Nearly 15 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, and according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), most of them have experienced feelings of denial somewhere along the way. In fact, denial is so common among diabetics that some doctors believe it's a natural part of eventually accepting the diagnosis.

However, denial can become a problem when diabetics fail to work with their health-care providers to form a manageable care routine or simply ignore their self-care guidelines. Follow these seven tips from the ADA to better cope with the diagnosis and manage your condition.

  • Test regularly:

    While it may be inconvenient to check your blood glucose on a regular basis, it's an important part of diabetes care. Even if you think your glucose levels are fine because you feel good, it's better to test to ensure your levels are where they should be.
  • Quit smoking:

    Whether it's just a few cigarettes or a pack a day, you're putting your health in serious danger. According to the ADA, diabetics who smoke are three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than non-smoking diabetics. And smoking as a means of weight control isn't an excuse, either; that's what diet and exercise are for.
  • Follow your meal plan:

    If your doctor told you to see a dietician, don't avoid it. Making healthful changes to your diet is a key part of diabetes management. And remember, eating right doesn't have to be difficult--a dietician can help you plan meals suited to your individual health needs.
  • Don't forget your feet:

    Checking your feet is time-consuming, but it's extremely important. Forgetting to do so or avoiding it could result in some serious, life-altering complications. According to the ADA, more than 60 percent of nontraumatic, lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes. To prevent injury, be sure to wash and check your feet daily for indications of trouble--and call your doctor if anything seems suspicious.
  • Jot it down:

    Even the most mindful diabetics may occasionally have slip-ups, so be sure to write down your diabetes care routine and your health-care goals. If you understand why each task is important, you can remind yourself why you need to closely follow your plan.
  • Talk to the experts:

    If you're avoiding a particular part of your diabetes care program, talk to your doctor. If you're having issues with your food plan, talk to your dietician. These trained professionals can answer your questions and work with you to create sensible solutions.
  • Seek out support:

    Let your friends and family help you to stick with your plan. If your loved ones understand how you handle and manage your diabetes, they may even be interested in making their own positive lifestyle changes. And if you're feeling overwhelmed about your condition, talk to someone you trust. According to the ADA, stress may actually alter blood glucose levels in people with diabetes.