Just Diagnosed with Diabetes

Updated on April 23, 2009
B.M. asks from Welches, OR
19 answers

My mother and real father have diabetes and from what I know it runs in the family quite pertinently... anyway, so I have been having alot of symptoms and just been feeling "YUCK", went to the dr and sure enough I have Diabetes... he gives me a hand full of booklets, says to monitor my blood sugar two times a day for the next 30 days and then come back to see him... no other explanation of what to do, what to watch for or anything... now Im worried, what do I eat, what dont I eat??? do I just count carbs ??? or do I have to count calories too??? please help, Im going crazy....

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So What Happened?

Wow, You ALL are wonderful... Everyone has given me great advice and insight into what is going on, what to expect, things to do and dont do... its great... Just want to tell every one of you THANKS...

I went back into see my doctor yesterday (4/21/09)... told him I had cut all soda / Sweet drinks and Starches out of my diet... it has only been less than a week but he says my blood sugar levels are great and to keep doing exactly what i am doing... he gave me some more information, much of what all of you have said and Im feeling alot better about my situation...

My husband is a Trooper... he takes my booklet of "Carb Counting" to the store with him each night when he goes for dinner stuff... he has been making sure that my dinners are exactly what I need... (he is always home from work before I am, so he does about 90% of the cooking)... between him and all of you... I am doing Great...

Again THANKS...

I will continue to update here for anyone who would like updates...

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W.C.

answers from Seattle on

See a different doctor.

Go to the website of The American Diabetes Ass. for information.

But go to a different doctor, you need more care and information.

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P.J.

answers from Seattle on

I also have been told that I have diabetes. Mine is full blown with taking insulin every night. The doctor told me that I will not have to take insulin forever.
My doctor advised me to start watching my carbs (a serving is 15 carbs).
Don't let the booklets scare you.
The American Diabetes Ass. has a web site that you can get information at.
www.diabetes.org.
This is not a death sentence.
Good Luck.

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

That is a scary diagnosis. The booklets should answer some of your questions. Did he tell you how to get a glucometer? If you have insurance you can get won w/o cost.

My dr diagnosed me with diabetes 3 years ago. My doctor what your dr did. I went back and asked to take a class. His nurse referred me to one at Providence hospital. Gresham should have a similar class. Is it Mt. Hood Hospital. Perhaps there is one closer.

I was much relieved once I'd taken the class. They gave me a glucometer and showed me how to use it. They gave me the numbers that indicate prediabetes and diabetes. I had prediabetes. I took the class and learned all that I needed to know to begin taking care of myself.

Then I changed insurance plans which resulted in a new doctor. He said I only had prediabets which means I could reverse it by eating a healthy balanced diet, exercise and lose weight even tho I'm only 20 lbs over weight. Doing all of those can prevent getting full blown diabetes. Cam also improve your health if you do have diabetes.

You can get info from the Internet but I loved the class. It was a support group too. It's much more fun to learn with other people who are having difficulties similar to yours.

Call your doctor and ask to be referred to a class. I think he'll do it.

I have never counted calories. I did count carbs for ahile until I got a sense of how much carbs different foods have. Now I focus on eating mostly non carb foods. Eating carbs just comes naturally. Exercising such as walking, jogging, playing soccer, volley ball etc. when you haven't been doing those things will help you lose weight. If you think that you are eating too many calories you can reduce those by reducing the amount of food you're eating without counting carbs. I've switched to a 9" plate, never fill it completely full and rarely have seconds. I stay away from deserts most of the time. once in awhile I indulge. If you're monitering your blood glucose levels you'll know when it's OK to splurge.

I was still frightened of diabetes. My new doctor said that as long as I kept my bg level below 200 most of the time I needn't worry. Most body damage starts after bg reaches 300. One of those booklets should tell you about bg levels. What I found missing was at what point does my body begin to damage itself.

