Home Emotional Effects Seven strategies for self-advocacy in diabetes care

Seven strategies for self-advocacy in diabetes care

by Santina Johnson
0 comment

In the complex process of diabetes management, the bridges built by effective communication between patients and healthcare providers are not only beneficial, but essential.

Managing diabetes is a tough job. For some people, communicating their needs to their health care provider is even more difficult.

Despite these challenges, many are finding ways to overcome challenges by harnessing the power of education, technology, and resilience to turn obstacles into opportunities. Actively participating in medical discussions can also help ensure that you receive appropriate, personalized care.

“Finding my voice was a turning point in my treatment,” said Stevie Rogers, 37, of Washington, who found out in October 2021 that she had type 2 diabetes.

Alongside managing her diabetes, Rogers also deals with the challenges of other chronic conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome and high blood pressure.

As a 31-year-old who has battled insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, and ultimately type 2 diabetes, I have also come to realize the importance of assertiveness and trusting relationships with doctors. Managing bipolar type 2 disorder and other conditions on top of my diabetes emphasized the need for a health care provider who would listen and consider all aspects of my health.

Here are some important strategies on how to be assertive and master communication with your healthcare team.

1. Educate yourself

I learned how important it is to proactively manage my health. That's why it was important for me to tell my doctor what I needed.

To do this, I begin combing through research articles and books from reliable sources about diabetes and how to manage it. This allows you to ask detailed and informed questions, making your conversations with your healthcare provider more efficient.

Learn all you can about diabetes and its treatments. Use reliable online sources such as american diabetes association Or a library book. Armed with this knowledge, you can feel more confident discussing your care with your healthcare provider and considering your options.

2. Find a provider who listens to you

It's important to be persistent in finding a medical team that fits your communication style and health needs. I learned not to compromise with doctors I don't like or who don't listen to me. My health is very important.

Please come to my appointment with list of questions. The questions I often ask are:

  • What is the best way to track blood sugar levels?

  • What lifestyle changes can I make to better manage my diabetes?

  • Are there any particular foods you should eat more of or avoid?

  • How often should I exercise? And what type of exercise is best for me?

  • If I need further guidance, could you refer me to a diabetes educator or dietitian?

  • What signs of complications should I look out for?

  • How can I manage my diabetes when I'm sick?

  • Are there any new treatments or techniques I should know about?

  • Are there any resources you would recommend for support or more information about living with diabetes?

“Arriving to every appointment with questions, concerns, and health records makes a huge difference,” said Rodney Lewis, a 59-year-old retired Army sergeant from Quincy, Fla., who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2023. “It was,” he said.

Like Lewis and I, your schedule is your health and happiness.

Don't hesitate to ask about patient portals and other digital tools that can improve communication between you and your healthcare team. Patient portals are especially useful for tracking health measures and asking questions that health care providers were unable to cover due to time constraints.

Importantly, if you don't feel heard or you're not satisfied with your provider, it's okay to look for another provider. A successful doctor-patient relationship is based on trust and open communication.

3. Talk to your doctor openly

Always talk about any symptoms, concerns, or side effects you are experiencing. For example, if your medication isn't working, don't be afraid to talk about it. Being proactive about discussing new treatments can lead to significant improvements in your health.

Mr. Rogers shared how conversations with primary care providers made a huge difference in diabetes care. After enduring severe side effects from various medications, Dr. Rogers mentioned Munjaro, his new GLP-1 drug, during a routine visit. Their providers not only embraced this new option, they embraced it enthusiastically. With their support, Rodgers started with Munjaro, resulting in his A1C dropping from his 7.9 to 6.2.

When I noticed that my blood sugar levels were always higher than normal right after taking my bipolar medication (despite adhering to my diabetes management plan), I recorded it in my health diary and added it to the discussion. I added a star for it.

During my checkup, I mentioned this to my doctor and expressed my concerns about the potential impact of antidepressants on my blood sugar levels. For this reason, doctors took a closer look at the drug's side effects and found that it can raise blood sugar levels.

Because of this open dialogue, we decided to switch to a different antidepressant with a lower risk of affecting blood sugar levels. This adjustment stabilized blood sugar levels. This is just one example of how open communication and a doctor's willingness to listen led to positive changes in treatment.

