We recently polled our customers to share their best advice for living with diabetes. Read below the advice we received from our customers to help guide, inspire, and encourage you to live your best life with diabetes.
Sharon, living with diabetes since 2008
Advice: Get organized, just keep swimming
Jen, living with diabetes since 2016
Advice: To know it gets better and truly does become part of your new normal. Lean on Friends and family but be patient with those that are uneducated or have misconceptions.
KC, living with diabetes since 2014
Advice: Read Think Like a Pancreas by Gary Scheiner to get the accurate picture on this crazy disease.
Theresa, living with diabetes since 1992
Advice: Listen. Ask questions. Don’t be discouraged by the amount of info you are expected to take in.
Heather, living with diabetes since 2005
Advice: Do your best, but don't beat yourself up over highs or lows. They will happen. Correct for them and move on.
Deborah, living with diabetes since 2011
Advice: It will feel overwhelming, but it will become a part of life! You will probably find that taking care of your diabetes equates to an overall healthier way of living. Keep your head up and strive for the best!!
Heather, living with diabetes since 2005
Advice: Do your best, but don't beat yourself up over highs or lows. They will happen. Correct for them and move on.
Kristen, living with diabetes since 1994
Advice: If I had to pinpoint a "diabetes downfall" from my past, it would be overwhelming frustration when I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing, and still had days where my blood sugars were not where they should be. Approaching 30 years of diabetes -- you might do the same exact things to days in a row and get different results. But don't give up! That is really the nature of diabetes, in my experience. IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S THE BETES. Share with your medical team what is going on and learn on them when you're frustrated.
Kayla, living with diabetes since 2001
Advice: Don't get discouraged! It gets easier though your blood sugars won't always be perfect. It won't always make sense. But it's OK. Just adjust and move on.
Brenner, living with diabetes since 2013
Advice: Take it day by day and sometimes hour by hour. You can take on anything even if that means a few extra minutes of prep for and a couple extra supplies.
Christina, living with diabetes since 2002
Advice: Follow your doctor's plan
Pat, living with diabetes since 2010
Advice: My best advice is it will take some time to be comfortable with managing the condition but stay positive and use the technology that is available. Dexcom CGM is great. Use the technology that is available to help you manage the condition. Dexcom, Omnipod etc.
Shelley, living with diabetes since 1994
I wish you all the best and I hope you make some amazing friends on your journey.
Marcela, living with diabetes since 1998
Advice: A mix of emotions came over me when I was first diagnosed. One of the most prominent ones being feeling overwhelmed by all the information being given to me and all the new things that I had to do to stay alive. It took a lot of patience to understand just how insulin and nutritional choices played with my body and then how hormonal changes added a layer of complexity, especially as a teenager. With the help of a great team of diabetes educators who helped fine tuning insulin needs, along with using the advanced technology that has been made available today, have been game changers with the amount of time I spend in range! My greatest advice is to not be afraid of try new technologies, treatments, and ask for help! Diabetes is a heavy burden that can lead to feelings of being burnt out. Use all your resources. In addition to your traditional endo and diabetes educator, also acquire a mental health provider to add to your diabetes care team. Lessen your load where you can. It is a marathon that lasts a lifetime. Keep up your care to keep body, mind, soul healthy.
Elizabeth, living with diabetes since 2008
Advice: My best advice to newly diagnosed type 1 children (since I was diagnosed at age 10) is to don’t let your diabetes overwhelm you and to keep on top of your Insulin needs. Always remember you can do anything and be anything even though you live with Type 1 diabetes. Educate others as you grow up and live a full life.
Lisa, living with diabetes since 1977
Advice: Find a skilled nutritionist and a certified nurse educator who can teach about both carbohydrate counting and the former ADA Exchanges so you can leverage this knowledge to best manage your blood sugars. Learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes and then try to learn from them so you can control your blood sugars tightly. Try to then keep your HBA1cs below 6.5% with infrequent BG below 70 and above 170.
Nicole, living with diabetes since 2011
Advice: It will get better - just take it one step at a time. Find someone who has been down the road before to ask questions to and slowly build up your confidence and knowledge. Don't feel like you must have it all right now - you've got this!
