Diabetes affects almost every organ of your body and effective care for diabetes requires a dedicated team of healthcare providers. They include your doctors, dieticians, counsellors, eye specialists, dentists, etc. Every individual who has diabetes has different needs. Communicate with your healthcare team to better understand which treatment is suitable for you.
7 Steps for good diabetes care
Step 1: Educate yourself about Diabetes
The more you learn about diabetes, the better equipped you are at managing it. It will enable you to understand what line of treatment you must follow based on the ‘type’ you have been diagnosed with.
For example, type 1 diabetics need to take insulin every day. Diet and daily physical activity can help control type 2. Most type 2 patients may also need to take diabetes medication or insulin.
Diabetes is a serious condition and sadly most people who have diabetes don’t even know that they are suffering from it.
Identify the factors that put you or your loved one at risk for diabetes.
People at risk include those who:
1. Are overweight
2. More than 45 years of age
3. Have a close family member who has diabetes
4. Had gestation diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
5. Suffer from high blood pressure
6. Have a history of high cholesterol levels
7. Follow a sedentary lifestyle
If you know a anyone who has any of the risk factors for diabetes, advise them to talk to their doctor about getting tested.
Step 2: Follow a regular care regime
If you have diabetes, remember to have regular follow-ups with your doctors. Make sure that you adhere to the treatment regime. Ask your family, friend and colleagues to support you.
1. Ask your diabetologist how often you need to see them for check-ups.
2. Jot down the date and time for your next appointment.
3. Make a note of all the questions and issues you would like to discuss with your doctor at the next visit.
Step 3: Learn How to Manage Your Diabetes
Diabetes affects many organs of the body. It is important to monitor the foods you eat, your level of physical activity and how to take care of yourself.
1. Follow a balanced meal plan
2. Examine your feet daily
3. Monitor your glucose levels
4. Quit smoking
5. Get regular physical activity
Step 4: Know Your Diabetes ABC’s
One major goal of diabetes treatment is to control its ABC’s i.e.:
A= A1C (average blood sugar levels)
B= Blood pressure
Step 5: Monitor Your ABCs
You can reduce your risk of diabetes associated complications such as kidney problems, blindness, foot infections, etc. by monitoring your ABCs.
1. Get the A1C test done
The A1C test lets a doctor measure your blood glucose levels over the past three months. It lets you know how well you are taking care of your diabetes and it is advised that you have it done twice a year. The target A1C level for most diabetics is less than 7.
2. Monitor your Blood Glucose levels
Have your blood glucose checked on a regular basis to help keep it in check. Maintain a record of your results and show it to your doctor. Some glucose strips report blood glucose results as plasma glucose values that are higher than whole blood glucose values by 10 to 15 %. Inquire with your doctor whether your meter or strip provides whole blood or plasma results.
a) The target glucose range using whole blood is 80 to 120 before meals and 100 to 140 at bedtime.
b) The target glucose range using plasma is 90 to 130 before meals and 110 to 150 at bedtime.
Check Your Own Blood Glucose
You may need to check your own blood glucose on a regular basis to help control your diabetes. It will tell you what your blood glucose is at the time you test. Keep a record of your results and show it to your health care team. Some meters and test strips report blood glucose results as plasma glucose values which are 10 to 15 percent higher than whole blood glucose values. Ask your doctor or pharmacist whether your meter and strips provide whole blood or plasma results.
· The target glucose range for most people using whole blood is 80 to 120 before meals and 100 to 140 at bedtime.
· The target glucose range for most people using plasma is 90 to 130 before meals and 110 to 150 at bedtime.
Monitor Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure makes your heart work harder. This may lead to strokes and other problems such as kidney disease. You may need to check your blood pressure at every doctor visit
· The target blood pressure for most diabetics is less than 130/80.
Control Your Cholesterol Levels
Low Density Lipids (LDL) is the bad cholesterol that builds up in your blood vessels. It may cause blood vessels to narrow and harden, which could lead to a heart attack. Your doctor should check have your LDL levels checked at least once a year.
· The target LDL cholesterol for most diabetics is less than 100.
Step 6: Prevent Long-Term Diabetes Issues
People with diabetes need to control their blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol in order to prevent related problems such as heart attack, kidney problems, nerve damage, foot infection, gum disease, etc.
· Eat a balanced diet as prescribed by your dietician.
· Increase the level of physical activity
· Take your medications from time to time.
· Take good care of your feet. Examine them regularly for injuries.
· Examine your teeth regularly for dental problems.
Step 7: Get regular examinations to check for Long-Term Problems and Treat Them
Visit your doctor regularly for problems that diabetes can cause. Regular check-ups will help prevent problems or find them early on o that they can be treated and managed well.