Whether you have had diabetes for a long time or have only recently been diagnosed, having a diabetes management plan in place and with support from health care professionals specializing in treatment of the disease, is critical to maximizing your quality of life for years to come. (If you have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, be sure to check out our separate blog post on that topic here.)
Crafting an Effective Diabetes Management Plan
Here is a general roundup of the items you should consider when crafting your diabetes management plan:
A good diabetes management plan will be comprehensive and diet and exercise will play integral roles in the treatment of your diabetes, particularly if you have type 2 diabetes. Remember, type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. To some degree, there is some control over how quickly it progresses when proper steps are taken. Because the body is still making insulin, proper meal planning and physical activity can help to alleviate the severity of type 2 diabetes in many patients.
For folks with type 1 diabetes, meal planning and exercise will still play a crucial role. Although the pancreas for people with type 1 diabetes does not make insulin (it must be taken via a syringe, pump or inhaler), a diabetes management plan that includes healthy lifestyle choices is crucial. Staying fit and following a healthy diet helps increase the body’s insulin resistance (meaning you will have to take less) and allows type 1 diabetes sufferers to plan accordingly.
Most people with diabetes will develop high blood pressure (“hypertension,” in doctor-speak) at some point during their lifetime. In order to prevent or worsen other conditions related to diabetes (kidney and eye diseases, for example) it is critical that the blood pressure of diabetic patients be managed well.
Because high blood pressure is often without obvious symptoms, it is crucial that you monitor your blood pressure regularly if you have diabetes. In addition to the checks your health care professionals will be conducting on a regular basis, they will most likely also give you instructions to monitor it yourself from home. Do not take this advice lightly. The first step to effectively treating high blood pressure it to find it quickly.
There are many considerations when deciding what role medications will play in a diabetes treatment plan. From insulin therapy and amylinomimetic drugs (for those with type 1 diabetes) and prescriptions to inhibit glucose and encourage insulin production (for patients with type 2 diabetes), there are many potential combinations of drug therapies to primarily manage diabetes.
Depending on the other conditions being caused by or complicating the disease (like high blood pressure), other prescription medications may also be appropriate. This is why it is so vital that a prescribing health professional has a holistic understanding of patients’ conditions and contributing factors, as well as other factors like drug tolerance, interactions, sensitivities and allergies.
Nerve pain is prevalent among diabetes sufferers and can be a huge impediment on the quality of life. It is persistent, often manifesting itself as tingling, throbbing or shooting pain. Those suffering from diabetic nerve pain often find that the pain associated is worse at night—on top of the obvious difficulties of limited, range of motion and being in pain, they have trouble sleeping. It is commonly caused by poorly managed blood sugar levels over a long period of time, though in some cases a patient may suffer although they have been proactive in their treatment of the disease.
Depending on your situation, diabetic nerve pain can successfully be treated in most cases through diet, exercise and other healthy lifestyle choices like not smoking. There are some other components that may be appropriate for this portion of a diabetes management plan, including prescription therapy, physical therapy and other therapeutic treatments like the utilization of a take-home electronic device.
Differing Diabetes Management Plans
With all of the different concerns surrounding diabetes, there is certainly no easy diabetes management plan. But your diabetes management plan should be, well, manageable.
When partnering with a healthcare provider, your individual needs will be the foremost consideration when crafting the diabetes management plan. Above all else, you will want to be sure to find professionals who will take the time to get to know you. A provider who will take the time to understand your situation, help identify obstacles or difficulties you may have in working the steps of a diabetes management plan, and help provide solutions to make the plan (not easy, but) doable.
To find out if the experts at Arrowhead Health Centers are a good fit for you, contact us for a consultation. We look forward to meeting you!