Patricia Daiker
Pin on Pinterest

Are you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by your health issues?   Do you feel like your doctor just doesn't understand YOU and what you must deal with?  Would you like some direction and clarity about how to manage it all?


I am a registered nurse and board certified nurse coach. What does that mean?  I can help you untangle the confusion of your medical care AND help you find ways to manage it all!

I am offering 50 minute sessions on zoom or telephone to help you work through something that is really bugging you.   In one hour everything can change!

Life always has options, but often you need fresh set of eyes and a little expertise to help you get moving.


You can schedule your session by clicking this LINK!


Take a breath, think about it and then do something good for yourself!   You deserve it!

Want to learn more about me?  Visit my website:


Patricia Daiker

Managing diabetes stress is part of living with the illness.   That is just a fact.  By its very nature it’s unpredictable and doesn’t play fair, so even on a good day it can present challenges.  But add to it the stress of the current COVID19 pandemic and we see all new levels of stress and frustration.  Just like the dragonfly in this illustration, we are travelling in rough conditions.

Recent Studies

Recent studies show that the pandemic is creating individual stress on unprecedented levels.   It comes packaged in two lovely forms – 1) stress about real events and 2) worry about future events.

  1. Many people have experienced true casualty from covid such as disrupted finances, job loss, strained or broken family relationships, and actual infection and illness.  Dealing with these hardships can be all consuming with real and tangible threats to one’s livelihood.  Each of these stressors poses significant challenges on their own, but the stakes are even higher with the additional unknowns of our times.
  2. There is no clarity about what data is true, when it will be over, and when we can feel safe.  Without clarity, we are stuck in a void of worry and “what ifs”.  Not a fun place to be and these ruminating thoughts and worries increase the likelihood of mental health issues like anxiety and depression.  We all have good reason for concern simply because we just don’t know.

“When is it safe to go out?”, “Will a mask protect me?”, “What will happen if I get it?”, “Who can I trust?” , “Will a vaccine be here in time?”,   “Will it work?”,  “How much longer?”, “What about the elderly who have no visitors?”, “What about our kids who need socialization?”, “What are the long term impacts?”,  and on and on…..

There is so much we don’t know and the unknown is a scary place for anyone.  And we are all in the midst of MANY unknowns.  You likely won’t be surprised that depression 30% of the population has clinical depression (compared to a normal of 6.6%)

Community Trauma

Not only are we stressed & depressed as individuals, experts say our communities have experienced trauma.  Not the trauma of a specific event like a hurricane or riot, but the collective and ongoing suffering of the fabric of our people’s unravelling.  Businesses closing, lack of access to typical services, differing risk tolerances about wearing masks, being with other people and the crazy that is social media,  have made us unsettled and not sure who to trust.   Neighbors have turned against each other and disputes that otherwise would blow over, blow up.

Most of us can tolerate hard stuff, especially if we know there is an endpoint.  We get through a dental visit, because we know it will be over.  We choke down nasty tasting medicine because the taste lasts just a few seconds.  But stuck in this purgatory feels like hell on earth.

Add Diabetes to the Mix

So yes, we are in stressful times, but add in the normal worries of diabetes on top of everything else, and it’s no wonder people with diabetes are struggling.  Paying for supplies and medicines is affected by income changes, insurance changes and lack of normal access.   Many grocery stores don’t have all the fresh produce they used to have.  Knowing that tight glycemic control is the key to surviving a covid infection raises concern and worry when its harder to stay in range due to stress and atypical conditions.

It’s a worry bonanza and the risks are real and valid when you live with diabetes.  I don’t need to explain that to you.  But what can you do?

Focus and Learn

There are many suggestions about how to manage stress, but these are two that I have found most helpful for developing resilience.  Resilience is a strong predictor for improved diabetes outcomes and  lower levels of stress and depression.

The illustration is from my book, “Dragonfly Lights – Learning About Your Perfect Purpose“.  It shows the dragonfly (your spirit), travelling in a leaking spaceship (your body and its imperfections), on a day where everything is coming against him.  These days happen.  We can’t prevent hard days, but we do have options.

The dragonfly must make a choice about which path to take as the road forks.  It isn’t clear which path will be the safe path, but it is obvious he has options.  Perhaps go right into the unknown, perhaps go left and hide away, perhaps land and stop travelling or perhaps turn around and go back.  Only after the selection, can he look back and learn from his choice – good or bad.  The hardship and his choice becomes his teacher.

As we navigate this most difficult time, focus on those things which you can change: your reactions, your attitude, your activities, your words, your next steps, or your decision to let go of what you can’t change.  And remember, what you have overcome on  your hardest days, has developed your character, taught you great lessons and made you stronger.  There is purpose in your pain if you choose to look at it that way.

I’ll leave you with this wonderful Serenity prayer that I think is fitting as we journey through this valley

God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,  the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference


Stay safe and be well,

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach

Curious about my book? It’s a beautifully illustrated book for children of all ages who are perfectly imperfect and need inspiration and support.  There is also a companion activity book to explore the topics further.  Both available on Amazon HERE

The post Managing Diabetes Stress When Things Get Tough appeared first on Better Diabetes Life.

Patricia Daiker

I recently conducted a poll among my contacts and realized there is a lot of confusion about the different types of diabetes.  In my online Coaching Course (Better Diabetes Life Program), I cover this in great detail in Chapter 1 – All About Diabetes, but I thought a brief refresher would be a good idea.

