One Size Fits Some: The Importance of Personalizing Diabetes Care
Prevention & Treatment Diabetes affects people differently. As such, the care we provide for it should treat the individual rather than diabetes itself.
Clinical practice guidelines are important for improving population health. However, for the best outcomes diabetes care must be tailored for each patient.
In other words, a one-size-fits-all approach does not work. Your age, ethnicity, family situation, other medical problems, and many other factors determine the right care. Another key factor is your family circumstance.
A plan based on need
Your family circumstance guides health care providers in developing customized treatment plans. For example, the diabetes care plan is different if you live alone versus living with a family who can help you.
Your medical situation is important. For example, if you have vision problems, this may guide insulin options. An insulin pen (with auditory clicks) may be a better option than an insulin injection (with tiny numbers). Your age and health condition also guides treatment options. An older adult with numerous medical problems may have higher A1c targets. It would be unwise to try to fit all people with diabetes into a single bucket.
Complications aren’t always immediate
You may “do all the right things:” eat right, exercise regularly, not smoke and still get complications from diabetes. Another person may do all the “wrong things” and have mild complications. Diabetes is also not fair!
There are lots of reasons why diabetes is different between people. It could be due to family history, genetics (related to family history, but not exactly, since no two people are alike), environment and other stuff we don’t even know about. The research shows that if you have diabetes, managing your diabetes (eating right, exercising, etc) definitely helps overall.
The good news is that research has come a long way in managing (high blood pressure) or even reversing (diabetic eye disease) some complications. Managing tight blood glucose targets may prevent or decrease complications, so it’s always important to continue to manage your diabetes. Managing diabetes is tough, so remember to seek help if you feel down or depressed.