What you can do right now to set yourself up for success.
Learning you have type 2 diabetes can raise all kinds of questions. What exactly is my body going through? Am I going to need to start taking meds? Will I have to change my diet or exercise habits? But maybe the most pressing question is: What do I do now?
To quell your worries and start feeling more in control, follow this action plan to not only manage, but begin living well with, diabetes.
1. Get support from your squad.
Managing your type 2 diabetes will probably mean changing your daily routine a bit, like adding in more physical activity or introducing new foods into your diet. Sharing your plans with those close to you can make your new habits stick a little easier. For example, if you prepare meals for your family, let them know they’ll be enjoying some healthier recipes and why. Or tell a close friend that you need to prioritize your exercise time, and ask to meet up for a morning workout rather than boozy brunch, for instance.
2. Curb your carbs.
Carbohydrates impact your blood sugar more than any other nutrient. That’s why keeping track of how many you consume in a day is so important for managing your diabetes. Besides bread and pasta, carbs are also in fruits, like apples and bananas; starchy vegetables, like potatoes; dried beans and lentils; soda, juice and milk; baked desserts and more. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the carb levels of common foods (this guide from the University of Michigan is a good place to start), so when your doctor recommends a daily limit, you’ll have an idea of how to stay within it.
3. Connect with others.
Getting any kind of diagnosis can make you feel isolated — like the people around you can’t relate, and vice versa. Meeting others (even through online groups) who have also recently received a type 2 diagnosis, as well as those who’ve been managing the condition for a while, can help you feel like part of a community. You can begin by asking for tips on choosing healthy foods, finding a good Certified Diabetes Educator or even suggesting a walking- or jogging-group meet-up. The American Diabetes Association can help you get connected.
4. Find discounts on medications and supplies.
A diabetes diagnosis can mean new expenses, especially if your doctor has recommended medication or insulin. For many people with type 2, metformin is a first-line drug that doctors prescribe to help manage blood sugar. Insider tip: You can get metformin for free through Blink Health, along with other commonly used prescription drugs like glyburide and glipizide at a discounted price. Blink Health has also partnered with Eli Lilly to provide savings of more than 40% on Lilly insulins like Humalog, Humalog Mix 75–25, Humalog Mix 50–50, Humulin N, Humulin 70–30, Humulin R U-100 and Basaglar KwikPen.
5. Get to know your pharmacist.
As you learn more about managing your diabetes, you’ll invariably have questions. As long as you’re not dealing with a medical emergency, your local pharmacist can be a great resource for answering questions about how your diabetes medications (and any other prescription and nonprescription drugs) affect your blood sugar. They can even show you how to use a glucometer, if you need one. A highly skilled, licensed medical professional, consider your pharmacist a valuable — and highly accessible — member of your care team.
This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911. Blink Health is not insurance. The discount prescription drug provider is Blink Health Administration, LLC, 536 Broadway, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10012, (844) 366–2211, www.blinkhealth.com