Problem-Solving is a Key to Diabetes Management
Last updated: March 2022
The light bulb burned out in the lamp in your living room, so you replace the light with a new lightbulb. Problem solved. Your car’s warning light indicates you are low on gasoline, so you go to the gas station and fill the gas tank. Problem solved. Problem-solving is a way to troubleshoot an issue, concern, or problem we may encounter. Sometimes the problem seems obvious, like the light bulb. But what if a new bulb doesn’t solve the problem? When you have diabetes, problem-solving blood sugar levels daily can be a game-changer. But sometimes the “problem” seems obvious, and sometimes the obvious answer doesn’t give the anticipated result.
Following orders with adjustments along the way
As I coach people with diabetes I have found a pattern of thinking, especially for people with type 2 diabetes. People tend to think when they got their orders from the doctor at diagnosis that everything should run smoothly if they follow the orders. At diagnosis, you may be managing your blood sugar levels by consuming a healthy eating plan and increasing your exercise. Typically, if these lifestyle behaviors do not keep blood sugar levels in the target range, your doctor may prescribe Metformin along with healthy lifestyle behaviors. If your blood sugar continues to rise, the doctor may order a second diabetes medication. Know that this is not out of the ordinary. Minor tweaks are being made along the way of your diabetes journey.
Why problem-solving is key to diabetes management
Managing diabetes relies on constant problem-solving. One day is never the same as the next, and as we age, our bodily systems start to wear down. We may need to make modifications in our management simply because our bodies aren’t functioning the way they used to. Problem-solving and troubleshooting is a daily task with diabetes because there are so many variables that can affect blood sugar levels. It’s not only food that raises blood sugar, but also sleep patterns, exercise, stress, illness or infection, and even some medications.
Thoughts about self-management
Sometimes the answer is different medications - a decision your doctor will make. But you can use your blood glucose meter or continuous glucose monitor day-to-day as a tool to check in with your body on its blood sugar levels. The information you can gather over time by matching blood sugar readings to certain foods, to your level of activity, to your stress levels, to your sleep habits, to menstrual cycles, to illness or to other happenings can very often help you problem solve the situation on your own. Like it or not, it is diabetes self-management that most often makes the difference.
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