The goals of my Type 2 diabetes management guideline are to control your blood glucose levels and to screen and treat its related conditions such as high blood pressure, lipid abnormalities, high cholesterol, and other complications of diabetes. This means that you will need to learn how to monitor your blood glucose levels, and you will also have more frequent
laboratory test and visits to your doctor than do people without diabetes.
In the last few months, I’ve received so many emails people asking me about how to correctly monitor diabetes and what laboratory tests they must frequently do. It’s unfortunate to know that in the last few months, more and more people are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I don’t know where its end will be and when will we be able to control this disease fully.
Many people are afraid and frustrated especially the newly diagnosed ones. I’m writing this article for them. Please keep in mind, don’t fear about your diabetes. Just consult and follow your doctor’s advice. That’s it. There are many simple and easy to follow things to monitor your diabetes.
In this article, I’ll tell you both how you will monitor your glucose levels and what other tests your doctor may do to evaluate your diabetes. It would be a long and detailed article. So, without wasting further time, let’s dive into it.
Assembling your diabetes Type 2 treatment team
Controlling your blood glucose levels successfully takes time and effort, but with an active treatment team, you can manage your diabetes. In this Part-1 of my article, I’ll tell you how you’ll assemble your treatment team that you’ll need for the long-term management of your diabetes.
First things first. Unlike many other chronic illnesses, diabetes requires significant decision making on a daily basis. The most important aspect of your diabetes care is to educate yourself how to self-manage your diabetes.
There are different ways in which you can learn and obtain the necessary skills and information that are necessary to take good care of your diabetes, including the following:
- Your medical team
- The American Diabetes Association (ADA)
- Diabetes support groups
- Authentic books about diabetes
- The Internet and,
- Of course my blog
Your Medical Team
Your medical team will provide individual assessment and instructions. Depending on the level of diabetes you have, the available resources in your community, and your daily health plan, your medical team may consist of your primary care physician, a nutritionist, a diabetes educator, an ophthalmologist, an endocrinologist, and a psychologist.
- Primary Care Physician
- Diabetes Educator
Your physician plays a significant role in helping you with your diabetes. Usually, he or she will be the one who makes the diagnosis of your diabetes. She will inform you about the kind and level of diabetes you have and your treatment options. She will also help you to coordinate care with the other members of your medical team.
Having regular consultations with a nutritionist is essential in your diabetes management. The nutritionist will assess your nutritional needs: if you need to lose weight, she will help you to devise a reduced calorie diet plan. She will also teach and advise you about foods that raise your blood glucose levels and how to count carbohydrates count in your diet.
If you have complications in diabetes, she may provide information about foods that are high in fats, cholesterol, protein, potassium or sodium.
The certified diabetes educator will educate you about the kind of diabetes you have and medication and other treatment options. She will instruct and brief you about the importance of controlling glucose, lipids, and blood pressure to prevent complications and also about the effects of exercise and emotions on your glucose control. She will also show you how you can use glucose monitors, treat high and low levels, and exercise safely.
The ophthalmologist will screen you regularly for your diabetic eye disease. There are many chances that with careful follow-up and intervention, vision loss can be avoided.
An endocrinologist is one who specializes in the treatment of the diseases of endocrine glands, including diabetes. You should start thinking about having an endocrinologist review about your diabetes care if:
- You have an unusual form of diabetes
- Despite your medical team’s best efforts, you are not able to get your glucose levels under target
- You need help treating low glucose reactions
It is often helpful if you talk about your diabetes situation with a psychologist. Nowadays depression is most common in diabetic patients, and a psychologist can evaluate and treat you for your depression if you have.
How to choose your medical team
How can you find out whether your health care provider and medical team are giving you the very best care for your diabetes? Honestly speaking, this is the most challenging question to answer. In assessing your physician’s ability to manage your diabetes adequately, consider the following:
Is your physician interested?
- Does she talk to you about your diabetes and related issues?
- Is she interested in hearing about your concerns about the disease?
- Does she include you in the decision-making process?
- Does she spend time with you to create a treatment plan for your diabetes?
Does your physician follow the ADA guidelines?
- Does she talk to you about the American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines?
- Does she do tests and evaluations at the recommended intervals?
- You can find all these guidelines through the ADA website or the website for the ADA’s journal Diabetes Care
Does your physician often encourage you to become an expert in your diabetes?
