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Resources for living with diabetes

by The Western News
| November 17, 2011 10:36 AM

Of the 26 million Americans with diabetes, more than half are currently not meeting medical targets established by the American Diabetes Association. 

David Edelman is the  founder and president of DiabetesDaily.com.

Another 79 million Americans are at risk for developing diabetes. 

Odds are, diabetes impacts your life or someone close to you. 

The good news: with the right knowledge and support, people with diabetes can feel good and live strong, healthy lives.

Top 7 Diabetes

 Resources

• Personal Support Network: It is critical to build a strong network of family, friends, and other people living with diabetes. Diabetes is an emotional marathon and the support and understanding from those that care help you move forward with your head up. Whether you communicate through email or meet in person, stay connected with your network, share your struggles and triumphs.

 • The Diabetes Online Community: People with diabetes have built an international support network through blogs, online support communities, diabetes social networking sites like TuDiabetes, and through traditional social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.  

There are multiple ways to connect, from skimming message boards to leaving comments for or emailing bloggers to joining a community. You can even start your own blog.

• Formal Diabetes Education: A diabetes educator can help you understand why blood sugars change and what you can do to manage those changes. Patients with Medicare can access 10 free hours of diabetes education per year (the average patients uses less than three). Most private plans cover education as well. Your doctor or local diabetes association can help connect you with a good educator.

• Meal Planning Tools: Want the “Approved Foods List” for people with diabetes? You are out of luck: it does not exist! People with diabetes must watch how many total carbohydrates they eat, not ban specific foods. Even high carb items can be enjoyed in smaller quantities.

But to get the maximum health and enjoyment out of your diet, it helps to discover new lower carbohydrate meals or variations on your favorites. The American Diabetes Association has excellent recipes on its website, and DiabetesDaily.com has an entire section of original recipes from culinary guru Elizabeth Edelman.

• The Meter: Blood glucose meters are the key to discovering how to live a healthy life with diabetes. Check your blood sugars, eat breakfast, and check it again two hours later. If you are back about where you started, then this meal works for you. If not, then consult with your doctor or educator about adjusting medication or the content of that meal. Most people find that little tweaks have a big impact on their health and how they feel. Having a better understanding of how certain foods or activities impact your blood sugar makes it simpler to adjust when you choose to vary your routine. And this is all information you can get right from your meter.

• Exercise Specialists/Instructors: A good fitness instructor can provide information and exercises not only to help control weight, but also that specifically benefits diabetes management. 

• Yourself: Edelman believes the key to successful diabetes management is taking ownership of diabetes.  You spend less than one percent of your year at the doctor’s office. The rest of the time you are on your own. So take the time to examine choices, actions and emotions objectively, without assigning guilt or blame.  Understand what is working for you and what is not.