Improperly managed diabetes can bring serious complications for the millions of Americans with the disease.
However, behavior change is not an easy process. Adjustments – small and large – need to be made to an individual's lifestyle, but where does a person start?
The American Association of Diabetes Educators outlines seven areas of self-care that are essential for living a healthy life with diabetes. Known as the AADE7, they are:
-Healthy eating: learning to make healthy food choices by paying attention to nutritional content and portion sizes.
-Being active: recognizing the importance of physical activity and making a plan to start moving today.
-Monitoring: learning to check and record your blood glucose levels and other numbers important to your diabetes self-care.
-Taking medication: remembering to take your medications as prescribed and understanding how they affect your body and diabetes management.
-Problem solving: gaining skills to identify problems or obstacles to your self-care behaviors and learning how to solve them.
-Reducing risks: understanding the potential complications you are at risk for with diabetes and taking steps to prevent them.
-Healthy coping: developing healthy ways of dealing with difficult times in your diabetes management.
Health care professionals known as diabetes educators can help people with diabetes learn self-care strategies for each of the AADE7, and work with individuals to set and achieve behavior change goals in order to reduce the risk of developing complications.