Just Diagnosed

It is normal to feel anxious, upset , or have questions when diagnosed with diabetes. Keep reading for more information. Remember you are not alone!

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease where the body does not use insulin properly and/or the body does not make enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is made by the pancreas. Insulin moves sugar from your blood to your cells so that you have energy to do your everyday activities. If insulin is not being used properly, or the body is not making enough insulin, more sugar (glucose) stays in your blood. This can cause complications.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Symptoms of diabetes vary from person to person. You may experience some or none. Once your blood sugars (blood glucose) return to a normal range, these symptoms will lessen or stop.

Symptoms of Diabetes include:

  • Unusual thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight change (gain or loss)
  • Extreme fatigue or lack of energy  
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent or recurring infections
  • Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Trouble getting or maintaining an erection
  • Click HERE for more information about the symptoms of diabetes on the Canadian Diabetes Association Website

What Type of Diabetes Do I Have?

Prediabetes

This is diagnosed when fasting blood sugars are over 6 mmol but under 7.

This is an indication that your body is having difficulty processing the sugar in your blood. Diet, exercise and losing weight will help to slow down or stop you from developing diabetes.

Type 1

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children or younger adults. In the past it was called Juvenille Diabetes. I you have Type 1 diabetes you must take insulin, as your pancreas no longer makes insulin.

Type 2

This is the most common type of diabetes. It is most often diagnosed in older adults but can occur at any age. In the past it was called “Adult Onset Diabetes”. If you have Type 2 diabetes your body does not use insulin properly.

Gestational Diabetes

During pregnancy some women develop high blood sugar because their body is not able to use insulin properly. This is called Gestational Diabetes. High blood sugars can affect the unborn baby. Listen to this Centre for Disease (CDC) Podcast about Gestational Diabetes.

To learn more about types of Diabetes:

Click HERE to visit the Canadian Diabetes Association Website

Click HERE to visit the Public Health Agency of Canada:

How Will My Diabetes Be Treated?

You may need to make changes to your diet and lifestyle. You may need to take one or more medications to manage your blood sugars or you may also need to take insulin. If you have Type 1 diabetes you must take insulin as your body no longer produces any insulin. See the Medications section for more details.

Do I Need To Test My Blood and How Often Do I Test?

This is a question that everyone asks. The number of times you need to test is very different for everyone. It depends on your type of diabetes, the medications that you take and your food and activity level. Many people are worried about low blood sugars when they have diabetes. For more information from our team on low blood sugars (hypoglycemia), click HERE. Your diabetes team will teach you how to use a blood glucose meter, how to test, how often to test and what the number means.

For more information from our team on monitoring your blood sugar with Type 1 diabetes, click HERE, or for Type 2 diabetes, click HERE

Click HERE to visit the Canadian Diabetes Association website to learn more about testing
For more information about funding of test strips please click HERE to visit this section of our website

Will I Have Other Tests?

Yes, you will need to have regular tests and exams in order to stay healthy with diabetes.

  1. Glycosylated Haemoglobin (HbA1C) is a blood test done at the laboratory every three to six months. This measures the average amount of sugar in your blood stream over the past three months. Click Here for more information from our team.
  2. Cholesterol profile is a blood test done at the laboratory every year. This measures the “good” and “bad” cholesterol in your blood.
  3. ACR is the Albumin Creatinine Ratio and is a urine test to detect of small amounts of albumin (protein) in the urine to assess your kidney function. This test is done at the laboratory every year.
  4. A Retinal eye exam is a test done by your eye doctor once a year. It helps identify if diabetes is affecting your eyes. If you have diabetes, there is no cost for the exam.
  5. Foot exams should be performed by a member of your health care team a minimum of once a year, or more often if you are having trouble with changes in your feet. You should perform your own foot exam every day to make sure you have no open sores.

Will I Still Be Able To Drive?

Yes. You will be asked some questions on your driver’s license the next time you renew and your doctor may be asked to complete a special medical form if you are using insulin.

Click HERE to visit the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario website for more information.

You will also need to test your blood sugar before you drive to make sure your blood sugar is not too low (hypoglycemia).

Click HERE for more information from our team. (handout on Driving Safety and Diabetes)

Now What?

Book regular checkups with your doctor, every three to six months.

Learn about diabetes with your diabetes education team

Reach out to others who are living well with diabetes for support.