Diabetes ABCs

Diagnosed with diabetes — now what?

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes, you may feel overwhelmed — and that’s understandable. But you can take steps to both ease your anxiety and get on the road to effective diabetes management.

Understand Your Condition

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which there is too much glucose in your blood because your body does not make or use insulin well.

Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause serious health problems. Diabetes can damage your eyes, kidneys and nerves, and can also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

It's important to understand your condition and how to manage it. Careful management of diabetes can reduce your risk of serious and life-threatening complications.

Diabetes ABCs

It is also important to know your diabetes ABCs:

  • A: A1C. The A1C test provides information about a person’s average blood sugar levels over the last three months. This information can not only help a doctor diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, it can also help determine if your treatment plan is working to maintain blood sugar levels within the normal range.

  • B: Blood pressure. Keep your blood pressure within the normal range. If your blood pressure becomes too high, it can increase your risk for a stroke and damage your kidneys. Although adopting certain lifestyle changes can help lower your blood pressure, medication may be needed to maintain normal blood pressure.

  • C: Cholesterol. Patients with type 2 diabetes have an increased prevalence of lipid abnormalities. In turn, they are at risk for heart disease, so it is important to keep your cholesterol within the normal range. Although adopting certain lifestyle changes can help lower your cholesterol, medication may be needed.

Your health care provider will indicate your A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol goals.

Monitoring your Blood Sugar

It is very important to monitor your blood sugar regularly to ensure your blood sugar level remains within your recommended target range. Keeping your blood sugar within the normal range prevents further damage to your body and can help your health care provider know if your treatment plan is working. If needed, your health care provider can then make any adjustments to your treatment.  

Your health care provider will recommend how often you have to check your blood sugar each day. Several blood glucose meters and testing tools are available.

Keep Your Vaccinations Up to Date

High blood sugar can weaken your immune system and put you at risk for infection. That said, it is very important to keep your vaccinations up to date. Experts recommend getting your flu shot each year. In addition, your doctor may recommend the pneumonia vaccine.

If you have any further questions about managing your diabetes, be sure to ask your health care provider.  

Review Date: 
June 10, 2016