Archive for Lifestyle Tips
Whether you have already planned a summer vacation or still in the process, incorporate your pump or CGM needs into your travel plans instead of treating your needs as an afterthought or an overwhelming fear. There’s nothing new under the sun and you can also reap the benefits of those who have traveled the vacation path before you.
Flying through the screening process? You don’t have to encounter problems passing through security at an airport. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a helpline number to assist patients with medical conditions who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying. Call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227.
You can obtain a Transportation Security Administration Card to print out and bring with you to notify TSA of your diabetes can be found online. If you have concerns about wearing an insulin pump or CGMS through scanners, contact the manufacturer of your medical device.
Tips for traveling while wearing an Insulin Pump or CGM
- Always have Plan B in place in case something goes wrong with your current device, such as carrying syringes or pens to give injections and carrying extra supplies in case you run low.
- Be sure to carry some form of prescription or letter from your physician that treats you for your diabetes.
- Carry all of your medicines, such as insulin, and all related supplies in your carry-on baggage. Be sure to place these items in a clear plastic bag that is labeled. It will help to remove this bag from your luggage so that the TSA officials can clearly see what is inside. Also, in case your checked luggage is lost, you will still have your insulin and supplies with you in your carry-on bag.
- If you wear an insulin pump or continuous glucose monitoring device, it is OK to continue to keep them on as you go through security at airports or terminals. The scanners will not harm these devices in anyway. Please notify the TSA officials as you move through the checkpoints that you are wearing a pump or CGM. Usually, the TSA official will pull you to the side and do a more thorough search of the device, such as swabbing the pump or monitor and/or your hands.
A printed checklist might help elevate stress and keep your plan in your hands, front and center. Medtronic, an industry leader in insulin delivery systems, has a downloadable checklist for traveling with a pump and/or CGM. Click HERE for a copy.
Learning how to handle life’s challenges like traveling and treatment plans is a covered topic in diabetes self-management courses. If you need help developing life and treatment strategies, Diabetes Management & Supplies can assist with diabetes self-management and education services. For more information, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The start of each year is a prime time to consider your life, health and ways to improve both. Motivation and method are both key to setting new goals and ending your year with a sense of accomplishment.
Good health is important, but it will not just happen. SMART Goals provide a road map to success because those goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
Diabetes is often a numbers game: blood sugar level, A1C, weight, etc. Beyond those faceless figures, one should focus on goals that bolster your diabetes control. “I want to lower my A1C to 7, but ‘why?’”
If you want to accomplish a task, you set a plan, you set deadlines and you take action. Most people are familiar with SMART goals in the workplace, but they also apply to health. For example, let’s say you wanted to an A1C of 7.5, but your level is now 11. It would be unrealistic to say you wanted reduce your A1C to 11 in next month.
It would be more realistic to set up a SMART goal:
- Specific – I will decrease my average fasting blood sugar by 2 points each week.
- Measureable – I will keep track of blood sugar levels three times daily so I can track my
progress towards my goal.
- Attainable – Is the goal attainable for me? Your diabetes care team should be consulted about ways to reduce your A1C and risk of complications.
- Realistic – Is the goal realistic for me? Lowering one’s blood sugar is a great goal, but drastic drops can increase changes of hyperglycemia.
- Timely – I will make an appointment with my care team every three months in 2016 to evaluate my A1C with hopes to start 2017 near 7.5.
Other goals that will impact blood sugar control include getting regular and sufficient exercise, gaining or losing weight, following a diabetes nutrition plan, and being more compliant to medication schedules.
Need help turning your goals into a viable game plan? Diabetes Management & Supplies offers diabetes self-management and diabetes education services. For more information on specific needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email email@example.com.
The National Diabetes Education Program, a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), offers an online resource for making a plan for success. Visit Diabetes Health Sense and make your plan today!
Blood sugar levels are tested in your doctor’s office, but that is not enough. Blood sugar changes not only from day to day. It changes from hour to hour. Some people run high in the morning and others at night. Certain foods might cause a spike. A long walk may drop levels too low.
Glucose monitors are machines that measure blood sugar from finger sticks. Continuous glucose monitors are worn on the body. They records several readings a day without finger sticks.
Why test your blood sugar?
- Tell how well you’re reaching health goals
- Know how diet and exercise affect blood sugar levels
- Know how other factors, such as illness or stress, affect blood sugar levels
- See the effect of diabetes drugs on blood sugar levels
- Know when blood sugars are too high or low
To get a full picture of your diabetes, you need regular monitoring. Testing often will show problem areas and how your levels react to certain foods. A blood sugar reading might be an early warning sign in sudden illness.
