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Why knowing more can lead to better management

Ever since we were born, most of us were hard wired to pester the adults around us with one simple, repetitive question: WHY?

Don't touch that. Why?

Eat your vegetables. Why?

Do your homework. Why?

We're born to wonder, explore and question. Have you ever noticed that the better you understand something—causes and effects, opportunities and limits—the easier it is to take on challenges, make good decisions and change things to suit your needs? Often, simply understanding why can help motivate us to follow guidelines, advice and maybe even our doctors' recommendations.

Living with diabetes is like this. The more you know about how blood sugar affects the body, and how diet, exercise and other factors specifically affect you, the easier it can be to adapt to changes in your day. This can be especially helpful if your job requires long work hours or frequent travel, if you're a parent with young children at home, or if you're a college student with an always-changing schedule.

Instead of stopping with, "Why do I have diabetes?" let's move on to questions we can work with. Start from a position of strength. "What can I do? What do I need to do? The more I know, the more control I have over my diabetes management."

Checking blood sugar frequently, especially when you're stressed or on a changing schedule, is a reliable way to gauge the success of a diabetes self-management plan. Again, information is power. Most of us would rather check our blood sugar and proactively take a walk or eat a snack than have our levels go crazy high or low.

What other kinds of knowledge can empower us?

  • Knowing where you've been can indicate where we're headed. Tracking blood sugar results and watching for patterns can help predict how travel, exercise, sick days and dining out will affect our blood sugar.
  • Knowing how to count carbs and keep a record of your reactions to certain types of foods or meals can make it easier to eat at virtually any restaurant or food stand in the world.

Developing a partnership with your healthcare team will also help keep you informed. Ask lots of questions! Then ask more! Why? Because they want you to! That's what doctor-patient consultations are all about. Put your newfound insights to work every day, building up a knowledge base of awareness and actions. These are the tools you can use on days when you're feeling stressed or out of control.

Looking for ways to log blood sugars on the go?

Explore apps to help you manage your day-to-day life with diabetes.

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