January 9, 2014

Goals for People with Type 2 Diabetes

As a subscriber to a few American Diabetes Association newsletters, I received the following information. Granted it was written about New Year's resolutions, but since I don't believe in making them once a year and breaking them in the same month, I have them as goals to do every day, every year. As you achieve a goal, redefine the goal and then work to achieve the new goal.

Now remember, if you make a mistake, and we all do, shake it off and get back to working on the goal. Once a resolution is broken, you need to wait until the beginning of a New Year to restart – not so with goals. Learn to set achievable goals at the start and then when you achieve them, set additional goals. Just don't set a goal that is too difficult, make the goal realistic.

Sometimes it is easier to start out with small steps to be able to make great strides. The following are just some of the things to consider in setting goals.

#1. A1c – This will often depend on your doctor and the medication you are taking. Many doctors only see diabetes patients twice a year if they have well managed and on oral medications. Now if you are not managing your diabetes, your doctor may be seeing you four times a year. If you are certain medications like sulfonylureas, DPP-4 inhibitors, or insulin, you may automatically be seeing your doctor four times per year. Other medications may also have an effect on how often you doctor wishes to see you, such as blood pressure medications, statins, certain antacids, and others. Your A1c approved range should be part of the results. Do not rely on the doctor to supply the appropriate range for you unless you are very elderly and in poor health. Many doctors automatically raise this the older you become. Because I am over 70, my doctor wants mine to be between 7.0 and 7.5. I am tired of being scolded for having one below 7%.

#2. Most doctors do take your blood pressure at every appointment. This is standard for all offices, clinics, and hospitals. It is also important because diabetes and high blood pressure are closely linked therefore it is important the have you blood pressure checked at every visit.

#3. Have you feet examined at every appointment. This is a little premature, but still important. If you are seeing a foot doctor or podiatrist, not every doctor you see will need to examine your feet at every appointment. A foot exam is important because diabetes may damage the nerves and blood vessels in your feet. This can mean that small cuts and blisters can be impossible to feel and slow to heal. This is why you should also check you feet on a daily basis.

#4. Annual eye exam is important to discover early any possible diabetes related damage to the retina. You should see an optometrist or ophthalmologist once a year for a dilated eye exam. If you didn't read my blog on January 4, please do, as many people can't seem to get this right.

#5. Having an annual physical exam once a year. Most people with diabetes see their physicians more than once a year. Make sure at least one of these visits includes an annual physical exam.

The following were not part of the newsletter.

#1. Have a dental exam on an annual basis. The health of your teeth is affected by diabetes and can become infected by periodontal disease (gum disease).

#2. Keep the results of your blood glucose readings recorded. This record may help solve problems when you obtain results that don't seem right. Granted if your results of your A1c are fairly consistent your doctor may not ask to see the results, but these may be handy if you are going up and down from one appointment to the next.


Denise @ Do you have that in my size??? said...

I cannot stress the importance of the yearly dental visits for diabetics strongly enough! I never heard about the connection between diabetes and increased risk for periodontal (gum) disease until I had already developed an advanced case after 10 years of skipping the dentist due to fear. Believe me when I say that having 15 teeth extracted in a single day - yes, that happened to me, last July 1 - is far more frightening than dealing with the dentist once a year.

Bob Fenton said...

Dental and Vision checkups are two of the areas that people with diabetes often let go the longest and pay the dearest for when they run into trouble. Thanks for sharing your experience with the dentist.

Diabetes is sneaky that way and can get us into problems we often wish we didn't have to face.