Examining and Improving Current Diabetes Regimens
The election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States was truly historic. Whether or not you voted for him, the fact that a black man could be elected to the highest office in the United States reflects a sea change in American attitudes. The election of a black Republican would have had the same historic import.
Everywhere, people are talking about change, new ideas, moving forward, reexamining our old attitudes, and coming up with something better.
So this would be a good time for all of us with diabetes to do the same, to examine our current diabetes regimens, ask ourselves if they're really the best possible treatment, and see if we could come up with something better.
For example, if we've let exercise go by the wayside as we sat glued to our television sets watching all the campaigning and then the election results, now would be a good idea to make a fresh start.
Examine your current exercise goals. See if you could modify them in the proper direction (a little more, a little harder) to help reduce the insulin resistance that plagues people with type 2 and even, they're now learning, those with type 1.
Or maybe instead of doing more of what you're already doing, you'd like to try some new kind of exercise. Be creative, as we hope our new leaders will be. Set your sights high and try something you've never had the courage to try before. Maybe you'll like it.
(Hmm. Should I try bungee jumping, sky diving, or senior snowboarding?)
Exercise can also raise the beneficial cholesterol, the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or HDL, that helps remove cholesterol from the blood.
And how about diet? It's not just about trying harder to follow the diet you're currently on. But are you certain that it's absolutely the best one for you?
Try some new foods and see what they do for your blood glucose (BG) levels. (Lobster for breakfast? Oysters for lunch?) Try different proportions of the foods you're already eating. See how fat affects your BG levels both a few hours after eating, many hours after eating, and the next morning.
Do the same with carbohydrate foods. Compare the effect of low-glycemic index (low GI) foods and high-GI foods. The GI experts have compiled charts showing the GI of various foods, and these are good general guides. But not everyone reacts exactly the same way to the same foods. Some people find they can tolerate a bit of potato but no rice. Others find exactly the opposite.
You may have tested these foods in the past, but perhaps your diabetes has changed, either for the better or for the worse. If you've lost weight and had good control of your BG levels in the past, you may find you can tolerate a little bit of foods that you couldn't tolerate before. But if you've gained weight and your BG levels are out of control, you may find just the opposite, and cutting back may help your BG control as well as your weight.
How about your medications? Do you think your current medications are really the best for you? Read up about the various types of meds and their side effects, and the next time you see your doctor, discuss your medications to see if you might find something that works better for you.
And don't forget about your blood pressure and lipid levels. These may be as important in the long term as your BG control. Make sure your medical people routinely test these, and keep a record of the results yourself.
How about your medical team? Are they all the best you're able to consult, considering where you live and what your insurance will allow? If not, look around, ask other people in your area who have diabetes, and consider finding a team or one team member who will work better for you.
In all aspects of your control, keep educating yourself, keep questioning, keep looking for new solutions that will improve your life.
Change and hope are in the air. Let's carry this positive attitude forward into our diabetes care. Can we have perfect BG control 24/7 with absolutely no effort? Well, realistically, until they perfect an artificial pancreas, this is unlikely.
But can we put just a little more effort into controlling our BG levels and have better control than we did last year? Can we live a good life with diabetes? Yes! We can!