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Living with Diabetes

Living with Diabetes

Author: Vida Reed, Certified Diabetes Educator

Although more than 30.3 million Americans are currently living with diabetes, there can still be a stigma around receiving a diagnosis.

Did I eat too many sweets? Did I not exercise enough? Was there something I could have done to prevent it? These questions are irrelevant.

Being diagnosed with diabetes, even in its most preventable form, doesn’t necessarily represent a personal failing. While lifestyle plays a factor, there’s a strong genetic component to diabetes, as well. The important thing to focus on is how to manage your diabetes without letting it further impact your health and quality of life.

While a diabetes diagnosis means a lifetime of treatment, being aware of how the disease affects your body and keeping a positive outlook through your ups and downs will help you reduce your risk for diabetes-related complications. These seven self-care behaviors outlined by American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) will help you successfully manage your condition over time.

  • Healthy Eating – Receiving a diagnosis doesn’t mean you have to give up the foods you love, but it does mean you have to be more aware of how the foods you eat affect your blood sugar.
  • Being Active – There are so many health benefits of being physically active. From lowering stress to improving your blood sugar. For diabetics, it’s especially beneficial because it helps keep blood sugars under control.
  • Monitoring – Monitoring your blood sugar level regularly helps you ensure they’re within normal range and allows you to make diet or activity adjustments when they’re not.
  • Taking Medication – For many, medication is the only means of managing their disease. In addition to insulin, it may be recommended that you take other medications to mitigate side effects and reduce your risk of complications.
  • Problem Solving – Things happen. Complications occur. Its’s important to have good diabetes management problem-solving skills to help you prepare for, and cope with unexpected situations.
  • Reducing Risks – Having diabetes can increase your risk for a variety of other health problems. Knowing your risks, and taking steps to reduce them, can lower your chance of life-threatening complications.
  • Healthy Coping – When you’re dealing with a lifelong disease, it’s important to understand the emotional impact your health can have and draw on your social support network for strength, when needed.

If you’d like to learn more about living with diabetes, educators at the Washington Outpatient Diabetes Center can give you the support you need. Our team includes nurses, dietitians and doctors who specialize in educating and caring for people with diabetes. In addition to learning new management skills, they can help recognize diabetes-related complications early so they can be treated before becoming life-threatening.

Posted March, 2019