Diabetes Burnout
Five Steps to Get Back on Track

Diabetes burnout may hit you after years of managing your diabetes. If you are exercising less or letting your diet slip, it is time to do something about it.

Are you tired of diabetes? Have watching portion control, exercising, taking medications and using your glucose monitor become too much?

This can happen when you have a physical or emotional setback. But sometimes burnout comes after you have been doing well.

After your blood sugar has been in a good range for a long time, you might decide to skip glucose tests and relax your food restrictions.

That is the beginning of a spiral into neglect. Depression, one of a diabetic's worst enemies, will come next.

Is It Happening to You?

If you allow diabetes burnout to creep in, your blood sugar will begin to rise and bad habits will come back. You may even stop taking your medications.

From there the door is open to all the complications to your organs from hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). The end results can be strokes, heart attack, blindness, amputation and kidney failure.

Sleep well and improve your diabetes

Those are why you cannot afford to let your guard down against diabetes burnout.

Here are five questions for you. Answer them and then use these steps to climb out of diabetes burnout.

1. How Are You Sleeping?

Have you fallen into bad habits like watching TV in bed or eating right before bedtime? Poor sleep makes diabetes harder to control.

Do you snore? Sleep doctors say that about half of diabetics have obstructive sleep apnea. The problem is nine out of ten of us do not know it.

Treating sleep apnea will make a huge difference in your diabetes and weight control. After starting treatment, most diabetics need less insulin and heart medications.

Learn more about sleep apnea

Bad sleep habits leave you with less energy. Exercise will do you less good if you do not get enough deep sleep.

Do you get sleepy while you are driving, nod off at work and fall asleep in front of the TV? You have a sleep problem.

No matter how much sleep you think you are getting, find a sleep doctor and take one of their sleep tests. Doing this one thing may end diabetes burnout for you.

2. How Much Do You Exercise?

Are you physically active? How often? How many minutes at a time? Do you enjoy it, or has it become boring?

If after months or years of faithful exercising you find excuses to skip it, you have diabetes burnout.

Exercise can bring an end to type 2 diabetes. At the very least it will minimize damage from neuropathies and improve decline in mental ability, so you cannot let diabetes burnout keep you from exercise.

Try something new. Take a course in Pilates, aerobics or ballroom dancing. Changing things up will stave off boredom.

Find someone who is an enthusiastic exerciser to be your walking buddy.  Buy a pedometer.

Studies show that if you wear a pedometer you walk about a mile a day more than you did before. It encourages more activity and keeps you motivated.

Take time to make short-term goals, and do not forget to reward yourself for meeting them.

3. Is Your Diabetic Diet Working?

Is portion control going out the window? Do you binge because you are depressed or angry or tired? You may have diabetes burnout. This is an area where I get into trouble fast.

It helps to know which foods help to keep your blood sugar under control and which ones make it worse.

Are you eating often enough? Have you tried to restrict your calories too much? Are you drinking enough water?

Diet mistakes lead to burnout because bad eating habits keep you from losing weight. 

Who are you accountable to for your weight loss efforts and diet goals? For the long haul you need someone else to help you stay on course.

I have a great family, plus I use myfitnesspal.com. The website is a free calorie counter, food journal and exercise log.

You do not have to pay money to get help with losing weight, but if you need more structure and want to pay for it there are many good weight loss programs. The only way to succeed is to pick one you will stick with.

Remember that for someone with diabetes, one calorie is not the same as another. There are things you can eat that will help keep your blood sugar low and even improve your complications.

Know what they are and use them. There is nothing like success to pull you out of diabetes burnout.

4. Are Your Medications Helping?

If you have been on the same medications at the same doses for years, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor about them.

Bring a list with their dosages. Tell the doctor how long you have been taking them.

Diabetic care can change in a very short time. There may be a new, better pill or change in dosing that will help you.

Ask questions. There may be an easier way to take your insulin or a less painful way to check your blood sugar.

You might not need some of your medications any longer if you have lost weight, made changes in your diet and become more physically fit.

Taking less insulin and medications has been the most exciting part of changing my exercise and eating habits. Seeing results will bring you right out of burnout.

5. Are You Happy With Your Doctor?

People tend to stay with a doctor even when they are not happy. You may have to step out of your comfort zone, but it will be worth it if that brings you out of diabetes burnout.

Do you dread doctor visits because he makes you feel discouraged? Worse, do you feel invisible?

Doctors suffer from burnout too, so go somewhere else if you can.

Doctors and other caregivers should be encouraging, giving hope. They should listen and discuss your concerns.

Good endocrinologists stay on top of diabetic news and are ready to talk to you about better ways to handle diabetes.

If you are not happy with your doctor, find another one. If you cannot do that, at least talk to him about it. That might just change everything.

Sometimes doctors are preoccupied and need to be shaken out of it. They are people too.

You Can Beat Burnout

Diabetes burnout goes hand in hand with depression. So talk to someone, because depression will not get better on its own.

Perhaps all you need is better sleep or more exercise or someone to talk to. Getting help starts with a conversation.

If you are a caregiver or friend and you see a diabetic slipping into burnout, do not hesitate to confront him or her.

Believe me, you can make a difference. Your honest concern will get through even if you do not see results at first.

The tunnel vision from living with a chronic condition like diabetes can make us forget that there are others who suffer along with us.

The people who care about you do not want to stand by and watch you give up. So do not let burnout do that to you.

Ask the questions and do the things it takes to shake off diabetes burnout. You are much more than a diabetic. There are still things in this world that only you can do.

"One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others." Lewis Carroll

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