New Year's always feels like a breath of fresh air, and maybe even more this year, when we can finally put 2020 behind us.
Folks often set goals around improving their personal health this time of year, but as people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D), New Year's is a great time to reevaluate how we're managing our condition and overall well-being. Even a seemingly small improvement — like better carbohydrate counting — can dramatically increase blood glucose time-in-range, and more importantly, improve our quality of life. I'm speaking from experience!
Here are four great New Year's resolutions for people with diabetes to consider, whether you're looking to enhance your daily management or simply feel more in control.
1. Try out technology
The fresh start a new year offers is a great time to try new things. Have you been curious to learn how an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM) could improve your daily management? If so, this next year may be the perfect time to explore the technologies and give them a trial run.
Your endocrinologist will be able to help guide you in navigating all the different products available. If you have any questions or reservations, be vocal about them.
For example, if you're worried about insulin pump tubing getting caught on doorknobs (I can attest this does happen occasionally), maybe a tubeless pump is a better option for you. Or, if you're worried about misplacing the Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM) device when you need to dial up a bolus, the all-in-one with tubing option is probably best.
The process for deciding which CGM to incorporate into your diabetes toolbox is similar. Don't be afraid to ask questions, look at device trainer models in the office, or test out different systems. The Edgepark customer service team and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) on staff are also available to answer any questions you may have regarding diabetes technology.
2. Don't discount diet and exercise
"Diet" and "exercise" are typically buzzwords around this time of year. These may be on your list of New Year's resolutions for people with diabetes, but for different reasons. For instance, as someone living with T1D, it's likely that your focus is less on losing weight and more on lifestyle modifications that promote tighter diabetes control.
Of course, this can take many forms and will vary by individual. Here are some ideas for incorporating diet and exercise into your plans:
- Perform carbohydrate recalibrations by measuring out food for certain periods of time
- Schedule a walk for periods of your day when blood glucose trends consistently high
- Routinely keep track of foods that regularly raise blood sugar
- Identify low-carb snacks — and keep a healthy stock on hand
3. Know your numbers (and what they mean)
If it's been a while since you sat down with a CDCES or nutritionist, consider dedicating some time to diabetes education. Some areas to discuss and learn more about include:
- Time-in-range versus A1C
- Factors affecting insulin sensitivity/resistance
- How to determine macronutrient requirements
- Performing a basal rate baseline check
- How other health numbers — like cholesterol levels — affect diabetes management
As a person who loves data, I find these types of conversations incredibly interesting, and I like learning how the medical community adapts to using better diabetes management indicators. Whether you're able to meet in person or virtually, it's a good idea to come prepared to your endocrinologist appointment.
4. Plan to check in
The best way to ensure you stay on track with any New Year's resolution is accountability. Consider using your quarterly endocrinology appointments as built-in sync points.
For instance, you can discuss your diabetes goals at your first appointment in the new year and revisit them during each visit. Enlist your endocrinologist's help to locate a CDE, nutritionist, or fitness expert who specializes in working with individuals with T1D. If you're uncomfortable using your endocrinologist appointments as sync points, you can reach out to a diabetes support group or online diabetes accountability group for check-ins.
Even small changes in diabetes management — or a quick overview on helpful new technologies — can have dramatic ripple effects on your quality of life as a person living with T1D. Challenge yourself to jot down a few New Year's resolutions for diabetes in 2021 and see how your management trends change in the coming months!
Looking for other advice around living with type 1 diabetes and enjoying life to the fullest? Check out the informative articles on the Edgepark Health Insights blog.