April 4, 2013

Diabetes Questions to Ask Your Doctor – Part 2

Part 2 of 3 Parts

Are you ready for your doctor appointment? The following are more of the questions to ask your doctor if you suspect diabetes or if you have just received a diagnosis of diabetes, type 2. The 14 questions may be read here, but I have separated the two part questions to answer them more completely. I am quoting the questions and adding my comments to give possible solutions.

What are the warning signs or symptoms that my blood glucose levels are too high? The most common symptom is none at all. This is the reason many people do not know they have type 2 diabetes. The best idea is to know your family and if there is a history of diabetes. Many of the signs of diabetes can also be indicative of other problems, therefore is best to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Some of the signs are tiredness, increase in urination, thirst, weight loss, change in vision, moodiness, and a few others. Some people do become irritable when they get too high, but there are no firm numbers when this happens. Read this article for more.

If you already have a diagnosis, testing is the best way to detect high BG levels. Dehydration can occur of high blood glucose levels are allowed to stay for several hours. Treatment to lower blood glucose levels is important and should be started quickly. Read these articles here and here for a better understanding of high BG or properly hyperglycemia.

What do I do if my blood glucose levels are too high? There is a multitude of possible solutions. Be honest with yourself as the only person you will be hurting is yourself. Eating food out of anger is not wise, yet this often happens the first few weeks when patients are angry about the diagnosis. Then later if you are in denial, you can also overeat or eat out of anger as well. I can say that both anger and denial are useless, but this will not prevent it from happening. Soon or later, this will happen, as they are two of the four stages people are quite likely to experience.

Yes, medication (the prescribed medication) is one way to bring down high blood glucose levels, but only take the medication when you are directed to on the medication. Walking or some exercises are another aid to bringing BG levels down. If during the first month or two you are not able to bring your blood glucose down with the medication or medications you are taking, then please investigate insulin and be prepared to talk to your doctor about this.

The most reliable method of bringing blood glucose levels down is by adapting a food plan that works for you. Because there is no exact food plan for people with diabetes, you will need to find what works for you.

What are the warning signs or symptoms that my blood glucose levels are too low? Hypoglycemia causes symptoms such as hunger, shakiness, nervousness, sweating, dizziness or light-headedness, sleepiness, confusion, difficulty speaking, anxiety, and weakness. Hypoglycemia can also happen during sleep. Some signs of hypoglycemia during sleep include crying out or having nightmares, finding pajamas or sheets damp from perspiration, and feeling tired, irritable, or confused after waking up.

The best way to determine the level of hypoglycemia is to test. If you have a diabetes diagnosis, then you should have a supply of glucose tablets on hand at all times. Don't take this lightly if you live alone. If you have a family, then make sure they know where all supplies (including the glucose tablets) are located. I lived alone for about three years and I kept my testing supplies on the nightstand when I went to bed along with the glucose tablets. One person that I know has a small refrigerator in the bedroom with other supplies that he relies on, but I have been fortunate that I have never needed to go that far.

What do I do if my blood glucose levels are too low? If you are capable, be sure to test as soon as you feel that you are low. Now if this is within the first months of your having diabetes, then you should be concerned any time you reading is below 80 mg/dl (4.4 mmol/l) and consider this a low. If you are below this but not below 70 mg/dl (3.9 mmol/l) take one glucose tablet and test 15 minutes later. If you are back above 80 mg/dl, then consider yourself okay. If you are not back above 80 mg/dl, take a second glucose tablet and test again 15 minutes later. Repeat if necessary.

A fairly simple rule to follow is to subtract the number of the reading from 80 and divide by 15 to determine the number of glucose tablets to take. This means that if the number is 45 mg/dl (2.5 mmol/l) this would be 35 or three tablets you should take and test about 15 to 20 minutes later. Yes, I am suggesting a full tablet for 5 mg/dl that would be the remainder. Repeat as necessary with one glucose tablet until you are above 80 mg/dl.

If you live alone and do not have glucose tablets, call 911 immediately if you are able. Yes, this can be a little drastic, but rather than take chances with unknown carbohydrates that are not as fast acting, I would suggest this. Some would suggest other remedies like juice. However, they may work, but are not as fast acting and the low could become severe, putting you in a coma and at risk of death. This is the reason for always having glucose tablets on hand.

How can I change my lifestyle and diet in a way that will be healthy? Or maybe not ideal, but more healthy. If you are a person that has led a sedentary life, then it is time to start some exercise that you enjoy and can maintain on a daily basis. Your goal should be at least 10,000 steps on a daily basis. Always make sure that you discuss this with your doctor before starting for medical reasons. This will give your doctor the opportunity to know what you are planning and be able to give you the go-ahead or say whoa; you will cause this or that problem. He may have suggestions that will allow for exercise in a safe manner that will not cause harm. Always start slowly and warm up to prevent injury.

For food plan (forget diet) you need to discuss this with a nutritionist that understands diabetes. Some will suggest a registered dietitian (RD), but be careful here. Many, but not all, will mandate (never a good thing) whole grains and that you consume so many carbohydrates and this may not work for you. There are so many food plans that it is difficult to know what is best for you. I would suggest maintaining a food log and blood glucose test results to see how different foods affect you. Generally, highly processed foods should be limited if not eliminated. If your budget allows, convert to fresh foods where possible and foods that have limited processing. This blog may be of help.

What are the side effects of my medications/insulin? Here is the resource you should use and become familiar with and maybe bookmark it. Find the medication or medications you are taking and look them up in the tables.

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