Living with diabetes? Diabetes educators can help with seven self-care behaviors

November is National Diabetes Month


by Teresa Myers, RN, 

Certified Diabetes Educator


The goal of diabetes education is to help you to take care of yourself in seven important areas. The Diabetes Educator will help you to design a treatment plan that is as individual as you are. One size does not fit all when planning for your diabetes self management.

1. Healthy Eating - What and how often you eat affects your blood sugar. A diabetes educator will work with you to read food labels, count carbohydrates, understand food portion sizes and make choices that work for your tastes, your schedule and your lifestyle.

2. Being Active - Being active has many health benefits, from lowering your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, to lowering your stress. A diabetes educator will help you to find ways to move throughout the day. A plan tailored to your abilities and mobility levels, as well as find activities that benefit your heart that you enjoy.

3. Monitoring - When you have diabetes, your body doesn’t properly manage blood sugar, its main source of fuel. A diabetes educator will show you how to use a glucose meter and record your blood sugar, and figure out what to do when the numbers are out of range for the goals set individually for you.

4. Taking Medication - You may need to take medication to help keep your blood sugar level steady or help with other health conditions. A diabetes educator will explain how to take your medications, the amount you should take and how they help you.

5. Problem Solving - Even when you plan your day, unexpected things can happen. A diabetes educator can help you figure out how to deal with issues when they come up.

6. Healthy Coping - You can’t completely avoid stress, so it is important to know how to cope. Stress not only affects your blood sugar readings, it has a definite affect on your blood pressure levels too. A diabetes educator will help you identify difficulties you may face. They provide support by encouraging you to talk about your concerns. They can help you learn what you can control and offer ways to help you cope with what you cannot.

7. Reducing Risks - Taking control of your diabetes will help you head off the complications that can come with it. A diabetes educator can shed light on things that you can do to reduce your risks and make staying healthier easier - such as quitting smoking, getting a flu shot or seeing your eye doctor once a year. All designed to make you healthier.

Facing diabetes never  needs to be done alone. You have a team of skilled, caring and experienced diabetes  educators available at the Veterans Memorial Hospital Diabetes Education Department. For further information on diabetes programming that fits your needs, contact Teresa Myers, RN-CDE at 563-568-3411, extension 172.