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4 Secrets to Avoid Diabetes Burnout


Denise Mann, MS

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PHYSICIAN CONTRIBUTOR doctor-checking-patients-throat

Diabetes: Why See a Specialist?

A diabetes specialist, called an endocrinologist, has the right skills and insight to help you stay in control of your diabetes.
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You have been so careful ever since your type 2 diabetes diagnosis. You test your blood sugar before and after each meal, make sure you get at least 10,000 steps a day, and even weigh out your apple slices.

It’s hard to keep up with all of this. You may be tempted to throw in the towel every now and again. This phenomenon is called diabetes burnout, and it occurs when you grow tired of managing your diabetes and ignore it for while or even all together, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.

But before you undermine all of your efforts, learn what others have done to stay the course. Here are 4 secrets to avoiding diabetes burnout:

Making healthy lifestyle choices is key to managing type 2 diabetes, but it can be hard to stay on track. Dr. Anthony Cardillo explains that focusing on diet, exercise and stress reduction can help you maintain control of your diabetes.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Aug 13, 2015

2017 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

Shake Things Up

Does eating the same foods at the same times at the same places every day bore you? Probably, but having diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t expand your palate. Consider taking a cooking class or meeting with a nutritionist to get your creative juices flowing and whet your appetite. If walking or your daily gym routine leaves you feeling blasé instead of super-charged, take Zumba or another fun fitness class (as long as your doctor gives you the A-OK) or ask a buddy to join you on your daily walks.

Treat Yourself Right

A cool pair of new sneakers, an activity monitor or funky yoga pants could be just what the doctor ordered. Anything that gets you excited to do the things you need to do to stay healthy is fair game. It’s also important to reward your hard work and efforts. If your blood sugar has been within range for months or you lost some weight, buy yourself a gift to celebrate this progress. You deserve it. These gifts don’t have to be expensive either. It can be as easy as downloading a new album to your iPod to listen to on your walks or purchasing the latest issue of a magazine with your favorite celebrity on the cover.

Keep Your Eye on the Prize – Your Health and Well-Being

You likely didn’t know how sluggish and ill you felt until your doctor told you that you had diabetes and encouraged healthy lifestyle changes and/or medication, but once you made some changes, the energy came rushing back. Keep that in mind before you give up.

What’s more, research shows that tight control of diabetes can dramatically lower your chances of experiencing diabetes-related complications, including blindness, nerve damage, and kidney and heart disease. For example, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in adults younger than 65, but intensive therapy slashes this risk by 76%, according to one landmark study. In those who had some eye damage at the beginning of the study, such intensive management slowed the progress by 54%. You can’t argue with those numbers, and they were similar for risk of other diabetes-related complications.

Ask for Help

Check in with your doctor or a diabetes educator to see if there are any new tools to help you better and more seamlessly control your diabetes. For example, continuous glucose monitors (CGM) measure blood sugar (glucose) levels every five minutes to show whether your blood sugar levels are rising or falling, according to the US Food and Drug Administration. There are also apps available that can help you better track what you eat, your blood sugar and your daily activity. These new high-tech devices may help you achieve stable blood sugar levels and feel better. Find out what tools are available to help you help yourself.

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Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Dec 23, 2016

© 2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

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Medical References

  1. DCCT and EDIC: The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial and Follow-up Study, National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/control/#eye)
  2. Consumer updates, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm424219.htm)
  3. Avoid diabetes burnout, Joslin Diabetes Center (http://www.joslin.org/info/avoid_diabetes_burnout.html)
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