Living with Diabetes: Practical Steps to Take Control Now

There's no need to revamp your life in one fell swoop after you've been diagnosed with diabetes, but it is important to start making gradual lifestyle changes. The things you do in the early years after diagnosis can set the stage for how well you'll manage your condition long-term. Make changes gradually so each new habit can sink in before you adopt the next one. Ready?

Diagnosed with diabetes?

You might feel overwhelmed. Don't worry: This special report offers clear, precise actions that you can take now to thrive. These tips are helpful if you've lived with diabetes for many years, too.

As you may know from experience, diabetes is managed day to day by the person who has it rather than by a health care provider. "Diabetes management is self-management," says Patti Geil, R.D., CDE, coauthor of What Do I Eat Now? (American Diabetes Association, 2009). "Individuals with diabetes manage their own condition 95 percent of the time, so knowing what you need to do is key."

Living well means focusing on seven behaviors: eating, physical activity, monitoring, medications, problem solving, coping, and reducing risks. "You won't learn everything you need to know about managing your diabetes by reading one book or having one appointment with a certified diabetes educator," Geil says. "Learning about successful diabetes management is a lifelong process."