People who have been diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes have to make some lifestyle changes and start monitoring their cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. These changes can be tough, so it’s important to get the right kind of support. At Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA, we offer group diabetes management classes and individual check-ups with leading doctors.
What Are the Main Goals of Diabetes Management?
Patients with diabetes can live a normal, healthy life and participate in virtually all the activities they used to enjoy. However, they have to take better care of their health and monitor their body to make sure they aren’t at risk of complications like heart disease. The best way to stay on track is to develop a comprehensive management program.
Every person’s journey is unique, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. At the clinic, we offer advice during our group classes, but each patient comes up with a program that suits their lifestyle and medical background. The plan usually includes ideas for healthy eating, a weekly exercise routine, and coping strategies.
Reducing the Risk of Complications
One of the most important goals of any management plan is reducing the risk of complications and diabetes-related diseases. That’s why there is often an emphasis on healthy living and positive coping strategies. The first thing we do when coming up with a management plan is to evaluate the patient’s current lifestyle to determine whether they are at risk of health issues.
If you smoke, drink a lot of alcohol, fail to take care of your feet and teeth, and are frequently stressed, it’s much more likely that you’ll eventually suffer from a stroke or heart attack. People with diabetes and pre-diabetes are more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases, so they have to take extra care to remain healthy.
Coming Up with a Suitable Meal Plan
Diet is an important component of every management plan. There is no specific diet that works for everyone with diabetes. When determining what foods to recommend to a patient, we consider their body composition, age, fitness level, other medical issues, and personal preferences. We almost always suggest eating from all major food groups: starchy foods, protein foods, oils and spreads, dairy and alternatives, and fruit and veg.
However, the types of foods in these groups and the ratios are different, depending on the individual’s needs. Someone who does a lot of exercise might need to eat lots of protein-rich dishes, while those who live a more sedentary lifestyle need to eat more vegetables, which don’t typically have as many calories. It’s best to eat very small quantities of foods that don’t provide nutritional value. They include candy, white chocolate, and pastries.
Designing an Exercise Routine
People with diabetes have to monitor their blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. They often find that all three improve when they start to exercise regularly. Physical activity improves a person’s mood, strengthens all their tissues, and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Aerobic exercise is particularly beneficial because it improves the function of the heart muscle.
Some great activities are swimming, cycling, walking, jogging, and dancing. People who prefer to exercise at a gym can use the treadmill or the elliptical machine. Strength training is also crucial because it helps to lower blood sugar levels and makes the body more sensitive to insulin. Exercises using handled weights, weight machines, and exercise bands are especially beneficial.
Dealing with Stress
Stress makes the symptoms of almost every condition worse, and it also makes it more challenging for patients to stick to a healthy routine. That’s why the best diabetes programs address this issue. During our management classes, we provide patients with information and coping skills that help them stay healthy during stressful periods.
We might talk about short breathing, stretching, or mindfulness routines they can do to calm their bodies down and clear their minds. We also discuss how patients can prepare for stressful periods. Some great strategies are freezing healthy meals ahead of time, taking supplements, exercising for at least 15-20 minutes a day, and avoiding substances like drugs and alcohol.
Setting Manageable Goals – and Sticking to Them
You won’t be perfect from the start, even if you have a great management program. If you try to implement all the ideas at once, it’s unlikely that you’ll succeed because you’ll be so overwhelmed by the many changes you have to make. That’s why the best programs start gradually with small lifestyle changes. You might begin by limiting your meals out to once or twice a week and cooking one or two new dishes each week.
If you don’t drink enough, we’ll ask you to increase your fluid intake slowly, until you’ve reached the desired level. The same goes for exercise. You’re much more likely to get injured if you don’t build up to your new exercise routine slowly. We work with all our group session participants to set manageable goals, and we encourage them to track their progress with the help of journals, timelines, and checklists.
What Kind of Help Is Necessary?
A diabetes management program can help you to cope with daily life and reduce the likelihood of complications. When you implement it consistently, your symptoms are reduced, and you feel more energized. However, the program doesn’t replace your regular visits to
People with diabetes have to work closely with a doctor to manage their condition. At first, the checkups might need to take place every one to two months because the patient has to get used to their new routine, and they require supervision. Once they’ve adjusted to living with diabetes, they can drop down to one visit every three to six months.
During the appointment, we check your blood sugar, blood pressure, the function of your kidneys, and your cholesterol levels. We also answer your questions and help you with issues you’ve been experiencing. Once a year, we check your feet for ulcers, infections, and a loss of feeling. We might also ask you to go for an annual eye test because you’re susceptible to damaged blood vessels.
We highly recommend that people who have recently been diagnosed with diabetes attend our group management classes. During the sessions, we discuss important topics like how to reduce the likelihood of complications, how to eat right, what type of exercise is best for people with diabetes, and how to cope when stressed or unwell.
Aside from discussing the facts, we speak about coping methods and how to make sure you stick to the plan. Our group classes are a great place for you to meet other people in a similar situation. This is especially important if you don’t know many people who have diabetes. We also welcome family members and friends of people struggling with this condition.
How Much Does Diabetes Care Cost?
Private insurance plans, Medicaid, and Medicare cover many of the costs related to diabetes. When you first come to the clinic, we’ll check your insurance and let you know which of our treatments are covered. Because we want to make our group classes accessible to a wide range of patients, they are free.
Do I Need Management Classes if I’m Pre-Diabetic?
Prediabetes is a serious medical condition. If you’ve been diagnosed, your blood sugar levels are elevated, but they are not high enough yet for you to be considered diabetic. Almost 100 million Americans have prediabetes, so this is a very common issue. Fortunately, it is much easier to address than type 2 diabetes, and in some cases, it is even reversible.
If a doctor has told you that you’re at risk of diabetes, take steps to improve your lifestyle now. Attend our management classes to find out more about how to live a healthy lifestyle and manage your blood sugar. By following the same health and lifestyle guidance as someone who has type 2 diabetes, you can prevent serious illness and live a longer, healthier life.
Manage Your Diabetes and Improve Your Overall Health
Diabetes management is crucial because it helps patients to live a healthy life despite their condition. The main goal is to reduce the risk of complications. During our group and individual sessions, patients learn to improve their diet, safely increase their exercise levels, deal with stressful situations, and set manageable goals. Get in touch with us at Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA to enroll in one of our programs.