Prac­tise self-care

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - World Diabetes Day -

THE man­age­ment of di­a­betes mostly fo­cuses on mak­ing life­style changes and the use of re­quired med­i­ca­tion. How­ever, the psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fects as­so­ci­ated with this dis­ease are fre­quently over­looked.

Imag­ine hav­ing to live with a dis­ease for the rest of your life and not be able to eat cer­tain foods you love. The knowl­edge that it is a chronic dis­ease adds fuel to fire, po­ten­tially lead­ing one into a state of de­pres­sion. Be­cause of the stigma at­tached to men­tal health in our so­ci­ety, how­ever, many di­a­betes pa­tients re­frain from seek­ing coun­selling or other psy­cho­log­i­cal treat­ment.

It is im­por­tant to take as much no­tice of pa­tients’ men­tal health as we do their phys­i­cal health. For peo­ple liv­ing with di­a­betes, it is cru­cial that they re­mem­ber there are ways to cope and con­tinue lead­ing a ful­fill­ing life.

Be­ing di­ag­nosed with di­a­betes can be dif­fi­cult for any­one. Worse still is when a per­son with di­a­betes be­comes fix­ated on the neg­a­tives of hav­ing to take med­i­ca­tions for life, be re­stricted in food choice and adopt life­style changes.

Hence, pro­vid­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal sup­port should be an in­te­gral part of di­a­betes man­age­ment. With proper coun­selling, health­care providers can make a huge dif­fer­ence in en­cour­ag­ing di­a­betes pa­tients to com­bat the psy­cho­log­i­cal im­pact of their dis­ease.

Loved ones and sup­port groups also play a sig­nif­i­cant role in as­sist­ing a di­a­betes pa­tient to de­velop a more op­ti­mistic view of the fu­ture.

Nev­er­the­less, the onus of fight­ing off the neg­a­tiv­ity falls first on the pa­tient her­self.

Ac­cept re­al­ity and put your plan in ac­tion

It is im­por­tant to take as much no­tice of pa­tients’ men­tal health as we do their phys­i­cal health. For peo­ple liv­ing with di­a­betes, it is cru­cial that they re­mem­ber there are ways to cope and con­tinue lead­ing a ful­fill­ing life.

The first step of cop­ing with di­a­betes is ac­knowl­edg­ing the pos­si­ble signs of the dis­ease and go­ing for a check-up.

Should the di­ag­no­sis be di­a­betes, it is all about mak­ing in­formed de­ci­sions. If you have di­a­betes, start by ac­cept­ing that a life­style change is un­avoid­able.

The next step is to con­sider how to go about mak­ing the nec­es­sary life­style changes. Crit­i­cally plan out a work­able sched­ule that you are pre­pared to ad­here to.

There is no point in start­ing an ag­gres­sive ex­er­cise rou­tine only to give up af­ter a month or two. A solid ac­tion plan would de­tail a re­al­is­tic al­lo­ca­tion of time for daily ex­er­cise, the types of ex­er­cise that suit your phys­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties, the rec­om­mended diet to help man­age your blood glu­cose level and the kind of food you need to avoid.

List out the var­i­ous food items you should and should not eat and their ef­fects on your blood glu­cose level and make con­scious de­ci­sions about what you put in your mouth. Stick to the ac­tion plan but al­low for oc­ca­sional in­dul­gences such as a treat ev­ery one or two weeks.

Hav­ing di­a­betes is not the end of the world as you can still lead a full life. Yes, di­a­betes is a chronic dis­ease, but it is man­age­able with med­i­ca­tion and not a jour­ney you have to make on your own.

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