Is diabetes a self-managed illness?

Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics

Although you still need the support of medical providers (endocrinologist, dietitian, certified diabetes educator, nurse, pharmacist, ophthalmologist, dentist, and exercise physiologist) diabetes is a self-managed disease-and that is good news. You have control over managing your diabetes. Check out this video about diabetes self-management.


Diabetes, in itself, is a chronic illness which is self-managed. You are in charge of caring for yourself, taking your medications as prescribed, keeping healthcare providers appointments, and ensuring lifestyle changes are adapted. However, please remember you are not alone in the management of diabetes. You, an educated healthcare consumer, are the center of care. However, within your reach are a range of healthcare professionals who will work with you throughout your management of diabetes. These professionals included physicians, nurses, dieticians, and certified diabetic educators who are part of your healthcare team. Together, you and your healthcare team can ensure you safely manage the disease of diabetes.

Diabetes is largely a self-managed illness. Unlike more acute illnesses, you provide almost all of your own care.

It is up to you. You are free to decide how much or how little you do to care for your diabetes. Because you benefit from the results of your choices, you have the absolute right to make these decisions.

Many things in our lives are not of our own choosing. Diabetes is not something most people would choose to have. Although you cannot change having diabetes, you do make choices about how you live with it and your attitude toward it. No matter how constrained you may feel, you can often make different choices.

Freedom brings responsibility as well. In fact, freedom and responsibility are two sides of the same coin. Because the choices you make affect your outcomes, you have a great deal of responsibility for your own health and quality of life.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.