Diabetes is one of the most common Common chronic diseases In the United States and around the world.
According to the United Nations World Health Organization, 422 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes. in the United States, 34.2 million A person, or 10.5% of the population, has been diagnosed with the debilitating disease.
Diabetes is a complex and multifaceted condition that may or may not be present along with other health conditions. It develops as a result of a wide range of factors, including genetic, personal, social and environmental factors. While there are standard medical protocols for diagnosing and treating diabetes, the role of a health coach in helping people manage diabetes is not well known.
This article describes six research-backed ways health coaches can support clients with type 2 diabetes and ultimately help improve their clients’ diabetes management as well as their health and wellness.
An overview of diabetes management strategies
Diabetes It is a complex and multifaceted condition that requires constant monitoring, medical care, and management strategies. It is a condition that affects how the body converts food into energy. More specifically, it does not allow for the efficient use of glucose, which is the building block of carbohydrates, and the preferred energy source for our cells. This may be due to insulin resistance, the hormone that tells cells to allow glucose into the cell for use (insulin resistance), or due to the breakdown of cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
Depending on the stage of diabetes development, people may be able to control their blood glucose level through diet and exercise, or they may need medication and exogenous insulin (insulin that is introduced into the bloodstream by injection or other means).
Diabetes is a chronic disease, which means there is no cure, but medical and nutritional advances have identified the tools that can support diabetics in leading a healthy life.
The Initial guidelines Doctors and other primary care providers to manage people with diabetes use the following:
- Classification and diagnosis of diabetes, including use of screening and diagnostic tests. This allows classification of type 1, type 2, or pre-diabetes Pregnancy diabetes.
- Lifestyle change for diabetes prevention focuses on losing weight, increasing physical activity, and identifying realistic and sustainable eating patterns.
- Evaluation of the need for pharmacological interventions, including metformin.
- Provide and teach self-monitoring tools, including glucose monitoring.
- Determine the need to provide insulin and, if necessary, provide and educate on insulin provision tools.
The Diabetes Care course for US Physicians includes many elements of support and guidance, but most primary care providers do not have the time or knowledge about behavior change strategies to support patients in this way. This is where health coaches can be vital support for people with diabetes.
6 ways health coaches can support people with diabetes
Communicate with clients in a way that makes sense
One of the primary roles of a health coach is to recognize and benefit from it Paths of Effective Communication To provide support to clients in the intervals between doctor’s appointments.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, when it was The use of digital sanitary ware has skyrocketedHealth promotion programs for people with diabetes have recognized the value of digital tools in customer support.
Enter and study The post in 2019, for example, found that people with diabetes who used health promotion apps with virtual health coach integration (a health coach connected to clients through the app to ask about their condition, provide information, set goals, and be of support) enhanced control benefits Diabetes from those who just used the app. In other words, what made the difference to blood sugar control was personal digital communication.
While you may not be communicating with your customers through an app, the study reveals how health coaching principles can adapt to a variety of communication platforms.
Empowering patients towards self-sufficiency
The adoption of health extension has resulted in primary health care settings Significantly increased Over the past decade because of the role health coaches play in supporting clients in building confidence to control their health management by understanding their condition and treatment, seeing how to make realistic changes that can help them manage their blood glucose level and more. Diabetes symptoms.
The combination of knowledge, confidence, and sense of power leads to self-agency. Self-efficacy It is “an individual’s belief in his ability to implement the behaviors necessary to produce specific performance achievements.”
Studies have proven that Effectiveness of health coaching As a strategy to encourage clients and provide them with tools so that they can implement and maintain behaviors that support their health. For people with diabetes, which is a chronic condition that can be managed but cannot be treated, self-efficacy is a tool The road to wellness.
In fact, health coaching is Very effective In helping people with diabetes develop a greater sense of self-efficacy by developing skills such as goal setting, problem solving and managing cognitive (thought-based) and emotional barriers.
