Are you puzzled by your diabetes care? You're not alone. Just remember that every puzzle is solved one piece at a time.
About 25.8 million children and adults in the United States, or about 8.3% of the population, have diabetes, according to current data from the 2011 National Diabetes fact sheet. More troubling is the estimate that there are 7 million people living in the U.S. with undiagnosed diabetes.
With the ever rising incidence of diabetes and individuals experiencing life altering diabetes complications, it is paramount that an individual living with diabetes is not puzzled by the management of diabetes care.
Some individuals find themselves scratching their heads when their physician tells them their diabetes in not in control… in fact, they may hear the term "out of control" in reference to their diabetes.
For some individuals, they do not know where or how to begin to look at their diabetes care. For others, the daily commitment to managing diabetes can feel more like a chore than a journey.
So which piece goes first?
Attitude and Engagement
It’s important to realize that your attitude and becoming engaged in your diabetes care as you move forward will make all the difference in the success of one’s management to care.
So it’s time to stop feeling puzzled by diabetes care and start by empowering yourself to gain a better understanding and strive to become engaged in putting the pieces of diabetes care together for complete care.
It is helpful when trying to manage any type of challenge to have a team approach for ongoing support and success. Speaking with your physician and about your HBG A1C, BP, and Cholesterol numbers (also known as the ABC’s of diabetes care) will give you a better understanding of how to move forward.
Overwhelmed? Don't worry. It’s common for an individual needing to make changes in lifestyle habits to feel overwhelmed at this stage. So what do you do next?
Diabetes education is an extremely important piece of the puzzle. Having a health care team that consists of a physician (primary care or endocrinologist), a certified diabetes educator, nurse and dietitian, can assist you in the crucial education piece of better understanding diabetes care and management.
Skills such as blood glucose monitoring, blood glucose pattern management, meal planning and exercise are just a few of the topics an individual living with diabetes should understand. This is where you can find assistance in taking larger goals and breaking them down into more manageable ones to get you started.
By setting goals with your physician and certified diabetes educators, this will encourage engagement in managing your diabetes care and help you achieve your health care goals.
Now your team will be able to make further recommendations for ongoing support resources that are available that will assist you in keeping those pieces together.
Remember: One piece at a time...
Tabitha Jones, BSN, RN, CDE is a diabetes educator with Lancaster General Health's Diabetes & Nutrition Center.