The best diabetes management plan will include not only testing your blood as needed, eating a balanced diet, and using high-quality but affordable supplies, but it will also entail getting yourself in the right frame of mind. Diabetes is nothing to play around with. It is a serious condition that requires the direction of a physician and the dedication of the patients to constantly be aware of their lifestyle and the need to make smart choices.
Here, an examination of diabetes will be detailed in terms that are easy to understand. The high points of diabetes management will be touched upon, diabetes management supplies looked at, how OKRA can be of assistance, and more. First things first, however. What exactly is referred to by the term "diabetes"?
What Is Diabetes?
Your body takes the food you eat and turns it into energy. It uses that food to nourish itself, as well. Both of these things can be affected, however, by a (usually) long-lasting, chronic health condition referred to as diabetes. In the simplest of terms, diabetes is as follows:
Characterized by elevated blood sugar/blood glucose levels, it is a metabolic, chronic disease that can, over time, lead to a number of health conditions including damage to nerves, the kidneys, eyes, blood vessels, and the heart.
There are several kinds of diabetes:
- Type I – With this type of diabetes, insulin simply isn't produced by your body. Those most at risk for acquiring this condition are children and adolescents. Daily insulin is required for these individuals.
- Type II – When the body's needs are not met by the production of enough insulin, this type of diabetes may be the cause. Those most at risk are adults over the age of 45.
- Prediabetes – One in three Americans is affected by prediabetes (while not yet diagnosed as Type II diabetes, blood sugar levels are still above what is considered acceptable).
- Gestational diabetes – This type of diabetes goes away after childbirth as it only occurs during pregnancy.
What Causes Diabetes?
It's still relatively unknown what causes diabetes in the first place. However, within the bloodstream, sugar builds up in all types of diabetes. The reason for this is that not enough insulin is produced by the pancreas. A combination of environmental factors and genetic factors may be the underlying cause for both Type I and Type II.
If you have a family history of diabetes, you may be at increased risk. You can certainly benefit from trying to maintain an active lifestyle, healthy diet, and regular checkups with your doctor – even if you never actually have or develop diabetes.
Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes
Ordinarily, your doctor will discover the fact that you have diabetes as a result of a blood test. However, there are certain signs and symptoms that can point to a problem, the underlying cause of which may be determined as diabetes. Keep in mind, symptoms of diabetes can differ somewhat from person to person. That said, here are some common symptoms and signs:
- Weight loss (unintended and/or unexpected)
- Feeling tired
- Increased urination
- Increased thirst
- Dry skin
- Tingling in feet or hands
- Blurry vision
- Increased hunger
- Infections that don't heal as quickly as expected
- Slow healing of sores or cuts
Is There a Cure?
Though scientists are working on studies in weight management to help with the remission of Type II diabetes, as of yet, there is no official cure. What is remission? Once blood sugar/blood glucose levels are in a range that is considered normal, remission would be in effect. This should not be mistaken, however, for the impression that the condition is gone forever.
In most cases, the best approach to diabetes is proper management.
How to Manage Diabetes
As suggested above, there are any number of factors that figure into an appropriate diabetes management plan. The following includes the details of a two-part plan.
Part One – Points and Considerations:
- Foot checks – Your feet should be checked for swelling, sores, and cuts, daily.
- Physical activity – Set a daily goal for how much exercise you should or want to do. For the physical activity you participate in, be aware of how to adjust blood sugar or medication dosages.
- Food – What is the daily recommendation for carbohydrates? To keep your blood sugar in target range, what are the foods you are allowed? Do you know how to adjust your medications or insulin if you can't eat at a certain time?
- Medications – What will you do to manage your blood sugar if it gets low? To deal with your diabetes, what types of daily medications will you be taking and what time of day will you be taking them? If you skip a medication dose accidentally, what happens?
- Blood sugar checks – What is the blood sugar range desired? How often will your blood sugar be checked? What would you do to correct low or high blood sugar readings?
The results of any checks you do should be shared with your physician.