4. Keep a health diary

A health diary can be an important tool in diabetes management. We provide specific information during your appointment so we can develop a more customized and effective treatment plan that aligns with your health goals.

“I keep a diary that tracks my blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and certain foods I eat to monitor their effects. I am aware of the side effects of my medications,” Rogers said. “This gives my provider a comprehensive understanding and allows them to meet my unique needs.”

5. Leverage technology

The digital revolution in healthcare has opened new avenues for communication between patients and healthcare providers.

the study i got you Many people with diabetes are interested in having more conversations with their health care providers outside of appointments using digital tools such as apps, email, and text messages. This will help people feel less alone and more understood when dealing with diabetes.

“Technology has allowed us to create better health partnerships and be more proactive in our own care,” Lewis said.

“I manage my health data through an app by recording it and allowing my doctor to see the big picture,” Rogers added.

This sentiment reflects a broader trend toward digital health management and highlights the demand for innovative tools that facilitate meaningful medical interactions.tools like My chart has transformed the way health data is shared, making diabetes management more interactive and collaborative.

6. Address barriers to effective communication

Mark Smith, a pharmacist and diabetes educator at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, emphasized the critical need to break down communication barriers in patient care. Geographical limitations and a lack of expertise often prevent meaningful dialogue from starting, especially in rural areas, he said.

“Assessing patient knowledge through pre-assessment can help tailor communication and make it more accessible,” Smith suggested.

Dr. Grayson Saville, an internist at Thomas Hospital in Daphne, Alabama, has a unique approach to explaining medical concepts.

“I think the best way to communicate with patients with a chronic disease like diabetes is to help them understand the disease, so you can fill in the gaps and use it as an educational opportunity.” We can,” Mr Saville said. Patients talk about the disease process. ”

By employing analogies and simplified language, Saville aims to demystify complex medical information and foster more engaging and productive conversations.

“For example, coronary artery disease. I explain to my patients that excess cholesterol is deposited in the arteries, or 'plumbing', and as a result, the pipes become narrowed and more likely to become clogged,” Saville said.

Patient-centered communication not only helps build bridges of understanding, but also helps involve people with diabetes in the decision-making process. For example, Saville talks to patients about what treatments are okay for them, such as opting for pills if they don't like needles. This makes it easier for people to customize care and follow a health plan that fits their lives.

Julie Cunningham, a nutritionist and certified diabetes educator, spoke about additional challenges, such as limited time for consultations and the emotional impact of a diabetes diagnosis. She advocates for comprehensive support systems and emphasizes the underutilized but important role of diabetes self-management education and support and medical nutrition therapy in diabetes care.

Cunningham's insights highlight the need for health care providers to proactively refer patients to these resources to promote better health outcomes.

Additionally, she emphasizes the role of emotional awareness in medical practice and advocates for a more nuanced approach to patient care that recognizes the emotional and personal challenges of living with diabetes.

7. Seek support and share your experiences

Connecting with people living with or who understand diabetes can provide valuable support and insight. Joining diabetes support groups and exploring online communities are great ways to share experiences and tips about managing diabetes. Participating in social networks also increases your confidence to advocate for yourself.

Additionally, diaTribe Learn is a great resource for finding comprehensive information and community support specifically for people with diabetes. This is a platform where you can learn new strategies for managing diabetes, engage with the diabetes community, and find practical advice for everyday life with diabetes.


Clear communication and teamwork are key to successfully managing diabetes. By implementing some of the strategies listed above, you can take a more active role in your diabetes treatment.

Through diabetes education, honest conversations, and digital tools, you and your healthcare provider can develop a treatment plan that fits your needs and achieve better health outcomes.

Learn more about diabetes self-advocacy and working with your health care team.

What do you think?

About the author

Santina Johnson is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of South Alabama, where she focuses on basic medicine with a specialization in pharmacology. A native of Alabama's Black Belt County, she…
Read full bio »

You may also like


Today’s Diabetes News, your ultimate destination for up-to-date and insightful information on diabetes, health tips, and living a fulfilling life with diabetes. Our mission is to empower and support individuals with diabetes, their loved ones, and the wider community by providing reliable, relevant, and engaging content that fosters a healthier and happier life.

Interesting Topics

Most Viewed Articles

Latest Articles

Copyright MatchingDonors.com©️ 2024 All rights reserved.

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?