Self-Management Optimization

Maximize Diabetes Self-Management: How to become a diabetes detective.

Written By: ADCES staff

PDF Downloads: Diabetes Detective


Maximizing Your Diabetes Self-Management

Diabetes affects everyone differently and that means your solutions are unique to you. Think of diabetes management as a series of experiments that can help you maximize your self-management. They are not a pass or fail exercise and do not have good or bad judgments associated with them. By experimenting, you learn more about YOUR diabetes and what gets you the results you want; that’s where the detective part comes in. 

Three Steps to Becoming a Diabetes Detective 

1. Start with a journal or mobile app. This will allow you to more easily pinpoint patterns and trends.  

2. Determine factors affecting your blood sugar level. There are four key activities that are a good starting point.

  • Activity level. Did you go for a 20-minute walk today or attend a Zumba class? 
  • Food and drink. What did you eat and drink today? How did it affect your blood sugar level? 

  • Medications. What dose of medications did you take today and when? 

  • Stress level. On a scale from 1 to 10, how was your stress level today?

3. Experiment with your daily management. Here are a couple of suggestions, but you can be creative and come up with experiments you think will impact your diabetes the most. 

  • Activity level. Try a physical activity that you enjoy at the same time of day for a few days. Test your blood sugar before and at the same amount of time after the activity each day. The results for the days you experimented should reveal a pattern showing the effect of that activity (based on how hard you worked and for how long) has on your blood sugar levels.  

  • Food and drink. Check your blood sugar before and then two hours after you eat a specific food or meal to see how it affects your after-meal blood sugar. Repeat for a few days to see if there is a pattern.  

Finding Clues in Your Data 

Many meters give information about highs and lows and oth­er software that reports out the data in a way that shows where problem areas occur. Continuous glucose monitors (CGM) are sophisticated reports that compile all the data into actionable terms. Talk with a diabetes care and education specialist to find out how these devices can help you find patterns to maximize your diabetes self-management. 

To find a diabetes care and education specialist who can help you, visit Find a DSMES Program.



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This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your diabetes care and education specialist or health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. To find a diabetes care and education specialist near you, visit the ADCES finder tool.

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