Diabetes is a common problem (and increasing rapidly!) and the treatment and management plan for it can be found in many literature and evidence-based medicine. However, there are still many patients that have poorly controlled diabetes and is not at the optimal management of the disease.
Here are 3 reasons why.
#1. Refusing to / afraid of CHANGE
Some patients are very afraid of change, and changing their routine or adding on to their already existing regimen of medication overwhelms them. However, it is important to remember that sometimes it is necessary to change the medication that is no longer benefiting you or adding a medication to better your control of your blood glucose. Without the addition of medication to help control your blood glucose, the risk of complications due to high blood glucose increases significantly.
#2. Patient EDUCATION
In some cases, patients are not educated regarding the potential complications and consequences of high blood sugar. Many give up after receiving the initial diagnosis of diabetes. When health care professionals tell patients that they need to take medication and change their lifestyle, without the understanding why it is required, patient compliance is poor. It has been proven that patient education increases patient compliance.
#3. Needle PHOBIA
There are some individuals who are deathly afraid of needles. (This includes my sister.) This affects the willingness of the patient to use insulin injections even when it is a necessity. Insulin injections are subdermal and are shorter compared to usual needles and if it is any consolation, many patients have reported that it is less painful compared to usual needles. Although patients can try to further change their lifestyle by exercising more and eating better, sometimes insulin is still needed with the control of blood glucose.
There are a few ways that patients and family members can help with the optimal management of their diabetes. Motivation is a very important factor, whether if it is a friend, partner, family member, or even the physician. It helps the patient feel supported and that they may get through the diagnosis with the help and support needed as it may be hard for them to change their routines and lifestyle to revolve around the diagnosis of diabetes.
It is also important for patients to take one step at a time, making small changes gradually. Trying to change your entire lifestyle routine with the addition of medication may overwhelm you. Patients can start small with making more conscious food choices in one week and introducing short durations of exercise the next. It is also important to remember that the care of diabetes involves a whole health care team and not just one doctor. Even the number of doctor appointments may wear you out! Take time for yourself and remember that it takes time to adjust!
Chao EC. Optimal Diabetes Management: What’s Stopping Your Patients? Endocrinology Advisor. Accessed 3/1/2017.