Men are at an increased risk of developing diabetes-related complications such as urinary problems and erectile dysfunction—especially if their blood sugars are not well-managed. Over the years, I have noticed that many men are hesitant to ask and pursue a prescription for a blood glucose meter and testing supplies. Many will rely on their hemoglobin A1C to determine if they need to change their lifestyle behaviors. By then, for many, healthcare providers prescribe prescription drugs to lower their hemoglobin A1C and reduce diabetes-related complications.
Recently, a former student of my lifestyle management course asked for my assistance to help him lower his hemoglobin A1C. As a result of my course and healthy eating, he experienced a 6-pound weight loss and a drop in his A1C, from 6.9 to 6.3. His goal is to lower his A1C even more. However, he did not have a blood glucose meter. Per my client, his healthcare provider told him that a blood glucose meter was not necessary. As diabetes educators, we know the value of daily management of blood sugars instead of the “wait and see method.”
Our role as a diabetes educator is not to force our clients to take on positive health behaviors. Men and women must be internally motivated to live a healthier life. It is important to avoid accusations and “shoulds” when we want our clients to adopt healthier behaviors. We must help our clients create the vision of what a healthy lifestyle looks like to them, clarify their goals, and develop realistic ways of achieving their goals. It is best to include open-ended questions to help our male clients develop a health plan that works for them. We must first understand where our clients are to help guide them to the place they want to be in their life. Some powerful questions to ask include:
- Why do you want to be healthy?
- What will being healthy do for you?
- What will it take for you to achieve your goals? We want our clients to be realistic. For example, if a lowered A1C is the goal, how does he plan to achieve this goal? What can checking your blood sugars do for your diabetes management?
- What do you feel is not necessary for diabetes management? Sometimes speaking things out loud helps us to get a clearer vision about their plan of action.
- How can I support you to achieve your goals? What information is missing that you can provide? Always keep the door open. It is essential that he sees his health as the foundation of any other activity that he is doing.
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About the Author:
Guest blogger Timika Chambers is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Certified Diabetes Educator, and has over 20 years of experience in the nursing profession. She has served in community and hospital settings, as well as academia. Timika helps her clients design a lifestyle that is full of energy and focus, by helping them to achieve balance in critical areas of their lives. She offers one-on-one counseling, group coaching, and presentations and training on diabetes management to lay persons and healthcare professionals. Visit her Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to learn more.