called ‘partial remission’ and when the fasting glucose levels are less than 5.6 mmol/L for more than a year without any medications, it is called ‘complete remission’.
Losing weight for people with type 2 diabetes is the most effective way to control blood sugar levels and put diabetes into remission. Multiple ways through which this weight loss can be achieved while on diabetes include:
- It requires a person to consume less than 800 calories per day.
- Studies have shown that low-calorie diets are very effective in helping people lose weight and put diabetes into remission.
- However, it is difficult to survive and thrive on such low calories in the long term and it may not always be the best option for certain people. Therefore, it is advised to start with very low-calorie diets only after a detailed discussion with your healthcare provider.
- Bariatric surgery, popularly known as weight-loss surgery, is advocated for obese diabetics. It makes the stomach potentially smaller and allows fewer meals to be eaten thereafter.
- Gastric bypass surgery, especially, has shown significant results in putting diabetes into remission.
- This is, however, a surgery that involves great risks. The person undergoing this surgery has to ensure rigorous care after the surgery and usually needs to take nutrient supplements for the rest of his/her life.
- These diets reduce the number of carbs going into the body, which helps reduce weight and the insulin requirement of our bodies.
- Keto diets are one of the most effective ways of ensuring the right protein and fibre intake in your body while maintaining a low carb intake.
- Lo! Foods is India’s Largest Cloud Kitchen that provides well-formulated, fresh and delicious keto meals right at your doorstep so that you can switch to a healthier lifestyle hassle-free.
The bottom line
Being diagnosed with diabetes is an overwhelming affair, but educating yourself about how it works can help reduce anxiousness about the process. After gaining proper knowledge about your medical condition, it is also important to perform regular blood sugar testing and follow-up consultations with your medical team to ensure consistency in treatment.
Type 2 diabetes can be put into remission if certain lifestyle changes are followed strictly and losing weight is one of the most crucial steps among them. It promotes remission and can be achieved through low-calorie diets, low-carb and ketogenic diets, as well as bariatric surgery.