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How to Stay Up to Date on Type 2 Diabetes
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Staying on top of the latest research and treatment advances is an important part of managing type 2 diabetes. It's up to you, though, to educate yourself.
“You are your own best advocate,” says endocrinologist , a Senior Staff Physician in the Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Bone and Mineral Disorders at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, MI. “Knowledge is power, and being empowered is a really important part of taking care of yourself.”
Unsure where to go for the latest information? Your self-education starts with these steps:
Get your news from reputable sources.“There is so much information out there that a person can become easily inundated or overwhelmed,” Dr. Shill says. Stick with high-quality online or print sources to learn more about type 2 diabetes and how to manage it, she suggests. The American Diabetes Association (ADA), government health agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and hospital and university websites are good places to start.
“New studies come out all the time, and the ADA website is a great tool to find out what is new and upcoming and really holds promise,” says endocrinologist Deena Adimoolam, MD, an Assistant Professor of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Bone disease at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
There are also blogs and online communities that can help you sort through the noise, Shill says. She also recommends subscribing to Diabetes Forecast, a magazine published by the ADA. “Each year, they put out a consumer guide to new technologies that can be really helpful for people with diabetes," Shill adds.
Take a class … or two.Most diabetes centers offer regular diabetes education classes that touch on topics like what to look out for if your blood sugar is soaring or dipping, how to plan meals, and when to check in with your doctor. The classes aren’t just for the newly diagnosed either, Shill says, adding that "there is never a bad time to learn more about your diabetes — especially given how rapidly things change.” If you can’t attend a class in person, you may have other options. For instance, the Joslin Diabetes Center offers free online diabetes education classes.
Shill’s hospital puts together an annual conference for people with diabetes, their families, and healthcare providers to help everyone stay abreast of new and upcoming treatments. Inquire about the offerings at the hospitals and clinics in your area.
Check in with your diabetes care team.Even if you feel perfectly fine, it’s still important to check in with your team, Dr. Adimoolam says. “There may be more that you can be doing to control your diabetes and reduce your risk of heart disease and other complications that are associated with diabetes.”
It’s also a good idea to check with your doctor or certified diabetes educator before you try anything new. “One day there may be a study that supports something, and then there’s a study that states the opposite,” Shill notes. “If you hear or read about a new technology, such as a continuous glucose monitor that has been shown to be helpful for people with poorly controlled diabetes, your diabetes care team may be able to put you in touch with companies to arrange a tutorial or trial.”
Join a support group.Support groups may be hosted by your local hospital, and some are available online. “These groups allow you to learn from other people with type 2 diabetes,” Shill says. “This can help you stay updated on new treatments and also help you feel less alone.”
The Defeat Diabetes Foundation has a searchable database to help you locate a support group near you.
Take part in a clinical trial.Clinical trials help advance science, and at any given time, there are many type 2 diabetes studies taking place. If you’re having trouble controlling your diabetes, you may be a candidate. Ask your doctor about available trials or visit the ADA website to learn more about current clinical trials.
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