Home Gesundheit Wie Sie bei der Behandlung von Diabetes für sich selbst eintreten können

Wie Sie bei der Behandlung von Diabetes für sich selbst eintreten können

von NFI Redaktion

Living with Type 2 diabetes can pose challenges, but you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed in your doctor’s examination room. If you feel you have unanswered questions about your condition, you may find ways to express your concerns and receive better care. Advocating for yourself is crucial in managing your Type 2 diabetes and speaking up is essential.

Self-advocacy means representing your own interests in managing your condition. It helps you find, evaluate, and utilize information for your health. Learning to be your own advocate can give you a sense of control over your Type 2 diabetes, rather than the other way around, says Sneha Srivastava, PharmD, a certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist in Chicago.

Educate yourself and implement a plan for a healthy lifestyle, knowing that you may need to adjust your plan over time. „It is important to learn as much as possible about Type 2 diabetes. It is the knowledge and actions that lead to healthy blood glucose levels and avoid complications associated with high blood sugar,“ says Srivastava.

Start by understanding your numbers (A1c, blood pressure, cholesterol levels) and their significance. Get familiar with the technology options available to you, advises Srivastava. There are apps and devices that can assist you in managing different aspects of diabetes, including free phone apps for tracking your dietary habits or continuous glucose monitors to measure your blood sugar levels.

„Understand the ‚how‘ and ‚why‘ of your medications,“ says Srivastava. „There are medications now that help lower blood sugar, protect the kidneys or heart, or aid in achieving a healthy weight. Depending on your insurance or coverage, there are ways to choose the right medications that are also affordable.“

Lifestyle also plays a significant role. By following your treatment plan, you can prevent complications like heart disease, nerve damage, and blindness. Habits like monitoring refined carbohydrate intake, physical activity, and stress management can lead to not needing medication.

It may all seem like a lot to take in at first. If you need assistance, you can request a referral to a Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (DCES). They will help address any fears or concerns and inform you about what to expect at your next appointment.

According to the CDC, over 34 million people in the United States are affected by diabetes, but not all communities are affected equally. Treatment for Type 2 diabetes can be particularly important for Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic men and women. These groups have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes but often face challenges when it comes to diagnosis and treatment.

„There are very real statistics showing that people of color are more likely to suffer from Type 2 diabetes and diabetes-related complications. Contributing to this disparity are injustices and unequal access to care and resources that exist in some communities,“ says Srivastava.

„Being your own advocate is crucial,“ says Srivastava. In her opinion, this means ensuring that:

  • Everything on your diabetes checklist is addressed.
  • You are referred to the right specialists when needed.
  • You feel respected and heard.
  • Your values, culture, and preferences are considered in your care.

If you feel this is not the case, you have the right to find a healthcare provider who will address all of this and make you feel like part of the team, says Srivastava. Depending on gender, diabetes can be treated in a healthy manner based on patient preferences.“

Diabetes can affect you from head to toe. Therefore, ensure you are referred for eye examinations, dental cleanings, foot examinations, lab tests, and everything in between. To keep you in the best health while managing Type 2 diabetes, a medical team is necessary.

„Knowing where to get your information is as important as the information itself,“ says Srivastava. „Your healthcare team can assist you in finding the right resources. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed because there is so much information about diabetes, but you don’t have to know everything at once.“

Be open and honest. Don’t be afraid of being judged. Even if it’s uncomfortable for you to speak up, try to push yourself. If something isn’t working, your doctors may not know unless you tell them. It can make a difference in your care and quality of life.

„It’s natural to hesitate or feel uncomfortable during doctor’s appointments when discussing what you need for your diabetes treatment,“ says Srivastava. „It can be overwhelming, and sometimes appointments feel rushed.“ There are some things you can do to make it easier to participate in the conversation:

  • Come prepared. Keep a diabetes notebook with all your information and any questions you can bring to your appointments.
  • Bring support. A trusted friend or family member can be reassuring and help you remember everything said during the visit.

„Too often, people with diabetes are simply told to eat better, exercise more, and take medication,“ says Srivastava. „But what if… the medications are too expensive, you don’t know how to find time to cook, or exercise doesn’t work because your knees hurt too much?“

„If you are part of the conversation, you can communicate the hurdles or challenges you face in making changes, discuss what you can and want to do, and understand the recommendations,“ says Srivastava. „And ultimately, being an advocate means trusting yourself. If something doesn’t feel right or you feel like you don’t really understand the recommendations or how to implement them, speak up and ask.“

And if your treatment plan is working well, continue to communicate with your doctors and share the good news. „At the center of this team is you, the individual with diabetes. You know your body, experiences, goals, expectations, questions, and schedule,“ says Srivastava. „You know how best to implement the changes to keep your blood sugar levels at a healthy level and keep complications at bay.“

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