The Top 6 Ways To Get Help Managing Diabetes
The first thing you want when your doctor diagnoses you or one of your children with diabetes is information. The Centers for Disease Control reports that about 29 million Americans have diabetes. The number with prediabetes exceeds that by more than three times at 86 million. There are two major classifications of diabetes, which are Types 1 and 2, as well as other forms that are a mix of the two. LADA is the acronym for Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, where the ability to produce insulin diminishes over time. Oral medications may work in the beginning, but insulin will be required later. There is also Gestational diabetes that may or may not go away after delivery of the baby, and Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY) along with Neonatal Diabetes Mellitus (NDM). No matter what form of diabetes is diagnosed, there are places to go for help in managing the disease.
The energy in everything eaten is eventually turned into glucose for the body to burn as fuel. Diabetes interferes with the normal uptake and regulation of glucose in the bloodstream. Insulin works as a key to unlock cells to receive glucose as fuel. Some forms of diabetes destroy insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, resulting in not enough insulin to control blood glucose levels. Other forms of diabetes interfere with the ability of insulin to perform well.
A certified dietitian helps in understanding food better. Eating right is not all about banning all sugar as there is plenty of sugar in foods that are actually good for the body. Dietary training for diabetics teaches understanding of carbohydrates, proteins and fats that make up all the things brought home from the grocery store to eat as well as the glycemic index of those foods. The glycemic index is a scale of how quickly different foods that contain carbohydrates can raise blood glucose. Understanding this helps with meal preparation, dining out and eating right.
Family doctors are great for assisting in managing diabetes, but a specialist in endocrinology has the training to help in managing all forms of diabetes for the long term to help in preventing or delaying onset of complications. Diabetes is a disease where there is a problem with the hormone insulin. Endocrinologists are specially trained in the endocrine system, which encompasses the different parts and functions of the hormones in the body. The goal of treating diabetes is to maintain long-term control of blood glucose levels to prevent or delay onset of complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney problems, eye problems, nerve damage and more.
Everyone should have an annual eye exam, but it is even more critical for diabetics. Diabetes mellitus has one major corresponding symptom, which is elevated blood glucose levels. Over time, the excess glucose in the bloodstream cause damage to blood vessels. The tiny blood vessels in the body, such as in the eyes and kidneys, are affected first. Microvascular damage to the blood vessels of the eyes can lead to blindness. An opthamologist is a medical doctor who can help patients with diabetes preserve their sight.
Most hospitals have a diabetes education program that is taught by certified diabetes educators. The educators are usually registered dietitians too. Most diabetics get their first training in how to manage diet, exercise and medication to treat diabetes from a diabetes education program offered at their local hospital or clinic. The training is almost always covered by health insurance, and it is offered as a course consisting of several classes spread out over a few weeks with attendees meeting two or three times per week.
Diabetes Support Groups
There are multiple diabetes support groups offered in locations across the country. Subgroups that focus on specific issues or treatments may also be available. Some diabetics use oral medications, multiple daily injections of insulin, or insulin pumps to treat their disease. Groups may be formed to help overcome issues with each treatment regimen. There are groups for parents and caregivers of children with diabetes as well as groups to help cope with facing the reality or potential of the serious complications associated with diabetes.
It is important for those diagnosed with diabetes to at least involve close family members in the treatment and managing of the disease. Diabetes education classes often welcome spouses and significant others to also attend. Those who have a close relationship to diabetic patients can help motivate them to stick with their treatment regimens that are multifaceted and include medication, dietary changes and exercise. Those who have the closest relationship with diabetics are usually the first people sought out to talk about the disease and all the concerns that go with it.
When referring to treatment of diabetes, professionals often make mention of the healthcare team of patients diagnosed with the disease. Diabetes is a disease that takes more than one approach to managing it over a lifetime. Though Type 2 diabetes can be fully reversed in it early stages, there is no cure for the disease. Managing it requires controlling weight through a proper diet, taking medications to control blood glucose, and preventing or managing complications of the disease as well as sticking to a prescribed exercise regimen. However, the psychological aspects of the disease also need to be managed. This is why a team approach is needed for each patient, and every diabetic patient should actively seek out the help needed to control the disease for life.