Living with diabetes can present a host of challenges. One of them is managing all of your health care needs. You may have quite a few medical appointments as part of your schedule, which may be difficult to keep track of. Add the need to make sure all your providers are on the same page and the challenge of understanding your diabetes care plan and it could be easy to feel a little overwhelmed. However, there are ways you can manage your diabetes care that can take some stress off of you and help you follow your treatment plan to the letter.
What's your treatment plan?
The best place to start with managing your health care is figuring out where you are. So take out some paper and a pen and answer these questions:
• How many providers do you see? What are their names and specialties?
• What are the drugs you are on and their doses and frequency?
• What are your treatment goals right now? This could include such things as a target range for your A1C, a reduction in your blood pressure or a few pounds of weight loss. Anything you have discussed with a provider as a good idea for your diabetes care should go in this category.
• Do you have access to your medical records? Do you know how to get them?
• Who would make decisions for you in a medical emergency? Is this person authorized to do so?
Write down anything else that strikes you as important about your diabetes care plan too. With this beginning document, you can better organize your health care.
Do your providers talk to each other?
If you have a few different care providers, as many people with diabetes do, make sure you've signed any necessary releases to allow them to confer with one another about your care. It will streamline things for your primary care doctor to be able to receive results of tests your endocrinologist ordered, for example – and prevent duplication of such tests. If your providers all work in the same practices, chances are they do talk already. Make sure they keep you as up-to-date on your care and needs as they keep each other.
How can you be proactive?
Knowing about your treatment plan is half the battle, and you're already well on your way if you've answered the questions above. However, taking action on that knowledge is equally important if you want to see good outcomes from your diabetes care. Brainstorm ways you could be more involved in your care - whether that means getting serious about medication compliance, asking your doctor about things you don't understand, or beginning to track health data in an app or journal. The more involved you are in managing your diabetes, the better you will be able to collaborate with your providers and handle all the challenges diabetes throws your way.