Just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?
“BREATHE! It can all get a bit too much, but hey, people have lived through this and managed it, and you will too!” (Ruth, age 25)
“I had all these emotions at different times but mostly I was scared and not knowing if I was doing things right.” (Anonymous)
If you’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes you might be feeling upset, angry, scared, shocked and confused. Don’t worry—these are normal reactions to being told you have diabetes. Most young people with type 1 diabetes never forget the day they were diagnosed, and it often takes a while for it all to sink in.
Remember help and support is available and you are not alone, and:
- Make sure you are registered with the NDSS. It is free to register and provides cheap products and free services to people with diabetes. There is a pharmacy locator that will help you find the nearest pharmacy that provides NDSS products and services.
- There is a Diabetes Australia office in each state and territory that can help and support you and let you know about local activities and events. You can become a member of your local diabetes organisation. Membership provides access to many valuable services and benefits available only to people who pay an annual subscription fee to be a member of the Diabetes Australia organisation in their state or territory.
What to expect
“It is going to be hard at first, lifestyle changes may not be to your liking, etc. But soon you can really feel the difference that being healthy makes. A new habit takes less than a month to form, but can last a lifetime”. (Holly, age 18)
Managing type 1 diabetes can be challenging at first. You will need multiple daily injections of insulin and blood glucose tests. You’ll also need to carefully calculate your diet and physical activity to make sure you aren’t eating too much or too little of certain foods like takeaway food and soft drinks, and that you regulate your glucose levels when exercising.
You may find that you react in many different ways to your diabetes. There are times when you’ll feel that you have this diabetes thing beat and other times when it may be quite overwhelming. Only you will know what it is like and how you feel on any given day. Your health professionals will tell you what you need to do to manage and treat your diabetes, but be prepared for times when you just think ‘I can’t do this’. Always remember that while you will have some good and some bad days, there are people who can and want to help you.
For more information on the treatment and management of diabetes visit as1diabetes.com.au.
Telling your friends and family
One of the hardest things to do may be telling your friends. There can be confusions and different ideas about diabetes. Your doctor or diabetes educator should be able to give you advice about how to tell your friends… but only you can decide when. Friends can be great sources of support and fun which is important. Read more about relationships.
Telling your teachers and employers
It is important that your school or work knows that you have diabetes—if only because you may need to inject yourself, take extra breaks for food and checking or one day you may have a hypo and need to rest and recover from it.
While not compulsory, it is advisable to declare your diabetes to your employer. If you don’t, you may not be eligible for workers’ compensation.
What to look out for
When something is not right with your blood glucose levels you can have a hypo or hyper.
‘Hypo’ is short for hypoglycaemia—which means low blood glucose levels. When your BGLs drop you might find yourself with some of the following symptoms:
- trembling and shaking
- behaviour change—tearful, irritable
- confusion and lack of concentration
- numbness around lips and fingers
It’s important for you (and your family, friends and colleagues) to recognise the signs of a hypo and be ready to treat it. If you ignore the symptoms, you could have a severe hypo where you become unconscious. This can be life-threatening if not treated quickly!
|Starburst Lollies||Lifesavers||Apple juice|
|Sesame snacks||Jellybabies||Honey on bread|
Read more in our fact sheet Managing hypoglycaemia.
‘Hyper’ is short for hyperglycaemia—when you have high blood glucose levels. Signs that you are having a hyper can include:
- needing to pee often
- sore stomach
- blurred vision
- not feeling hungry
You can get more details about hyper on the Diabetes Australia website.