Whether we have lived with diabetes for a long time or are new to the game, there is much to know and remember.  I think one of the most confusing parts about diabetes is that it is really many different conditions that have the same name.   Even though there are many different causes, all types of diabetes result in abnormally high levels of sugar (also called glucose) in the blood.  In this post, I’ll just cover the 2 most common forms – Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 Diabetes

In type 1 diabetes an autoimmune response causes your body’s own defense system (your immune system) to destroy the insulin producing cells in your pancreas.  Most often people don’t know what set off their body’s immune response, but it is thought to be some sort of stress.  Perhaps a viral illness, trauma, an environmental condition or even hormones may be the trigger event.

Genetics may also play a role, but some people with no family history still get type 1.  As of today, once this trigger happens there is no way to prevent the destruction of the beta cells in your pancreas.  Without active and healthy beta cells, your body is unable to produce insulin, resulting in diabetes.

Historically, type 1 was referred to as juvenile diabetes because it is more common under the age of 20.  Of all Americans who have diabetes, about 10% have Type 1 so type 1 happens less often than type 2.  Of all people under 20 years old with diabetes, 85% have type 1, so it’s more common in kids.

The incidence of Type 1 peaks during puberty (age 10-14), but anyone can get Type 1 –  even adults.  Some cases have been noted in people in their 90s.  Many people are mistakenly diagnosed as Type 2 simply because of their age.

All people with Type 1 must take supplemental insulin to replace what their body can not make.  There is no cure and insulin is required for the rest of their lives.  (Note – there are some people that recieve pancreas transplants and no longer need supplemental insulin – its a rare and risky procedure).  Injections and insulin pumps are the most common way people take insulin.

There are some tests that can be useful in confirming Type 1 that look at antibodies and other chemicals secreted by the pancreas.  These can be very helpful if the type of diabetes isn’t clear.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder where a person can’t use the insulin they make.  It is slow progressing and may go unnoticed for quite some time.  It is thought to begin with insulin resistance where the body can’t properly use the insulin it makes and glucose/sugar levels in the blood increase.  The result is very high levels of insulin in the body.

In addition to insulin helping to manage glucose, it is also a fat storage hormone so high levels of insulin in the blood can make it hard to lose weight.  This is a chicken and egg syndrome.  Do the high levels of insulin cause the weight gain or does the weight gain cause the insulin resistance?

Overtime the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas can become affected and insulin production drops off.  There are many contributing factors believed to be linked to Type 2 such as family history, poor diet, obesity, lack of exercise and other illnesses.  Smoking and alcohol use are also contributing factors.

Because there exists a strong correlation between lifestyle habits and Type 2 diabetes there tends to be more blame on the individual for their condition.   Yet there are many people with Type 2 who don’t fit the pattern.  These individuals have normal body weight, eat a balanced diet and exercise but still have blood sugar levels that are not “normal”.   Likewise there are many people who don’t have super healthy habits yet they don’t gain weight or develop diabetes.

Type 2 can also occur in children and we tend to see it in kids that are overweight.   So age is really not a good judge of what type of diabetes a person has.  You have to understand what is the underlying cause – lack of insulin production or insulin resistance.

The standard treatment for type 2 are medications that impact glucose regulation.  They may prevent the liver from dumping sugar into the blood, stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin, make the body more sensitive to the insulin it produces, delay digestion and absorption of food creating a “lighter load” for the body to handle or it may be some combination.  Because these medications impact the body as a system most can be taken in pill form.

Some people with type 2 are put on additional insulin to help keep glucose levels lower.  This has become a controversial subject because adding more insulin to a body that already has too much may contribute to further weight gain and worsen the diabetes.  The answer isn’t clear.

In addition to medication, type 2 diabetes responds very well to lifestyle modifications.  If you eat fewer carbs, they break down into less glucose, requiring less insulin.  If you increase activity, it burns off more glucose and your body becomes more sensitive to the insulin you have in  your blood.

Those 2 factors, diet and exercise, if done consistently and thoughtfully can decrease the need for medications to control blood sugar levels.   They also help mitigate other risk factors such as being overweight and sedentary.  Many people suggest this is a “cure” for Type 2, but a cure by definition means you no longer have the problem.  In reality you are controlling the condition with non-pharmaceutical treatments (which is not a bad thing!), but if you were to abandon those healthy habits type 2 diabetes would resurface.

The Bottom Line

No matter what is the root cause or type of diabetes, they both require significant attention, monitoring, and care.  Staying plugged in and on top of your diabetes can be a significant challenge.  People often ask which type of diabetes are appropriate for my programs and coaching and the answer is – “Any type that causes struggle in your life and and makes you feel trapped”.  All diabetes requires new coping skills and support for your whole self – body, mind and spirit.  Only then does the load feel a little lighter and the future more hopeful.

I hope each of you are staying well and safe during this most unusual season of our lives.

All my best,

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach

The post Back to the Basics – The Types of Diabetes appeared first on Better Diabetes Life.

Patricia Daiker

Living with diabetes has proven stressful during this COVID19 pandemic.  The media and medical community have made it very clear that having diabetes is a significant risk factor if you become infected.  However, as restrictions are lifted, new worries come to light causing more confusion, worry, and fear.  And not without just cause.  There are many facets to the issue and no clear perfect answer (but if you know me, I don’t believe perfect exists anyway!)

“Is it safe?”

