I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Sanofi U.S. to write about the realities of diabetes as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own.
As a nation, we are not in great shape. I don’t just mean physical shape but our health. Navigating healthcare can be a frustrating and overwhelming experience. There is so much to address: appointments, medications, medicines, past medical records, consultations with specialists…the list goes on and on! There are a lot of questions that go through your mind: How much will this cost me? What kind of treatment will I need? What will the long-term effects be? These questions can be scary, especially considering that you might not the find answers. This is why often people don’t seek the treatment they need. The following article will focus on how to navigate the world of healthcare and all of the treatment options available to those living with diabetes.
Diabetes is common and silent. According to the CDC, more than 34 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it. It is a complex disease and there is no ‘one size fits all' treatment but being your own advocate and forming a healthcare team you trust is the first line of defense. Treatment methods can have its own pros and cons, and it’s important to understand these differences and decide what’s best for their own needs.
Even if a patient doesn’t feel symptoms, damage is being done. The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be managed. One important step is making the invisible, visible. What does this mean? It means “know your numbers!” 68% of people find out that they have type 2 diabetes because of routine bloodwork. Know and manage your ABCs. Know your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, get an annual physical. A healthcare plan can help you control the disease. New therapies that involve fixed ratio injectable combinations can help reduce the overall quantity of medication taken each day thus improving the patients’ quality of life. As a breast cancer thriver and caregiver, I know the mental toll that it can take on you when you feel like the quality of your life is passing by. I remember how my grandmother and aunt would limit their activities as a result of the medications they were taken.
One medicine is rarely enough so an intensified combination can help you get to goal quicker and reduce the risk of damage to your organs which occur when you have high blood sugars. Reducing this risk is important for your heart and kidneys.
There are less side effects when given in combination. The reason is that you will be asked to increase the dose slowly thus minimizing the side effects until you reach the optimal level to help you achieve your blood sugar goals.
You are in control! This method will help you reach the recommended blood sugar level quicker.
Build A Team
Diabetes isn’t something people tend to talk about due to the shame that is often associated with the diagnosis. As with any illness you can feel like a “walking diagnosis” but it is important to know that you are not alone. Diabetes is a disorder that has a very strong link genetically and it is influenced by a lot of things. Talk to be people. Join support groups. The sooner you acknowledge the sooner you can be on the pathway to a healthier you.
Managing diabetes is not a one and done thing. There is much work that goes into managing the diagnosis and realistic goals are important. Building a strong relationship with your team can help you set realistic goals and celebrate your achievements. Managing health behaviors such as weight, smoking, exercise, or monitoring blood sugar levels are examples of ways to set individual and realistic goals, to then focus on incremental improvements and developing a treatment plan that is realistic to an individual’s life and what works for them. Consider it as a continuum of care with personalized targets.
Small Actions Big Results
Pandemic weight gain doesn’t have to be a thing. Covid forced many of us to change our behaviors so we weren’t going to the gyms or focusing on our fitness. Fitness doesn’t have to be just inside a gym. I decided to park far away from entrances when shopping for necessities and I utilized my driveway and back yard for fun physical activities with the family. Get creative.
Small changes can make big improvements and fortunately there are medications that help as well. Getting control early is key. Currently, there is up to a 6 years’ delay before starting treatment. All that time, the uncontrolled blood glucose could be damaging numerous organs in your body. For instance, people with poor controlled blood glucose had increased risks for heart attack, stroke, and heart failure (https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/problems.html)
Diabetes does not have to run your life. You can definitely be in control with the right help.
Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and would appreciate your input. The survey, which includes additional education on this topic, will take less than 15 minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with diabetes and your care team, which will help us develop future educational initiatives. Once you've completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 6 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will be used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize and to send a follow-up survey as part of this same initiative.
Join us on June 2nd for a live instagram discussion with Dr. Jay Shubrook, Director Clinical Research and Diabetes Services, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Touro University California, Vallejo, CA. This Q&A will be informative and something that you don't want to miss.
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