“Living Well with Diabetes” is all about making healthy choices and finding ways to make those choices a part of your life. In order to make informed choices you need accurate, up to date, information about your diabetes.
Having a Diabetes Care Team plays an important role in helping you discover ways of making choices that work for you in the management of your diabetes. Your Diabetes Care Team should include people who offer help, knowledge, and support in managing your diabetes. Important members often include your Primary Care Physician, and Specialists, such as Endocrinologists (doctors who specialize in diabetes), Diabetes Educators, Dietitians, Ophthalmologists (eye doctors), Podiatrists (foot doctors), and Exercise Fitness Specialists. Your Diabetes Care Team should also include family members, friends, and other people who have diabetes, who can support you in making healthy choices that will allow you to live well with diabetes.
The American Association of Diabetes Educators identified seven areas of Diabetes Self-Care, called the AADE 7™ that are important in helping you reach your goals:
Understanding how the foods you eat affect blood glucose level, helps you make informed choices that allow freedom in control of your diabetes. Learning to read nutrition labels, and the ways food provides essential nutrients for your body to sustain health, is an important 1st step towards achieving optimal weight and blood glucose control.
Staying physically activity is a necessary component of diabetes self-care because it helps keep blood glucose levels closer to normal. Everyone's physical abilities are different, and your Diabetes Care Team can help you discover activities that work well for you.
Monitoring blood glucose levels helps you identify areas where your diabetes care plan is working, and where it is not. It is important to know your A1c number and what it means, as well as your Blood Pressure, and Cholesterol numbers. Other areas of your diabetes health that require regular monitoring include your Eyes, Feet, Liver, Heart, and Kidney Function.
Taking medication is an important part of most diabetes care plans. It is important to know the names of the medications you take, and why you are taking them. It is also important to tell your Diabetes Care Team when you have concerns about your medications, when you are unable to afford them, when your medications cause undesirable side effects, and circumstances that make it difficult for you to take your medications.
Understanding how diabetes affects your body makes it is easier to identify problems and learn how to resolve them. There will always be times when you are unable to plan for situations you will face, and problem solving skills can help you plan for the unexpected.
Diabetes affects your physical, emotional, and spiritual health, and there will be days when you feel discouraged, stressed, or even depressed. Healthy coping skills help you recognize and manage those days.
Understanding the potential complications, associated with poorly controlled diabetes, can help you know how to avoid them. Your Health Care Team can also refer you to specialists, such as heart, kidney, and foot doctors who can help make sure that all aspects of your health are properly treated. By reducing your risk of complications that can occur if your diabetes is poorly controlled, you can live a happy, healthy, joyful life with diabetes.
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