There's no doubt about it, good diabetes care takes a team.
Healthcare professionals help you learn the basics of diabetes nutrition (including ways to lower blood sugar) and provide support along the way. Your team may include a diabetes educator, dietitian, eye doctor and foot doctor, along with your primary care physician, endocrinologist and other specialists.
And then, of course, there's you — the most important member of your diabetes team.
The best way to stay as healthy as possible is to be proactive about working in partnership with your team. That means being your own advocate. You are, after all, your own best champion. So, how exactly can you advocate for your diabetes care? Here are four ways.
When it comes to diabetes, knowledge really is power. Taking care of yourself starts with learning everything you can about your condition. Managing diabetes requires lifelong learning and information comes out almost every day about new glucose monitoring technology, dietary discoveries and clinical prevention. Empower yourself with knowledge to seek out better ways to control your diabetes. This is an essential part of being your own best advocate.
Because time with your doctor is often limited, it helps to be prepared for your visits. In between appointments, keep a running list of questions, concerns and any information you've read about new treatments you want to discuss. You can also bring a loved one with you to the office to help make sure you ask everything you need to.
Sharing information and asking questions helps you make the most of each visit. Your goal is to develop a partnership with your doctor.
Keep records of your glucose levels and symptoms to help you discover and track of patterns. When learning about the best ways to lower blood sugar, you can discuss what you notice with your diabetes care team to improve your treatment.
It's also important to maintain your own medical records. A provider can give you copies of your medical records upon request, notes HealthIT. With your records in hand, you have the same information about your health as your doctors. Keeping your medical records can also help you avoid the hassle of transferring your records if you visit a new doctor or specialist.
Ask for Help
All of your doctors have the same goal: to help you manage your diabetes. So don't hesitate to ask for help when you need it.
Advocating for yourself involves taking an active role and collaborating with your healthcare team. Let them know your successes, concerns and struggles. The more you speak up, the better you and your team can tailor your diabetes nutrition management.
It is also important to seek out the emotional support you need. You can get support from family and friends but also through a diabetes support group. Check with your diabetes care team, local hospital or your local American Diabetes Association office to find one.
Ultimately, you're in charge of your care. Keep learning, monitoring and speaking up. By becoming an active member of your care team, you can live your healthiest life with diabetes.