Everyone manages their diabetes differently. As long as you’re thriving physically, mentally, and emotionally, each person needs to find a management style and level of engagement that will work for them and that they can stick to consistently. Take this quiz to better identify if you’re as engaged with your diabetes management as you think you are, along with tips for how to improve your diabetes management:
What time do you typically check your blood sugar in the morning?
A. You’re supposed to test in the morning?
B. Whenever I remember, but definitely before my first meal of the day
C. As soon as I wake up, of course
D. I have a CGM, so I always know my blood sugar
E. My diabetes doesn’t require regular blood sugar testing
If your blood sugar is over 250 mg/dL, what do you typically do?
A.Wait and see approach. It’ll come down eventually
B. Take some insulin (if applicable), but I don’t stress over it too much
C. I take insulin (if applicable), drink some water, and get some movement in
D. I take insulin (if applicable), test for ketones, drink tons of water and exercise for 20 minutes to bring myself down. No snacks until I’m in my goal range, either
When I’m at a birthday party, I:
A. Always have the cake! And probably more than one slice; life is too short
B. I’ll have some cake if I’m craving it
C. Have the cake, but make sure to sneak a peek at the label for carb counts
D. Pretend I’m having the cake while finding a surreptitious way of sneaking it into the garbage. Vegetables are easier to bolus for anyway.
How often do you go to the Endocrinologist?
A. What’s an Endocrinologist?
B. Usually, every year, if I can remember to schedule an appointment
C. Every 6 months or so
D. Every 3 months, right on the dot. I never miss a visit
My favorite low snack is:
A. Everything in sight. I usually overeat for my lows and need to then treat high blood sugars!
C. Anything that’s within 15-20 grams of carbohydrates
D. Low snacks are not supposed to be fun. They’re measured out glucose to assist in a low blood sugar incident. I’ll eat a few glucose tablets and move on with my day
How often do you change your lancet?
B. Um….not often enough
C. Honestly? Every few years
D. After every time I lance my finger, duh!
When my blood sugar is stubbornly high, I:
A. No stress, man! I didn’t ask for this disease
B. Feel pretty guilty, but it usually passes
C. Take a correction dose but realize that blood sugars aren’t good or bad, they’re just information to take into account, telling me what to do to better manage my diabetes
D. Berate myself mercilessly. I always feel guilty when I let my blood sugar go high. It’s all my fault
How do you clean an insulin pump or CGM site?
A.You…have to clean sites?
B. I don’t do anything different, but I know I should
C. I usually change my sites after I shower, so nothing, but I’m clean enough
D. I always use an alcohol swab. You must take the risk of infection seriously!
E. I’m not on insulin or I don’t use an insulin pump and/or CGM
Do you take “rest” days?
A. From what?
B. Yes, but I don’t have a strict exercise routine, either
C. I take a few rest days per week
D. I exercise 7 days a week and never take a rest day. Diabetes doesn’t take a break, so neither can I
How do you give yourself a break from diabetes?
A. I usually just ignore my diabetes
B. Diabetes just fits into my life. It’s mostly running in the background, honestly
C. I get regular massages and enjoy wine on the weekends
D. I never get a break from diabetes
If your answers are mostly As:
You are more hands-off with your diabetes, often neglecting your care and suffering as a result. You don’t often take the time to count carbohydrates, exercise, or test your blood sugar. This can be due to diabetes burnout, depression/anxiety, or denial of your condition.
Schedule an appointment with your care team or Endocrinologist right away to seek the help you need to get back on track with your diabetes. You may also need better support from family and friends, and even seeking professional counseling or therapy may help.
If your answers are mostly Bs:
You are permissive/indulgent with your diabetes. You don’t let diabetes stand in your way of having a normal life, but you’re not taking the best care of yourself, either. You are aware that you need to treat yourself better, but you’re not the best at prioritizing self-care or your diabetes management. Reach out to family, friends, and your medical team to get back on track and re-motivate yourself to get on the top of your diabetes game!
If your answers are mostly Cs:
You are doing a great job taking care of your diabetes with this more hands-on, authoritative management style. This style of management is characterized by high responsiveness and high demands. You realize the gravity of your condition and you work hard to take great care of yourself, without becoming obsessive or having diabetes completely rule your life. Great job and keep up the excellent work!
If your answers are mostly Ds:
You fall under the authoritarian/disciplinarian style of diabetes management, ruling your diabetes with an iron fist. You never give yourself a break, demand absolute perfection from yourself and your blood sugars, berate yourself if you make mistakes or act human, and can never relax about exercise, diet, or your life with diabetes.
You’ve got to give yourself a break, or you’ll face diabetes burnout and you’ll suffer more in the long run. Talk with your doctor, counselor, or therapist on implementing strategies that will allow you to give yourself some grace and make space for the humanness of diabetes.
How much thought do you put into your diabetes care? What level of engagement has worked best for you now or in the past? Has learning more about how you approach your diabetes care helped you handle your diabetes better? Share this quiz and comment on your experience below!