I’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes – what happens now?
Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed using one or more blood tests.1 If the blood tests show that your blood glucose levels are high, your healthcare professional – most likely your GP – will diagnose you with diabetes (or pre-diabetes).
Other tests and examinations
Once you have been diagnosed with diabetes, your GP will want to gather more information to help determine the best possible management for your diabetes and overall care. This will include taking a detailed medical history, a physical examination, and possibly other tests.2
- Your GP will likely ask you a number of questions, about your eating patterns, weight history, blood pressure, medications you might be taking, any family history of heart disease and any treatments you have received for other health problems.2
- Your GP will also want to do a detailed physical exam, including a careful look at your mouth, feet, eyes, abdomen, skin and thyroid gland.2
- A few additional tests and examinations may be done by your GP, including tests for cholesterol, blood pressure and possibly a heart check.
Introduction to a diabetes management plan and team
There are many components to managing diabetes, so there could be several healthcare professionals involved in your management plan (a plan of care for your diabetes), for example, a dietitian and a diabetes educator.
Your doctor will likely introduce (or refer) you to the other members of your diabetes healthcare team and also start to discuss a personalised management plan with you.
Remember, managing diabetes is a team effort, and you are the captain! Your healthcare team will be there to help you decide on the best management strategies, but at the end of the day, you are the best person to manage your diabetes on a daily basis.
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What is HbA1c and why is it important?
Haemoglobin A1c (or HbA1c) is a very important measurement for monitoring your diabetes. In your blood, glucose and haemoglobin (the protein in your red blood cells) join together. This new molecule is called HbA1c.3 If your blood glucose levels are high, more glucose will bind to your haemoglobin, causing your HbA1c levels to increase.4
Your doctor can use HbA1c measurements to monitor the effectiveness of your diabetes treatment, as it is directly related to the amount of glucose in your blood over the last few months.3
How to understand your results?
The measurement assists your doctor in creating an individualised HbA1c target that is usually ≤7%.3, 5 If your HbA1c is higher than your target, your doctor may consider changing your treatment or testing it more regularly to ensure your diabetes management is under control.6
Information about diabetes
After a diagnosis, your healthcare team will likely provide you with lots of information about diabetes, any medications you may need, and other strategies to help manage your diabetes.
So much information can be overwhelming, but your healthcare team will likely provide you with resources you can take home and look at in your own time. Other reliable sources for information about diabetes are the Diabetes Australia website and the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) website.
If you have any questions or concerns, ask your healthcare team – remember, they are there to help.
- National Diabetes Services Scheme. Understanding type 2 diabetes. Available at: https://static.diabetesaustralia.com.au/s/fileassets/diabetes-australia/8948f94d-9ebe-4f04-83df-558dfb555205.pdf
- Diabetes Australia. Just been diagnosed? Available at: https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/just-been-diagnosed
- Health Direct. HbA1c test. 2020. Available online at: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/hba1c-test
- Lab Tests Online – Explaining Pathology. HbA1c. 2021. Available online at: https://www.labtestsonline.org.au/learning/test-index/hba1c.
- Phillips P and Leow S. Aust. Fam. Physician. 2014;43(9):611-5.
- The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Management of type 2 diabetes: A handbook for general practice. 2020. Available online at: https://www.racgp.org.au/getattachment/41fee8dc-7f97-4f87-9d90-b7af337af778/Management-of-type-2-diabetes-A-handbook-for-general-practice.aspx