As people head back to work, into restaurants, and book appointments at hair salons, we ask ourselves “Is it safe?”  My answer is quite simply, NO.  Unless you have been tested and know you have antibodies, you are just as vulnerable to infection as you were 2 months ago.  And possibly even more so now.

Quarantining only prevents person to person spread of infection.  This has reduced the number of infected people and as a result lowered the number of transmissions of the virus.  It has allowed time for the medical community and suppliers to prepare staff and facilities, create protocols, and better understand what it takes to battle this virus.  When we start venturing out, we will see more transmission of virus to susceptible people (that is most of us).

Our time in isolation may leave us with an immune system in idle.  Typically, our immune systems constantly react to the ever-changing environment of our daily lives.  Releasing antibodies, white blood cells and a million other small actions to battle the pathogens we encounter.  Without this exposure, our immunity may be left with less to do and our “immune engines” running at a slower pace.

I quick side note, besides the first 3 months I worked in the ER, I was never healthier than during those year at the bedside.  As I was daily exposed to any number of “germs”, I hardly ever got sick.  Maybe once or twice a year.  (OK – there was the weird virus that may have triggered my diabetes, but that was not the norm).  Years later when I worked in a corporate office with a lot of healthy people, I seemed to catch any bug that was going around.  In the ER my immune system was firing on all cylinders, in the office I never got out of first gear.

There are several other factors that can inhibit your immune system: stress, being less active, eating less healthy, drinking alcohol, isolation, fear, worry and basically any negative emotion.  Sound a bit like quarantine?   For many people, this change in lifestyle included unhealthy habits that weaken our immunity.  It is possible that while staying at home prevents person-to-person transmission, it may slow down our best defense against the virus

“Is it necessary?”

So, should we be creeping back into society?  Is it necessary?  My answer is YES.  As stated above, being isolated for long periods of time has its downside.  The human animal was not meant to live in isolation nor without purpose.  Our psyche and our immune systems need interaction.

In addition, we may just be moving illness and death (morbidity and mortality) to a different population.  The stress of economic strife, destruction of earning potential, job loss, and failing business also lead to problems. I first heard about it in nursing groups and now we are hearing it in the news.  Hospitals are seeing higher numbers of psych patients, child & spousal abuse cases, alcohol related ER visits, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.   I’m hearing anecdotal reports of more CPR presenting to the ER as patients avoid seeking treatment until it is too late.  A studies indicate a significant lower number of life saving procedures for heart attacks due to patients avoiding hospitals.    While some people are protected from COVID because of isolation measures, others are paying the price in other ways. It is badness any way you slice it.

We are also a consumer driven society, we need workers to produce food, process clean water, make our clothing, and manufacture innumerable goods that we all use.  Including medication, glucose meters and test strips, pump supplies and any number of other things that keep us all healthy and fit.  Although these are essential services, a failing economy is not sustainable to maintain our standard of living and health.  Government money will only last so long.   We need an active society to florish and prosper.

Emotionally people need to be productive as well.  It feels good to contribute, create, produce, and pursue our passions.  It’s healthy.   So, there are good reasons to get back to work.  Yet we need to figure out how to do this in the safest and most prudent way possible.  Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all and no one to protect us completely.  We bear the burden of our own safety.

Diabetes Risk

Common sense and traditional diabetes education dictates that better glycemic control yields fewer complications and more favorable recover in the case of any illness or injury.  The closer we stay to “normal” glucose levels, the less our bodies have to compensate.  Studies demonstrate this holds true with COVID19 infections.  This recent study found that an A1c around 7 or lower had more favorable outcomes that A1C in the 8-10 range.  This study analyzed type 2 patients, but logically tight control is better for all people with diabetes.

Stress has also been shown to drive correlate to less than optimal glycemic control.  Whether it is from emotional stress such as worry and fear, or physical stress from infection or injury, when under duress it takes more effort and diligence to stay in range.

It’s my personal belief that lack of education is not to blame for falling off the “diabetes wagon”.  We all know that diet, exercise, medication and diligent monitoring of glucose levels are the key to tight control.  But that is easier said than done – especially when times are tough and the future is uncertain.   What we lack are coping skills, new motivation, emotional support and guidance on how to navigate change.  Investing in yourself with some new tools can have big payoffs during these stressful times.

Coaching Tip

While this may appear simple (some of the best tools are the easiest), getting quiet can give you a whole lot of answers.  Things like sitting outside and appreciating nature, meditating, praying, day dreaming, a bubble bath, or taking a walk can all help turn off your “worry brain”. Just find something pleasant to focus on for 10-15 minutes. It may seem like you are doing “nothing”, but you are actually doing a lot!

First your body needs balance.  Worry zaps your energy.  Peaceful moments can fill you back up.  Second, this peaceful state boosts your immune system.  When you are calm, you ignite your “rest and restore” system which includes your immune system.   Third, when you tune out the chatter in your mind, you can tune in to your very wise intuition.  It’s that quiet voice inside that whispers to you and knows what you need.

It may take a few practice sessions to figure out how to let go.  Three or four deep breaths are a good start.  Then simply ask  yourself a question and then get quiet for a moment and consider your thoughts. Ask your wise intuition things like “What do I need right now to feel better?”, “How can I stay on my diabetes plan with more ease?”. “What is keeping me from my best?”.  Then relax your shoulders, unclench your jaw and feel your blood flowing through your body.   Something just might bubble up that surprises you!

As our society opens back up, each of us will find different levels of comfort and different ways to negotiate this uncharted territory.  Tune into your inner wisdom and trust that it will guide you.

