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You are the Captain of Your Team

Posted by Marilyn Csernus -

 

If you have found yourself as one of the 29 million Americans who have diabetes it is not uncommon to have a period of adjustment, sometimes even a period of denial. Diabetes affects daily routines at home, school and work. With time and perseverance diabetes management can become a habit and part of your usual routine.

Support in managing your blood glucose is important. Although you will be in charge of your diabetes and day to day decisions are up to you it doesn't mean you have to do it alone. Having a diabetes healthcare team that you trust and feel comfortable with is an important first step. Their job is to work with you to develop a diabetes management plan that works for you. There is no "one size fits all" in diabetes management. Your diabetes care plan should be as individual as you are.

Your diabetes care team may include:

  • Primary care provider - this is often your regular doctor. Depending on the situation your primary care provider may be able to manage all your diabetes needs. All aspects of your diabetes care should be discussed with your primary care provider. Sometimes referral is needed to a diabetes specialist.
  • Endocrinologist- a diabetes specialist doctor. You may choose to see an endocrinologist from the start or may be referred by your primary care doctor.
  • Registered dietitian (RD) - A dietitian can teach you how food affects your blood glucose and help assist in developing a diabetes meal plan and set goals to manage your diabetes.
  • Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) often a nurse or dietitian; however could be a healthcare providers from other disciplines with advanced diabetes training. A CDE works to empower you with the skills and knowledge necessary to make the behavior changes needed for good diabetes management.
  • Social Worker – A social worker or health psychologist can help with the adjustment and emotional impact of managing diabetes.
  • Pharmacist - A pharmacist can answer any questions or concerns you may have with your diabetes medication or any medications you are prescribed.

Who and when you share your diabetes diagnosis is a personal decision.  Family and friends can be a great support system. In some cases it may be hard for them to understand some of the changes and they may be worried about you. Let the important people in your life know specific ways they can support you and don't be afraid to ask for help.

Don't forget that you are the one in charge of your diabetes self-management plan! A diabetes self-management plan will help manage blood glucose within a target range, decreasing potential complications associated with diabetes. Ultimately, you decide what to eat, when to eat, and if or when to check your blood glucose. The self in diabetes self-management is the most important word! As we know with all facets of life change is inevitable and this is also true with a diabetes plan. If your plan isn't working it is time for a change. Don't be afraid to ask questions and discuss concerns with your healthcare team. You being an active and engaged team player will make their job easier and result in the best outcome for you. Don't sit on the sidelines; be the captain of your team!



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