Being diagnosed with diabetes can destabilize you and make you ask many questions. But don’t worry. A number of resources are available to help you manage your diabetes. Know how to use them to take care of your health effectively!
Learn how to adapt to a new reality
Living with diabetes can seem like big challenge. After diagnosis, perhaps you felt lost, angry, or frightened? These are normal reactions. Rest assured, there are many resources of all kinds to help you take control of your diabetes. Several health professionals, like your pharmacist, can become your allies to help you learn to live in harmony with this disease. The success of your effort depends on teamwork and the person at the centre of it all, which is you!
Diabetes treatment involves making changes in your life. At first, this may seem demanding, but with time, you will see that you have a lot of power to control your blood glucose level and live with diabetes. Here are a few basic steps that can make all the difference:
- find out more about diabetes;
- adopt healthy lifestyle habits;
- keep track of your blood glucose level (glycemic index) rigorously;
- follow your drug regimen faithfully.
Find out about diabetes and its treatment
If you’re reading this text, that means you’re well on your way to finding out more about the disease. To participate actively in your treatment, it is important to understand why controlling diabetes is good.
Diabetes treatment can:
- prevent hyperglycemia and its symptoms;
- limit or slow down complications related to diabetes;
- improve your quality of life;
- increase your life expectancy.
The more you know about diabetes and its treatment, the more you will be able to adapt your lifestyle habits to control your diabetes… rather than letting it control your life.
Adopt healthy lifestyle habits
The primary recommendations that you should follow are related to lifestyle. In fact, the basis of diabetes treatment consists of making changes in your daily life. The following steps, for instance, will contribute to the maintenance of your health:
- eat a healthy and balanced diet;
- engage in physical activity regularly;
- lose weight and maintain a healthy weight;
- limit your consumption of alcohol;
- stop smoking.
Even your loved ones will benefit from these changes!
Nutritionists are competent healthcare professionals who can hep you make changes to your diet. They can draw up a healthy nutrition plan with you based on your current habits. An exercise specialist, such as a kinesiologist, can help you develop a fitness plan that is appropriate for your physical condition and abilities.
Measuring your blood sugar level
Self-monitoring of blood glucose means testing its level using a small device known as a blood glucose meter or glucometer. Your pharmacist can give you advice on the choice of a blood glucose meter and show you how to use it. This small device, when used every day, can make all the difference in diabetes management. With it, you will be able to closely monitor the impact of positive steps that you take and the effect of your medications. Based on the results obtained, you can adjust your actions when the monitor shows that your blood glucose level is not where it should be.
Blood glucose results are important for you and your healthcare professionals. This is why you must be regular and keep track of your blood glucose levels rigorously. Here are a few tips to maximize self-monitoring of your blood glucose:
- Note down your results in a notepad or save them in your meter. Most devices come with such a feature. Many of them also let you add important information that will help you in your adjustments. Ask your pharmacist about the different features that your device comes with and make sure that you understand how they can help you better monitor your blood glucose level and manage your diabetes.
- Ask your pharmacist or healthcare professional responsible for your follow-up to tell you how frequently the tests must be done. Also ask them what you must do if the blood glucose level is too high or too low.
- Try to maintain the rhythm of your tests. Some people, with time, reduce the frequency of the tests or give them up completely. This is terrible because self-monitoring of blood glucose is at the core of diabetes management.
Be faithful to your drug regimen
To have a blood glucose level that approaches normal values, it is possible that just making changes to your diet and being more physically active are not enough. This is when your doctor will prescribe drugs that will help better control your blood glucose. These may be oral or injectable drugs (such as insulin). But it will still remain important for you to maintain healthy lifestyle habits to optimize the results of your drug regimen.
It’s not always easy to integrate the drug regimen into everyday life. You may also experience side-effects from certain drugs. Don’t hesitate to talk to your pharmacist, who can offer you advice and tools to help you overcome these difficulties. Taking your drugs every day as prescribed will increase the treatment’s chances of success.
Managing diabetes is teamwork
Complications related to diabetes can be slowed down or even prevented by a good management of the disease. Many healthcare professionals as well as teams specializing in diabetic care can help you with their expertise. Find out if there’s a diabetes education centre near you. There, you can benefit from a thorough instruction on diabetes and also be seen and treated by a team of competent and dynamic professionals. You will thank yourself for investing time and energy in this. Ask your doctor to refer you to such a centre.
Just as an orchestra cannot play without its conductor, your diabetes needs you to be actively involved in its management by being at the centre of decisions regarding your health. Surround yourself with a team of healthcare professionals who are virtuosos where diabetes is concerned, and gain from their experience. It’s up to you to choose between chaos and harmony!