Newly Diagnosed Diabetes: What To Know

Being newly diagnosed with diabetes can be confusing. 

It can be daunting. 

It can be downright scary. 

But one thing is certain: with the widespread prevalence of diabetes in today’s world, you are definitely not alone. 

If you or someone you know has been newly diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, read on to learn more about what this means and what you can do about it.

What is diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes 

Type 1 diabetes is when your pancreas either doesn’t make insulin or makes very little of it. Insulin helps blood sugar to enter your tissues’ cells so that they can use the sugar for energy. Without insulin, sugar cannot go from the blood into the cells. This causes sugar to accumulate in the bloodstream.

Type 2 diabetes 

Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, your body has an impairment in the way that it regulates and uses sugar as fuel. This causes blood sugar to be too high.

What is considered new-onset diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes 

Type 1 diabetes is when fasting blood sugar is higher than 7 millimoles per liter on two separate tests. The onset of type 1 diabetes can be very sudden.

The most common symptoms of new-onset type 1 diabetes are polydipsia and polyuria. Polyuria is frequent urination, whereas polydipsia is increased thirst. Other common symptoms that signal the new onset of type 1 diabetes include polyphagia (increased hunger) and weight loss. 

Type 2 diabetes

A doctor diagnoses type 2 diabetes using hemoglobin a1c. A hemoglobin a1c of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates diabetes.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include the following:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow healing sores
  • Frequent infections

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What happens after being diagnosed with diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes

If you have type 1 diabetes, you require insulin to live. This means that you will need to take it every day, either by injecting it or by using an insulin pump.

You will also need to monitor your blood sugar levels to ensure that you stay within your target range. Your health care team will help you understand what that target range is and how to stay within it. 

Type 2 diabetes 

Your doctor may recommend medication. It might take some time for you to find the right medicine and dosage. 

You will usually need to change your diet and increase activity levels. You will also need to go for type 2 diabetes checkups regularly. Additionally, you should be on the lookout for certain signs to avoid other health problems that may occur.

What should I know about newly diagnosed diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes

The most important thing to know if you have newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes is when to take insulin. Insulin helps to prevent blood sugar from going too high. Take insulin if your blood sugar is above the healthy target range. 

You may also need to take insulin before doing anything that can make it rise, such as the following:

  • Drinking juice
  • Drinking milk
  • Eating
  • Drinking soda
  • Drinking energy drinks

Some other things that can increase your blood sugar levels include: stress, seasonal allergies, and colds or flu.

Type 2 diabetes

You will want to test your blood sugar levels in order to identify patterns. Think of your glucose meter as a sort of compass. Test before and after things like meals and exercise. 

Knowing your blood sugar levels before and after these events can show you how they affect your glucose regulation.

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Lifestyle changes to make after a diabetes diagnosis

Type 1 diabetes 

The most important changes you can make are related to nutrition. You’ll want to eat three balanced meals at the same time each day. Do not skip meals, and watch your portion sizes. 

Consume foods and drinks that don’t contain sugar. Eat foods that are low in sodium and fat. Limit high-fat foods such as deep-fried or fast foods. 

Type 2 diabetes

Nutrition

Be sure to get plenty of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. Opt for non-fat dairy and lean meats. Limit foods that are higher in sugar and fat. Keep your carb intake minimal and keep it consistent from one meal to the next.

Exercise

Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. An active lifestyle like this can help control diabetes by lowering your blood sugar.

Exercise also has additional benefits, such as reducing your risk of heart disease, helping you to lose weight, and easing your stress.

Managing diabetes

Type 1 diabetes

It is crucial that you take your medications as your doctor recommends. Identify the fact that you have type 1 diabetes by wearing a tag or bracelet. Always keep a glucagon kit nearby, just in case you experience a low blood sugar emergency. 

Type 2 diabetes

Schedule an annual physical exam and regular eye exams with your doctor. It’s also important that you keep your vaccinations up to date. This is because high blood sugar can weaken your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to infectious diseases.

Take good care of your teeth since diabetes increases your risk of acquiring more serious gum infections. You will also want to do a daily check of your feet. Look for any blisters, cuts, sores, redness, or swelling.

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Coping tips and support

Type 1 diabetes

Diabetes can have an impact on your emotions. 

This can actually happen from a physiological standpoint since poorly controlled blood sugar can cause behavioral changes such as irritability. 

This can also happen from a psychological standpoint. You may find that you resent your diabetes diagnosis from time to time.

