Positive Levels: Managing Diabetes with Optimism
Education & Research One nonprofit is educating and motivating patients with diabetes to take an active role in managing their disease. Here’s why.
Patients need to put diabetes high on their priority list. The results of the 10-year Diabetes Control and Complications Trial showed patients who lowered their blood glucose levels slowed the onset and progress of eye, kidney and nerve damage caused by diabetes.
The average blood glucose level hasn’t changed. “You have to take the emotional guilt out of it because a lot of patients feel guilty and think that high blood sugar means you’re a bad person,” says Dr. Steven Edelman, founder and director of Taking Control of Your Diabetes.
The doctor-patient relationship is a hurdle. Doctors aren’t going to be able to learn about a patient and figure out what the issue is in controlling their diabetes in 15 minutes. “It’s about communication,” states Dr. Edelman.
Doctors need to ask open-ended questions to find out why patients are having a hard time taking control of their diabetes. “Once a patient opens up, you can figure out therapeutic intervention,” Edelman explains. “The devices won’t work if the patient doesn’t embrace them.”
"'It’s really about making small changes to the things they like to do and like to eat so their blood sugars can be under control.'"
It’s important to include patients in the decision-making process, as well—after all, everyone wants to live a long, healthy life.
“When they take control, they are much healthier,” said Dr. Edelman. “It’s really about making small changes to the things they like to do and like to eat so their blood sugars can be under control.”
There’s no magic bullet. Managing diabetes requires taking ownership of their disease. A positive attitude is important. Once patients start implementing changes and start seeing the results, it’s easier for them to stay motivated and continue to make changes in their lives.
“Once people get it under control, it gives them a lot of flexibility,” Dr. Edelman considers, adding, “I try to take away the guilt, anxiety and fear.”