You got this!  To peace and good health!

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach


The post Diabetes Stress Continues as Communities Re-open appeared first on Better Diabetes Life.

Patricia Daiker

Diabetes Burnout is promiscuous.    Not that kind of promiscuous, but the kind Webster defines as “not restricted to one class, sort, or person : indiscriminate”.  Burnout doesn’t care too much about who you are, what you do or what type of diabetes you have.  Burnout happens to the best of us.  It is not limited to diabetes, you can face burnout in a job, a relationship or a project.  But a life with diabetes creates ample opportunities to get tired and frustrated with the lot of it.

Personal burnout

Throughout my diabetes journey there have been times where it all seemed too much, too hard, and impossible. The effort to keep myself healthy outweighed my perceived benefits.  I knew the risks, understood what I “should” do, but it seemed hopeless.  I was stuck on a burnout merry-go-round from hell and nothing was good enough.  No matter how hard I tried, or how much time I spent, I just never got it “right.”   Being a nurse just amplified the failure since I should “know better”.  Thoughts of “why bother” drifted past my consciousness.

The Culprit

I have come to learn that it wasn’t my effort that was causing burnout, but my expectations.  A life with diabetes comes with many expectations; from your providers, from your family and friends and of course from yourself.  Most of these expectations come from a place of care and concern.  People want you to manage your diabetes well, never get sick and be free of complications.  No one wants you to suffer. And certainly, you don’t!

Yet when you peel back the layers, expectations are selfish.  Expectations are about creating the best-case scenario and the least painful outcome for the person having the expectation.
Doctors want you to be healthy so they feel their services are meaningful and they are helping you. Family and friends want you to be safe because they love you and don’t won’t suffer if you suffer.  Of course, you expect perfect control so you live a long and healthy life.

The Problem

The problem arises because expectations are often rooted in perfection.  In that utopia, no mistakes happen, there are no unseen glitches in the machine, the carbs in always equal the medications’ ability to manage them, every estimate is on the money, nothing is forgotten, all the variables are understood and accounted for, and we never oversleep, overeat, get stressed out or forget anything. Expectations of perfection, in my opinion, are how we become burnt out.

The Truth

No matter how hard we try, diabetes will never be perfect.   That is just a fact.  No matter how we got here, or what type of diabetes we live with, we are perfectly imperfect creatures.  We are trying to manipulate a few small parts in a complex system, that we really can’t see, nor understand. And therefore, we can never orchestrate it perfectly.  That is the truth.  There is no perfection.

Repeated attempts and failures at perfection can become frustrating and stir up those feelings of hopelessness and despair. For all of us there comes a time when the requirements are too hard, the bar is too high, and the expectations are unreachable.  This is “burnout” and it typically in cahoots with its best friend “give up”.  A deadly duo for any diabetic.

A Shift in Approach

Diabetes education doesn’t cure burnout, yet that seems to be the typically strategy.  “Tell people with diabetes more about all the bad things that will happen and that will spur them into action!“, they say.  But you and I both know, it’s not about education.  It’s about the burden of it all.  It’s your spirit that needs the support, not your brain.

Your spirit needs some hope and a new approach that makes the load a bit lighter.  One coaching strategy that I like is focusing on persistence instead of perfection.   If my expectation is perfection, failure will happen over and over no matter how hard I try.  If my expectation to persistently do the best with what each day throws at me.  I can learn, adapt, succeed and fail, but with persistence all those outcomes are a win.  Nothing changes except how I choose to see the situation.

Batting average

It’s like a baseball player coming up to bat.   Every swing requires his attention and best effort, but the batter knows not every swing will be a homerun. A batting average of  .300 is considered very good. But that is only hitting the ball 30% percent of the time – meaning 70% of the time they miss!  The batter is not judged solely on his percentages of home runs or perfection. They are judged and valued for their ability to perform persistently overtime, even if they miss the ball or only get a base hit.

Choosing to focus on persistence instead of perfection, for me, means that nearly every day I win!   Because I’m always aware, I’m always noticing, and I’m always trying to orchestrate this invisible system that keeps me alive.  Even if they numbers aren’t always perfect (or even understandable some days!).  It’s persistence, not perfection, that lifts my spirit so I can keep playing this game every day.

Be well and keep swingin’,

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach

If you are feeling burnt out and stuck, my Program is just for you!.  I teach you everything that has helped me, and countless others find an easier way!

The post Understanding Diabetes Burnout appeared first on Better Diabetes Life.

Patricia Daiker

I wrote this blog post shortly before the coronavirus pandemic and it didn’t seem like the right time to post it.  But now knowing how much we are all at risk, I believe it is a good time to share the prevalence and incidence of diabetes.  With no prevention or solid treatment for COVID19, we are among the most vulnerable.  Our best strategy is to be as healthy as possible.  Yet the isolation, lack of normal access to resources (gym, childcare, work, full grocery, hospitals, CDE, providers) can send stress levels soaring, which cause blood sugars to rise and burnout to escalate.   

Diabetes care has never been more critical or more difficult.  And we must do the best on our own.  You know I focus on the mind/spirit challenges of diabetes. Without those pieces in place, care of the physical body is essentially impossible.  If you are struggling, my online courses can help you with new coping skills, perspectives and ways to stay motivated.  I have enacted discounted pricing so the course is affordable to everyone.  Stay safe everyone and be well!  PD

Original Blog

I am a numbers girl.  Always have been.  So, I thought we’d have some fun digging into the latest diabetes stats.  According to the CDC’s 2020 Report on National Diabetes Statistics over 10% of the US population had diabetes as of 2018. That’s 1 in 10 of all of us.  Look around, do you see 10 people?   Everyone knows someone who has diabetes.  As a former coworker of mine used to say, “that is not trivial”.