Remember that many people live to an old age even with diabetes. My friend has not kept her blood sugar under control. It's been as high as 600 often. She's 76, has had diabetes for 20 years or more.

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E.C.

answers from Bellingham on

Hi B.,

About 4 months ago, I was diagnosed with insulin resistence (pre-diabetes) and bought a fabulous book called The Glycemic Load Diet Cookbook by Rob Thompson and Dana Carpenter. It has changed my life! I eat tons and am never hungry and have lost 30 pounds!!!! My insulin levels are back to normal and I feel fabulous. My husband saw the changes and he switched too - 16 pounds in 2 months and feeling fabulous. He had super high cholesterol levels and those are down to normal (yes, eating 2-5 eggs per day). The FDA has our food pyramid so backwards - it's crazy! I strongly suggest you get this book TODAY. Start avoiding all grainy carbs and sweet drinks - eat vegetables, but with some form of protein. You can control this! Best of luck!!!!! E.

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P.M.

answers from Portland on

Sorry to hear about your diagnosis, B.. It's kinda scary, isn't it? I learned nearly 5 years ago that I had Type 2 diabetes. I have kept it well controlled for most of that time by keeping my total carb load around 60 grams per day (your needs might be different), preferably spread out over several small meals, and exercise for at least an hour 5 or more days a week.

My doctor believes carbohydrates are much more important to control than calories are, and her advice has worked well for me. You'll do well to eat as much fiber as possible (as in vegetables), with moderate amounts of protein and high-quality fats and oils, which will help fend off hunger.

Take a long, brisk walk daily if you can, climb stairs instead of using escalators, anything you can do to increase your activity. This will lower your insulin resistance – a major factor in type 2 diabetes – and help you feel better. Losing weight also helps reduce insulin resistance.

Get yourself a good book on the topic. This is very Important! I really like The Complete Guide to Diabetes, by the American Diabetes Association. Very readable - it will put you in control in no time.

Good luck. Stay proactive, and you can probably head off serious consequences indefinitely. Depending on how advanced your diabetes is, it may also help you avoid having to use insulin. But don't be afraid of insulin if that's what it takes to help you feel better. An acquaintance recently had to start injections after years of controlling through diet and exercise, and he says he hasn't felt so good in years.

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J.B.

answers from Medford on

I would guess that he wants you to eat the way you usually do during the 30 days you are checking your blood sugar. But you should call and ask.

Some things to consider:
Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar. Stevia is a nice natural sweetener that does not effect your blood sugar. Dandelion might help.

Avoid all sugars and artificial sweeteners. Avoid white flour. Eat only whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat noodles, buckwheat, buckwheat noodles, whole wheat crackers, like Ak-mak, but don't eat alot of grains. Eat lots of veggies, especially green leafy veggies, not iceberg lettuce, eat kale, bok choi, dandelion greens (from a safe source, clean ground), cabbage, chines cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, etc... Potatoes have a high gi, so only eat potatoes with the skin, or just eat the skin.

Good luck with that. I hope you can gain control of it.

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N.Z.

answers from Portland on

That is the same answer that I got! He told me to work out and drop some weight. I gained the weight really quick, I went from an 8 last summer to a 12 by February! I can't seem to get it to budge and I'm getting tired of walking. I monitor, watch what I eat (more fruits and veggies and stay away from processed foods and sugar), walk, and drink tons of water. So far I have days that are High and days that are Low. I wish there was a way to keep things Even.
Diabetes can be so bad, I wonder why it isn't taken more seriously?

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M.B.

answers from Seattle on

B.,

As a child, my dad and I lived with his parents, my grandparents. My grampa had diabetes and did nothing with his diet or followed doc's rules so I got to know paramedics very well.

From what I know diabetes is the pancreas unable to process sugars in the body, or produce insulin. My grampa had to test his blood, and give himself insulin every day.

