A Team Approach to Living With Diabetes

What makes a good football team?

November is Diabetes Awareness month, so what does that have to do with a team?

Anyone living with diabetes needs a team. This is not a one and done disease! It’s a trial or test, every day of your life. There are ups and downs, and lots of go rounds, but the only way to put it all together is with a team. There is no off-season when living with diabetes.

Captain – Whether you are seeing your primary care physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, advanced practice nurse, endocrinologist (a doctor who specializes in endocrine organs such as the pancreas which makes insulin) or diabetologist (a doctor who only sees patients with diabetes) you need someone to call the plays. Finding someone you trust and believe in is important.

TrainersCertified diabetes educators assess your abilities, modify the play book, and introduce new plays and equipment. You don’t want to be stuck wearing a helmet without a facemask!

Teammates – These are friends and family, as well as others, who support you as you navigate living with diabetes. Included on your team are participants in diabetes education classes and diabetes support groups. Teammates support you, empathize, and acknowledge the work you’ve put into the game. They help you be the best player you can be because your reward is their reward.

Defensive players – Pharmacists provide medication along with education on how and when to take the meds. Fitness trainers keep your body at peak performance to decrease insulin resistance, improve mental health, gain and maintain BMI (body mass index), and help you to sustain strength, endurance, flexibility and balance while maintaining healthy glucose levels.

Offensive players – Dietitians guide you through the maze of unhealthy diets and help you find a diet that fits your life and controls your glucose. Diets come and go. The more knowledge we have about diabetes, the more things change. Are you on the right diet or are you still eating leaves and berries?

Special teams – These include podiatrists (foot doctors), dentists, ophthalmologists (eye doctors), nephrologists (kidney doctors), wound care specialists, psychologists, health coaches, cardiologists (heart doctors), neurologists (doctors of the nervous system), etc. Hopefully you won’t need most of them. But, the American Diabetes Association does recommend yearly eye, foot, and dental screenings for everyone living with diabetes.

So, team-up for your game!

Anymore questions? Visit CooperHealth.org to make sure you’ve got the right team at your side.

Michelle Laranko is a Certified Diabetes Educator for Cooper University Health Care. At Cooper, we believe in a comprehensive approach to care. As part of that approach, our endocrinology services emphasize education and prevention in addition to innovative diagnostics and treatment so you can better manage your illness and go on enjoying your life. Learn more about our Diabetes Education Center.

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