So what do you do next, after learning that you have diabetes?
- Be informed
‘Knowledge is power’; ‘Know your enemy’. Familiar phrases that remind you not to be ignorant of your condition. Learn as much as you can to defeat your ‘enemy’ – diabetes. But glean accurate and reliable information. Your doctor is a good source. Go to reliable websites – those of hospitals and professional organizations – Diabetes Singapore, American Diabetes Association, Diabetes UK to name a few. For food choices, see a registered nutritionist or dietitian. It is worth the money and time spent to have a good foundation of food knowledge and to know what you should eat and what not to eat, rather than base it on hearsay and others’ opinions, however well-meaning!
- Be resourceful
One of the greatest developments in the 21st century has been mobile application software or apps. There are diabetes apps that help you count calories and the carbohydrate content of foods, track your calorie intake and expenditure, your physical activity, your blood glucose record and trends.
Join your national diabetes organization (Diabetes Singapore) as a member. Contact and learn from others living successfully with diabetes through a physical support group or a virtual chat group as part of responsible organization.
- Be active and make positive lifestyle changes
‘Old habits may die hard’ but lifestyle changes are essential in diabetes management. There must be motivation to change for the better. This may be for yourself – to live long and healthy, or for your loved ones – to continue to enjoy living healthily with them. Eat more healthily, make correct food choices, exercise more regularly, keep physically active, lose weight and know your target weight and ideal body weight.
- Be positive and stay calm
The tendency is to feel demoralized and depressed when faced with a chronic medical condition like diabetes. DON’T! Staying in denial or dejection is the last thing we ought to do. Get over the initial disappointment. Learn how to deal with diabetes. Talk to people who are living positively with the condition through Diabetes Singapore. Research has shown a correlation between emotional and psychological health and physical health. Keeping one’s spirits up can actually help the body continue to function well.
- Be disciplined
Be disciplined to the lifestyle changes that you have made. Evolve them into healthy habits. Be disciplined to adhere to exercise schedules. Don’t neglect your visits to the doctor, podiatrists and nurse educators. Self-monitor your blood glucose and correlate the readings with meals and exercise and medication. Share feedback with the doctor about your achievements, fears, and concerns. Committed family and friends can also help provide a support system, to help you in enforcing accountability.
All these five above-mentioned pointers are elaborated upon in Diabetes Singapore’s upcoming comprehensive course, Diabetes Care: Understanding the Truths & Myths. Delivered in 5-part series, this course will commence from 6th October 2018, and is conducted every Saturday afternoon from 2pm to 5pm. To register and find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call up 65649818.