If you eat too much sugar you can go into a sugar high, but that is rare. The most common problem is sugar lows. That is when you can become delirious and can pass out. You need to be super aware of what, and when you eat. If you start feeling sluggish or odd try eating a snickers or life saver to get your sugar levels back up to a more normal level. Bananas are good for that too.

Hope this helps,
Melissa

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K.G.

answers from Seattle on

In whatever diet changes you make just remembert that fiber is your best friend. You do not process it, it makes you feel full longer, and it helps eliminate waste. (Drink enough water so you don't get constipated though) You have received a bunch of advice telling you different things to do, find something that works for keeping your blood sugar levels under control and that doesn't make you feel deprived and stick with it. Diabetes can be reversed but not overnight. Do not let the medicine do all of the work, makes changes to your diet, and exercise. Good luck to you.

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E.L.

answers from Seattle on

Get a copy of The Schwarzbein Principle, by Diana Schwarzbein, MD and Nancy Deville from the library or amazon. There is great information in there about diet in general. Diana was a doctor working with Type II Diabetics. Is that what you have?

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A.G.

answers from Seattle on

I had gestational diabetes with one of my pregnancies. I know your experience will be different from mine, but I just wanted to share a bit of what I learned from a dietician. First advice I would give is to go see one. I don't know if that is in your doctor's plan for you eventually, but if it isn't you should do it anyway. She put me on a diet. It wasn't about what I could and couldn't eat. It was about eating consistently and eating the right kind of foods. I remember eating protein first thing in the morning and protein before bed. I ate every 3 hours. The diet gave me kinds of food to eat at each meal, but not specifics of what I could or couldn't eat. Depending on how severe your diabetes is, or how your body reacts, you might be able to control it with diet.

My advice is to find out exactly what a portion is for the foods you eat. Make sure you are eating one portion of carbs and not 3 at a time. Also eat 6 times a day and eat plenty of protein and vegetables. You can eat some carbs, but try to make them whole grains and eat only one serving at a time and spread throughout the day.

Good luck. I hope you are able to get some more direction so you don't feel do lost and confused.

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J.C.

answers from Seattle on

OH HOW AWFUL for professionals to do this kind of -- um -- stuff --- YOU didn't go to school for 8 years - but they can be so lazy. I'm a diabetic and will walk you through what I THINK they might reasonably expect ( besides a ticked off patient!!)

Tweak your diet in these ways - but DONT be rigid or punative -- if you wait all week for ''' Friday night when we stop on the way home for an ice cream cone ''' - or whatever treat -- don't eliminate it - but make it a single scoop.
So - tweak like this:
Don't count carbs or calories but work to keep the focus on GOOD carbs ( whole fruits and whole-grain bread-type food - including rice and pasta- you may find as I do that whole grain is WAY more delicious and filling)
Keep you fat intake gently lowering - if you ususally make bacon and eggs and sweet rolls for Sunday breakfast - use the bacon ( one or two pieces) to break up over the eggs and cut the size of your sweet roll way down

What you are aiming for is GENTLY lowering your intake of oil, sugar and white pasta-rice-bread 'stuff' - and making the new customs a tolerable and even enjoyable part of your life.

I've been diabetic since 40--- and am now 64 -- it's ok - you can do it - I'm still active, functional - and plan to stay that way.

J. aka - Old Mom

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E.S.

answers from Richland on

Check at your local hospital to see if they have a or know of a diabetes support group or diabetes classes. In both settings you can get all kinds of helpful information. Also, check out the American Diabetes Association website at http://www.diabetes.org/ It has recipes, diet information, and all kinds of helpful tips and information. Best of luck to you! Diabetes runs in my family- it's not fun, but it is manageable.

