Health Information Updates
Diabetes Management: It Takes a Team
Almost every American has a family member or friend affected by diabetes, and more than 1 in 10 Americans have the disease. Diabetes occurs when blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Diabetes can damage many organs, including eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart, and is linked to some types of cancer.
Working with a team of health care professionals can offer the personal care needed to improve health. The team may include a primary care provider, nurse, eye doctor, certified diabetes educator, pharmacist, and others. The team can give advice, recommend a program to manage diabetes, and answer questions.
“Working with a team helps ensure people stay on top of their self-care plan, including having their blood pressure, feet, and weight checked regularly,” said NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers. “Routine health care can help people find and treat health problems early or help prevent them altogether.”
You are the most important participant in your diabetes care.
Healthy habits, such as setting a goal to be physically active most days of the week, can also help people manage their diabetes. A daily walk with a friend or a family member is one way to be physically active. People who are not active now can ask their health care team about the types and amounts of physical activity that meet their needs.
Following a diabetes meal plan can help people manage their blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. They can choose foods that are lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, tofu, beans, seeds, and nonfat or low-fat milk and cheese. A primary care provider may refer people to a registered dietitian to help create a meal plan that is easy to follow and has the nutrients to help manage diabetes.
Stress can lead to unhealthy habits such as smoking, poor sleep, and excessive eating. People with diabetes can take part in a diabetes education program or support group that teaches techniques for managing stress. They can also ask for help if they feel down or overwhelmed. Talking with a mental health counselor, friend, or family member may help them feel better.
Working with a diabetes health care team makes it possible to get the care people need to live a healthy and fulfilled life.