Diabetes Self-Management Articles

These articles cover a wide range of subjects, from the most basic aspects of diabetes care to the nitty-gritty specifics.

Links not loading properly?

Some of our pages use Portable Document Format (PDF) files, which require Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download Acrobat Reader for free, visit www.adobe.com.

Sign up for our weekly e-mail newsletter and receive a FREE GIFT! Enter your e-mail below.

Learn more

Learn more about diabetes

Links to help you learn more about diabetes.

Ask a diabetes expert
Other diabetes resources
Browse article topics

 

Setting Goals for Healthy Living

by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE, Bradley Eilerman, MD, and Leonard Bennett, PharmD

To be able to do these types of monitoring, you need to have the necessary equipment and know how to use it. Your doctor or diabetes educator can help you with these tasks and also advise you on the types of records you’ll need to keep to make sense of the information you get from monitoring.

Taking medication. Along with healthy eating and being active, most people with diabetes need some type of medicine to lower their blood glucose levels (and possibly their blood pressure or blood cholesterol). People with Type 1 diabetes always need insulin as a part of their treatment plan. People with Type 2 diabetes may initially treat their diabetes without medicine, but it’s not unusual to need one or more medicines over time.

Knowing how your medicine works, what side effects it may cause, any precautions to keep in mind when taking it, how much to take and when, and what to do if you miss a dose will help you to use your medicine most effectively. You should also know how to store your medicine correctly at home as well as when you travel.

Problem solving. Lots of things can affect a person’s blood glucose level. Food, exercise, and insulin are some obvious ones, but others include stress, illness, certain prescription and over-the-counter medicines (including some taken for reasons other than diabetes control), and, for women, menstrual cycles. The effects of some of these can be predicted — at least to some degree — based on experience, but there is much that cannot be predicted, both in life and in blood glucose control.

Therefore, there will be times when your monitoring results come as a surprise, and you will have to make quick decisions about how to respond. This is an area where keeping careful records and working with a diabetes educator can be particularly helpful. An experienced educator will know what to look for and what questions to ask to figure out what caused the problem in the first place, and will also be able to advise you on how to respond to high or low blood glucose when it occurs.

Reducing risks. Taking action to reduce the risk of developing either short-term or long-term complications is an essential part of diabetes care. Short-term complications include very high blood glucose and too-low blood glucose (hypoglycemia). Long-term complications include retinopathy (eye disease), nephropathy (kidney disease), neuropathy (disease of various nerves in the body) and cardiovascular disease (which includes heart problems and stroke).

Some of the steps you can take to reduce your risks include becoming educated about how diabetes affects the body and how to keep blood glucose levels in a safe range, regularly seeking an array of preventive services such as eye and foot exams, and making any behavior changes, such as stopping smoking, that will lower your risks.

Healthy coping. Diabetes affects more than just physical health. It can cause psychological stress, affect how you feel about yourself, and affect your relationships with others. Coping with the emotional and social effects of diabetes is just as important for your health as taking care of the physical effects.

The good news is that healthy coping strategies can be learned, and goals can be set for learning them just as they can for other changes you’d like to make in your life. Some people find it helpful to learn and use a formal relaxation technique such as meditation or guided imagery. Others find that less formal approaches such as setting aside time for themselves, engaging in more physical activity, or setting aside time specifically for social activities reduces their stress level. Support groups are helpful for some. And for some issues, working with a mental health professional is what’s most effective.

Page    1    2    3    Show All    

Also in this article:
SMART in Action

 

 

More articles on Diabetes Basics

 

 


Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.

 

 

Diabetes Law Student Scholarship Seeks Applicants
The criminal defense firm Katz & Phillips, P.A. is seeking applicants for its first-ever... Blog

Diabetes Resolutions for the New Year
New Year's Eve is right around the corner, which means it's almost time to make those resolutions.... Blog

Ten Ways to Observe National Diabetes Month
November is National Diabetes Month, and much government and media attention is focused on... Article

When is the best time to add seasonings to a recipe? Get tip


Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring — Part 3: Smart Monitoring

10 Keys to Long-Term Weight Loss

Take Your Best Shot: Stay Up to Date on Vaccines

Complete table of contents
Get a FREE ISSUE
Subscription questions