Managing diabetes in five simple steps

Diabetes, more specifically type 2 diabetes, affects upwards of four million people in the UK, with numbers continuing to rise. Despite being part of a global epidemic, in tandem with the rise in heart disease and obesity, you should know that this disease is something that you, the patient, can effectively manage.

The decisions you make on a daily basis can have massive implications for your condition. The food you drink, the medications you take, the exercise you do (or don’t do), all have an effect on the condition. They make up the vast majority of ways you can manage, or even help treat, your condition – type 2 diabetes isn’t a one-way trip, it can be reversed by your actions.

Patient empowerment is a key objective of the National Service Framework for Diabetes, so you can count on your doctor’s support. In reality, your healthcare team can provide you with all the fantastic information they can surrounding the condition, but ultimately it’s down to you.

This gives you the power to beat this debilitating condition, but it may not be easy. So here are five useful tips that could help you in tackling diabetes:

1. Understanding – make sure you are completely clued up on the wider implications of diabetes as a whole, as well as your specific case. Learn about all the different methods of treatment, including medications, supplements, and practical measures like diet and exercise, to make sure you are fully informed when making any decision.

2. Use your doctor – your doctor will be an expert at managing diabetes so make the most of them! Ask them to propose a treatment plan, but (using your knowledge from step 1) don’t feel pressured into accepting it, feel free to query any aspect you are unsure of.

3. Be your own boss – all decisions start and stop with you, the patient. While your doctor will know the ins and outs of diabetes as a disease, you are the expert of your own experience and will understand the nuances of your personal condition. Discuss and negotiate the treatment goals that you want and ways of achieving them that you are happy with.

4. Track progress – make as many notes as possible to show where you are making (or not making) improvements. Monitor your blood sugar readings while undertaking new diet plans, new exercise regimes or new medications/natural medicines, and see what’s making a difference.

5. Be flexible – type 2 diabetes is a fluid disease that can change depending on external factors, so adapt to it. If something isn’t working in your regime, or you don’t feel completely happy with it, don’t be afraid to cut it out or discuss it with your doctor. Don’t let your diabetes get the better of you, be flexible and you can conquer it.

You should never feel alone in managing your diabetes. Whether it’s your friends and family, or diabetes charities and communities like Diabetes UK and diabetes.co.uk, there are always be there to help you on your journey. A positive attitude and a motivation to not let diabetes take over your life can go a long way.

Wishing you the best of health,

Dominic Rees
Editorial Health Researcher

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