Madelyn, living with diabetes since 2001
Advice: You are not alone. There will be bad times so make sure to be open with those close to you so that you have support during those bad times. I used to be very closed off about my diabetes and this made those bad times rough but the best thing I ever did was being more open and communicating with those close to me so that when times are bad, they are there for me. There will also be good times. Being a Medtronic insulin pump and gcm user there are times after 20 years that I can forget I have diabetes which is such an amazing blessing vs how life was when I was first diagnosed.
Kenneth, living with diabetes since 1978
Advice: Don’t get angry, as I did. I had been a healthy young man who had just started his career in law enforcement and was afraid that it was over. Find yourself a good endocrinologist and listen to his or her advice. I have been very lucky and have had three of them throughout my forty-three years with the disease.
Noel, living with diabetes since 2006
Advice: Breathe. Take it day by day/ moment by moment that’s all you can really do.
This life has made everyone in our house stronger, while hard and devastating it’s brought us all together.
Don’t ever be without your medical supplies! Ever! Even if it’s in the car/office just around the corner. That could be too late when there is an emergency.
Be proud! Don’t go hide when checking your blood levels or giving insulin.
Oh, and lemon essential oil is the best/natural to remove medical adhesive. And smells good!
SWAG* & eat the cake!
*Scientific Wild A** Guess.
Rachel, living with diabetes since 2021
Advice: Relax and be patient with yourself. Trust your ability to understand your body!
Avery, living with diabetes since 2015
Advice: Make Diabetes fit into your lifestyle.
Always be prepared for an unexpected event.
Join social media support groups, for information and comradery.
Mike, living with diabetes since 1969
Advice: Stay positive and if possible, use a pump for better control.
Hannah, living with diabetes since 2014
Advice: Diabetes does not need to control your life. It is a part of your life that has to be managed but it does not have to control it.
April, living with diabetes since 1998
Advice: Don't be afraid!
Diabetes is difficult to live with. No lie. But living with it will show you that you are stronger than you thought you could be.
1. Find a doctor that advocates for you and considers you a teammate in managing your disease. If you leave appointments feeling frustrated, ashamed, or anything other than empowered, ditch that doctor. T1D is hard enough without dead weight on your medical team.
2. It's ok if you need to take a break from activity, back out of plans, or take time for extra sleep. Diabetes is an invisible illness to most people, who have no idea how much harder you have to work to stay healthy. That's ok. You don't have anything to prove. Love your body and do what it needs. Don't worry about what other people think. They don't know your inner strength.
Savannah, living with diabetes since 2000
Advice: Always exercise and take insulin when you eat (except for to raise blood sugars up). Don't give up on yourself. Diabetes camp for all ages is best place to go, to feel like home (because you are not the only one).
Michael, living with diabetes since 1987
Advice: Be diligent. Take readings and your medicine. This from some that is still trying.
Judy, living with diabetes since 1971
Advice: Learn all you can. Do your best to keep your blood sugar within the guidelines. BUT--don't beat yourself up! Sometimes it's just a "crapshoot"! We can't control everything our body is doing inside-hormones, stress reactions or illness. Just do the best you can and stay on top of your sugars. It will help with preventing complications. No guilt trips!
Claude, living with diabetes since 1978
Advice: Take advantage of all the new devices that now help you better control your blood glucose number while significantly reducing daily injections and finger sticks. Also don't be afraid to ask questions to your health care provider and/or device manufacturer to fully use these products for the best results.
Katie, living with diabetes since 2009
Advice: Remember the things that you love and the things that make you who you are. Diabetes can’t take them from you. Diabetes does not change who you are. Always remember who you are. You are not diabetes
Kathy, living with diabetes since 2004
Advice: Learn to read labels, portion control, water, exercise
Lindsey, living with diabetes since 2011
Advice: Chocolate milk works great for lows before bed. Keeps my blood sugar steady all night.
Daniel, living with diabetes since 1973
Advice: 1. FOLLOW DOCTORS INSTRUCTIONS. (I KNOW IT'S DIFFICULT)
2. TEST BLOOD SUGAR. (OFTEN, OFTEN, OFTEN, OFTEN)
3. GET A " GENTEEL LANCING DEVICE "
THIS WILL LET YOU TEST OTHER LOCATIONS, (FOREARM ETC. SAVING FINGERTIP PAIN.)
