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Just Been Diagnosed?

“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)

 
Image Just been diagnosedIf 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:

  • 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 state or territory Diabetes Australia 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.
  • Also make sure you are registered with the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS). It is free to register and provides cheap products and free services to people with diabetes. The site also has a pharmacy locator that will help you find the nearest pharmacy that provides NDSS products and services.

What you'll find here

What to Expect
Telling Your Friends and Family
Telling Your Teachers and Employers
What to Look Out For

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 Diabetes NSW’s kids and teens website.

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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 CDE 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. The Relationships section under 'Living with Diabetes' in this website might help too.

This is also a pretty intense time for your parents and carers too so it might be helpful for them to join a forum for people who look after you guys. The MuntedPancreas is managed by the Type 1 diabetes network.

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 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 testing 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.

There is more information about telling teacher and employers in the Living with Diabetes section of this website. You can also contact the Advocacy Officer in your State or Territory for further advice.

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 What to Look Out For

When something is not right with your blood glucose levels you can have a hypo or hyper.

'Hypo'

‘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:

  • weakness
  • trembling and shaking
  • paleness
  • dizziness
  • sweating
  • behaviour change – tearful, irritable
  • confusion and lack of concentration
  • headache
  • hunger
  • 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!

    You can get more details on hypos at the Diabetes Australia website.

HOT TIPS FOR… food to take for a hypo (as recommended by other young people with diabetes)

Starburst Lollies

Lifesavers

Apple Juice

K-Time Twists

Coke

Jellybeans

Sesame Snacks

Jelly Babies

Honey on Bread

'Hyper'

‘Hyper’ is short for hyperglycaemia – when you have high blood glucose levels. Signs that you are having a hyper can include:

  • thirst
  • needing to pee often
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • sore stomach
  • blurred vision
  • not feeling hungry

You can get more details of on hyper at the Diabetes Australia website.

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