How to Find a Good Diabetes Coach | Lark Health
Good diabetes management includes a range of strategies, from taking medications and monitoring blood sugar to eating healthy and exercising smartly. It is not just your doctor who is responsible for your blood sugar; in fact, your own actions on a daily basis affect your blood sugar levels far more. Finding a good diabetes consultant, coach, and counselor can help you keep blood sugar closer to goal levels so you can stay as healthy as possible.
Why You Need a Good Diabetes Coach, Consultant, and Counselor
The short answer is that having a good diabetes coach, consultant, and counselor can help you lower blood sugar, but why is it so important to keep blood sugar under control when you have prediabetes or diabetes? Also, why do you need so many experts helping you?
Keeping blood sugar under control is the goal of prediabetes and diabetes management. Lowering blood sugar if you have prediabetes can help you prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes, keeping blood sugar within goal ranges can lower your risk for complications, such as:
- Kidney disease.
- Stroke and heart disease.
- Hypertension and high cholesterol.
- Numb and tingling hands and feet (peripheral fA1C).
- Vision problems.
It can be helpful to have many experts helping you, since so many factors go into managing blood sugar. Your diabetes management team can offer the know-how, as well as the support, encouragement, motivation, and reminders that can all get and keep you on track. You want to find the experts who not only are knowledgeable in diabetes management strategies, but who also are able to develop customized plans for you and gain your trust over time.
What Are Diabetes Consultants, Coaches, and Counselors?
Together, the diabetes coach, consultant, and counselor have expertise and skills that can help you keep your blood sugar levels at or closer to goal levels. You may need these experts because the diabetes management plan can be so wide-ranging.
A consultant might be the closest to an accepted expert who helps establish goals and management plans. The consultant might assess your medical history and blood sugar, provide instructions on medication and blood sugar monitoring, and offer tools for monitoring, tracking, and record-keeping.
A counselor is your guide. Together, you and your counselor have an opportunity for introspection, or self-analysis. Your counselor might ask why you might be having trouble managing blood sugar, and how you can address obstacles that you may identify.
A coach offers more of a chance to "get things done." You can almost think of the coach as a partnership as you both seek to discover your strengths, challenges to self-management, and wants and needs. Your interactions might include questions about how you feel and what you need to reach your goals.
Common Barriers to Effective Self-Management
Effective self-management for lowering blood sugar in prediabetes includes lifestyle changes such as exercising and eating right. If you have diabetes, you are also likely to have medications to take, and your doctor may suggest taking your blood glucose at least once, if not more times, each day.
In theory, self-management is simple: take your meds, measure your blood glucose levels, work out regularly, and eat well. In practice, self-management is not so easy! While everyone's situation is different, the barriers that you face may be common among many prediabetes and diabetes patients.
- Lack of knowledge about how to follow your plan.
- Difficulties with logging or tracking food, weight, medication use, and blood glucose levels.
- Lack of time to work out, plan and cook healthy meals, and measure blood sugar.
- Real life situations, such as last-minute meetings at work or eating at restaurants.
A diabetes counselor and coach team can help you identify and overcome your barriers. Lark is an option for a counselor that can help you overcome obstacles at any time of the day, any day of the week. These are some ways Lark can guide you.
- Getting active: Tracking your activity and progress towards goals, providing daily and weekly activity updates, setting goals for exercise, reminding you to get active, and giving tips on activities you can try and how to fit them into your schedule.
- Eating right: setting and tracking weight goals, educating you on healthy eating, offering tips on planning and preparing healthy foods at home, and ordering well at restaurants.
- Taking medications: reminding when to take them and asking if you have been taking them.
- Monitoring blood sugar: reminding you to take it, tracking your results, offering feedback on what may have contributed to high or low values, and letting you know if your value may be out of range.
Motivation and Action
Motivation is an important criterion for action, especially when it comes to managing your blood sugar in prediabetes or diabetes. Your diabetes consultant can create a sensible plan for you, but you have to want to follow through with it in order to do so, since it involves daily action on your part.
How can you get motivated? A diabetes coach or counselor can be pivotal. Lark for Diabetes and Lark DPP can help increase motivation by:
- Educating you on the why and how: why your plan will help you get healthy, what might happen if you do not follow through on the pla
n, how to choose healthy foods, and how to plan for including physical activity in your day.
- Reducing the burden: making food, weight, and activity tracking easy, including glucometers that automatically sync with the app so you do not have to enter the data, and being available anytime so you never need to wait on hold or make an appointment when you need help.
- Praising you: when you make healthy choices, such as eating well or measuring your blood sugar when you are supposed to, or hit milestones, such as a weight goal.
- Supporting you: when times are tough, such as not hitting a goal or going off your plan, unwavering support and encouragement can keep you more motivated than a scolding.
- Keeping management in mind: responding to you and reminding you can keep your diabetes goals in mind so they stay a top priority.
How Can You Find a Diabetes Consultant, Counselor, or Coach?
One way to find experts in diabetes is to ask your doctor for a referral or recommendation. You can also go to a diabetes center or clinic. If you do not meet a coach or counselor while you are there, ask a consultant or a diabetes nurse if they know. You can also check websites, such as that of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) or American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) to see if they have directories that list providers in your area.
However, there are not that many diabetes experts in the U.S! By some estimates, there are only 15,000 certified diabetes educators (CDE) in the U.S. There are 26 million patients with diabetes, leaving an average of 1 CDE per 1,733 patients. Good luck if you are a patient trying to find a CDE!
Another approach is to opt for a digital solution, such as Lark for diabetes. Since it is an app that you can use on your phone, it is available nationwide. Plus, there is no waiting list. Lark is ready for you when you are ready for it. Ask your provider!
What Roles Can Lark Play in Your Life?
A clear and obvious role for Lark is to provide the unlimited support that you deserve. There is enough Lark to go around for as many patients as need it. The 1 to 1 ratio of one Lark coach per patient is a lot more impressive when considering the above ratio of 1 CDE per 1,733 patients. It is even more valuable when considering another shortcoming in the medical system: an average of 7 minutes in your initial with your doctor to make your diabetes plan.
Lark is a completely automated app that uses artificial intelligence to provide services to you. This means some advantages of Lark apps compared to traditional diabetes service providers can include:
- Unlimited coaching, no holds barred. You can open the app for a customized conversation as many times as you want without being charged extra.
- No wait times or appointments. You can get coaching any time of the day or night, and on weekends, immediately.
- The best of the best experts in diabetes. Lark was developed by experts in diabetes, nutrition, physical activity, and more – you get to benefit from all of their input!
- No judgement or stigma. You can tell Lark your successes and confessions without fear of judgement. Instead, count on encouragement and suggestions for next steps.
- No inconvenience. You do not need to drive across the city and look for parking just to meet with your diabetes expert. Just whip out your smartphone.
Lark can play many of the roles that you would expect from a diabetes counselor and coach, but Lark's roles go beyond what you might expect.
- Being your motivator, cheerleader, and guide.
- Exploring any obstacles to your diabetes plan.
- Reminding you to carry out your plan, such as measuring blood sugar and tracking food.
- Offering instant, responsive feedback to your food, activity, and other inputs.
- Giving you smart tips on eating better and adding physical activity in ways that work for your lifestyle.
A solid team can help you lower blood sugar and prevent diabetes or lower the risk for complications. A coach, consultant, and counselor can offer support as you seek to follow your plan. You can ask around or check directories to find the experts you need, or you can go with a sure bet if you are looking for accessibility and convenience: Lark.