Manage your diabetes
Here are 5 tips to get you on track to control your diabetes.
Diabetes is a global epidemic expected to affect over 640 million people by 2040, putting one in every 10 adults at risk of the many life-threatening health complications associated with the disease such as blindness, cardiovascular diseases, kidney failure and lower limb amputation. By 2040, nearly two in 10 of the world’s diabetics will be living in Southeast Asia.
While the disease has the potential to overwhelm healthcare systems and affect economies across the globe, diabetes is largely preventable and controllable. In a newly published whitepaper, “Diabetes: The world’s weightiest problem”, Aetna International found that the cost associated with early detection and disease management is far lower than the cost of acute, often emergency, inpatient hospital treatment.
The company also recorded a 53-percent increase in diabetes prevalence over the last two years (2014 to 2016) amongst its Southeast Asian members.
Together with Aetna’s medical management team, Derek Goldberg, managing director, Southeast Asia and Hong Kong, has come up with five tips on how to manage your diabetes:
1) Stick to the routine – Once you’ve learned how to eat healthier, monitor your blood sugar levels, take medication and be active, set yourself up with routines you’re more likely to follow. Store your testing strips and medications near your spectacles or contact lenses, or on a bathroom shelf — wherever is easiest to remember first thing in the morning.
Plan your meals and snacks ahead so you can keep blood sugar levels evened out. Schedule your daily walks, bike rides, strength training sessions or other physical activities — consider joining a group or pairing up with exercise buddies to motivate and commit yourself to this schedule.
2) Stay on top of other conditions – Three-quarters of all diabetics have at least one other chronic condition such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, nerve problems, eye conditions, circulatory problems or kidney disease. Any of these can progress to serious levels if not kept in check, and poorly treated diabetes makes them worse.
Be sure to visit your primary care doctor and specialists regularly, and always share with each one any concerns you’ve been having since many of them are interrelated. Be smart about your medications: understand what each prescription is for, learn when and how to take them, and know what side effects to watch out for.
3) Depend on friends – More and more people are living with diabetes, and they tend to do better managing the condition when they have support. Turn to friends and family members for reinforcement of the lifestyle changes you’re making, and who knows – you may end up helping them as well! You can also find support groups at local hospitals, and through organisations in Singapore such as the Diabetic Society of Singapore and TOUCH Diabetes Support (TDS).
4) Use your resources –Today, patients with chronic conditions are increasingly using e-mail or secure websites to communicate with their healthcare providers. Many say they find it more comfortable and convenient, and a third have found it improves their overall health. You can also rely on online communities, social media and your health insurance company’s wellness resources for education and creative ideas. Check out #DSMA on Twitter, DiabetesDaily.com or diaTribe.org, to name a few. Just be sure you look at credible sources and don’t substitute online advice for your own doctor’s.
5) Find the right apps –Today’s wide variety of apps lets you do so much more to help you manage your diabetes. You can monitor your blood sugar, track your weight, log what you eat, set exercise goals and analyse your sleep patterns. Take a look at some of Healthline’s top-rated apps, including Diabetes in Check, Glucose Buddy and Weight Loss Coach. Download and use the ones that best fit your lifestyle to keep you on track. In Singapore, there is an app from GlycoLeap that gets you on track to prevent or control diabetes.
(** PHOTO CREDITS: Aetna Inc)