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UR HEALTH: It’s Time To Address Diabetes

I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Sanofi to write about the realities of diabetes as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own.

The coronavirus has brought health to the forefront of everyone’s mind in 2020. Its swift and brutal impact has led to global shutdowns and forced us to reconsider what it means to be “health conscious” on a daily basis.

However, with this virus as the current preeminent threat among illnesses, it can be easy to lose sight of one of the most devastating diseases currently affecting people around the globe:  diabetes.

According to the Center for Disease Control, over 34 million American have diabetes, and over 88 million Americans (more than a third of the US population) have pre-diabetes. More concerning is the fact that one in five people with diabetes don’t even know they have it.

The disease is as common as it is silent. In 2017, diabetes ranked as the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. But as dangerous as the disease is, there is hope! Arming yourself with information to proactively combat diabetes can be a lifesaver. 

Med-IQ is an accredited medical education company that provides an exceptional educational experience for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals. They offer necessary tools for better understanding and dealing with type 2 diabetes. As someone with friends and family members affected by diabetes, I was thrilled to partner with Med-IQ to help spread awareness about the disease. Here are eight tips from Med-IQ for advocating for your own treatment course with your healthcare team:

 

1. KNOW YOUR NUMBERS

Even if a patient doesn’t feel symptoms, damage is being done. The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be managed. One important step is making the invisible, visible. What does this mean? It means “know your numbers!” 68% of people find out that they have type 2 diabetes because of routine bloodwork. Know and manage your ABCs. Know your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, get an annual physical – what follows is guidance from the CDC! 

1 – Get a regular A1C test to measure your average blood sugar over 2 to 3 months; aim to stay in your target range as much as possible.

2 – Try to keep your blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg (or the target your doctor sets).

3 – Control your cholesterol levels.

4 – Stop smoking or don’t start

2. BE YOUR OWN CEO

Consider yourself the CEO of your own company; the doctors noted that no one is more invested in your health than you. Now it is your turn to be build your team! Include a primary care physician, endocrinologist, podiatrist, ophthalmologist, registered dietitian, diabetes educator, and mental health professional! You are not and should not be in this alone.

Photo by Anastasiia Ostapovych

3. GO PREPARED

Doctors’ appointments are limited – go prepared to your appointment by writing down your questions in advance and/or bringing a family member or loved one with you to the appointment. Consider making a diabetes-only appointment so that other health issues and questions don’t take up the bulk of the appointment time with the doctor.

4. MULTIPLE APPOINTMENTS

If possible, schedule four separate diabetes-focused appointments to address specific health questions – dedicating time to a focused session can help improve your outcomes and treatment plan.

 

5. BUILD YOUR CARE DREAM TEAM

Consider your diabetes care team – do you have a diabetes psychologist or mental health professional to address distress or behavioral modifications? How about a dietitian, eye doctor, and foot doctor? This is a hard disease to manage and building a team is beneficial. 

6. SET REALISTIC GOALS

Building a strong relationship with the team can also help you choose realistic goals to help you see improvements over time – there is much work that goes into managing this diagnosis and realistic goals are critical.

Managing health behaviors such as weight, smoking, exercise, or monitoring blood sugar levels are examples of ways to set individual and realistic goals, to then focus on incremental improvements and developing a treatment plan that is realistic to an individual’s life and what works for them. Consider it as a continuum of care with personalized targets.

7. BE EARLY

It is important to not only get diagnosed early but also start lifestyle changes and treatment early. Currently, there is up to a 6 years’ delay before starting treatment. All that time, the uncontrolled blood glucose could be damaging numerous organs in your body. For instance, people with poor controlled blood glucose had increased risks for heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. Here are a list of problems: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/problems.html

8. TAKE CONTROL

Lifestyle changes can make big improvements. And fortunately, there are medications that can make getting to your target goal quicker. There are even combination therapies that can combat multiple alignments of diabetes. Getting control early is key. And this is a disease you need to take control of. If you are interested in learning more details about the latest treatment options for Type 2 Diabetes, I will be sharing more information on that in the coming months as part of this partnership. 

Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and would appreciate your input! The survey, which includes additional education on this topic, will take less than 10 minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with diabetes and your care team, which will help us develop future educational initiatives.

Once you’ve completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will be used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize and to send a follow-up survey as part of this same initiative.

Links to external sites are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. They are not intended and should not be construed as legal or medical advice, nor are they endorsements of any organization. Med-IQ bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of any external site. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.

 

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