NOVEMBER IS DIABETES MONTH
GETTING GOOD DIABETES CARE
Diabetes is not a condition that can be managed alone. The first step in ensuring good
up-to-date diabetes care is building a health care team. When you have diabetes,
it is important that you get good medical care. High blood sugar (glucose) levels
play a role in many complications, your doctor’s skill is more vital than ever.
Good care helps you live a full life with as few complications as possible.
But what is good care? The American Diabetes Association provides standards
of medical care for people with diabetes. These guidelines give the most up-to-date
information on taking care of your diabetes. Also, the guidelines let you know
what to expect from your doctor and health care team.
THE TEAM APPROACH
You should receive your diabetes care from a team put together by your doctor.
Diabetes is complicated. Your doctor alone cannot be an expert in every area.
For this reason, your diabetes team may include an eye doctor, dietitian, foot doctor (podiatrist), a nurse educator, dentist, and an exercise physiologist
Too-high levels of glucose in the blood are a feature of all forms of diabetes.
The main goal of diabetes treatment is to bring glucose levels down to as close to normal as is safely possible.
How far down? The Association’s Clinical Practice Recommendations state
70-130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/ml) before meals. Your doctors may set different targets for you, depending on other factors, such as how often you have low
blood glucose reactions. Most aspects of your treatment plan—measuring you
glucose levels taking diabetes pills or insulin shots, exercising, losing weight,
planning meals—are aimed at helping you reach your target glucose levels.
High glucose levels can affect many parts of the body. They can lead to eye, nerve
and kidney disease. High glucose levels also make it easier to get infections.
They can blur your vision or make you feel tired or thirsty all the time.
People with diabetes also are more likely to develop other health problems,
including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and fat levels, and heart disease.
As you can see, keeping your glucose levels under control is vital to your
future health and happiness. Your team can advise you on ways to reach this goal.
But much rests on your shoulders. For this reason, your treatment team should spend
a lot of time teaching you about diabetes and how to make diabetes care part of your life.