July 22, 2014

More Diabetes Management Tips Part 1

I am using WebMD for the ideas, but not the rhetoric and the pushing of carbohydrates and high carb low fat that the articles promote. Again, like so many other sources, they do not encourage using your meter with test strips to tell you how different foods affect your body. This seems to be how they encourage people to ignore diabetes and overeat. Yet they write about decreasing obesity, but don't really support it when it comes to diabetes.

I have written about other tips for managing diabetes in this blog, and WebMD had some items that need to be discussed.

#1. Eat the Foods You Like Within Reason. Having diabetes doesn't mean you can't eat your favorite foods. However, you need to know how your food choices will affect your blood glucose. By using your meter, this will help you learn skills and reinforce diabetes skills. Learn how to count carbs, read food labels, and size up portions that will let you keep your diabetes in check while still enjoying your favorite meals. Learn which of your favorite foods spike your blood glucose more that 40 mg/dl. Then limit the quantity you consume or eliminate that food.

#2. Define Your Plate and the Plate Size. Use a rule of three to build a healthy, satisfying meal. This rule may help you lose weight and manage your diabetes by increasing your intake of non-starchy foods. Divide your plate in half. Fill one-half with non-starchy vegetables like spinach or broccoli. Next, divide the empty side into two halves. Use one for starchy foods like bread or pasta. In the last section, add meat or another protein. You can also add an 8-ounce glass of low-fat milk and a ½-cup of fruit. This may not be the best and for some will not help them lose weight. This is only a suggestion and each person needs to find what works for them. Low fat milk does not work for me as I like whole milk, but not in large glasses.

#3. Write It Down and I Mean Everything. Develop the habit of writing down your critical information. Record your daily blood sugar levels and track how food, activity, and medicines affect your blood sugar and A1c test results. A written record can show you and your doctor whether your diabetes treatment is working over the long term. Writing down your goals and feelings in a journal may also help you stay on track and better communicate with your health care providers. I admit I may over do this, but I like records that help remind me of the past and especially the mistakes I make. This reminds me not to make the mistake again.

#4. Have a Sick-Day Plan in Place. This is something missing for many people with diabetes. This should be one of the first things you do. Common illnesses like colds, flu, and diarrhea can make your blood sugar rise. Having diabetes, in turn may make it harder to fight off infections. Have a plan in case you get sick. Store snacks that are easy on the stomach but can still give you enough fluids and carbs, if necessary. Check your blood sugar more often and know when to check for ketones and when to call your doctor. Get a flu shot every year. A flu shot may not prevent the flu, but you should have a milder case and recover quicker.

#5. Manage Your Medicines and Where They Are Stored. You may take pills or injections to manage your diabetes. Try to keep, at a minimum, 3 days' worth of your diabetes medicines and supplies on hand in case of an emergency, as well as a list of all your medicines. I would suggest 7 to 10 days of your medications. Your drugs may interact with other medicines, even ones that can be bought without a prescription. Make sure to tell your doctor before you take any new medicine. And always take your list to your regular doctor and dental appointments. Do not store medicines in the kitchen or bathroom as moisture or heat is often bad for some medications and testing supplies.

I will continue with 6 more tips in the next blog.

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