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J.F.

answers from Portland on

Hi B., I am sorry your doctor was not more helpful. As an RN and certified nutraceutical consultant/Transitions Lifestyle coach I can assure you there is plenty you can do to help yourself. 30 days of monitoring your glucose level is a conservative process and standard practice to determine what your body is doing with glucose and insulin. These are two critical elements in the production of energy and gives the doctor empirical data. MDs are not trained in nutrition or illness prevention. They are best utilized for crisis intervention, if you know what I mean. Following a low glycemic index meal plan, exercise moderately and monitor your glucose are great things you can do to feel in control. Diabetes is not a life sentence. I had my gene SNPs tested and I too am lacking the genes to manage insulin and I have a higher than average chance of becoming resistant as well. There are nutritional supplements that you can take to help your body stabilize the glucose levels. I discovered them last year. You can find all of this at www.marketamerica.com/aaa4u OPC-3 is an anti oxidant 50 x more potent than vitamin c and 20 x more potent than vitamin e. I use the beauty blend that restores the elastin in my skin. Yes, no more fine lines and humor lines. woo hoo! The Transitions Lifestyle is an awesome program. I was so impressed with it I started coaching others in the system. You can do it online or join a support class. You do not have to go this alone and you should never be hungry. I do not want to start preaching but I have lost 20 lbs since January and do not feel hungry or deprived. I read the other responses and there is a common thread. Life goes on and you can be in control...... God bless you and take care. Please stay in touch if you would like more information.

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J.B.

answers from Eugene on

One other quick thing---if you're going to eat sugar in moderation, it's absolutely essential that you read the labels. Anything with high fructose corn syrup or maltodextrin should be avoided. These sugars are made from highly processed corn and are in my opinion one of the leading culprits of the diabetes epidemic. When fructose enters your bloodstream, your blood sugar rises, and insulin is released. Fructose, however, does not require insulin in order to enter cells---it enters through another pathway. So all that insulin that was released doesn't have anywhere to go, and the high levels of insulin in the blood tell your brain that you need sugar. So a cycle of sugar craving and over-production of insulin is created, and the end result is, well, not good. (Additionally, once the fructose enters the cells, it converts very easily to fat, and thus is born the obesity epidemic...) So avoid the high fructose corn syrup like the plague, focus on eating proteins and good healthy fats, and I wish you all the best!

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D.C.

answers from Portland on

Sounds like you have a bunch of advice. My mom has diabetes and we went to special classes for diabetics at providence portland just off of Hwy 84. Her doctor told her to go there. I feel that if your doctor treat you the way that you said he did, I would be finding another doctor. People have a huge misconception of diabetes. Its not that you can't have sweets, its knowing how to regulate them. These classes tell how to do that. Don't get me wrong, your diet may change. Eating more veggies and better choices when it comes to the other foods but you don't have to knock out the sweets entirely. I had diabetes when I was pregnant. I barely failed that darn test. What I found that if I wanted to have something sweet for dessert then I had to have protein for dinner. I found that out on my own. One time I ate a salad for dinner and then shared a piece of chocolate pie with my husband and my numbers where high, but then next time we went out I had some protein of some sort and then had the same amount and kind of pie and my numbers where just fine. I went to these classes as a buddy to my mom. I found them to be quite interesting. My moms insurance covered them. I really think you should look into them. Plus don't forget the walking and more exercise, but don't we all need more of that. Good luck.

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I.L.

answers from Medford on

Hi B.,
Looks like you received a lot of great advice. Mine is to go to www.webmd.com - go to the "Health Center" and click on Diabetes. They have a lot of sources and resources as well as diet and exercises information. I use this website to look up anything that has to do with health and wellness...I find them very helpful and benefical. If you are a coffee or a tea drinker...I was just introduced to a new healthy coffee that diabetes can drink without being harmful. It is Gano Excel and if you want any information on it, you can go to www.myganocafe.com/enrich and take a look at the information there.
Best Wishes to you and hope you get the information you are looking for.
I.

