Balancing Health Conditions

What dLife experts say about managing multiple illnesses

Balancing Stones

Having diabetes can increase your risk of developing a number of associated complications. Dealing with one chronic illness is difficult enough, but how can you balance the management of several conditions? It is important that your entire healthcare team is coordinated. Make sure one doctor knows what the other is doing and let everyone know if you make any changes to medications or experience additional symptoms. Here, dLife experts offer more tips on juggling multiple chronic illnesses.

Overall Management

"It can be tricky balancing two disease states, in that blood sugars can go up due to stress on the body. I would say that if you are carefully monitoring your blood sugars, you will do fine. Just remember to coordinate your care with your entire medical team. If you start on a new drug, let all of your healthcare providers know."

Susan Sloane, BS, Rph, CDE, Nutritionist

"Management of diabetes involves 'not only' attention to blood glucose, blood pressure, and lipid control, but also having the awareness of potential for other endocrine diseases associated with diabetes. I would offer up the prospect that each person is individual in his or her diagnosis and knowledge is power — know signs and symptoms. Working closely with your healthcare team will help with support, adaptation, and adjustment."

Susan Throop, RD, CDE, ME

"When a person has a lot of diseases, insulin is a safer drug to use than many of the oral medications. I encourage you to stay in close contact with your physician as you taper your dose so your insulin doses can be reduced at the same time."

Janice Fisher, RD, LD, PHD, CDE, BC-ADM

Diabetes and Depression

"There is higher incidence of depression in diabetes and when untreated it makes following your treatment plan and keeping good blood sugar control very difficult. One of the most important things is to recognize your symptoms and ask for help. Daily activity like walking, especially outside, is very effective in improving mood, along with its effect on blood sugar control and weight loss. Discuss your symptoms, feelings, and concerns with your primary healthcare provider."

Beth McKinzie, RN, BSN, CDE

Diabetes and Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a disease where people cannot tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and some oats. A person with diabetes must be more cautious in selecting appropriate foods without gluten, while juggling with carbohydrate counting. Consider talking with a registered dietitian about integrating the management of diabetes with celiac disease, as well as heart disease. He or she can help you establish a healthful meal and exercise plan for controlling your blood glucose."

Liz Quintana, EdD, RD, LD, CDE, CPT

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Last Modified Date: July 08, 2013

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by Brenda Bell
Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...
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