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Secrets to diabetes management

Our survey found that simple approaches are often the best

Published: November 2009

Only one-third of people with type 2 diabetes said they were very successful at diabetes management, according to a survey of 5,012 adults with the condition published by the Consumer Reports National Research Center in November 2009. But the people who were successful were far less likely to experience complications from the disease, our survey found.

More important, our survey identified the lifestyle strategies that helped separate the successful from the unsuccessful, including dietary and other measures that worked best, and the health-care providers who helped the most.

So what are their secrets? For one, our survey found that no single health-care provider covers all the bases, underscoring the importance of taking a team approach to diabetes management. Moreover, it found that not all providers are equally helpful. Unfortunately, few of our respondents saw those providers who scored highest in our survey or had access to the full complement of them necessary for optimal care. We'll help you decide who belongs on your diabetes-treatment team and tell you how to work with your health plan to get them on it.

At least as important as finding the right providers, people who were successful in diabetes management took matters into their own hands and made important lifestyle changes—in particular, losing weight. Our respondents helped us pinpoint the diet and exercise strategies that really worked.

Finally, while medication is an essential part of treatment, our research found that the latest, most expensive drugs that are aggressively promoted by drug companies usually aren't the best first choices for diabetes. Our Best Buy Drug Report on diabetes identifies the medications that are not only the safest and most effective but usually cheapest, too.

And cost does matter: Those who were unsuccessful were more likely to cut corners on treatments because of cost. Our product reviews will identify the blood-glucose meters and other supplies that provide the most bang for the buck.

Equipped with the diabetes-management strategies that work, you can put together a personalized treatment plan. Our diabetes report will help you cut through the overwhelming and sometimes conflicting information to help you gain control of your condition.

The package includes:

  • A step-by-step guide to identifying your needs, including the health professionals who should be on your treatment team.
  • Evidence-based advice on the most effective medications and how much testing and monitoring you need to keep your blood sugar in check (it may be less than you may think).
  • A summary of the most effective diet and exercise strategies as well as a tool to see how the dietary steps you're taking or considering worked for our successful survey respondents.
  • A tool to help you choose the right provider to address your specific concerns.
  • A diabetes trouble tracker to allow you to compare your symptoms to those of our survey respondents to see where you are doing well and where you may need additional help.
  • Information to control costs and manage your insurance.
  • Success stories from those who met the challenges of living with diabetes and are feeling better than they have in years.
   

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