The most curious thing I noticed was that the figures for people diagnosed with diabetes were “self-reported”, meaning that if a person said they had diabetes, that was all the proof they needed.  For those they considered “pre-diabetes”, inclusion criteria were based on self-reporting of A1c and fasting lab reports of people who said they didn’t have diabetes. So basically, people self-reported lab values that indicated pre-diabetes, yet didn’t know they had pre-diabetes……head scratcher for sure.

Diagnosed diabetes was based on self-report. Undiagnosed diabetes was based on fasting plasma glucose and A1C levels among people self-reporting no diabetes

I also had a hard time wrapping my head around the date ranges.  Data appears to be collected in 2013-2016 with “crude estimates” for 2018 so what we know is based on data that is at least 4-year-old.  With all the claims data we fill out for insurance claims, why isn’t that information used to paint a picture of diabetes in the US??  If insurance plans can “adjust” my premium rates because they know I have diabetes as of any given month, wouldn’t that data be worthy of reporting??   Just a thought.


The report categorizes the statistics according to prevalence and incidence.  Prevalence is defined by Merriam Webster as “the percentage of a population that is affected with a particular disease at a given time”. While incidence is defined as “the rate of occurrence or influence”.  So, the prevalence of diabetes in the US is 10%, while the incidence is 1.5 million new cases per year as of 2017.  No matter which way you slice and dice it, diabetes is rampant in the US.


The report has an abundance of statistics, but these were a few numbers I thought worthy of sharing.  The numbers I am sharing below include those not diagnosed. To me they are in the same boat as the rest of us whether they know it or not, assuming that the elevated glucose levels will cause damage at some point.  Just because you don’t have a diagnosis, doesn’t mean damage isn’t being done.  That scares me!

  • 10.5% of the US population had diabetes (all ages)
  • 13.0% of all US adults had diabetes
  • 26.8% of people over 65 years old had diabetes – 1 in 4 – OMG!!!
  • While undiagnosed statistics remained rather flat, the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes continues to rise (see graph).







If those numbers aren’t enough to paint the picture, the following progression of the prevalence of diabetes from 2004-2016 illustrate the facts in graphic detail.  Whatever we are doing to combat diabetes in the US isn’t working.  At all.  It is getting worse!






Incidence in Children and Teens

While the report shows some modest flattening of the incidence of new cases in adults, that is not the case for our younger citizens. Type 2 diabetes is on the rise in kiddos, especially black children.   And that same group of kids are now showing higher incidence of Type 1 as well.  That aqua line should scare us all.  What the heck is going on?
(*A note on those adult number – we see the prevalence of diabetes increasing because the group “adults” spans many years, so all new cases add to the total number even though the incidence is less as fewer are diagnosed year to year.)  









The total direct and indirect estimated costs of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2017 was $327 billion.  Billion with a B!  Based on this nifty website, with $327 billion dollars you could buy almost 11 MILLION cars!  If you lived 327 billion minutes, you would be alive 622,146 years.  It’s a lot!

And despite a lot of new treatments and technology, the medical costs per person have risen from $8,417 to $9,601 (not accounting for inflation, so it is actually higher!)  This report from January of this year shows that all this money is not showing better outcomes.  Neither do the CDC graphs!

Lifestyle considerations

Smoking, obesity, and lack of physical activity continue to be risk factors as are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and elevated A1c.  These are also key findings in metabolic syndrome which I still believe is part of the chicken/egg conundrum.  Why do some people get away with high risk choices and don’t get diabetes, but others try their best to make changes but have such a hard time?

In my years of clinical practice focus has always been on getting the numbers “in range”, which in theory is good, but to do that requires a LOT of lifestyle change.  And this is where people struggle – making healthier lifestyle choices become lifelong habits.  It is not breaking news that eating healthier, losing weight and exercising more offsets diabetes complications. You don’t have to have diabetes to benefit from living healthier, yet knowing this information is not enough.  The graphs tell the story.  If education were enough, the numbers would be going down!

Lasting Change

Willpower is not enough to make lasting changes, yet that is what is expected.  People should just change because they know better.  But we are a complex system of mind, body and spirit with many needs competing for our attention.   Things like the need to fit in, the need to be comforted, the need to enjoy life’s pleasures, the need to avoid pain, the need to pursue ambitions, the need for autonomy and on and on.   These “needs” compete with healthy choices sometimes and we “fail” to do diabetes perfectly.

The inevitable failures that come with diabetes can lead to burnout and feelings of “why bother?” which is a slippery slope into diabetes complications.  So, with all the money and research why isn’t there something that works?  There is.

Psychosocial Support

Studies going back over 15 years show improved diabetes outcomes:

  • when people feel supported
  • when they have more control and ownership of their bodies
  • when they feel understood
  • when their unique needs are addressed
  • when they have adequate tools and training to manage stress
  • when they feel empowered

These bullets show what psychosocial support looks like.  Psychosocial support is about the wellbeing of your emotions, your relationships and your purpose in the world.  When you feel better on those levels, you practice more self-care.  Self-care reduces burnout and includes choices that make you healthier.  And they are little choices overtime that become habits.   A lack of self-care leads to burnout and neglect.

