A Diabetes Self-Care Check List

Fall is around the corner, kids are heading back to school, and the winter holiday season is several weeks off. It seems like a good time to run a simple diabetes self-care diagnostic.

Here are ten things endocrinologists suggest people with diabetes should know or do to achieve optimal well-being. How many of them can you cross off your need-to-do list?

Self-Care Check List

Eye See. Though not everyone with diabetes will have vision complications, catching problems early increases the likelihood of successful treatment results. If you have not visited your ophthalmologist during the past 12 months, this might be a good time to make an appointment.

Choppers Check. Even if you haven’t noticed any teeth or gum problems, two dental exams per year are recommended for people with diabetes. When did you last visit your dentist?

Numbers Update. Knowing and understanding the implications of certain numbers helps those with diabetes make wise lifestyle choices. What is your latest A1c level, body mass index, waist circumference, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and kidney function (creatinine, albumin) results? You can keep abreast of these numbers - and find out what they mean - by seeing a doctor or endocrinologist regularly.

Monitoring Mettle. Regular glucose monitoring is the only way to gauge how different foods and activities affect your blood sugar so that suitable lifestyle or medication adjustments can be made.

Feet First. Being at higher risk for infection and peripheral nerve damage means your feet require plenty of TLC. Examining them daily for bruises, cuts or sores, rubbing soothing cream on them at night, and wearing good fitting, comfortable shoes are healthy habits for those with diabetes.

Gustatory Grit Now is a good time to recommit, if necessary, to your doctor’s or dietitian’s dietary recommendations.

Activity Mojo. Now is a good time to recommit, if necessary, to a regular exercise routine, and making time for personal interests.

Tracking. Writing down questions about diabetes as they arise, and keeping a log of glucose numbers will make the next doctor visit more productive and helpful for both you and the physician.

Mood Management. Physical and emotional stress can exacerbate diabetes symptoms, and managing diabetes can be stressful. Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional if stress, anxiety, or depression is interfering with your daily activities.

Med Savvy. Know what each of your medications do and what the possible side effects are. Keep a list of your current meds (name, dose, frequency) and show this list to any doctor prescribing a new medication for you.

We can motivate ourself by waiting for something that’s been put off to circle around a bite us in the rear; or, we can take care of it now and quit looking over our shoulder. Do it now.

Source: Dr. Z. Bloomgarden
Photo credit: Courtney Dirks

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