Diabetes Self-Care: 7 Key Practices
There’s no question that diabetes is a severe medical condition. It’s also one that can be accompanied by feelings of guilt and uncertainty, especially for those who are newly diagnosed. The day a person discovers they’ve joined the ranks of the more than 37 million Americans diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is always a difficult one.
Why did this happen to me? Is this my fault? Am I going to be able to live with diabetes? What am I supposed to do for the rest of my life? These are just a few of the questions that can swirl around the head of someone who is newly diagnosed with diabetes, and it’s entirely understandable to have these feelings.
But if there’s one thing about diabetes that’s positive, it’s this: You are the key to successfully managing your diabetes!
Diabetes is a self-managed disease, which means you have the power to make sure things go in the right direction. You have the power to keep your blood sugar in check. You have the power to make the right decisions to manage your diabetes better and lower your risk of serious diabetes-related complications, including cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and diabetic neuropathy.
What does it take? That’s what we’ll explore in this post. Because even those who have years of experience managing diabetes can sometimes find their management program a little lacking, but if you take the proper steps toward self-care, you will undoubtedly live better with diabetes.
7 Easy Ways to Integrate Self-Care Into Your Daily Routine
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), self-care is vital to good diabetes management. They’ve dedicated an entire website to what they call Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES). On it, you’ll find some of the ways DSMES can help you work through diabetes management challenges.
For our post, we’ll touch on seven self-care tenets explicitly designed for those with diabetes. Following them could help you stay focused, resilient, motivated, and, most importantly, healthy!
Learn Healthy Coping
What does this mean? It means finding ways to handle the negative thoughts and feelings that will creep up on you at some point. It happens to everyone with diabetes. That’s because managing this disease can be challenging at times, which can add negative thoughts to a person’s outlook and even impact how effectively they follow their diabetes management and medication plan. Healthy coping helps you recognize these feelings and emotions, work through them, and stay the course. Check out this video on healthy coping.
Eat Well, Be Practical
Anyone with diabetes knows that diet is critical to controlling blood sugar. The thing is, some people take their strict diabetes diet too seriously (believe it or not), and following it ends up becoming an unhealthy stressor. That’s not good. Remember, it’s okay to indulge once in a while. Diabetes does not mean you can’t ever have a treat. Work with your doctor or dietitian to formulate a meal plan that suits your tastes, lifestyle, and personal preferences. It’ll be healthy, but it won’t be impossible.
The American Diabetes Association recommends 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Are you getting it? Not only will sufficient exercise help keep your blood sugar under control, but it’ll also contribute to weight loss, help lower your blood pressure, and generally make you feel better.
Don’t Forget Your Meds
Always follow your doctor-prescribed diabetes medication plan, including insulin treatments by syringe, insulin pen, or insulin pump. There’s a reason you need medication, and if you don’t take it, the rest of your diabetes management program can be thrown entirely off kilter. Make sure you work closely with your doctor so that you have a comprehensive understanding of your medication program. Also, be sure to bring up any concerns or side effects you might be experiencing.
Test Blood Sugar Regularly
Once diagnosed with diabetes, your physician will give you a target blood sugar range, and the only way to know for sure you’re in it is to test your blood glucose regularly. Monitoring is critical, whether with a glucose meter, test strips, or a doctor-prescribed continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system. Testing gives you a real-time look at blood sugar and can also identify patterns, such as how exercise impacts your blood sugar, certain foods, or even certain times of day.
Work on Your Problem-Solving Skills
If you live with diabetes long enough, challenges are going to arise. That’s just part of life with the disease. Whether it’s difficulty keeping blood sugar in range, experiencing sudden bouts of hypoglycemia, or experiencing diabetes-related complications, the difficult days will come. How you handle them can make a huge difference in your diabetes management. It’s essential to learn how to identify and react to problems. It’s so important that the CDC has created this video on problem-solving.
Keep Your Doctors Appointments
Diabetes is usually a lifelong condition. After managing it for an extended period, it’s easy to think things are running great and you have everything in control. Hopefully, that’s true. But don’t allow yourself to get too complacent. Make it a habit to keep those regular doctor’s appointments. Your diabetes physician will monitor your A1C two to four times each year and review the effectiveness of your management program. Also, don’t forget your eye doctor. Diabetes can impact vision, including causing diabetic retinopathy, and you should get eye exams at least once a year. The point is, don’t skip out on those doctor visits. They might catch something before it becomes a bigger problem.
We hope you found this post informative and insightful. At Diabetic Warehouse, we’re committed to helping those with diabetes manage blood sugar with a complete selection of testing and treatment supplies at up to 65% less than those found at most pharmacies and suppliers.
We carry top manufacturers, including FreeStyle, Dexcom, Accu-Chek, True Metrix, One Touch, Contour Next, Clever Choice and many others.
Diabetic Warehouse is a trusted supplier of diabetes care products and accessories. To explore a complete range of products, including glucose meters and test strips, insulin syringes, pen needles, continuous glucose monitoring systems, and more, visit www.diabeticwarehouse.org.