If you have diabetes, you know how challenging it can be to manage.
You are expected to eat a healthy and balanced diet, get plenty of physical activity, monitor your blood glucose (sugar) throughout the day, take your medications as prescribed, all to reduce your risk for complications.
At times it might seem overwhelming but you can thrive with diabetes, and a diabetes care and education specialist can help. As a member of your diabetes care team, diabetes care and education specialists work with you to develop a management plan that fits your lifestyle, beliefs, and culture. They will help you understand how to use devices like meters, insulin pens, pumps, and continuous glucose monitoring devices; and use the information from these devices and your lifestyle to identify patterns and opportunities for improvement. You will work together to find solutions to address your most pressing challenges. Diabetes education provided by a diabetes care and education specialist can help people with all types of diabetes better manage their blood glucose, develop coping skills to address the daily challenges of the disease, reduce the risks for complications, decrease costs by reducing or eliminating the need for medications and emergency room visits, and help find and access cost-savings programs.
To help you, diabetes care and education specialists have developed seven key areas to focus on. A specialist can help you set priorities and coach you on each of these areas:
• Healthy Eating. Having diabetes doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite foods or stop eating in restaurants. In fact, there is nothing you can’t eat. But you need to know that the foods you eat affect your blood sugar.
• Being Active. Being active is not just about losing weight. It has many health benefits like lowering cholesterol, improving blood pressure, lowering stress and anxiety, and improving your mood. If you have diabetes, physical activity can also help keep your blood sugar levels normal and help you keep your diabetes in control.
• Monitoring. Checking your blood sugar levels regularly gives you vital information about your diabetes management. Monitoring helps you know when your blood sugar levels are on target and it helps you make food and activity adjustments so that your body can perform at its best.
• Taking Medication. There are several types of medications that are often recommended for people with diabetes. Insulin, pills that lower your blood sugar, aspirin, blood pressure medication, cholesterol-lowering medication, or several others may work together to lower your blood sugar levels, reduce your risk of complications and help you feel better.
• Problem Solving. Everyone encounters problems with their diabetes management; you can’t plan for every situation you may face. However, there are some problem-solving skills that can help you prepare for the unexpected —and plan for dealing with similar problems in the future.
• Reducing Risks. Having diabetes puts you at a higher risk for developing other health problems. However, if you understand the risks, you can take steps now to lower your chance of diabetes-related complications.
• Healthy Coping. Diabetes can affect you physically and emotionally. It’s natural to have mixed feelings about your diabetes management and experience highs and lows. The important thing is to recognize these emotions as normal and take steps to reduce the negative impact they can have on your self-care.
Diabetes may not have a cure, but you can manage it and live well. Ask your primary care provider about working with a diabetes care and education specialist. Medicare and most health insurance plans cover diabetes education when it is offered through an accredited diabetes education program, which has met rigorous criteria set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Trinity Health Center for Diabetes Education is located at Health Center – Town & Country, 1015 S Broadway, Ste 2, Minot. For more information, call 701-857-5268.