Diabetes Management Plan: A Personal Practice
Every person who has diabetes will inevitably experience it uniquely. While there are some symptoms and treatments that overlap, each person has a unique environment, body, and philosophy that will affect their personal experience. Regardless of any differences, each person will adapt and develop systems to manage their diabetes effectively and efficiently; this is called a 'management plan’. While it can be tough to develop a plan or know where to start. A community sharing their own practices can be helpful.
Tips for creating a type 2 diabetes management plan
Here are some ideas about what a management plan could include, with an emphasis on relativity and empathy.
Assess where you’re at and where you want to go
A great first step to managing diabetes, or any challenging frontier, is understanding your current situation. Next is setting goals for your future and what you'd like it to look like. A goal does not need to be (or should be) the finish line, but rather way-points to keep you motivated as you pass by.
A goal could be getting an A1C test of below 6. However, if an A1C is 10, it might take some time to reach that goal. So perhaps setting incremental goals of getting it down to 9, then 8, then 7, is a more consistent path of success. Towards that ultimate goal of 6 or below. Meeting these smaller goals on the way is a great way to stay motivated and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Review and adjust your habits
After determining where you want to go with your diabetes management plan, analyzing personal habits that might contribute to higher blood sugar levels is a good place to start making changes. After identifying a problematic habit, replacing that habit out with an alternative, healthier, one is important. An example of this could be a habit of stress-eating and replacing it with a walk or meditation exercise instead. Replacing a problematic habit with a proactive one is a double-down on making a good management plan.
Exercise, in any amount, is a good habit to adopt. There is a bounty of information available on why exercise is helpful for not only diabetes management but also psychological health management as well. If you’re interested in introducing some exercise to your routine, check out these articles on strength training, high intensity interval training, exercising safely when injured and remember to always exercise within your capacity!
Consider your diet
Food is a tenuous topic in the type 2 diabetes community. People will find a variety of different dietary managements that help them most, but the most important diet is your own. Identifying your “trigger foods” or foods that consistently cause a spike in blood glucose levels is a great place to start. Keeping a food journal helps to keep track of these foods and categorize them.
Next, do a bit of research! Find out why these foods are triggering; maybe they are high in sugars or carbohydrates? Then, look for alternatives to these foods that don’t contain what you don’t want in them. A great resource for finding substitute foods are community pages and forums, like the Type2Diabetes.com community! A place where people can share their experiences and point you in the direction of some new tasty, yet non-triggering foods.
Talk to your doctor about medication
Like diet and exercise, medication is often personalized in a diabetes management plan. Prescribed medications might not always be a part of someone’s management plan; but if it is, that’s ok. It’s also ok if a medication isn’t helping you or is making you feel unwell. If this is how you feel, a discussion with your doctor about alternative options might prove to be helpful. With a good management plan, medications can also be reduced as control over blood sugar allows or might be introduced if some extra help is needed. Everyone is different and it's ok to have a unique relationship with medications.
We all know that every person is different and so will their experiences with diabetes be. Sometimes, it can be overwhelming to remember the things to research or discuss with a doctor later. Keeping a personal journal, or multiple, can help you keep track of your habits, changes, and progress with your personal management plan.
Your own type 2 diabetes management plan
Just like how diabetes is often a unique experience for unique individuals, a diabetes management plan is also unique. As we enter into an age of increasingly personalized medicine, that means personalized treatment and management of diabetes. While there are differences, the purpose of diabetes management plans remains the same; to live as healthy as possible and control diabetes. With that commonality, communities can encourage others by sharing personal management techniques. As always, if there are any questions about medication or dietary changes, it's helpful to have a medical team for guidance. Best wishes and good health in your journey, from wherever it may begin to wherever it leads.
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