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Learning that you are diabetic is very scary. Your life suddenly becomes all about insulin, blood glucose levels and depriving yourself of the foods you love. While it may be very overwhelming, there are things you can do to prepare yourself and make managing diabetes a not so scary event.

1. Understand what’s causing your blood sugar level extremes. By learning exactly what is going on with your body, you can better treat it. Study the pancreas and how it normally regulates glucose levels by releasing proper levels of insulin. Recognize what happens when that level is compromised and you become susceptible to blood sugar problems. Knowing will help you take better care of yourself.

2. Make physical fitness your new priority. Exercise is crucial to a diabetic; hunger and metabolism may be very difficult to stabilize, which means your weight will be very difficult to control. Adding exercise to the equation assures you of at least some regulation and manageability. Get your doctor’s approval for an exercise routine and stick to it always.

3. Know what foods are dangerous and what you can enjoy. Even for people without diabetes, understanding food labels and what all the information means is nearly impossible; make it a point to become an expert in this area because you have to. It’s not a simple matter of being allowed this and denied that, you’ve got to know what goes into everything and how it’s prepared and preserved. Your best bet is organic and whole foods and avoiding processed items with sugar, sodium and fats. Read labels carefully.

4. Know what the danger signs of glucose spiking are. Too high up or too far down can both knock you off your feet and threaten your life if not addressed; both can sneak up on you before you realize what’s happening. That’s why prevention by regulation is so important. If ever you feel light-headed, dizzy, disoriented or nauseated, immediately stop what you are doing and have something healthy to eat or drink then check your blood glucose levels. As quickly as they soar out of control they can be brought back to normal, however; incidents like this can be a real danger sign, and your doctor should be notified immediately. If you don’t feel right, call 911.

5. Be an active member of your health care team. Don’t just do what the doctors and nurses tell you; ask lots of questions. Tell them your concerns and ask for valuable literature you can take home with you. Being a contributing member of the team will make everyone else’s work easier and more successful. Always indicate how you are feeling and what impact treatment is having on you.

6. Always take your medicine(s). Once your body adjusts to taking insulin, you are basically dependent on it for glucose regulation. You may think that because you lived without synthetic insulin for so long that it’s okay to skip or delay a dose: wrong. Take it religiously without exception. Dose it properly and store the medicine according to instructions. Never underestimate the importance of timely injections.

Once you get over the initial shock, you’ve got to get down to the business of managing your diabetes. Use these tips to fast-track your way to success and healthier living!

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