Good health shouldn't start with a medical diagnosis. It should start with you.
For decades, the system has taught patients to be passive. But healthcare isn't just a service that only professionals provide. It's also about self-care, listening to your body, taking responsibility, and making positive changes.
Reversing the Diagnosis
When I was still working at the clinic in Sauk City, I saw a woman named Ann. She had just been diagnosed with diabetes and was honestly a bit lost. You see, Ann was a librarian. She was used to finding her own answers, used to helping herself. But this time Ann felt powerless, out of her element.
I told her, "Ann, we really have two options here. We can put you on a medications to manage your diabetes or you can try to make some changes."
Ann was done being passive. She decided to change some everyday lifestyle choices to take control of the diabetes. In less than 9 months, Ann lost 15 pounds, was exercising and had reversed her diabetes diagnosis.
Are you in charge of your health?
It's likely that some 35% of Americans have prediabetes - a health condition almost always present before a person develops the more serious type 2 diabetes.* By practicing self-care you can defy statistics like this. You can choose to be like Ann, and be the most powerful person in your healthcare system. You can start by walking 15 minutes after each meal. Why?
One study I've read suggests that walking 15 minutes 3x/day is better for blood sugar levels than one 45-minute walk. Here are more facts to help motivate you.
FACT #1: Regular physical activity improves blood glucose control and can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.
FACT #2: Structured interventions combining physical activity and modest weight loss have been shown to lower type 2 diabetes risk by up to 58% in high-risk populations.
Fact #3: Regardless of weight change, most people report a greater sense of wellbeing when they exercise regularly.
Over 475,000 adults and 4,500 children in Wisconsin have diabetes. Isn't that more than it ought to be? Let's take responsibility instead.
When drug ads promise you a magic pill, don't be passive or believe that your role in diet and exercise is less important. Take charge. Learn about your condition. Read and understand your test results. Ask your doctor questions. Then take the most powerful medicine: a positive change in your life - one that only you can make.
Next blog, we'll be talking about transparency (or the lack of) and the cost of care. Till then, take care (and I mean self-care)!
*Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 09/2012, Wisconsin Diabetes Surveillance Report 2012, https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p4/p43084.pdf