Newly Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes

by David Mendosa Patient Advocate

Type 2 diabetes is a lot to live with, so it's understanable if you are depressed. Being depressed is pretty common, especially right after a diagnosis. But type 2 diabetes is manageable. In fact, you can be healthier and happier than ever. For some of us, the diagnosis was the kick in the pants we needed to get serious about losing weight and taking better care of ourselves. Learning about diabetes gives you power over it.

Eat less

The key to eating less is reducing your appetite, and nothing works better than avoiding high-glycemic food, like stuff made from wheat and other grains like rice and corn on a very low-carb diet. Eating fewer carbohydrates also improves our blood sugar even before we have any weight loss.

Lose weight

Losing weight is usually a good side effect of low-carb eating. Almost everyone with type 2 diabetes 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. We need to have a BMI of less than 25.

Exercise more

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. We now know that exercise can improve our blood sugar level.

Limit your stress

While uncontrolled diabetes can affect every organ of your body, your mind is the organ that controls your diabetes. When you control your stress, depression, and hostility, you can reduce your blood glucose level. Most people find that meditation helps reduce stress.

Get a little help

For most, but not all, of us this is still not enough. At least at first, we benefit from taking the pills or the insulin that our doctors prescribe. You may not have to take it all your life, once the effects of diet and exercise kick in.

Your power comes from knowing your numbers

Have your doctor prescribe a blood glucose meter, test strips, a lancing device, and lancets. In most states, if you have a prescription for them your insurance company will pay almost all of the cost. Check your blood sugar before any big meal and two hours after the first bite. The more you test, the more you will know about your diabetes.

Get regular A1C tests

Make sure that the doctor give you the tests that all of us with diabetes get, particularly your A1C level, which measures your average blood sugar over the past two or three months. The sooner you get your A1C level down to normal – below 6.0 -- the more likely you are to avoid complications.

Learn all you can about diabetes

Learning about diabetes from reading David Mendosa’s Posts and through books, which will give you even more power over the disease. One of the best books for newbies with diabetes is Gretchen Becker’s The First Year—Type Two Diabetes. Gretchen also writes about diabetes for HealthCentral.

Stay positive

Remember that you are in charge of your life, at that includes how you control your diabetes. Your doctor is there to help you. He or she works for you and if he or she doesn't cooperate, you need to find one who does. That’s all there is to it. Go for it!

David Mendosa
Meet Our Writer
David Mendosa

David Mendosa was a journalist who learned in 1994 that he had type 2 diabetes, which he wrote about exclusively. He died in May 2017 after a short illness unrelated to diabetes. He wrote thousands of diabetes articles, two books about it, created one of the first diabetes websites, and published a monthly newsletter, “Diabetes Update.” His very low-carbohydrate diet, A1C level of 5.3, and BMI of 19.8 kept his diabetes in remission without any drugs until his death.