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M.D.

answers from Seattle on

FIrst off, don't stress out, because stressing out will just make you feel worse. I am a Type I Diabetic, meaning I am insulin dependent. Mine is also hereditary, I have been diabetic for almost 14 years and I'll be 30 this fall.

Carb counting is an easy place to start because most packages indicate how many carbs are in a serving, however, this all depends on whether you are taking insulin or monitoring your diabetes through your diet. I am someone who is completely insulin dependent and when I first started out it was before carb counting and the doctor just had me watch my portion sizes and what I ate, I have to eat a little carbs and some protein in every meal and I took insulin shots. Now I am on an insulin pump and it figures out everything for me. Such as if my carb ratio is 15, meaning for every 15 grams of carbs I eat I take 1 unit of insulin, and my sensitivity factor is 25, meaning that if my blood sugar is high I take 1 unit of insulin to bring it down 25 points, then with a pump I can plug in my blood sugar and the number of carbs I'm eating and it calculates how much insulin I need to take.

ANyway, that is confusing and probably something you aren't worried about right now. Here are some things I wish I knew when I was first diagnosed. Insulin is a hormone, so anything that affects you hormonally can affect your insulin and your blood sugars. So, periods, birth control, stress, pregnancy, etc. Also, if you do have Type I diabetes and your pancreas is failing just know that your pancreas is not functioning as it should and will slowly produce less and less insulin over the next 6 months to 2 years. Once I had been diabetic for two years my insulin needs jumped dramatically. Now, if you have type II diabetes and your pancreas simply can't produce enough insulin for your body due to weight or age, then it will be different and you may be put on a medication called Medforman (sp?) which is an insulin sensitizer and meant to make your body more sensitive to the insulin your are producing.

However, your diabetes is hereditary, so I imagine that eventually you will have to start taking insulin shots. But for now, I would read and read the information your doctor gave you. If you didn't see an endocrinologist, find one and see one. An endocrinologist can refer you to a dietician to help you learn what to eat and to better gage portion sizes for carb counting. They can also refer you to a diabetes educator who can answer all your questions. My other advice would be to take someone with you to all your appointments while you are learning about diabetes, such as your husband, another set of ears always helps me retain information and my husband always thinks of questions that I don't.

Make a routine of when you check your blood sugars, if you are checking twice a day I would recommend in the morning when you wake up (a fasting blood sugar before breakfast) and perhaps before you go to bed.

A lot of people have diabetes, so don't feel alone and there are a lot of sugar-free products: syrup, Splenda/ Equal, sugar-free ice cream, jello, pudding, cool-whip, etc. If you do out to Denny's and order french toast ask for it without the powdered sugar and ask for sugar-free syrup, they'll have it. Also, be sure to start drinking diet beverages (soda, juice, etc.) Soda is super sweet. Also, just because it is low-fat doesn't mean it is low-sugar, often low-fat products have more sugar then the regular product because they are compensating for the loss of favor from the fat being taken out, so compare nutrition labels on the sides of products.

Sorry this has become such a long post, but I wanted to give you good information and avoid confusing you any further. Just eat balanced meals, try to keep the carbs and fat low and avoid simple sugars. You asked about carb counting and the thing with carb counting is that everything is carbs, so I can eat a candy bar, I just have to take the insulin for it and the same amount of insulin I take for a candy bar could be the same amount I take to eat a turkey sandwhich, so it is all about choices because you don't want to be taking tons of insulin everyday.

Good Luck, feel free to email me if you want to talk more or have any other questions. [email protected]____.com

M.

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M.L.

answers from Seattle on

I had gestational diabetes, but ask your doctor for a referral to a nutritionalist and a dietician. They can help guide you through what to watch for and what you need to keep track of. If your doctor doesn't want to, then either find a new doctor, or start your own tracking sheet of EVERYTHING you eat. Mine had time, carbs, protein, calories, and what the item was. I found it helpful to keep track of the items by themselves instead of as a meal so I could mix and match foods easily and still know what was what.

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