Perhaps diabetes treatment should start with strategies to prevent burnout and not just chasing numbers?  Maybe then we’d see these graphs change??

It was the game changer for me…

Thanks for reading…. peace and be well,

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach


The post CDC Shows Diabetes Increasing. COVID19 Threat. appeared first on Better Diabetes Life.

Patricia Daiker

We are in strange times and need support to cope with chaos created by the Corona Virus.  What we took for granted yesterday, now seems uncertain and fear abounds.  I can’t do much about this virus invading our communities, but I did want to provide with some education and a few coaching tips that can help you manage the stress of corona.

Why People With Diabetes are at Risk

The CDC has identified people with diabetes at higher risk for “getting very sick” from COVID-19 or Corona Virus.  There are two risks involved; 1) the risk of contracting the virus and 2) the risk of complications.   Having diabetes alone does not make you more susceptible to becoming infected (#1).  At present no one has immunity to this virus as it is new.  It appears that if you are exposed, the virus will likely run its course.  How sick you become from the virus is related to how healthy your immune system is and your overall state of health.

This is where diabetes comes into the picture.  In the healthiest individuals reports say the virus symptoms may be like a mild flu.  This is because their healthy immune systems and condition of homeostasis (the body’s state in perfect function and balance) fight against the virus and limit its damage to the body.

If you have diabetes, complications (risk #2) are higher for these reasons:

  1. Balance (homeostasis) is fleeting: we are manually controlling our blood sugars and there are times when are sugars are too high or too low (we are not in balance).  In both of these conditions our bodies are out of balance and some of our body’s energy is being used to regain adjust to the abnormal blood sugar.  This is energy that may otherwise be used to help fight off illness or other stressors.
  2. Diabetes complications: if diabetes has already damaged your organs or tissues, those systems don’t work as well.  Diabetes primarily damages blood vessels (circulation) which are the body’s highway system to delivery nourishment and pick up waste. When someone with diabetes becomes infected the poor function of affected organs and impaired circulation weaken the body’s ability to fight off the disease and it spreads unchecked

The Effects of Stress

Many things stress our bodies: injury, illness, dehydrations, climate, worry, sadness, fear and on and on. Our bodies respond to stress by releasing anti-inflammatory hormones like cortisol into the bloodstream. Cortisol is great because it decreases inflammation and swelling.  But it also releases sugar into your blood for as extra fuel to fight off the perceived danger.

If you are diabetic you have likely experienced this increase in blood sugar after a steroid shot (like cortisone) or during times of emotional stress.  There is not much we can do to stop our bodies from releasing cortisol, so our best bet is to find ways to manage any stressors we can.

External Stress

For the sake of this post, I am going to categorize external stress as things we don’t have much control over, like the COVID19 virus, working from home, etc.  It is a fact of life right now and the best way to deal with this to follow the guidelines that have been set forth by CDC: social distancing, good handwashing, avoid crowds and stock up on your diabetes supplies.  Do the best you can to avoid coming in contact with the virus.

Internal Stress

Internal stressors are those things we can control. When so many things feel out of control, being intentional and thoughtful when it comes to stress is VERY important because it will help you manage blood sugar and improve your overall health.  Remember emotional and mental stress can cause your body to release excess sugar and has been shown to weaken your immune system.

Stress causes pain.  An actual injury hurts as much as fear can hurt.  Both situations are valid.  When people hurt their natural inclination to to move away from what hurts.  With fear and worry it is common to seek relief by distracting ourselves.   Often these distractions cause problems later on.  It might be the good feelings you get from eating comfort foods, or the joy of buying something new, or the release of venting on social media, or the numbing effects of alcohol or drugs.  These things feel good for a bit, but typically have consequences of regret later on – which is another painful stressor.

The persistence of emotional pain can lead to feelings of overwhelm, like things can never get better or there is no use in trying.  From a diabetes perspective this is burnout and many people find it difficult to do the things they know they should.  It wouldn’t be uncommon that the stress of the COVID19 situation brings about feelings of burnout.

Coping is the Key

Since we can’t due very much about the external stressors, it is prudent to focus on the internal stressors we can manage.  New coping strategies reduce stress which in turn improves health.  They are all tied together.  Coping = less stress.  Less stress = better blood sugar control and better immune function = Better health.

Coping is key because this stress is not a  knowledge problem.   We all know what we need to do to best care for our diabetes, yet when we are stressed making good choices is more difficult.  So we need to deal with the stress.


Three Coping Strategies

The truth is these are stressful times and we are experiencing emotional pain which will cause us to seek comfort.  How we go about seeking comfort can have good or bad impacts to our health. Here are 3 simple tools you can use to manage stress and make the best choices possible right now.  Just today.


We can use images to reinforce healthy choices.  Keep this visual in mind.

When responding to a painful emotion, we can choose a negative, quick fix (ignore testing, eat the treat, drink the wine, post on social media, lay around all day etc) and we feel better for a bit.  Then suffer the consequences and feel regret for having high blood sugar, not taking care of yourself, being hungover, feeling stiff, etc. You choose the pain of regret and are right back where you started perhaps even worse.

You can also choose the pain of self denial, by not giving in to reactionary ideas and making other choices.  It may feel awkward in the short term, but that feeling fades .  You avoid the regret and reap the benefits of better blood sugar, clear head, pride in your actions, more money in your pocket and less physical pain.  You choose the pain of self denial which creates lasting improvements and builds upon itself.  (PS – you might even establish a new habit this way!


