When you’re a child, adults are responsible for looking after you and helping to keep you healthy. But as you get older, it becomes your responsibility to look after your health. You may have doctors and other medical professionals to assist you when you’re ill. And there are some things you can’t control. However, there are many things about your health that you can control, or that you can at least attempt to manage. Type 2 diabetes is one of those things. There’s no magic cure or formula that means everyone will be able to live without medication or experience no symptoms. But most people can self-manage their disease to give themselves a better quality of life. If you need help learning to monitor your health, try the advice below to get started.
Attend a Self-management Workshop
When you first receive your diagnosis, or if you’re struggling to manage your health later, see if you can find a self-management workshop. These workshops are often run by medical centers or charities. They will give you lots of useful information for managing your diabetes. For example, Stanford School of Medicine has one. Health care organizations can run it in community centers, such as churches or town halls.
Each attendee learns about how to deal with their symptoms. They also learn about healthy eating, exercise and managing medication. They can share experiences and help each other with their problems. They also create action plans to help them with their health. They also go home with a book with information on living with a chronic condition, as well as an audio relaxation tape. This type of workshop can be very useful, so see if you can find one local to you. If you’re unsure where to look, ask your doctor.
Talk to Your Healthcare Team
One of the most important parts of learning to look after your health is staying in contact with your doctor. Attending a workshop will help you better understand the principles in monitoring your health. But you need to talk to your doctor to be more knowledgeable about your personal circumstances. You should have a discussion with them whenever you want to change anything in your lifestyle. For example, you should discuss your exercise plan with them. This is especially true if you have been inactive for a long time or take insulin. You should also talk to them about things such as whether you can drink alcohol and if a new medication could interfere with your blood sugar levels. They can talk to you about your diet too. It’s essential to have regular checkups with your medical team to monitor your progress and overall health.
Monitoring Symptoms and Blood Sugar Levels
Of course, it’s vital that you can monitor your blood sugar levels and be aware of the symptoms that indicate that they’re too low or high. When you receive your diagnosis, your doctor will help you understand how to do this. They will also give you a recommended range for your blood sugar levels. Monitoring this is one of the main tools you have for managing your condition and overall health. You need to learn how to use your meter, and each is different so be sure to read the manual. One of the important things to remember is buying test strips. If you run out, you won’t be able to check your blood sugar and keep a log. You should write down your results each time, so you can identify any patterns. You might also want to make a note of other things. For example, you could write down your stress levels, diet and anything that could affect your hormone levels. Doing so can help you identify things to avoid or periods when you need to be especially careful.
Managing Your Diet
Changing your diet can be one of the hardest parts of living a healthy lifestyle when you have diabetes. Although you have a significant reason to change what you eat and drink, becoming disciplined about your diet is still very difficult. It’s easy to talk about eating a balanced diet, but living it requires a lot more effort. You need to be able to understand what you eat and how it affects your body. Attending a diabetes self-management workshop will help you understand your diet better, and there are other things you can do too. Firstly, talk to your doctor about a healthy eating plan tailored to you. It’s also a good idea to do some research to get to know different food groups and how things affect your glucose levels. Looking at the labels on your food isn’t much use if you don’t know what they mean, so make sure you know what you’re looking at. One of the things that will help you eat well is planning your meals ahead of time. Write down what you’re going to eat each week, so you already know it’s going to be balanced.
Using Diabetes Apps
There are mobile apps to make everything easier these days, and managing your diabetes is one of them. If you want to keep track of your medication, diet, exercise and blood sugar levels more easily, there are lots of apps to use. Some of them are designed for people with diabetes, while others are useful for everyone. For example, you can use Fooducate, which tells you what’s in your food when you scan a barcode. This will help you manage your carbohydrate intake and recognize food high in sugar and fat. If you use the Glooko app, you can upload your glucose readings directly from your meter. You can then keep a record of your numbers, work towards your goals and show the information to your doctor. You’ll also find apps that help you exercise and connect with other people with diabetes.
Of course, you can meet people in person too. If you want to socialize with other diabetes sufferers, look for a support group or social circle near you. One of the best ways to learn how to manage and monitor your diabetes is through learning from others with the same experiences.