Part Two – Frequency of Monitoring:
- Every 12 months – Get a cholesterol test. Get a dilated eye exam. Get your flu shot. Receive a complete foot check from your physician.
- Every six months – Even if your blood sugar levels have been appropriate, get an A1C test. Get a dental checkup. With your physician, check your blood pressure, review your care plan, and check your weight.
- Every three months – If recommended by your physician, get an A1C test. If you need to be in the first stages of diabetes management, be sure to frequently consult with your doctor.
At every care plan phase, it is crucial that you're aware of when your healthcare team or physician should be contacted. In case of an emergency, you should also have someone ready to help you handle any healthcare crisis. Consider wearing a bracelet or necklace that notifies strangers of your condition should you be unable to respond in a healthcare/diabetic crisis.
Management Plans for Type I and Type II
Is the diabetes management plan for Type I the same as for Type II? Not necessarily.
- Type I – Either with an inhaled powder form, an insulin pump/subcutaneously, or by injection, you must take insulin if you have Type I diabetes. Strategies included in a Type I plan should involve hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia management because there is a risk of both rebound high blood sugars (hyperglycemia) and low blood sugars (hypoglycemia).
- Type II – While insulin may be used by those with Type II diabetes, exercise, smart food choices, and other types of medication may be used instead or in addition to it.
Supplies You Will Need
To manage your diabetes appropriately, there are certain supplies that you will need.
Testing supplies and lancets:
- Be aware of your fingerstick glucose meter brand.
- Decide how many lancets, alcohol swabs, and test strips you'll purchase and from where (we suggest OKRA).
- How often must your meter be cleaned?
- What meter batteries will you need – always have spares. How often should they be replaced?
- When you need additional testing supplies, how will you obtain them? (see below)
Insulin pumps and CGMs (continuous glucose monitors):
- What is your pump/monitor brand?
- What are the carb ratios, insulin doses, and other device settings?
- Make sure device instructions are always available.
- Familiarize yourself with all of the supplies you'll need for your CGM device.
- What are the login settings if your device uses a mobile app?
- How often should the position be changed?
- If the pump stops working or fails, what's your backup plan for insulin injections?
- Be aware of the medication(s) you’ll be using.
- Know when to take your med(s), how and when to refill, etc.
- Be aware of the kind of insulin you use, when to take it, and how much to take.
- Have a plan for refills when you need more medication and know how often that will be.
Who Should Be Involved?
Along with your diabetes management plan, you must be sure that the appropriate individuals are involved on an ongoing basis. Some of these will include the following:
- Diabetes educator/education specialist/certified diabetes care specialist
- Physician assistant/nurse practitioner/physician
- Personal trainer or other exercise specialist
- Eye doctor
- Counselor/psychologist or some other mental health professional
- Registered nutritionist/dietitian
An important part of your care team will also be friends and family members. Diabetes is nothing to be ashamed of. Don't hesitate to let other people in on your condition. It's important that those around you know what to do should an emergency occur.
Sometimes, the best form of diabetes help is an introduction to a great place to shop for diabetic supplies. You want affordability, yes, but you also want high quality. Fortunately, you can get both. Here's how.
Shop For High Quality, Affordable Diabetic Supplies at OKRA
Do you need a Bluetooth glucose meter? Refills? We've got you covered.
You may decide to go with our Special Bundle – Pro Starter Kit Plus Refill Kit. Included in this special bundle, you will find the following:
- Control solution
- Adjustable lancing device
- 25 test strips
- 25 lancets
- Bluetooth blood glucose meter
- PLUS, one refill kit consisting of 100 test strips and lancets
This is a limited time offer, so don't miss out!
At OKRA, our goal is to help people manage their diabetes by offering high-quality, affordable supplies that are easy and convenient to access. We've been creating hospital grade supplies for over 25 years thanks to our team of expert researchers. Let us take the stress out of your diabetes management with our beautifully designed products.
Create an account with us today and start managing your diabetes in a manner that assures the best products at the best prices. If you have questions, you can contact us at 833-977-1339, use our convenient online form to start communication, or email us at support@OKRA.care.