4. MORE IMPORTANTLY, GET AN " OMNI-POD" INSULIN PUMP. THIS WAS THE
BIGGEST CHANGE IN MY LIFE, BUT IT WAS ONLY AFTER 31 YEARS THAT IT WAS
AVAILABLE TO ME.
5. READ THE BOOK " DIABETES BURN-OUT”. IT GIVES HELP DEALING WITH THE
EXHAUSTION AND THOUGHTS OF GIVING UP HAVING TO DEAL WITH THE CONDITION.
WHAT I HAVE ADVISED IS AFTER 48 YEARS OF DEALING WITH TYPE 1 DIABETES.
I THINK OF THE OMNI-POD AS GOD'S GIFT TO THE DIABETIC
IF THIS ADVICE HAS HELPED JUST ONE DIABETIC IN THEIR DAILY STRUGGLES WITH THIS DISEASE.
Kathleen, living with diabetes since 1974
Advice: As much as possible get out of bed every day, put one foot in front of the other and keep going!
Marcie, living with diabetes since 2008
Advice: 1) carb count and pre boules everything that goes in your mouth
2) get on a CGM, yesterday! You will have more restful nights and use the follow app to have others help support your safety.
3) Sugarmate app: this will hook up to your CGM numbers and you can set up a phone call for your sever lows or nighttime lows. This was a game changer for sleep too
4) work on time in range and your A1c will follow
5) learn your specific avoid foods and modify them. Only have them on special occasions or have them in very small portions. Avoid them at night.
6) join T1 groups on Facebook for lots of support and tips and tricks.
7) meet local T1Ds and become friends. There is no bond like that within this amazing community
Adibel, living with diabetes since 2005
Advice: It’s not easy, there are good days and bad days it’s a 24/7 job. But take it a day at a time because we are warriors take comfort in the fact that we are never alone, others are fighting the same battle and we got this!
Carla, living with diabetes since 2020
Advice: Get a Dexcom asap
Kaydence, living with diabetes since 2020
Advice: Never give up
Kim, living with diabetes since 2007
Advice: Advocate for yourself. If you want technology don’t let your doctor, tell you no.
Heather, living with diabetes since 2019
Advice: If you don't already know someone with Type 1 Diabetes that you can not only ask advice from, but also just chat about the ups and downs of diabetes with, I would highly recommend that you investigate whether there are any support groups in your area. Having someone to talk to really helped me get through those first few months. I was diagnosed late in life (at 37!), so, it was quite the shock to the system. If you haven't yet heard of it, I would also recommend the podcast, pancreas pals. I am still working through all the seasons, and I have learned A LOT of valuable tips from them!
Adriana, living with diabetes since 2001
Advice: Becoming a diabetic may seem hard to do what needs to be done. But never give up.
Pam, living with diabetes since 2011
Advice: Be your own advocate, don't take no as an answer from anyone, doctors, insurance, etc. Stay strong and keep your head up!
Elyse, living with diabetes since 2005
Advice: Get a Dexcom.
Lorraine, living with diabetes since 1990
Advice: Check sugars and watch your numbers. Call your doctor with questions. Stay on top best of luck
Lisa, living with diabetes since 2021
Advice: Power through it, you can do it!
Kara, living with diabetes since 2009
Advice: It’s ok to be sad and worried. Know there are all kinds of tools and resources to make it less intimidating. Ask lots of questions and be your own advocate.
Sandy, living with diabetes since 2004
Advice: Do NOT become worried that many of your favorite foods will be "off the table". Favorite foods items are not prohibited in moderation and with careful measuring!!! Enjoy!
David, living with diabetes since 2004
Advice: Get all the education you can to help support you in your new diabetes life-ask your doctor for a referral to a Diabetes Educator, attend classes, read books for the newly diagnosed. Take the time to keep your blood sugar well managed-it makes a difference in years to come (reduced risk of developing complications). Get help developing a way of eating that works for you and your blood sugar. Check out the American Diabetes Association website. And remember, even though this is a scary time, you CAN live a good life with diabetes. Assemble a good care team, a primary care physician, endocrinologist, diabetes educator.
Sarah, living with diabetes since 1994
Advice: Talk with your medical advisor about trying your medications at different times of the day until you find the most effective time for you. We did this with insulin and found morning shot worked best. It also made me more aware of patterns during the day/night. Amazing result for something so simple.
