Diabetes care, or diabetes management, requires diligence, discipline and consistency. Diabetic patients must be willing to implement and consistently apply various measures, designed to help control blood glucose levels.
The specific management measures would depend on the type of diabetes, its stage of severity or advancement, and any unique circumstances affecting the patient.
Also, effective diabetes care and management should include the support of close friends and family members.
This support system is vital and is especially important for older (senior) diabetic patients and those with the most advanced (severe) form of the disease.
The following guidelines are not exhaustive (nor prescriptive). They highlight specific elements which, if effectively applied, could help to control blood glucose levels and improve patients' health.
Consult your health care professional. It is important to understand the nature and implications of your condition, so spend some time with your health care provider discussing it. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, find out whether it is type 1 or type 2, its stage of advancement (severity), whether there are any associated complications, etc. Find out as much as you can about the condition, how it is likely to affect your health, and the best way to manage it.
Do not be afraid to ask questions about anything you don't understand.
Eat healthy foods. It is important for every person with diabetes to have a personal diet plan, tailored to meet their specific dietary requirements. Essentially, a personal meal plan should be developed by a registered dietitian.
Exercise regularly. There are many benefits to regular physical activities, which are especially important for type 2 diabetic patients. Regular exercise plays a crucial role in glucose regulation and has beneficial effects on insulin cell receptors... a key component to overcoming insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes).
Aerobic exercise, in particular, helps with weight loss and obesity reduction. Obesity is a chief risk factor for type 2 diabetes. In fact, many overweight type 2 diabetics who lose the excess body fat, can eventually discontinue (or significantly reduce) their oral medication.
Take prescribed medication. This statement might seem obvious but it must be emphasized. Some diabetics (particularly type 1 diabetics) require daily insulin injections, while others require oral medication (particularly type 2 diabetics) to help regulate their blood glucose levels. Some type 2 diabetics require both insulin injections and oral medication.
Follow your doctor's recommendations and do not vary or discontinue prescribed medication unless you first consult your health care provider.
Monitor blood glucose levels regularly. An effective diabetes care and management program can help to control blood glucose level and keep it as close to normal as possible. This is achieved mainly by implementing and maintaining the four (4) tips outlined above. However, it is important to regularly monitor blood glucose levels to assess the effectiveness of the measures implemented.
This will help to identify any patterns of high or low blood glucose levels, so that corrective action can be quickly taken. If your blood glucose levels are consistently (and significantly) outside the normal range, consult your doctor, promptly.
In some cases, as the benefits of exercise, diet, weight management etc. begin to take effect, blood glucose levels may begin to fall. If it is allowed to go too low, it can result in a condition known as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Severe hypoglycemia can cause disorientation, seizures and loss of consciousness.
If the results of regular blood glucose monitoring points towards low blood sugar, your doctor may recommend discontinuation, or a significant reduction of prescribed medication. On the other hand, if the tendency is pointing towards high blood glucose levels then medication may have to be increased.
In summary, an effective diabetes care and management program should include regular exercises, a personalized meal plan, medication prescribed by a doctor, regular monitoring of blood glucose levels and regular consultations with your doctor.