Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes
Five Essential Health Factors You Can Master to Enjoy a Long and Healthy Life
by Richard Jackson, MD & Amy Tenderich. (Copyright 2007 Marlowe & Company)
NOTE: Excerpts are provided on dLife.com for informational purposes only. The information contained within will not be updated by dLife and may be outdated. Please consult your doctor before acting on anything described here.
Chapter 1 – You Have Diabetes: What Now?!
A Step-by-Step Positive Approach to Controlling Your Own Health
Why are patients with diabetes achieving longer, healthier lives than ever before? A decade or so ago, they were handed drug prescriptions and a strict generic meal plan, and sent home. Whoever didn't follow doctor's orders to the letter was labeled "noncompliant." Moreover, they were expected to tackle all their health issues at once (diet, weight loss, BGs, blood pressure, etc.) and even then, were given no assurance that they'd ever enjoy good health again.
We've come a lone way, baby. Life is only getting better for people with diabetes, on many fronts, but you can successfully chart your own course for your specific diabetes. How? By becoming aware of the essential health numbers at your fingertips – a continuous health "report card" that you can improve upon in the various ways discussed in this book.
Our point is that you don't have to tackle everything at once. You can take it step-by-step. And in fact, there are some steps you personally may not need to take at all. Those that you do, you can custom-design to fir well into your lifestyle. Having diabetes does not mean you have to give up things you enjoy.
You Can Find Your Own Individual Path
Here are some things you will definitely need to do to get started (they're pretty simple):
- Spend a little time finding out more about your individual risk factors that may be associated with future problems.
- Keep an open mind: be prepared to think about your activity and food in somewhat different ways than you do currently.
- Likewise, you may you may wish to try some new or different medications (always discuss this step with your health-care professionals before actually changing your drug regimen).
- Find a time and place to perform physical activity (this one's crucial).
- Understand that, with a little attention, especially soon after your diabetes diagnosis, you can benefit your health enormously.
As noted, the really good news is that there are some steps you personally may not need to take at all, or some that just come naturally as you follow your own path to improved health. For example, if your blood pressure or triglycerides are already under control, you can check off those items and move along to addressing a more pressing health issue. Note that your path is unique; it may be very different from what someone else diagnosed with diabetes needs to do. And your path will take some twists and turns over time, as your life situation and diabetes progression changes.
Learning to take care of your health is like learning to drive; with good driving skills, you ca successfully navigate your own road, and even take your own detours if need be. Taking control of your diabetes is therefore not a one-time deal but an ongoing program. Still, just by knowing and taking action on some important basics, you can get a handle on your overall health faster and more successfully than you might think.
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I have a friend, M, who has diabetes and never, ever tests her bloodsugar before she gets behind the wheel. This has always worried me about her. On Wednesday, she had a bad accident after passing out behind the wheel. She hit another car head on. I thank the universe that no one was killed, but she and the driver of the other vehicle were both badly injured. She's got a long healing road ahead of her, as does the woman she hit. I was talking about the...