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So You’ve Been Diagnosed With Diabetes: Now What?

Health Hub
Author name: Annette McClenahan, RN, Certified Diabetes Educator with Lee Health


The statistics tell a staggering story: More than 30 million Americans have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2015 and cost about $327 billion last year, the ADA states.

More than 90 percent of those with diabetes have Type 2 – caused by a combination of genetics and poor lifestyle factors. Diabetes, if left unmanaged, can lead to complications such as cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, eye and foot damage, and more.

But with all of that in mind — the most important thing you should remember? You can still live your best life with diabetes. In fact, if you know a few basic facts, where to find key information, and how to get support, you can do all the things you want to do without feeling burdened.

How does having diabetes affect me?

First of all, you have to realize that diabetes will require some changes to your routine or daily habits. That may include following a new eating plan, exercising more often, and taking medications to help lower blood sugar levels. But don’t get discouraged. Diabetes is a common condition, which means that there is plenty of support available including Certified Diabetes Educators – as well as friends and family members – to ensure that you are not alone in this journey.

Who is eligible for diabetes education?

Education is available for ANYONE who is diagnosed with diabetes. If you fall into one or more of these categories, consider attending a diabetes education program:

  • Newly diagnosed with diabetes
  • A change in your blood sugar control
  • A change in medication
  • If you’ve never had formal diabetes education classes despite having the condition for years
  • A change in health condition
  • You need a review of diabetes management skills and recommendations

What will I learn?

Educators will show you how to manage your blood sugar through a combination of diet and physical activity. You will also learn how your medications work, what symptoms to look for, when to contact your physician, and much more. The educators will also take the time to get to know you, understand your circumstances, and answer your questions.

For instance, did you know that several things affect blood sugar control besides food? You will also learn:

  • How stress/pain/health changes affect blood sugar
  • How to prevent complications
  • The effect of physical activity on blood sugar control
  • How to manage high and low blood sugars
  • How to take blood tests and understand what the numbers mean
  • Stress management techniques
  • How to make lifestyle changes
  • How to set realistic goals so you don’t get discouraged

Does insurance cover diabetes education?

Yes, it is a covered benefit of Medicare and most commercial insurances plans.

So if you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes or have had diabetes for a while and feel you could benefit from education, please reach out. The sooner you start learning, the better your diabetes management will be!

Want to Learn More?

For more information about the Lee Health’s Diabetes Self-Management Program, call 239-424-3120 or visit our Diabetes services page

 Annette McClenahan RN, CDE is a certified diabetes educator with Lee Health.

If you would to contribute to Healthy News, please contact us at [email protected]

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