Stress and worry also create physical energy in your body that worsens the discomfort.  Moving your body helps to dispel this negative energy.  Simply stretching, walking, going up and down a flight of stairs, doing some jumping jacks or some planks and push ups, can take the edge off.  Do it several times a day.  Set a timer, and wiggle your body to let the stress out.  And the activity will help circulation, digestion and stiffness.   Win-Win!



The simple act of breathing also alleviates stress.  When you take big, deep breaths that make you stomach expand, you also stimulate your nerve for calmness.  Your heart rate slows, your blood pressure drops and when you exhale you let go of that nervous energy.    Try this deep breathing exercise and repeat 5-6 times.

Breathe through your belly: In for a count of 4, Hold for a count of 4, Out for a count of 4 – let everything go, Hold for a count of 4 repeat.

Notice how you feel before and after.


When you feel yourself getting stressed or worried, control something you can control with these simple tools.  Its good for your mind, body, spirit and diabetes!

Stay safe & be well,

And the luck o’ the Irish be with ya! 

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach


The post Coping with the Chaos of Corona appeared first on Better Diabetes Life.

Patricia Daiker

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach JDRF Presenter

I was recently asked to present at the Greater Dallas Chapter JDRF Type One Summit on the topic of diabetes burnout and stress. It was an amazing event so I have to share with you!

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach JDRF Presenter Diabetes Stress Burnout




JDRF hosts this one day event, bringing people with type 1 diabetes together to learn and share.  It is always a bit surreal to be in the company of so many who “get it”.  It’s very humbling actually, but I was with my peeps!  The event was set up in three parts.   In the morning there were all the standard diabetes vendors with latest pumps, CGMs and other gadgets.  Fun to mill about and snap some selfies!

Lunch was a showcase of fun kids sharing JDRF events and initiatives, followed by Keynote Speaker Kyle Cochran, a four time American Ninja Warrior who lives with Type 1. He was super inspiring!  In the afternoon, kids got to hang with other T1D kids their age, while parents and adults made their way to education sessions.

Presenting on Diabetes Stress & Burnout

I was the first presenter after lunch in the adult track on the psychosocial aspects of diabetes (that’s just a big medical word for how diabetes impacts your emotions, motivation and mental state).  This was huge for me on so many levels 1) That JDRF sees me as an influencer and expert diabetes coach; 2) that JDRF understands that it takes a whole lot more than diet and exercise to live well with diabetes and; 3) the acknowledgement that no matter how long you have lived with diabetes, you still need support.  Diabetes burnout can happen to anyone , at anytime.


Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach JDRF Presenter Diabetes Stress Burnout

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach JDRF Presenter

Everyone who is touched by diabetes knows about burnout and stress.  It’s a lifelong challenge that is “As Unpredictable as the Weather” as the name of my presentation indicated.  Since we can’t control the weather nor the nuances of diabetes, our best approach is to be prepared. That idea seemed to resonate with attendees.  The event planner said my session was a popular sign up, and I was thrilled that the room was nearly at capacity!  Obviously, we all shared a connection with diabetes, but I was taken aback by some of the applause I received.  Just for sharing my story (and to be honest, a tear or two), my ‘diapeeps” knew my struggle and their support was palpable.  But most importantly, I was able to provide some insight and ideas about new ways of preparing for the stress of diabetes.

Truth about diabetes

If I had to provide you with the cliff notes version of my presentation it would be this.

  • Despite all the money and innovation, people with diabetes still struggle.  Research shows that outcomes haven’t improved in the last decade.
  • Research also shows that mental and emotional well being and support improve outcomes.  This knowledge has been around for over 15 years.
  • The battle call of diabetes is to “fight”, but our bodies cannot stay in fight/flight/freeze mode.  We need rest/digest/restore time to stay in balance.
  • Our bodies love balance.
  • We can trick out bodies into rest/digest/restore with intention and new tools, thus creating more balance to combat with the stress of diabetes.
  • Change is inevitable, we change every moment of every day.  We will be different in a year from now, just as we were different a  year ago.
  • With intention and some new tools, you can introduce more peace and feelings of control, and those intentional changes will change you for the BETTER!


So what is my take away from the summit?  If you have the opportunity to attend a diabetes gathering, no matter how large or small, do it.  The connection is healing and there is so much comfort in being around so many who know your struggle  The atmosphere literally “feels” different.  #Amazing!  And you are sure to learn something.  I learned from the presenters, from the people who sat next to me at lunch (a 6 year old and a 42 year old who both were diagnosed in the past 18 months – the disease knows no age), and from those who shared their stories with me after my presentation.

I also suggest that if you are NOT dealing with the “psychosocial” aspects of diabetes very well, better known as burnout, reach out;  to me, to a support group, to a counselor, or anyone else you trust to listen to you, hear you and help you.  That positive act of reaching out  is a self-care step that changes your path, if only a bit.  And just a bit in a better direction is all it takes to get started.

Peace always,

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach

Be sure to check out my new Program – its a great way to battle burnout in the privacy of your own home!


The post Diabetes Burnout Presented at JDRF Summit appeared first on Better Diabetes Life.

Patricia Daiker

Truth #1

The truth about diabetes is often lost in the noise of what we should eat and do, what new treatments are coming and how expensive diabetes is. Those are all newsworthy topics, but the truth about diabetes is that it’s hard. It’s a burden. It’s not fun and it’s nothing anyone asked for. It can be deadly and over time it damages your body no matter how “good” you are. Not a very fun headline, so it’s not surprising people avoid this very true fact.