It can be helpful to talk to other people with type 1 diabetes. There are both online and in-person support groups out there. You’ll find that fellow group members often know about the latest treatments and may share their own experiences and useful information. 

Type 2 diabetes

In order to cope with type 2 diabetes, you may need a good support network. It is common to have anxiety and depression when you have diabetes. 

You may feel like you need support coping with the lifestyle changes or stressors that occur with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Talking to a counselor or therapist can be helpful with this.

Support groups are also a great source of information on diabetes. They can also provide emotional support and other helpful information, like how to find local resources.

If you are interested in this kind of support, your healthcare provider may be able to recommend a group in your area.

Can newly diagnosed diabetes be reversed?

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that usually has an earlier onset. You cannot reverse type1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes

Fortunately, type 2 diabetes is reversible! There are several studies and evidence reviews that confirm this.

how to reverse type 2 diabetes

Lower calorie intake

One study found that reducing your calorie intake can reverse the abnormalities of diabetes (3).

The study found that modifying the diet helped to normalize the function of beta cells and liver insulin sensitivity. Beta cells are in the pancreas and are responsible for producing and releasing insulin to help manage blood sugar levels.

If you are overweight, this excess weight causes your beta cells to work harder in order to produce enough insulin. 

Over time, your beta cells can no longer sustain this and can’t function properly. So this study helped to show that having lower calorie intake supports weight loss, which then improves the function of your beta cells.

Low-calorie diet and carb restriction 

Another review confirmed that eating a low-calorie diet and carb restriction can also help reverse type 2 diabetes (1).

The authors of this review also highlighted the importance of further research in this field. They stated that new methods are needed, as society can no longer afford the increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes.

Weight loss

An additional review discussed how weight loss can induce the reversal of type 2 diabetes (4). This review found that weight loss and its maintenance can provide long-term stability of beta cell function. Keeping beta cells in balance is important for managing diabetes.

Dietary modifications

Another study looked at 30 people between the ages of 20 and 65, all of whom had a type 2 diabetes diagnosis for a minimum of six years (2). They were all either overweight or obese. 

The intervention group lost at least 15 kilograms due to their dietary modifications! After one year, almost half of the participants reached remission to a non-diabetic state. In fact, they didn’t need to take their diabetes medications anymore!

This study confirms that dedication to dietary changes can help in the reversal of diabetes. The reason weight loss works for this is because it helps you to lose fat and improve the function of the pancreas. When fat builds up, this interferes with pancreatic functioning and therefore causes an increase in blood sugar levels.

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How To Reverse Type 2 Diabetes contains complete diabetes diet and exercise plans. This, therefore, makes it the definitive guide to reversing type 2 diabetes and achieving type 2 diabetes remission.

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Conclusion

You should now have a better understanding of the type of diabetes you have been newly diagnosed with, whether it be type 1 or type 2. You now know what usually happens after receiving this diagnosis and what kinds of lifestyle changes you can make. 

Additionally, you are now armed with information on how to manage your diabetes, as well as tips for how to cope with it and find any support you may need.

If you have type 2 diabetes, you now know that you are not at the mercy of this condition. You do have control here. It is reversible. 

With diet and lifestyle modifications, you really can turn your health around and put your type 2 diabetes into reversal or remission.

If you have been newly diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, speak to your health care provider. They will be able to provide you with more knowledge and resources that can help you through this time. But most importantly of all, know that you are not alone and that there is a community of people out there just like you willing to help you through this.

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Sources

  1. Hallberg, SJ; Gershuni, VM; Hazbun, TL & Athinarayanan, SJ. (2019). Reversing type 2 diabetes: A narrative review of the evidence. Nutrients. 11(4), p.766. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6520897/
  2. Lean, ME; Leslie, WS; Barnes, AC; Brosnahan, N; Thom, G & McCombie, L. (2018). Primary care-led weight management for remission of type 2 diabetes: an open-label, cluster-randomised trial. The Lancet. 391(10120), pp.541-51. https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(17)33102-1.pdf
  3. Lim, EL; Hollingsworth, KG; Aribisala, BS; Chen, MJ; Mathers JC & Taylor, R. (2011). Reversal of type 2 diabetes: normalisation of beta cell function in association with decreased pancreas and liver TG. Diabetologia. 54(10), pp.2506-14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3168743/
  4. Taylor, R & Barnes, AC. (2019). Can type 2 diabetes be reversed and how can this best be achieved? James Lind Alliance research priority number one. Diabet Med. 36(3), pp.308-15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30378706/

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