Demonstrate compassion and provide support
Important elements of a health and wellness training approach are Ability to listen actively Understand your clients’ health history, the social and cultural environment, and the barriers that may affect their ability to adopt specific diabetes management strategies.
Making assumptions about your customers, disbelieving their experience, rejecting the customer’s desires and needs, or making customers feel that they alone are responsible for the situation they are in is a form of gas lighting; Gas lighting It can play an important role in making your customers feel less sensitive to it Self-efficacyNot to mention the impact on their emotional and mental health.
In fact, being supportive and understanding helps build trust, and trust allows clients to feel that you really care in their best interest and that you have the tools and knowledge to improve their diabetes management. Your client may not have a supportive social network, in which case your role may be more important. Helping clients understand their health condition and how it intertwines with elements outside their control not only shows empathy and provides emotional support, it also includes important principles. Trauma-conscious care And the Motivational interviewing.
Grounding recommendations to suit the individual
In less than 15 minutes in physicians with patients, it is unlikely that your client will be able to ask questions, and it is unlikely that a client’s doctor will be able to describe how recommendations apply to his lifestyle.
This is where a health coach comes in.
Then, they can work with clients to help them understand how and why these protocols are important to managing their diabetes, and most importantly, support them in finding ways to make the protocols work in their lifestyle.
For example, if your client’s primary physician recommends that the client do aerobic exercises three to five times a week, you can:
- Provide an explanation of how aerobic exercise differs from anaerobic exercise.
- Describe how exercise can help them control blood glucose and feel better.
- Determine which exercise and physical activity your client enjoys.
- Guide your client toward identifying strategies that will help him carry out an exercise in a way that makes sense for him. This should include consideration of their budget, home and community environment, time availability, and individual likes and dislikes.
Identifying strategies for glucose monitoring and medication
The medical community around the world has developed standards of care, including treatment and management, for many types of chronic diseases. For people with diabetes, this may include:
- Glucose monitoring
- Technology support
- Insulin pumps
A health coach’s responsibility is not to describe or question pharmaceutical protocols, but they can have a vital role in supporting clients to incorporate these practices into their daily lives. In fact, in the case of insulin-dependent diabetes, practices such as regular glucose monitoring and providing insulin not only help improve health and wellness, but can also Saved lives.
Make lifestyle changes logical
The medical and pharmacological interventions mentioned in the previous section often go hand in hand with factors such as eating habits, rest, water and regular physical activity.
However, the term lifestyle changes is often overused and can oversimplify the complexity of making changes to a person’s current lifestyle. After all that, Healthy behaviors That affect diabetes risk and management, such as eating patterns, stress, physical activity and rest, are influenced by factors that may not be under a person’s control, including social, environmental and psychological factors.
As health coaches, you have the knowledge and ability to do just that – train clients to use disease management tools and resources and identify and use internal strengths in a way that makes sense to them. For people with diabetes and other chronic diseases, this may mean:
- Support your customer in treating his relationship with food.
- Suggest ideas to your client to find ways to trigger that sense of satisfaction.
- Provide tools, such as apps, reminders, classes, and support groups, that are tailored to suit the customer’s capabilities and affiliation.
- Provide information, with permission, about how your client’s realistic behaviors can improve their diabetes management.
- Provide culturally relevant food and physical activity options.
- Build on and enable existing supportive relationships as well by letting your client invite them to sessions and send them information.
The tools and techniques you choose to make lifestyle recommendations relevant to your client will depend on your personal training style and area of expertise, but the basic principle for training your client is through Diabetes Care Course remains.
This article is written for health coaches with clients who suffer from different types of diabetes and face challenges in managing symptoms and blood sugar levels. We discussed six strategies you can use to help support clients at all the different stages of the health behavior change chain, including communication and providing follow-up to clients, helping them find ways to stay informed of their medications and monitoring protocol, and directing them toward a sense of strength and self-efficacy.