Diabetes is a patient managed disease. While doctors measure blood glucose and average glucose levels over 3 months (HbA1C), they are measuring in order to give you, the diabetic patient, feedback on whether your efforts are working to control your diabetes. Doctors also check for long term complications and whether other treatment is necessary to avoid the long term complication or to treat them. Beyond those activities, doctors really cannot control diabetes–only you can.

Let me say it again, DOCTORS CANNOT MANAGE YOUR DIABETES!  Your actions and your commitment to managing this complicated disease will in large part determine your health. The best endocrinologists, internists, specialists and educators cannot control your diabetes, only you can.

But don’t get me wrong, physicians are absolutely key in your diabetes management system. Your best source of how well you’ve been managing your diabetes is likely from your physician. While that information is about past performance, your doctor should recommend ways to improve your glucose control, whether it is diet changes, exercise changes or medication changes.

Another source of good coaching is from diabetes educators who perhaps have more time to teach strategy and technique for glucose control. Education is always key whether you are talking about diabetes or technology–understanding leads to better ability to control.

Having said that, take it upon yourself to map out a way to control your glucose levels as you navigate the sticky road through the holidays. Plan how you will handle company parties, charity functions, family gatherings, and full days of non-stop shopping. Overeating is not the only complication of the season. Forgetting to eat, or not having access to a healthy meal is another. And that is why planning is key.

Also, don’t forget to get some exercise. Unless we’re winter sports fans, it is easy to become sedentary and work behind a computer all day and watch television all night. Plan some exercise, even if it is walking from the back of the mall parking lot, doing laps at the mall or marching up and down a flight stairs in your home or at work 7 times!

Burn those carbohydrates by dancing!

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