Be The Center Of Your Diabetes Care

More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes – and each one is the most important member of their diabetes care team. This National Diabetes Month, I urge everyone with diabetes to make your care a joint effort between you, your loved ones and your health care team.

In addition to managing blood glucose (often called blood sugar), blood pressure, and cholesterol, and not smoking, people with diabetes need to make healthy food choices, stay at a healthy weight, move more every day, and take their medicine even when they feel good. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it – research has shown that these efforts can dramatically lower the risk of many diabetes-related health problems, including heart, kidney, nerve, and eye diseases.  Having a network of support can help people with diabetes cope with the daily demands that come with diabetes and help them be more successful in managing their health.

Griffin Rodgers NIH

Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, Director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health

But there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to diabetes care, and treatment plans need to consider each person’s values, goals, needs, and preferences. Developing realistic goals – such as taking breaks for short walks during the day if you are too tired to be active in the evening– can help you manage your diabetes in a way that works for you.

At NIH, we are learning more about the importance of taking each person’s needs into account through research taking a “precision medicine” approach where a person’s genes, environment, lifestyle and other factors all help determine the best treatment for that person.

The NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) supports a wide range of research, including testing the most effective approaches for diabetes care for individuals. The ongoing Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes: A Comparative Effectiveness Study(link is external) is comparing four drugs as additions to metformin, the most common first-line type 2 diabetes medication, to determine which drug works best to manage the disease in different people.