Diabetes – dealing with a new diagnosis

An estimated 1 in 10 South Africans have diabetes – and half of these individuals aren’t even aware of it!

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As with any new diagnosis, it can take a while to adjust to knowing that you have diabetes. It’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed, but keep in mind that getting diagnosed is a positive first step towards taking charge of your health.

Left unknown and unchecked, diabetes can do harm. Once diagnosed, however, you have many tools available for dealing with this common, highly manageable condition.

Useful tips and what to expect going forward:

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  • Diabetes is a serious diagnosis, but millions of people with the condition live full, productive lives when they manage it well.
  • It’s normal to find adjusting to your new diagnosis challenging initially, but you’re not alone and help is at hand. Make use of support groups, counsellors and diabetic clinics for help in guidance in understanding and managing your condition better.. Diabetes South Africa https://www.diabetessa.org.za/ is a great place to start: it’s a welcoming community with loads of free expert information, shared stories from other people with the condition, and links to support groups and resources both online and in your area.
  • Schedule regular check-ups with your doctor to ensure your condition is well controlled
  • Your doctor may recommend that you also consult with other healthcare providers such as a podiatrist (foot specialist) or an optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye specialists). A nutritionist can provide useful guidance on diabetic meal planning. Many people find it useful to see a therapist for help in dealing with the psychological impact of the new diagnosis, and in adjusting to life with diabetes.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or pharmacist questions if you’re unsure of any aspect of your medications.
  • You may experience incidents of low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia), as a result of starting on diabetic medication – so always carry a glucose-containing snack or glucose tablets with you. Speak to your pharmacist about how to recognise and manage the signs of low blood sugar.

Useful resources:

Diabetes SA website https://www.diabetessa.org.za/

Diabetes SA Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/Diabetes.South.Africa/

American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes. 2015.
Link: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/diacare/38/Supplement_1/S8.full.pdf
The Stroke and Heart Foundation of South Africa. Diabetes – how is it diagnosed?
Link: https://www.heartfoundation.co.za/diabetes/

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