Courtney, living with diabetes since 2016
Advice: Take it one day at a time. Do not compare your situation to other's. Each person's diabetes is different in its own way. You are only human, so don't beat yourself up on the bad days, tomorrow is another day to start fresh. Celebrate the good days!
Nolan, living with diabetes since 2019
Advice: There will be good days and bad days, but do not give up and don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Roger, living with diabetes since 2018
Advice: Know that it's okay to have bad days. Everything with Diabetes is different. You must learn what works for you, which will take time.
Deborah, living with diabetes since 1962
Advice: Being diagnosed with diabetes can feel pretty daunting. There's a lot to adjust to and learn about but maintaining good control will help you feel better and reduce risks of complications. We're lucky there's so much useful technology literally at our fingertips that makes an enormous difference like CGM's and insulin pumps. It helps to have a team to work with that includes your endocrinologist, diabetes educator, nurse practitioner and nutritionist who can guide you through the complexities of good management. It really does become easier with time as you apply what you're learning and feel more confident. It's also fine to ask for counseling and therapy as you adjust to this considerable life change. Support groups are great too! Remember you're not alone and there's plenty of help to get you through this. You can find great resources through the Joslin Diabetes Center and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation for Type 1 too.
Krysteen, living with diabetes since 1996
Advice: You will have good days and bad days don’t give up. Sometimes no matter what you try. Or do your blood sugar may be high and it’s not your fault. Always know that you can live long and healthy life if you take care of yourself.
JoAnn, living with diabetes since 1970
Advice: Educate yourself! Join online support groups. Keep up with new technology. Doctors don’t always offer new products unless you ask about them.
Leah, living with diabetes since 2021
Advice: I am newly diagnosed myself! But I think the best advice is to talk to others with the same diagnosis as you. They provide the best advice, and bonus, new friends!
Delayne, living with diabetes since 2005
Advice: I know it can be overwhelming when newly diagnosed. Take a breath, it’s going to be ok. You are going to learn how to take care of yourself on a much higher level. Find a diabetes educator as they have so much more info for you than a doctor. Trust yourself!
Chloe, living with diabetes since 2019
Advice: Give yourself some grace
Kathy, living with diabetes since 2020
Advice: Read food labels. Go by TOTAL carbs, not net carbs. 15 to 25 total carbs is a snack. 35ish is a meal. At a little something every four hours or so if you are on diabetic medication.
Debra, living with diabetes since 2018
Advice: Find support in the local or online community. Embrace technology and do your best to educate yourself on how to properly use insulin.
Patrick, living with diabetes since 1987
Advice: Take the time to figure out your correct carb ratio and insulin sensitivity factor under normal operating conditions. Diabetes math is rarely the same day to day. Be patient. You can do this.
Zoe, living with diabetes since 2013
Advice: I have CFRD (cystic fibrosis related diabetes) but it is treated as type 1. Remaining active has significantly assisted in keeping my blood glucose levels controlled, ensuring I have adequate energy and concentration to continue studying, working, and playing sport
Susie, living with diabetes since 1995
Advice: Get a CGM! Life got so much easier after that. Also, diabetes management is an art not a hard fact disease. It takes time to learn how your own body reacts to insulin and certain foods, and some days won’t make sense. Don’t be super hard on yourself! Diabetes is a full time job:)
Lillian, living with diabetes since 2017
Advice: Take care of yourself, even when you don’t feel like it. Listen to your body. Don’t let diabetes come before anything you want to do.
Kathy, living with diabetes since 2008
Advice: Take in ALL the knowledge you can about diabetes. You will have a lot of information coming at you at one time, you can do this because you are a warrior.
Jolin, living with diabetes since 2019
Advice: It will get better. You will live a great life.
Floripes, living with diabetes since 1997
Advice: Go to a diabetic nutritionist and find out how many carbs you are allowed to have and keep a food journal. And do not prohibit any food!! You can have sweets but count it in with your carbs.
Claudette, living with diabetes since 2012
Advice: One blood sugar at a time. It is a piece of information to help you make your next decision. Be kind to yourself because there are so many variables that can lead to low or high blood sugars.
Jezme, living with diabetes since 1970
Advice: DO YOUR BEST 1 day at a time! Your numbers will NEVER be PERFECT, and EVERY DAY is DIFFERENT! TAKE CARE of YOURSELF and ENJOY EVERY MOMENT!