October News: Managing Your Diabetes

Senior woman diabetes patient smiling and holding up her glucometer.

There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be managed.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

When you eat, your food is broken down into a sugar called glucose. Glucose gives your body the energy it needs to work. But to use glucose as energy, your body makes insulin, which “unlocks” your body’s cells so they can receive the glucose they need. When you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make enough insulin or use it well. This means your cells can’t use the glucose as energy, so the glucose stays in your blood. Having high blood glucose can cause problems like eye, kidney, nerve, and foot disorders. People with diabetes are also at higher risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, and other serious conditions.

Live Long and Healthy

There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be managed. Balancing foods you eat with exercise and medicine (if prescribed) will help you control your weight and can keep your blood glucose in the healthy range. This can help prevent or delay diabetes complications.

Many people with diabetes live long and healthful lives. Your healthcare professional can help but day-to-day diabetes care is up to you!

Day-to-day care includes:

  • Choosing what, how much, and when to eat
  • Getting active
  • Checking your blood glucose (if your doctor tells you to)
  • Taking medicine (if your doctor prescribes it)
  • Quitting smoking
  • Going to your medical appointments
  • Learning all you can about diabetes

Aim For Better Health

Your goal is to keep blood sugar as normal as possible to lessen the chance of complications. Most diabetics need their blood sugar level tested at least once a day (usually in the morning before breakfast) although some may need their blood sugar tested as much as 5 times per day.

A doctor sets the acceptable range for each person which may differ from normal ranges in their chart. When a blood glucose level falls outside that range, the doctor must be notified as soon as possible.

Eat Healthy

East a variety of healthy foods.

Eat a healthy foods to keep your blood sugar in range.

Some adult-onset diabetes (Type 2 or Non-insulin Dependent DM) can be controlled with exercise and diet alone. The right diet, individually tailored, can help control blood glucose levels, maintain an ideal body weight, and prevent complications of diabetes. Artificial sweeteners do provide calories but do not raise blood glucose as much as regular sugar.

Does Carb Counting Scare You?

Of the three nutrients — protein, carbs and fat — carbs have the greatest impact on blood sugar control because the body breaks them down into glucose. Eat too many carbs and your blood sugar goes up. How many carbs is the right amount?

Research shows that moderate carb restriction of 70 to 90 carbs per day, or 20% of calories from carbs is effective. To figure out your ideal amount of carbs, measure your blood glucose with a meter before a meal and again 1 to 2 hours after eating. If your blood sugar remains below 140 mg/dL (8 mmol/L), you can consume 6 grams, 10 grams or 25 grams of carbs per meal on a low-carb diet without risking nerve damage. It all depends on your personal tolerance. If you go on a low carb diet, talk to your doctor first.

Tricks and Treats

Don’t Be Tricked! Avoid these foods high in sugar, starch and carbs

Breads, pasta, cereal, corn and other grains; starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams, legumes such a peas, lentils and beans, fruit, juice, soda, sweet tea, beer, desserts, baked goods, candy, ice cream. Sugar alcohols like maltitol, xylitol and erythritol which are used to sweeten sugar free candy and other diet products may also raise blood sugar.

Treat Yourself!

  • Low-Carb, High Fiber, Nutritious Choices
  • Meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, cheese, non-starchy vegetables, avocados, olives, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, cream, sour cream and cream cheese.
  • Foods To Eat In Moderation
  • Berries, milk, plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts and peanuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds, dark chocolate, winter squash, red and white wine

Exercise: A Balancing Act

Senior man participating in spinning group at the gym with a personal trainer.

Regular exercise lowers blood glucose.

Regular exercise lowers blood glucose levels and is good for circulation, heart health and proper weight.

It is important that a diabetic not develop low blood sugar while exercising. The body burns sugar during exercise, so the diabetic should “fuel up” with a piece of fruit or half a sandwich within an hour of exercise. Check blood sugar levels before exercise. If the blood sugar is under 70, eat something and wait till it comes up over 70 before exercising.

Protect Your Vision

Diabetes can damage your eyesight. In fact, diabetes is one of the most common causes of vision loss. Your eyesight is precious. Protect it with an annual dilated eye exam. Anytime you notice any vision changes, pain or pressure in your eyes, talk with your doctor right away.

  • Take steps to help protect your eyesight.
  • Control your blood sugar
  • Get a dilated eye exam every year

Eye problems related to diabetes often have no symptoms at first. These eye problems can sneak up on you. Get an annual dilated eye exam annually to

Senior Man getting an annual eye exam at the optometrist's offic.e

Diabetes is one of the most common causes of vision loss. Get your eyes checked,

detect problems early. See an optometrist or an ophthalmologist for your annual exam who will:

  • Put drops in your eyes to widen your pupils to make it easier to spot problems
  • Look at the retina and optic nerve for signs of damage
  • Measure your eye pressure and side vision

Watch Your Feet

Diabetes can turn a small sore or wound into a very large problem so report any sores, wounds or blisters to your healthcare professional.

Keeping Track of Medicines

You may be taking a pill or insulin for your diabetes plus several pills for other conditions. Keeping track can be a lot of work. Here are a few tips to help:

Elderly woman getting foot care at home with the podiatrist.

Foot care is essential for overall health when you have diabetes

  • Keep an updated list of your medicines (prescription, nonprescription, dietary supplements, vitamins, and herbal remedies).
  • Take your medicines exactly as your doctor tells you.
  • Use one pharmacy to fill all your prescriptions if possible.
  • Keep medicines in a cool, dry place.
  • Use a pill organizer and a timer, alarm clock, or mobile phone alarm to remind you when to take medicine.

Keep Up Your Routine

Stick to your usual diabetes management plan daily:

  • follow your meal plan
  • be active most days
  • take medicine as prescribed
  • check your blood glucose regularly
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