Lean on your Community
Every year, we learn a little more about diabetes—the body’s inability to properly process sugar and its improper insulin response—thanks to a whole month dedicated to sharing knowledge and research. And this year is no exception. According to Diabetes Canada, 30 per cent of Canadians live with diabetes or prediabetes, which can reduce a person’s lifespan by five to 15 years. Although these statistics are shocking, the good news is that managing and monitoring diabetes can reduce your risk for diabetes complications. It may just mean connecting a few pieces in your wellness journey puzzle to elevate your health for the long run.
Find Community Connections
It is important to have a solid support network around you if you are at risk or have been diagnosed with prediabetes, Type 1, Type 2 or gestational diabetes. Here are a few ways to do so, from diabetes specialist and ASEBP’s lead pharmacist, Ollie Semonis:
- Speak to your family physician if you are diagnosed or concerned about a future diagnosis because of a relevant family history. You should also ask your physician to connect you with a Primary Care Network (PCN) so you can speak to qualified health care professionals who specialize in diabetes care and management.
- The great thing about PCNs is that there are dedicated teams of dietitians, nurses, exercise specialists, pharmacists, and mental health workers providing regular education classes and consultations to help patients at any stage.
- Knowledge is power. Seek out credible online resources, like Diabetes Canada, to learn more about the condition.
- If you are confirmed to have diabetes, regular follow-ups to monitor vision and foot health are cornerstones to avoid future long-term complications. Did you know that diabetic eye exams are covered by Alberta Health every year, and many PCNs have trained nurses who specialize in foot exams?
- Focus on small lifestyle changes first. Managing diet, increasing physical activity, and making lifestyle shifts can feel overwhelming on top of a diagnosis, but if you start with easy-to-implement changes in your day, they will snowball into greater positive changes as you find your rhythm.
And Don’t Forget ASEBP
You can access free wellness coaching, such as fitness and nutritional advice, through your Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) to help you prevent and manage diabetes. Find more information about your diabetes benefits on our website. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter where we will share more helpful information around this disease that affects so many Canadians, using #LetsEndDiabetes.
When you create your very own network of support using different facets of your life, it encourages change. Knowing there are a variety of tools available can make a prediabetes or diabetes diagnosis manageable. And when you’re ready, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to help others on their health journeys too!