This post was written by Chad Shirar, director, Diabetes Care Services, Parkview Health.
This past year was confusing and stressful for many of us, making it a challenge to take charge of our health. For this reason, it’s time to get back to the basics and get back on track, ensuring you are making daily, monthly and yearly decisions that optimize your health.
Tips for getting back on track
Managing diabetes can be difficult for those living with the disease and those taking care of family or friends diagnosed with it. And, while there is no cure for diabetes, there are steps and proactive measures you can take to slow down and even stop the progression of the illness. For example, eating foods that promote health, staying physically active, getting plenty of quality sleep, keeping stress at bay, avoiding tobacco and taking medications as prescribed are critical components in battling diabetes.
However, with all that in mind, there may be things you are overlooking or unaware of that could be beneficial in understanding and managing this chronic condition. To help bridge that gap, we’ve compiled a diabetes checklist to ensure you and your provider are aware of any changes in your health:
- Diabetes education: Don’t be afraid to meet with your local diabetes education team to stay up-to-date on information while learning self-management skills that could improve your quality of life. These classes are usually covered by major insurance carriers and available virtually or in person. If you’re unsure of where to start, discuss a referral to diabetes education with your healthcare provider.
- Foot inspection: It’s essential to check your feet daily for redness and abnormal skin discoloration. If it’s difficult or you cannot see the bottom of your feet, contact your provider for a formal foot exam. Also, be sure to utilize your hands and eyes when examining your feet, so minor issues don’t go unchecked.
- Know your range: Depending on how controlled your diabetes is, you may want to have your Hemoglobin A1c checked every 3-6 months to ensure you stay within your target range.
- Get your labs done: In addition to your A1c, it’s crucial that you also obtain a complete bloodwork panel to check your kidney function and blood cholesterol levels, including LDL, HDL and triglycerides.
- Blood pressure monitoring: It’s important to check your blood pressure and make sure it’s within a normal range. If not, discuss what steps you can take to maintain and improve your numbers with your healthcare team. If you have further concerns about your blood pressure, consult with your provider to purchase a home device and bring it to your next appointment to assure its accuracy compared to the office blood pressure device.
- Eye exam: Be sure to have a diabetic retinal exam each year to confirm diabetes is not affecting your eye health. Parkview Health currently offers this service, which most health insurance carriers cover.
- Manage your weight: Work with your healthcare team to stay within a healthy body weight and composition range for your age and existing health conditions.
- Pregnancy: If you are pregnant or attempting to become pregnant, make sure you work with your provider and healthcare team to manage your diabetes.
- Complete assessment: Don’t forget to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider at least once each year for a comprehensive wellness check-up.
Early detection and effective management of diabetes can help prevent and even slow down the potential consequences of this chronic disease. Implementing any of these tips can lead to an overall improvement in your health and well-being. Additionally, specially trained and board-certified clinicians with Parkview Diabetes Care Services can help you control your condition by sharing ways to eat healthily, exercise regularly, manage stress effectively and take your medication correctly. For more information, contact the Diabetes Care Services team at 260-373-4280 to be connected to the Parkview location nearest you.