Tips for newbies

I've been thinking back looking for the biggest things that helped me during that wonderful time just after you've been diagnosed with Diabetes. This is for the folks that just have been diagnosed to help you find your way.

1.) Wash your hands before you test. Since I stopped using alcohol wipes to clean the test site, the number of false highs has decreased by 95%.

2.) Start a Dietary Journal. Test before you eat, write down what you ate, test again two hours later. The more data you have, the better. You will find out what you should stay away from and what you need eat. The idea is to eat things that cause a "net negative" (my word, not copyrighted) in your BG readings. A 'net negative" means your BG is LOWER after you eat than before.

3.) Have a routine for eating and testing. Take your fasting reading at the same time every morning and eat your meals as close to the same time as possible.

4.) Be "bad" once a week as a reward for being good. After working hard all week on your diet and exercise routine, you deserve a treat. This also helps to control binge eating.

5.) Never beat yourself up, stay calm. Bad BG days happen. Some times it was what you ate or the walk you didn't take. Other times, stuff happens. Stress can push your BG up 100 points. Your BG will also go up when you are sick. Relax.

6.) Keep it real, don't lie to yourself. If you cheat, admit it. Don't try to justify poor choices. Do not zero out high readings on your meter so it doesn't effect your 7, 14, and 30 day averages. Its not a contest.

Thanks Jester, great points!

Thanks for the tips- I am still learning the "ropes"

I think we all are still learning the ropes :) The more we share with each other, the better we all become.

Lots of great advice here. Here's more: learn what's in your food, specifically the quantity of carbs and protein, 'cause those are the things that drive blood sugar up. READ LABELS. Learn how to estimate the carb and protein content of meals, or better still, get a scale that automatically calculates them for you. There are several out there and they are not dreadfully expensive.

If you are using meds to control blood sugar -- no matter which meds they are -- learn how much 1 gram of carb will raise your BG and how much the meds will lower it. You must know those two numbers in order to consistently balance the two against one another.

Finally, read this book:

Richard K. Bernstein, Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars, 4th ed. (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2011)

Bernstein is an endocrinologist who is himself a Type 1 diabetic, so unlike most doctors, he has skin in the game. Regardless of how much of his recommendations you do or don't choose to follow, his book will teach you more about what the disease actually is and how to control it than any other single source available.

Oh yes, echoing Jester's last comment above -- never stop learning. For two compelling reasons:

(1) It's your life (and your quality of life). When it comes to controlling diabetes, it's impossible to know too much. It sounds like a paradox, but it's true: the more you know about managing this thing, the freer you are to get on with the rest of life.

(2) Where diabetes is concerned, the state of the art is continually advancing. We are constantly learning more about it, and the tools for managing it are improving almost day by day. For example, the meds I use didn't exist when I was first diagnosed.

You mean I can't keep my "cheat meter" you know the one you never download ? Crap I thought that was my secret.

My meters won't zero out how do you do that ?

great tips Jester. I'd never "zero out" a reading, it's just a number, not a grade on how good a person you are. I like this post here, to help get back on track

so glad you're with us!

FreeStyle Lite Meters have three buttons on the front: M, C, and the goofy one that turns on the light. After you test, press and hold the M button. On the screen a little bottle appears - meaning that the readings is now considered a glucose solution test (which doesn't count against your averages). Yeah, I used to do it...

Thanks, it's probably a good thing I did not know how to do that, but this morning I woke up and felt fine, on one meter I was 62, on the next one I was 74 and on the next I was 80. Now since I felt find and not low I went with probably an average between the three, at 72 or so. It does not seem right though that one meter would be almost 30 % different from another meter.

30 % difference same batch of test strips, same finger, same drop of blood doesn't seem possible to me.

Didn't know you could do that. I don't believe my meter has the feature, but regardless, I wouldn't do it. Ditto Marie's comment above.

Anyway, being an engineer, a Type A personality, and a Bernstein disciple, I view empirical measurements as almost sacred. I wouldn't dream of fudging the records.

Wow, Clare. That's QUITE a spread. I only have two meters so I think I'll try the same test. I have tried two measurements on the SAME meter from the same drop of blood to check for repeatability, and that turned out well (1 point difference). But I haven't compared the two meters to each other. I will.