Jeanette Terry was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 11 years old, and she has since lived with diabetes through difficult life transitions, including the teenage years, college, and having children. She addresses the day-to-day struggles of living with diabetes—going beyond medical advice—to improve overall adherence and management.

No matter where you work or what position you hold, at some point in your education or career, I am sure you have had some kind of performance review. You sit down with a teacher or boss to discuss how your performance has been and what kinds of things you can do to be better.

When it comes to diabetes, you are your own boss. Much like scheduled performance reviews for work, your diabetes needs a performance review periodically to make sure that goals are being met and that optimal control is kept.

Bad days and occasional slip-ups will happen. No one is perfect. But if you are not careful, those occasional slip-ups will start to happen more frequently and will cause a spiral effect downward with your diabetes control. Before you know it, you will be feeling awful and have poor health.

By having regular reviews of your diabetes control and management plan, you will be able to catch little problems and fix them before they cause damage.

How to get started

Setting aside time for your review is the hardest part, so plan ahead and schedule regular meetings with yourself to review how you are doing. Schedule recurring meeting reminders in your phone on a quarterly or half-yearly basis. It doesn’t have to take long—just long enough for you to make sure you are doing what you need to in order to stay on track.

Knowing what to review is also important. Some of the most important areas to cover are diet, exercise, and medications.

Diet. Are the foods that you are eating on a regular basis healthy? Are they making your blood sugar levels spike? It is important to have a balanced diet, so take the time to find what kinds of food work best to help you maintain good control.

Exercise. Exercise is important because it can help stabilize blood sugars. Are you getting in enough regularly?

Medications. Medications are the most important area to review. Make sure that if you are taking insulin, you are giving the right ratios for the food that you are eating in order to avoid highs and lows. If you take oral medications, make sure that whatever you are taking is effective and fits well into your lifestyle. If you find that your current medications aren’t working, talk with your doctor and make any adjustments if needed.

There are many more areas in your life that can be addressed, and everyone is different. If you feel something in your life is affecting your blood sugar control, make sure you evaluate what you need to do to incorporate it into your management plan.

How well will you do in your review?

To learn more on this topic:
Controlling Complications: Diabetic Kidney Disease
Three Key Factors to Diabetes Control
Avoid the Blood Sugar Extremes for Better Diabetes Control