The Mechanics of Diabetes Care
My 3-year-old Volvo stalled on me the other day. When I contacted the mechanic who got it working again, I received an emphatic scolding. I had missed several oil changes and my negligence had caused everything to become coated with “gunk.” I have a hectic life. I write, see patients, carpool, and run around as many of us do. I thought I was caring for my car properly, but I wasn’t. I addressed problems when they developed, but wasn’t preventing them.
We all put off things that pull us away from our daily activities, but the warranties that come with products we value can become null and void if we don’t do our part to maintain them in peak condition. Our bodies are complex machines. Dr. Steven Edelman, a frequent guest on dLife television and founder of Taking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD.org), designed what he calls “The Diabetes Warranty Program” to help prevent or delay the development of diabetes complications. This regular maintenance program, which is recommended by experts in the diabetes world, will help you keep your body running smoothly!
Dr. Edelman urges you to check the following items at least once a year:
HDL (good cholesterol)
LDL (bad cholesterol)
Urine Protein (microalbumin - checks kidney health)
Serum Creatine (also helps monitor kidney health)
Thyroid function (TSH)
Teeth and gums – see your dentist
Eyes – have a dilated eye exam by an ophthalmologist
Heart and circulation – visit with a cardiologist
Feet - see a podiatrist
Every time you meet with your health care provider you should also discuss the following:
1. Your home blood sugar results
2. Changes in your weight, if necessary
3. Your blood pressure level
4. Problems that you are having with your diabetes control
5. Questions about medications
6. The results of any tests or exams that you have taken and the follow-up steps that may be needed.
7. Your physical activity regimen
8. Your meal planning choices. If you haven’t seen a dietitian in a while, it is worthwhile to do so. Meal planning has become much more flexible and over the past few years.
9. Your feet. Have you noticed any changes during your daily foot inspections? If so, mention them.
10. Any other concerns that you have or items that your health care provider has asked you to monitor.
If you use insulin, see your health care provider approximately every 3-4 months. If you don’t use insulin, meet with your health care team about every 3-6 months.
Unfortunately, the amount of time that we spend with physicians is limited. If you come prepared with a Diabetes Warranty checklist, you can make sure that important areas of concern are discussed.
I plan to take much better care of my car. Take good care of your body and it will take good care of you!
Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N
NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
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