Getting diagnosed with diabetes can be scary or overwhelming. Suddenly your doctor is giving you a long list of things you can do, and your diabetes care plan may sound impossible.
Take some deep breaths and tell yourself that you can do this. It will require changes, but all of it is possible! Here are some tips on how to start your new diabetes care plan.
It’s wonderful to have a care team to help guide you through this journey – but at the end of the day, you are the main person responsible for your care. Ultimately, no one will care as much about your health as you do.
Though some may find this discouraging, it can greatly empower you as you learn that you can positively impact your health through your choices. You are responsible for taking your medications, monitoring your blood sugar, and making healthy choices. You can do this – and you can do it better than anyone else could for you.
Exercise positively affects your blood sugar. It makes your body more sensitive to insulin (causing the medication to be more effective), helps control blood sugar, and lowers your risk of heart disease and nerve damage.
Create a daily goal for exercise (even if it’s as simple as 30 minutes of walking) and stick to it. Keep an eye on your blood sugar levels and ask if your insulin medication should be adjusted. If you’ve got mobility issues, you can work with your doctor on simple exercises that help to encourage daily movement.
Getting care is important – and you need to keep in touch with your care team regularly to ensure that you are managing your diabetes.
Here’s how often you should see each specialist or get tested.
Every three months:
Visit your endocrinologist
A1C labs (if your blood sugar levels have been high)
Every six months:
A1C labs (if your blood sugar levels have been good)
Weight checkup and care plan review
Dilated eye exam
ACR urine test
eGFR blood test for kidney function
Keep all of your appointments and follow-up appointments. Your blood pressure should be checked every time you visit the doctor, and be sure to share concerns when you visit. Develop a care plan with them and stick to it, taking your medications as prescribed unless the doctors advise otherwise.
Talk to your doctor now about how to handle low blood sugar. Establish a plan with your loved ones so that you won’t have to drive alone to the hospital if your blood sugar is at a dangerously low level. Hypoglycemia makes driving very difficult, so arrange to have someone take you if you find yourself in this situation.
Since neuropathy of the feet is a common diabetes concern, you should check your feet daily for sores, cuts, and swelling. Know what signs to watch for and call a doctor if you see anything that concerns you.
You’ve got to prick your finger anyway – you may as well find a glucometer you like! Choosing one that you enjoy will help you stay invested in checking your sugar levels. You can even find glucometers that cause minimal pain!
Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” In the case of type 2 diabetes, you really can help yourself by sticking to a healthy diet. Avoid refined grains and sugars, keep a record of meals, and visit a nutritionist often.
Know how many carbs you should eat every day (and how many maximum carbs per meal). Learn which foods will help you stay in the target range and talk to your doctor about how much medication you should take if you can’t eat, so your blood sugar levels don’t plummet.
Check your blood sugar levels regularly and work to get them in the desired range. Come up with a plan to correct high or low blood sugar. It would be a good idea to keep glucose tablets or other sources of carbohydrates in case your blood sugar is too low. If you have lab testing done, be sure to call the doctor for blood sugar results if you don’t hear from them within a few days.
Diabetes can be difficult to manage, so the routine will be your best friend. By sticking to a consistent medication and eating schedule, you can have more control over your blood sugar and, ultimately, your health. Eventually, the routine will feel like second nature, and the overwhelmed feeling you may be experiencing now will fade.
Plan meals and medication appropriately and track your blood sugar often. Know what to do if you accidentally miss a dose of your medication, and don’t forget to exercise and attend your appointments.
Are you a senior who has recently been put on a diabetes care plan? If you need some help getting started, the trustworthy healthcare experts at Medilodge are here for you. Contact us to learn more about our long-term care options!
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