Most people with diabetes know self-management is important. But, the fact of the matter is that it’s easier said than done. To effectively manage one’s diabetic condition, you must keep a close check on the ABCs, i.e., A for HbA1c, B for Blood Pressure, as well as C for Cholesterol. Here is a summary of what your goals and targets should be:
Strive for the following (recommended by American Diabetes Association guidelines, 2017)
Impact of uncontrolled ABC’s on a diabetic
There are several types of co-morbidities which are associated with diabetes, which further complicates the treatment of diabetes. You must be wondering what co-morbidities imply. Simply stating these are diseases or medical conditions that coexist with a primary disease, in this case diabetes, but also stands as its own specific disease.
Topmost co-morbidities of diabetes are hypertension (high blood pressure), dyslipidemia (Abnormal LDL, HDL, or triglycerides, increasing risk for heart attack), obesity as well as liver & kidney problems. For keeping yourself away from complicated health issues, it is a must to achieve all the above goals.
Achieving the ABC of diabetes
Often, people stress out on achieving these goals as it takes time for the modifications in one’s lifestyle to become habits. The answer to such woes lies in practicing the following law “start slow – set realistic goals – be honest to yourself – strive for continually improving these”.
The most important elements of achieving the above goals have been classified under seven heads by American Association of Diabetes Educators. These focus on healthy eating, being active, monitoring, healthy coping, reducing risks, problem solving, and taking medication.
- Healthy Eating focuses on eating at regular intervals of 2-3 hours, not sitting on empty stomach and most importantly monitoring your calorie intake. Understand how certain foods affect your blood glucose and how changes to your diet will help control your glucose levels.
- Being Active is a cornerstone of staying healthy. Focus on exercising for 150 minutes across a week. Adopt any form of exercise you feel comfortable with including walking, swimming, and running. Physical activity helps improve cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels.
- Taking Medication consistently in accordance to your prescription is important.
- Healthy Coping implies reducing stress in your life. If you have difficulty with depression or anxiety, make healthy coping one of your goals. Meditation and yoga can help reduce the same. Depression is common in people with diabetes, 1 in 3 people with diabetes suffer from depression. Do not hesitate to discuss with your healthcare provider if you feel stressed out.
- Blood Sugar Monitoring must be done at regular intervals in line with your healthcare provider’s guidelines. It helps in better management of diabetes if the pattern of blood glucose falls and peaks are identified.
- Reducing Risks of developing comorbid diseases is important as diabetes slows down healing mechanism of the body. It helps prevent complications from diabetes, by having routine exams. Examples of reducing risks goals: I will schedule an eye exam. I will schedule a dental exam. I will visit the podiatrist. I will make my appointment for a yearly physical.
- Problem Solving: You live with Diabetes on a day-to-day basis. Do you know how to problem solve effectively; what to do if your glucose is high or low? If you aren’t sure what to do if your glucose is low, or high, or how to treat it; discuss with your healthcare provider asap.