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.
I’m working with Med-IQ, a company that empowers health teams to improve patient care and outcomes. Although Med-IQ sponsored this post, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Diabetes is increasing in the United States. More than 34 million Americans have diabetes, and shockingly 1 in 5 don’t know they have it.
Interestingly, over one-third of U.S. adults have prediabetes and 84% of them don’t know it.
Moreover, African American adults are 60% more likely to develop diabetes and have been diagnosed by a physician.
We also know that diabetes health disparities are prevalent in communities of color.
We know a lot about diabetes.
It’s the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
Diabetes can lead to complications, including heart disease, stroke, neuropathy, increased risk for infection, retinopathy, kidney disease and more if it’s not treated.
Even if you aren’t feeling symptoms from complications, your body experiences the effects if your A1C and blood sugars stay above the recommended 6.5% range.
The good news is that you can manage both type 2 and prediabetes.
How do you manage diabetes when you’re newly diagnosed?
One crucial 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.
So, it’s important to take that first step and make at least an annual appointment to have your vitals and blood work checked.
Know your ABCs of diabetes
What are the ABCs of Diabetes?
- A: 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.
- B: Try to keep your blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg (or the target your doctor sets).
- C: Control your cholesterol levels.
- s: Stop smoking or don’t start.
Knowing your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and overall numbers is a step toward better overall health.
Assembling your perfect care team
When I was diagnosed, I didn’t know that much about diabetes.
When I found out the potential complications – and now some could be prevented – I decided to take the lead on my care and build my perfect care team.
But where do you start?
When you’re trying to find doctors who specialize in diabetes, there are a few steps to think about.
Consider yourself the CEO of your own health; no one is more invested in your health than you.
You have all of the power to ask questions, chime in on your goals, and step back when you feel uncomfortable.
Which diabetes doctors are right for you based on your needs?
- A primary care doctor and an endocrinologist may team up to handle your overall treatment and medication routine.
- A diabetes psychologist or mental health professional may help address distress or behavioral modifications.
- How about a dietitian can help you understand how your food choices can keep your blood sugars stable.
- An eye doctor, foot doctor, and dentist? They may all be a part of your annual check-ups.
This is a hard disease to manage and building a team is beneficial to your care.
Having the right doctors and specialists on your side can empower you to live a healthier life.
Some tips for your diabetes care doctors visits
Building a strong relationship with your care team can be helpful to seeing improvements toward your goals.
There are some tips you can use to keep your appointment as efficient as possible.
- Write your questions down and make sure they get addressed with the right doctor or specialist.
- Remember that doctors only have a short window to talk with you, and test your vitals, so bring relevant questions. If you have a concern outside of diabetes, book another appointment to talk about it.
- Try to use telehealth appointments if you don’t feel comfortable traveling, or you are unable to leave home.
- Bring your logs, and anything you’ve been tracking with you. Flag patterns you’ve noticed ahead so you can talk about concerns.
- There are many treatments out there that can help you get to goal quicker which means less damage to your body and more control of your life
- Look at your care team as your support system. Be honest about how you’re doing so they can help.
- Ask about diabetes tech? What might help automate your management, or make it easier?
Here’s the thing about diabetes – it’s scary, and it’s invisible (until it isn’t), but it can be managed with the right tools and support.
By committing to lifestyle changes, and early therapy, you can live a happy, healthy life with type 2 diabetes. In my next blog post in November, I’ll be covering the latest in treatment options.
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.
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