When you think of caring for your diabetes, you might think about counting carbohydrates, self-testing your blood glucose levels or managing your medicines (with the help of your doctor). These are all important things to do, but the American Diabetes Association (ADA), in its 2016 Standards of Medical Care, says that there should be more focus on you and your specific, customized needs.
What are the Standards of Care?
The ADA’s Standards of Care are based on current research and are considered the most effective way to prevent, diagnose, manage, and treat diabetes. Examples of standards of care in 2015 included:
- Lowering the BMI (body mass index) number for screening Asian-Americans at risk for prediabetes
- Stating that e-cigarettes are not supported as an alternative to smoking or to help someone quit smoking
- Identifying a target A1C of less than 7.5 for all pediatric age groups
What are the 2016 Standards of Care?
Changes for the 2016 Standards of Care include:
- Aspirin therapy suggested for women aged 50 and older instead of 60 and older
- Use of antiplatelet in patients younger than 50 who have multiple risk factors
Most importantly, however, the 2016 Standards of Care focus on the individual patient, especially for those in at-risk groups with diabetes, such as:
- HIV patients
- Those suffering from mental illness
- Those who may be in poverty or food insecure
In addition, the 2016 Standards of Care encourage healthcare providers to use phone apps and text messaging to help patients manage their diabetes at home between visits. New sections on obesity and older adults can also help healthcare providers create better care plans for each patient.
Overall, healthcare providers should focus on the specific needs and preferences of each patient when creating their plan of care, taking into account medical history, other diagnoses, and overall prognosis. This will provide the most effective care for each patient, and the best quality of life, even with diabetes.
How can I manage my diabetes at home in between healthcare provider visits?
Your healthcare provider will advise you on balancing your carbs throughout the day, staying active, checking your blood glucose levels regularly, and taking your prescribed medicines as directed. In between doctor visits it is important for you to:
- Track your blood glucose levels in a journal or through an app on your phone so that you can share your results with your doctor and contact him or her in case of any dangerous trends
- Track how many carbs you eat at each meal and snack so you can best manage your blood glucose levels as well as your weight
- Stay active so you can manage your weight and keep your blood glucose levels as stable as possible
- Contact your healthcare provider if your blood glucose numbers are getting out of control, if you are having discomfort from your medicines, or if you feel you need help managing your diabetes better. Do not ever be afraid to ask your healthcare provider for assistance in managing your diabetes – that is what they are for.
- Eat healthy balanced meals and snacks so that you can best manage your weight and your blood glucose levels. Visit CDiabetes.com for healthy recipes and tips to help you stay on track with your eating while still enjoying delicious food.
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