Too often, people who have diabetes get discouraged and don't follow the treatment plan they've developed with their healthcare providers. Many reasons keep people from sticking with their treatment. Some may not like the side effects of medications. Others may feel discouraged because they don't feel better right away or they are doubtful that any treatment will help.
Having the patience to stay with your treatment plan is the best thing you can do to control your diabetes and prevent even more serious problems.
Here are some strategies to help you stay on track:
Be sure you understand all the parts of your treatment, including exercise, diet changes and how to use your medication.
If you have difficulty remembering when to take your medicine, use products such as check-off calendars, containers for daily doses and caps that beep when it's time to take a dose. These are usually available at pharmacies.
Let close friends and family members know about your treatment plan, and ask them to help you follow it. For instance, they can remind you to take your medication or help you find interesting places to eat within your meal plan.
Be patient. You may be trying to change several behaviors at once. It is hard to change how you eat, for instance. Congratulate yourself for each healthy step you take.
Pay attention to your feelings. Learning that you have diabetes and managing it isn't easy. Mental health experts say that when we face difficulties, such as dealing with a chronic illness, we may go through a grieving process before coming to accept the situation.
Take positive steps to overcome negative feelings.
Written by Bobbie Hasselbring
Reviewed by Beth Seltzer, MD
Last updated June 2008