A good treatment plan and self-management skills are key, especially during the pandemic
A message from Dr. Shannon McDonald, FNHA Acting Chief Medical Officer
November is Diabetes Awareness Month, so it's an optimal time to review the importance of good treatment plans and self-management skills for people with diabetes.
They are especially important this year, as adults living with diabetes are at a greater risk of developing serious symptoms and complications of COVID-19, like pneumonia. If you have diabetes, I encourage you to be extra careful about following public health recommendations in addition to following your treatment plan and using your self-management skills.
You play an important role in creating your diabetes treatment plan
Diabetes is a chronic condition, which means that once diagnosed, it becomes a lifelong partner. It is very different from a health emergency, when it makes sense for a doctor, nurse, or other health professional to take charge and offer treatment options.
With a chronic condition like diabetes, you play an important role by working alongside your healthcare team to make decisions about your health and your life. Become your own best advocate by asking your healthcare providers to collaborate on the decisions about your health and your diabetes, and by sharing the aspects of your health and wellness that are most important to you. You are the leading expert in you!
An important self-management skill to include in your treatment plan
Blood glucose monitoring is a powerful tool that can be used to gain a better understanding of how food, activity, stress, and medication affect blood sugar, but many people with diabetes have not been empowered to use blood glucose numbers to their full potential.
A great place to start for blood glucose monitoring is to check in pairs. This could mean doing both a “before and after" blood-sugar check. The two most important pairs are before and two hours after meals or snacks, and before going to bed and after waking up. Just like the “before and after" pictures of a house renovation shows the transformation, the before and after blood glucose numbers provides more information.
After gathering information in this way for a while, you will be able to understand the patterns. This skill will help support you and your healthcare team to make informed choices about changes to your treatment plan, if needed.
You may have diabetes, but don't let diabetes have you!
Diabetes can seem like a burden sometimes. It can seem like a lot of extra work on top of your already busy and stressful life. This is especially true right now while we are all dealing with a global pandemic, which has affected every person around the world in some way.
During these times, it is extra important to place value on the things that matter most, like our friends and family, our communities and our culture. Yes, diabetes is important, but it should only take up a small part of your life. So, be kind to yourself, love yourself, eat food you enjoy, do activities you enjoy, and hold onto hope that the future is bright!