- Does she refer you to see a nutritionist, visit a diabetes educator, and attend diabetes self-help classes at any diabetes education institute?
Does she recommend you see other specialists?
- If you think that you need to consult endocrinologist or heart specialist, does she make a referral for you?
Are you and your physician compatible with each other?
- Do you think you have a good relationship with your physician?
- Does she respect you, and do you admire her?
Besides this, words of mouth from other people with diabetes in your community is helpful in finding the excellent physicians and other medical programs. As with everything else, the more you know about a subject, the easier it will be for you to assess the quality and expertise of someone else on that subject.
The ADA and other sources of diabetes-related information
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has an excellent website, and it also publishes many self-help ebooks for diabetic patients. You can also look for local diabetes support groups through your local hospital or pharmacist or by merely googling on the Internet. There are support groups that help people having Type 2 diabetes. These groups help you to share your experiences and enhance your knowledge about diabetes self-management.
There are also many Internet websites about diabetes. They vary in the quality of information they provide, so you must go to the sites of professional organizations like ADA first. You can also look at the Canadian Diabetes Association and the British Diabetes Association websites.
Once you get useful, necessary information, then you can go to the websites that cater to specific issues like diabetes and exercise.
You may also consider my blog to find a bunch of useful information about your type 2 diabetes treatment and advises.
Setting up a support network
When you are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you may go through a period of grief because of the loss of good health. The diagnosis can be overwhelming because there is a lot of information that you need to grasp and you have to learn about carbohydrates, calories, fats, exercise, weight management, and checking blood sugar levels. And, you may have some or all of these questions in your mind:
- What impact will this have on my family?
- How will it affect my daily life?
- How will it affect my professional life?
- What do I tell my family, friends, and colleagues?
- Can I drive?
You may feel anxious, worried, or might get panic. You may decide to ignore the whole thing, and hope diabetes will go away by itself. Or you might get angry – why me? You may blame the doctor for not picking up the problem sooner. You may feel that your partner or family members will not understand your question. Eventually, you may come to the terms with your diabetes. You don’t have to like having it, but you decide that within the limitations placed by diabetes, you will get the best of it.
These emotions of shock, denial, anger, and acceptance upon being diagnosed with diabetes may happen at different times and with varying intensity. There is the continued stress of looking after this chronic condition even after accepting that you have diabetes, and depression is most commonly found in people with diabetes.
When I talk to different people about their diabetes, I found that those people who have a strong support network they go through these phases of grief better than those who try to do it alone. The support can be emotional like someone to lean on when you are discouraged or practical like help treating low glucose levels, assistance with meal plans or an exercise partner who encourages to stick with an exercise plan.
There is no one way to set up such a support network, but here are some of my suggestions:
- Identify your close family member or friend with whom you can share your thoughts and emotions.
- Get your family members well informed about your diabetes and involve them in your care. Explain to them the benefits of your diet and exercise plan and have family members follow these plans too.
- Start talking and making connections with other people who have also diabetes.
- Express to your friends and family how much you appreciate their support.
- Be proactive about your health care
- Seek out medical care providers who will give you the right advice
- Join diabetes groups like ADA
With careful planning, a positive attitude, and support from your medical team and your family and friends, you can manage your diabetes and live well.
Your medical support team includes:
- Your primary physician who will diagnose and monitor your diabetes, prescribe medicines and refer you to other specialists as necessary
- The nutritionist who will explain how food affects your glucose levels, teach carbohydrates counting, and help with weight loss strategies
- The diabetes educator who will teach you how to monitor blood glucose and treat low glucose reactions.
- The ophthalmologist who will screen you for diabetic eye disease.
- The endocrinologist who will advise you if you are having lots of problems controlling your diabetes.
- The psychologist if you are having trouble adjusting emotionally to the demands of your disease.
Your social support team includes:
- Family members and friends who can provide emotional support and help you with your care.
- Diabetes community – other people with diabetes in your neighborhood, the Internet community, and advocacy groups like the ADA.
This article is only for those who have been recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Those who are newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, please adhere to your doctor’s advice because of its treatment methods, plans, and procedures are entirely different from those who have Type 2 diabetes.
I’m neither a doctor nor a dietitian. I’m just a Type 2 diabetic just like you. The tips and advice that I give are entirely based on my personal experiences. And I’m happy to say, my bits of advice mostly work!