Thursday, September 11, 2008

Book At HELP - 8 Tips for Living Well With Diabetes

1. No Drug Works For Everyone – Every patient is a unique individual. Not only does no drug work for everyone, but it is very likely that, as time passes, your body will get used to a drug you are taking, or that your condition progresses (or both), and you will have to change the dosage of the drug or even switch to another drug.

Fortunately, there are many drugs for the treatment of diabetes—and even more in the pipeline—so your doctor’s changing them shouldn’t be a problem.

2. Stay Away From Your “Trigger” Foods – We all have a love-hate relationship with certain foods: the ones that sing their siren song to us until we open the package—and then consume its entire contents. And then feel guilty as all get-out.

Very often, measuring out small portions of those beloved trigger foods doesn’t work. We go back again and again and again.

The only effective strategy is to stay away from those foods completely—or to find a safer substitute, like air-popped popcorn instead of potato chips.

3. Be A “Good” Patient – “Good” by our standards, not theirs. This is not the same as taking your doctor’s every word as gospel.

Bring a list of questions to every appointment. Keep a log of your blood-glucose readings and bring that, too. Show that you are very motivated about preventing serious complications; some diabetics aren’t.

Let your doctor know that you won’t pester him/her, but if you phone, it means that you’re in serious trouble and need a quick call back or appointment. Suggest this as a “treatment contract.”

Ideally—especially if you are insulin-dependent—your doctor will let you fax weekly logs and then call you if there are unusual reading or patterns, or your medication need adjusting. As a result, you probably will have fewer extreme high and low blood-glucose readings.

4. Know Your Blood Type—When you are in the hospital or emergency room, crucial time can be wasted if your blood must be typed before you receive a transfusion. If you don’t know your blood type, ask your doctor to run the proper tests at your next visit.

5. Just Don’t Call It Exercise—Many of us have a hatred of exercise that dates back to grade school, when we were the chubby, slow, ungraceful kids who were always chosen last on teams.

Nevertheless, physical activity is a crucial component of good diabetes care. There’s a simple solution. Find something you like to do. Stroll through city streets and parks. Wander through museums or malls with a friend. Go for a bike ride or play volleyball with your kids or grandkids. Go out dancing or put on some music and dance at home.

Just don’t call it exercise!

6. Learn To Live With Murphy’s Law—Diabetics have a triple-barreled right to be angry and depressed. Diabetes is a chronic disease that can last more than fifty years. It requires constant attention and complex treatment, and can have some ugly consequences.

That’s the first barrel. The second barrel is the depression that can accompany progress from one stage of life to another. Depression hits extra hard when you’re an anxious teenage, a worried parent, or a middle-aged person coming to grips with aging.

The third barrel is Murphy’s Law. If anything can possibly go wrong, it surely will.

You can eat exactly the same meal two days in a row. One day it will raise your blood glucose 20 points, one day 100 points. Even endocrinologists don’t always know why, and we diabetics get understandably frustrated that the specialists can’t explain it to us.

That said, recognize the difference between short-term sadness that has a cause you can pinpoint, and longer-term true depression. After all, as American poet Delmore Schwartz pointed out, even paranoid have real enemies.

Still if your blues last more than a week or two, call your doctor.

7. Ban Eating In Front Of The TV—Make this a family rule, and keep it: no eating anyplace except the kitchen or dining room table. Snacks in front of the tube are doubly deadly. Not only are you and your kids zoned out and sedentary, you’re also taking in calories that are almost certainly carbs and fats, (Admit it: Nobody eats celery sticks in front of the boob tube.) And unless you have a dog to police the area for you, those Cheetos in the sofa cushions are the perfect bug-bait.

8. Know Your Neighbors—Because you live alone, get to know your neighbors. Be aware of who their family and relatives are, and get an idea of their normal schedules. Preventing a burglary next door may keep you safe a well

Also tell your neighbors that you have diabetes, and tell them what to do if they don’t see you at the usual times.

Source:1,001 Tips for Living Well With Diabetes by Judith H. McQuown

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