A type 1 diabetes diagnosis most commonly occurs in childhood or young adulthood, but it can occur at an age. Type 1 diabetes is when the immune system starts to attack beta cells in the pancreas responsible for producing insulin. Eventually these cells stop producing insulin and glucose increases in the bloodstream instead of entering cells where it can be used for energy and other functions. If not properly treated, the disease can lead to health problems such as nerve damage, foot amputation, and blindness.

As yet, there is no cure, which often sparks fear and alarm in people when they first receive a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. But, try not to panic. Diabetes research and care has come a long way. The medical community and other health professionals have many approaches to manage the disease and reduce long-term diabetes complications.

Here are seven things you must do when you first receive a type 1 diabetes diagnosis to stay healthier longer:

1. Try not to panic. When you receive a type 1 diabetes diagnosis your emotions will run the gamut from fear to anger to grief and maybe even depression. Take a few days to absorb the news then be proactive. Keep foremost in your mind that there are many people with type 1 diabetes who live full, healthy and active lives. You can still run that marathon you plan on running, or have a bouncing baby or two.

2. Find an endocrinologist or internist. As soon as possible after your type 1 diabetes diagnosis, start hunting for one of these medical professionals. They specialize in diabetes and can provide you with a wealth of information about monitoring and treating your disease. They can also inform you about advanced treatments such as islet cell transplants and stem cell treatment. Diabetes is different for each person and requires an individualized treatment plan, which your endocrinologist or internist must be a part of for the best results and good long-term health.

3. Make tight glucose control a top priority. This requires careful blood glucose monitoring during the day and effective insulin therapy--the most common form of treatment for type 1 diabetes. After your type 1 diabetes diagnosis, learn as much as you can about measuring blood g lucose levels, factors that affect blood glucose levels, and the correct way to inject insulin or use an insulin pump.

Find out how to adjust your medications based on your blood glucose readings or activities, and ask your doctor about whether intensive insulin therapy is right for you. Also, properly store your diabetes medications and diabetes tools.

4. Expand your health team. Insulin therapy isn't the only way to manage type 1 diabetes. Diet, exercise, and stress management are also essential. A dietitian can create a nutrition plan to help you avoid high blood glucose fluctuations. Your endocrinologist or internist can also refer you to an exercise specialist, who will develop a customized exercise plan for you and teach you about special precautions to take before, during and after exercise.

5. Schedule an eye exam. High blood glucose levels and hypertension associated with type 1 diabetes can damage your eyes. The condition is called retinopathy and it's one of the most common diabetes health complications. Early testing of your eyes after a type 1 diabetes diagnosis will allow you and your optometrist or ophthalmologist to better monitor your eye health.

6. Join a diabetes support group. This isn't for every one, but the American Diabetes Association (ADA) highly recommends it. Diabetes is a complicated health condition and you'll have a lot to digest. People with diabetes are among the most knowledgeable about the disease. A support group can offer you emotional, mental and health support and ease the transition period following a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. They can give you insight about what worked for them in the early stages, tips on making lifestyle changes easier, and more. You can join a group locally or online through the ADA.

7. Get financial help. Effective management of diabetes requires daily medication and specific diabetes tools--and the costs can rack up quickly. Contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible after your type 1 diabetes diagnosis to find out what they cover, co-payment information, and so on. If you don't have a healthcare provider, there are several financial programs that can help you pay for diabetes treatment such as Medicare and Medicaid. To learn more about them visit the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse.