The Importance of Finding the Right Health Care Team

I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Sanofi to write about the realities of diabetes as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own.

I recently had the opportunity to work with Med-IQ (an accredited medical education company that provides an exceptional educational experience for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals) to learn more about treatments available for people living with type 2 diabetes.

The video call with Dr. Susan Jung Guzman and Dr. Jay H Shubrook was highly informative. I was given the opportunity to learn about the importance of having a well-rounded healthcare team that includes not only my physical health, but also my mental health. Have any of you heard of diabetes psychology? I had no idea that there are psychologists that specialize in caring for people managing diabetes.

It was wonderful to have the space and time to ask questions about new diabetes treatments and how I can manage diabetes better. Most importantly, I was reminded of the importance of advocating for myself. Over the past 9 years, I’ve learned to be more active in my care, but there are some things that never occurred to me to ask about. For example, my mental health. I’ve had referrals to the cardiologist, podiatrists, ophthalmologist, and nutritionist but never a therapist. Which is surprising given the heavy impact of being diagnosed with a chronic illness.

Beyond seeing specialists, it’s important to find ones that are kind and patient. Dr. Guzman and Dr. Shubrook were very patient. They reminded me of my first endocrinologist who took time to explain the difference between basal and bolus insulin, carb counting, and what the medicationhe prescribed to me was actually doing in my body. No matter how many questions I had, he answered them. Although I haven’t always had doctors that were as patient, I realize that I manage my diabetes better when I feel that my healthcare providers are as dedicated to making sure I understand something as I am about learning that thing.
My journey to learning how to manage diabetes began when I moved beyond the statistics that show a harsh reality. For example, knowing that diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2017, propels me to do everything I can to live a long and healthy life. This means that I keep in the forefront of my mind the CDC’s guidance as the ABCs.

• A: Get a regular A1C test to measure your average blood sugar over 2 to 3 months; aim to stay in your target range as much as possible.
• B: Try to keep your blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg (or the target your doctor sets).
• C: Control your cholesterol levels.

Remembering to get my ABCs checked every three months, maintaining healthy eating, andkeeping an exercise routine have been central to my diabetes management. Additionally, keeping a positive mindset has been central because I’ve had to often remind myself that although I have diabetes, it is manageable. I am living everyday diagnosed, not defeated.

The people at Med-IQ have been helpful in reminding me that knowledge is empowering and that our learning about diabetes is a continuous thing. If you are interested in learning more details about the latest treatments available for patients with Type 2 Diabetes, I will be sharing more information in November in partnership with Med-IQ.

I encourage you to take their survey (here). Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and would appreciate your input. The survey, which includes additional education on this topic, will take less than 15 minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with diabetes and your care team, which will help us develop future educational initiatives. Once you’ve completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will be used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize and to send a follow-up survey as part of this same initiative.

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