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Being Aggressive about Your Diabetes Care

separator When you have diabetes, there’s one thing you never want to get too relaxed about. What is it? It’s your care plan. It’s your never-ending quest to control your blood sugar as well as you possibly can.

Maybe you’ve had diabetes for a while, and you’ve been managing it well. So well, in fact, that you haven’t kept up with your regular visits for blood tests, and you can’t remember the last time you talked with your diabetes educator or nurse educator. It’s great to feel confident about your ability to control your diabetes, but there are two big reasons why you should always stay in regular contact with your healthcare team: 

  • Even when you’re diligent about managing your diabetes, sometimes the status of your condition changes, no matter how hard you try to stay on top of things.
  • It’s the responsibility of the members of your diabetes care team to be aware of any new developments in terms of new research, ways to test blood sugar, ways to deliver insulin, etc. There’s always a chance that when you go to see them, they’ll have new, improved information for you that can make your diabetes care a little more convenient.

On the other hand, maybe you know, in the back of your mind, that you’re not really doing everything you possibly can to keep your blood sugar in check. Things have slipped. You used to test your blood sugar a few times a day, but now you’re down to once a day. Or you’ve been eating things you know aren’t very good for you. Or you’ve been slacking off on your exercise routine.

 It’s never too late to make a change.

Being aggressive works in your favor
What do we mean, exactly, by being aggressive about managing your diabetes? Aggressive may sound like a strong word, but all we mean is that you need to play an active role. Take a look at the list below, and see whether there are items on it that you could incorporate into your own diabetes care plan: 

  • Ask your doctor, nurse practitioner, and diabetes educator how frequently you should visit them to go over your care plan and make any necessary changes.
  • Keep a running list of things that come to mind about your diabetes, and take that list to your appointments.
  • If you have any trouble paying for diabetes supplies, ask a member of your care team to connect you with resources that can help.
  • If you’re having trouble sticking with a healthy food plan, tell someone on your care team about it, and ask for advice
  • Ask your healthcare team when you should have your eyes, kidneys, feet and teeth checked.
  • Ask your care team if there are any books they would recommend, so that you can learn more.

Numbers you should always know
Part of keeping your care plan as up-to-date as possible is knowing some numbers. What are they? 

  • The results of your most recent hemoglobin A-1-c test.
  • What your target hemoglobin A-1-c test result should be.

The hemoglobin A-1-c test is performed by your doctor. It provides information about how well your diabetes was controlled in the last two to three months. You should always know what your last test numbers were, because they tell you how well you did in taking care of your diabetes. You should also always know what the target is and what you need to do to get there

The National Institutes of Health National Diabetes Education Program
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