Diabetes Self-Management Articles

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Ten Ways to Observe National Diabetes Month

by Ingrid Strauch

8. Knock something off your diabetes to-do list.

Whether your to-do list is in your head or written down, you probably have one. The more specific the items on your list are, the easier it is to do them. If your to-do list has things like “eat better” or “exercise more” on it, find some specific steps that you could easily implement that would bring you closer to these goals. For example, plan a week of healthy lunches and write out a shopping list, then put “go grocery shopping” on your to-do list. In case you don’t have a list, here are some ideas:

  • Write out a list of your current medicines and doses. Date it, make a couple of photocopies, and keep a copy with you (in a purse or wallet, for example) in case of a medical emergency or a new prescription.
  • Enter your emergency contact numbers into your cell phone.
  • Write out some questions for your next visit to your health-care provider.
  • Schedule a specialist appointment that you’ve been putting off.
  • Put together a sick-day kit. If you’re not sure what to put in it, here’s a list to get you started: www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/sick-day-kit
  • 9. Seek out support.

    Talking with other people who are facing the same challenges as you are can make your burden feel much lighter. Even if nothing actually changes on a practical level, feeling heard and understood has enormous psychological benefits. And it’s possible that the people you meet through an online social network or in-person support group will have information or resources that can have a practical effect.

    To find a support group, try calling your local chapter of the ADA or JDRF, or contact the diabetes department at your local hospital. Hospitals or other medical offices that offer diabetes education classes sometimes also have support groups that you can join. Here are some other potential sources of support:

    DiabetesSisters. DiabetesSisters organizes regular support group meetings (which they call PODS meetups) for women with diabetes and has a SisterMatch program to match up women for mutual support. They also hold occasional conferences and other events.

    Divabetic. Divabetic holds monthly Divabetic Club meetings in various US cities, as well as occasional other outreach programs. While Divabetic programs are aimed mainly at women with diabetes, men are welcome, too.

    Juvenation. Juvenation is the JDRF’s online social network for adults and teens with Type 1 diabetes.

    10. Reach out to someone else with diabetes or prediabetes.

    There are lots of ways to reach out to others to share your knowledge, experience, and resources, offer a sympathetic ear, or simply open the door to conversation. Even sharing the questions you have about your diabetes with others can be helpful; someone else who needs the answer may not have even thought to ask the question. Here are some ways to reach out:

  • Invite some friends who have diabetes to your house for dinner to swap stories, recipes, recommendations, etc.
  • Participate in an online discussion. Let others know what tools have been helpful for you.
  • Talk to your relatives about their risk of diabetes. Having a close relative (such as a parent or sibling) with Type 2 diabetes puts a person at higher risk of developing it, too. If you have Type 2 diabetes, therefore, make sure your relatives know that they are at risk, too, but that there are ways to prevent it. One step that can help is to seek out a Diabetes Prevention Program (YDPP) at your local YMCA. Lots of Ys have them these days, so call your local Y to see if it has the program, what it costs, and whether financial aid is available to help pay for it.
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