David Mendosa's Advice for Newbies

Patient Expert

Follow David's tips for living with diabetes.

Sorry to hear that you have joined us! Type 2 diabetes is a lot to live with, but it is really manageable! And if you are depressed, I can understand. Being depressed is pretty common with us, especially right after a diagnosis.

In fact, if you take care of yourself, you will be healthier and happier than you ever were. That paradox is something many of us experience.

Controlling diabetes may not be easy, but the list of things that you need to do is a short one:

  1. Exercise daily. Most of us prefer to walk. But for people with leg problems, swimming may be the best alternative. You almost certainly have a nearby health club that you can join.

  2. Eat less. Eating fewer calories improves our blood glucose even before we have any weight loss. And losing weight is usually a beneficial side effect of eating less. Almost everyone with type 2 diabetes (myself included) is overweight. I know how hard it is to get down to the right weight, but every pound you take off gives you better control over your diabetes.

  1. While uncontrolled diabetes can affect every organ of your body, your mind is the organ that you can use to control your diabetes. When you control your stress, depression and hostility, you can reduce your blood glucose level.

  2. For most, but not all, of us this is still not enough. Take the medicine or insulin that the doctor prescribes. You may not have to take it all your life, once the effects of exercise and diet kick in. But your doctor will almost certainly prescribe it now to help you get your blood sugar in control.

The first steps after diagnosis are straightforward:You need to get a good doctor --if possible an endocrinologist--a doctor who specializes in diabetes.

  1. Have the doctor give you the tests that all of us with diabetes get, particularly the A1C, which measures your average blood glucose level over the past two or three months. Have you had that test yet? What was the number? Knowledge of these things will give you power over your diabetes and help to lift your spirits.
  1. Have your doctor prescribe a blood glucose meter, test strips and lancets. In most states, if you have a prescription for them, they must be covered under your insurance policy. Test as often as the doctor says to--or even more if you can afford more strips. The more you test, the more knowledge you will gain. That will give you more power.

Knowledge about diabetes is power:

Having diabetes means that your body doesn't do a good job of using the food you eat because of a disturbance of carbohydrate metabolism. It's those carbs that raise your blood glucose levels.

You can't eliminate carbs from your diet, but you can eat those foods that have slower acting, i.e., lower glycemic carbs. The concept of the glycemic index is the most important and exciting area of nutrition to learn about. The glycemic index is a scientific system of measuring how fast a carbohydrate triggers a rise in circulating blood glucose--the higher the number, the greater the blood glucose response. You can find the most complete list of glycemic indexes on my Web site, David Mendosa

That's all there is to it. Go for it!