Diabetes is a nasty disease, so much so that we don't even look at its bright side. And, diabetes is controllable. Tight control will prevent much of what hurts people most. It's as simple and as complex as that. Control is the key. It's too bad some physicians and some patients simply ascribe to the principle that "you only have a little 'sugar'." Treating diabetes in this manner is like telling your mom or dad that you are only a little pregnant. "A little sugar" just worsens its impact and bites its victim where it hurts the most. Control doesn’t mean severe dieting, or giving up sugar, or anything like that. A proper diet, healthy and satisfying, and a regular program of exercise will work miracles. We’re not talking exercising with grunts and groans, but light workouts as modest as a 20-minute walk every other day.

"Now there are advanced treatment techniques, recently approved by state and federal agencies, sophisticated medications and supplies currently available, with even more in the pipeline. There is a great deal happening in: internal and external insulin pump design, recombinant DNA insulin, oral medication, surgical intervention including transplantation, sight (improvements in techniques to preserve vision), and, the growing use of Hepatic Activation as a truly helpful, remarkably effective, cost efficient treatment approach. (Footnote #1)

Getting personal about diabetes means taking responsibility for its treatment. With a chronic disease like diabetes, no one can abdicate responsibility to a doctor, or anyone else for that matter. You should strive to be in charge of the treatment program, even if it is designed by your medical professional. After all, you are the only person who can implement the treatment in the long term, right? And, long term is our goal. We want you to be with us for "the long term."

The time is gone when we can think in the simplistic terms of diabetes being "a little sugar." Left untreated, diabetes can get serious quickly. Neuropathy (numbness in the feet and legs), blindness, loss of weight, and other nasty consequences can come to visit quickly if diabetic patients aren't religious about implementing their treatment programs.

Some scientific evidence suggests there may be some benefit from forcing the liver to play a more active role in diabetic management. Called Hepatic Activation, this form of treatment for Type 1 diabetes mellitus was reported by a collection of researchers led by Thomas T. Aoki, M.D., F.A.C.E. in Endocrine Practice. (Footnote #2)

However you are managing your diabetes, be sure you pledge to yourself to do it consistently. If you have questions, ask. If you are experiencing new sensations or different reactions to new medications, contact your health care professional immediately. Sometimes, if we wait too long, the damage done can't be undone.

Subscribe to and read magazines and newsletters that can make you aware of current research and evolving medications. Ask your doctor to include you on a list of patients to be notified whenever a new drug is released that you might benefit from. Remain active in the educational process. There is always more to learn.

Most of all…stay involved. You are the best person for managing your diabetes treatment. No one else can possibly do it as well as you. To be successful, you must get personal about your diabetes.

William H. Truesdell is President of The Management Advantage, Inc. His company publishes a book entitled Your Diabetes Control Handbook, by Marshall Chazen, Ed.D. The book is available at http://www.management-advantage.com/products/DiabetesControl.htm .
#1 "Your Diabetes Control Handbook," page 52, http://www.management-advantage.com/products/DiabetesControl.htm
#2 "Endocrine Practice," Vol. 5, No. 4, July/August 1999, pg. 174

Author's Bio: 

Certified Senior HR Professional, extension instructor at U.C. Berkeley, President of The Management Advantage, Inc., publisher of "Your Diabetes Control Handbook."