About 347 million people all over the world have diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, this health problem is diagnosed in about 29.1 million people in the USA; 86 million people have prediabetes, and about 8.1 million people do not know that they have it. Effective prevention and treatment depend on various factors, and you can do a lot to help yourself with it.
What You Can Do
If you have diabetes, it is very important to know how you can manage this condition. You should provide your physician with all the needed information, and if you have questions, you should ask them to clarify all the matters. This helps not only you, but also your healthcare provider, allowing him/her to determine the right diagnosis and make an effective treatment plan. Unfortunately, sometimes Type 2 diabetes remains untreated or treated poorly without a patient even knowing about it. That is why it is so important to learn as much as possible about this problem.
Check Your Numbers
If your healthcare provider tells you that you have increased levels of sugar, you should check the numbers. Do not miss your chance to manage this health problem at its early stages of development. Remember that you are at a higher risk if someone in your family has Type 2 diabetes, if you are over 40 years old, if you have excessive weight, heart disease or other health conditions. In this case, your doctor may recommend that you conduct a special test called Hemoglobin A1C. Thanks to this blood test, you can find out how your body utilizes sugar to determine your risk of having diabetes. Over three months, red blood cells die due to glucose or sugar that attaches to them. The A1C allows seeing a 3-month average of blood sugar.
If A1C shows 5.7-6.4%, it is considered to be a prediabetes range, which means that you can still do lots of things to prolong or prevent diabetes with exercise, diet and weight loss. This test is also helpful for people with diabetes, because it allows understanding where your sugars are ranging. According to some studies, people with diabetes can reduce the risk of microvascular complications of kidneys and eyes if they manage their blood glucose levels. The American Diabetes Association recommends keeping an A1C not more than 7%, and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists believes that it should be not higher than 6.5%.
Find out More about Medications
It is a usual situation when a patient has a long list of medications and has no clue what they are for. This may cause problems, because if you do not know what these medications treat, you may take them incorrectly. That is why, you should find out as much information as possible about each drug that you use, including when to take it, dosage, possible side effects, etc. For instance, if you use a sulfonylurea (a medicine that initiates your pancreas to produce insulin) and use it without food, your blood sugar can go low.
Usually, it takes some time to find the most effective and safe medications. In order to find out information on the drugs you take, you should ask your healthcare provider. You can also use other sources if you know that they are reliable.
Determine Your Network of Specialists
Seeing different healthcare professionals may be overwhelming, but you have to meet at least some of them time to time. That is why you should determine what medical professionals should be included in your network. For instance, if you have diabetes and you are over 30 years old, you should see an ophthalmologist to have an eye exam one time a year. You also want to include a dietitian in your list, who can help you create an effective meal plan.
Other specialists that you also need to visits are the following:
• Vascular doctor.
If you are not sure what healthcare professionals you should see regularly, you can ask your physician.
Pay Attention to Symptoms
If you start experiencing unusual symptoms, such as pain or discomfort, you should visit your doctor. It is important to listen to your body, which will help you prevent the development of a range of issues. Diabetes can be managed, but if you pay no attention to its symptoms for a long time, your health condition may get much worse.