Perhaps in an attempt to solve this plight, much more focus is put on how to treat it or beat it. All good and worthy topics, yet there’s an expectation that we should all be able to simply flip a switch and change our life and do what is asked of us. The battlecry “Hey we figured it out! Just go do this!”, turns into “Why aren’t you doing better?” and “You are non-compliant” when their fix doesn’t fix it! Again, missing the truth. It is hard! It is imperfect!  IT doesn’t play by the rules, even when we do!

Truth #2

Each of us comes with our own uniqueness. There is no one size fits all or a perfect solution that will create a lifetime of perfect blood sugars. What is true for you, is not true for me.  What makes me feel pleased and satisfied, is not what makes you pleased and satisfied. We all have our own purpose, experience, and preferences.  Our internal systems are constant assimilation of information, reacting at a cellular level to more than we likely can imagine. And it just isn’t the physical body. Our minds and emotions affect how we work as well. It is complex stuff and we all require a custom fit.

Truth #3

Your truth is your guiding light. Diabetes may be a part of it, but it is not YOU!  Listen to your truth.  Follow it.  Notice it. Learn from it. It is your way to “better”. What makes each of us better is different, but somewhere inside, you know. Your dreams and hopes are a clue, as are your preferences and emotions. I believe we can get really frustrated when we try to imitate someone else’s version of “better” and it falls short for us.

In my coaching practice, we always seek to find the truth for the individual. Then act from what is true and known, instead of what we wish or hope for. Hopes and wishes are things to have an intention about, but not a place to start. You must always start exactly where you are. If you think about it, you really can’t start from anyplace else!

Finding Better

So the first part of finding better is to realize your truth and acknowledge just where you are. If you are starting in a place of hardship, that is OK. Diabetes is hard! If your truth is fear, you need to find affirmations and perspectives that give you courage. If your truth is feeling unheard, you need to find a way to speak what you must say and hear what you must hear. If your truth is you don’t understand, you must find ways to bridge the gap in your knowledge. If your truth is frustration, you need to find ways that give you options and get you unstuck. Diabetes can make you feel stuck, like you have no options. And sometimes you don’t, but more often than not, that feeling is temporary and a few steps can change your perspective and get you moving.

Your Path

When you get moving, you change your path.  Start from where you are and what is true now, and you can control which direction you go!

  1. Your first step: speak your truth.
  2. Step two: acknowledge what is real.
  3. Step three: determine what will make you feel better.
  4. Step four: take small steps in that direction and be patient.

Your path is not anything you must travel alone. Most likely you will need help from others. It could be supported by family or friends. Information or guidance from your providers. Emotional support from a therapist. Or perhaps a coach to help you figure it all out. No matter what your truth is and where you are, there are always options.

It only takes one new option to create choice and get you moving in a direction towards a Better Diabetes Life!

Go for it!


Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach


Not sure how to get moving?? Schedule a FREE introductory call to learn more!

The post The Truth About Diabetes appeared first on Better Diabetes Life.

Patricia Daiker

As I settled down in my yoga class this morning, our instructor brought up the difference between intention and expectation. Where intention is something you aspire to be, a value, a direction or a plan you want to put into place, expectation focuses on the needing things to be a certain way, an assumption, or the ever-dreaded thought that things “should” be a particular way. With intention, you head in a particular direction but are flexible in how you get there. The expectation, on the other hand, has a much more rigid, defined path and outcome.

So what does this have to do with diabetes?

One of my key beliefs is that we should strive for persistence instead of perfection in our approach to diabetes management. Persistence aligns with intention (a value, direction, way to be), whereas perfection is a strictly defined expectation. In yoga, if you have the expectation you can bend over and touch the ground, you will be disappointed if it doesn’t happen. If you have the intention that you will be diligent in your practice, but not hurt yourself, you will be proud and accepting of almost reaching your toes.

Likewise for diabetes, if you have the expectation that every blood sugar will be perfect, frustration and disappointment show up when you have done everything right, but the number still isn’t where you want it. But if your intention is to do the best you can each day, with what you have, then those occasional (or even more persistent) out of whack numbers won’t cut so deep into your sense of worth. You are still living up to your intention and moving in a positive direction even when diabetes isn’t playing fair.


Staying motivated in a diabetes life can be hard, especially if you are grading yourself by your expectations. If you feel you are failing, it can be harder and harder, to keep you ahead in the game and your eye on the ball. But if you persistently move in a direction of curiosity, self-care, grace, and diligence you develop a greater sense of ownership and achievement even when the numbers aren’t perfect. Following an intention builds motivation, whereas trying to live up to expectations can kill your motivation.

Intentionally Moving Forward

One of the best ways to follow your intention and manage expectations is to focus on what is true or speaking what you want to be true. What is true doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, but it helps you find stability and peace. I am trying something new this time. I want you to listen to this audio clip. It is an example of how you can bring to life your intentions and stay in a place of peace when parts of your world seem out of control. Listen and repeat. Or make up your own!

PLEASE let me know what you think. I have been thinking about creating some audio clips like this for sometime.

So, if frustration and struggle are getting to you, see what you can do to manage your expectations. Set an intention. It may be just the thing you need!

Not sure how to get started?  I can help!  Sign up for  free 30 minute discovery call!


Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach

The post Diabetes Expectations – The Cause of Your Woes? appeared first on Better Diabetes Life.