Another method of monitoring blood glucose is Continuous Glucose Monitoring or CGM. A CGM automatically takes several blood sugar readings throughout the day, sends alerts for extreme readings and feeds those levels to the insulin pump. The goal would be blood sugar control that is consistently stable.
The CGM reads blood sugar levels every one to five minutes and shows whether a person’s blood sugar is rising or falling. Combining CGM with insulin pump therapy can provide a method to monitor and manage blood glucose levels. The information obtained can also help to fine-tune the pump settings.
The American Heart Association offers these tools to help you understand the importance of monitoring and staying as healthy as possible:
- Diabetes-Friendly Recipes. Recipes to satisfy cravings – sweet, savory or somewhere in between.
- My Diabetes Health Assessment. Having type 2 diabetes greatly increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Learn your 10-year risk and ways you can lower it.
- Diabetes Quiz. Take this short quiz to learn the facts about diabetes.
The diabetes educators at Diabetes Management & Supplies can help take the guess-work out of your monitoring needs. For more information on specific monitoring or insulin delivery needs, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929.
The holiday season may help bring attention to a rarely-discussed diabetes symptom: depression. Whether emphasized by SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or just noticed in contrast to the festive season, depression may be one sign of diabetes or a flag that one’s diabetes is not in good control.
The American Diabetes Association explains that people with diabetes are at a greater risk to depression and the complications of poorly controlled blood sugars are very similar to the symptoms of depression.
Spotting depression in yourself or someone you love is an important step to countering depressions effects. The signs include:
- Loss of pleasure: You no longer take interest in doing things you used to enjoy.
- Change in sleep patterns: You have trouble falling asleep, you wake often during the night, or you want to sleep more than usual, including during the day.
- Early to rise: You wake up earlier than usual and cannot to get back to sleep.
- Change in appetite: You eat more or less than you used to, resulting in a quick weight gain or weight loss.
- Trouble concentrating: You can’t watch a TV program or read an article because other thoughts or feelings get in the way.
- Loss of energy: You feel tired all the time.
- Nervousness: You always feel so anxious you can’t sit still.
- Guilt: You feel you “never do anything right” and worry that you are a burden to others.
- Morning sadness: You feel worse in the morning than you do the rest of the day.
- Suicidal thoughts: You feel you want to die or are thinking about ways to hurt yourself.
You should contact your doctor if you see any three of these signs. Taking action can affect both your mental and physical well-being.
Holidays can be hard when you are trying to handle your diabetes. When family and friends gather, food is often involved. Routines are often disregarded for parties, shopping, cooking and decorating. Learning how to choose the best foods for you can be stressful.
Keep in mind that New Years and Christmas are days to relax and celebrate. Treat yourself to your favorite stuffing or homemade pie on these days. Keep these treats to the holidays. You will then avoid turning this time into a whole season of blood sugar trouble.
These tips can help you stay on track during the holidays:
- Drink water and eat a snack before you go to parties. You won’t make choices when hungry.
- Be sure to eat some food when drinking alcohol. This will help prevent low blood sugar.
- Help out the host. If you are going to a party, call first and ask if you can bring a dish. Now, you will know there will be food that fits into your needs.
- Look for hidden carbohydrates. Gravies, soups, dips and salads can have flour, sugar, potatoes, corn and bread. Remember to count these foods with your allowed carbohydrates per meal.
- Don’t forget about free foods such as non-starchy vegetables. These foods fill you up, but will not affect your blood sugar. Chicken, turkey and cheese are often on party trays. These are not free foods so it is important to be aware of portion size and servings.
- Work in exercise. Just a 15-minute walk before or after a holiday party can help to keep your blood sugar in control when you are celebrating.
Enjoy your holidays. Make good choices to keep your blood sugar in control. This will allow you to have many more healthy and happy holidays.
A diabetes treatment plan is your strategy to stay on top of your health. Monitoring your blood sugar, tracking and taking drugs are crucial. The directions are given, but they must be carried out to improve your condition. You may have many medical professionals, but you complete the team.
Here are some things you can do to take charge of your health:
- Follow healthy meal plans that are best for your unique needs
- Keep up with your medications and store them correctly
- Take your insulin or other medications as instructed
- Monitor and test your blood sugar as directed
- Keep good records of your blood sugar readings
- Share those readings with your doctor or diabetes educator
You may have learned already the basics about drugs and testing. Now is a good time to ask specific questions about your treatment plan. Make sure you know how things should work. Carefully following any medication orders and instructions is vital to your plan’s success. This is where we can help. Make sure you don’t run out of supplies just as you refill prescriptions so you don’t run out of medication. Learn more: Diabetes treatment plan a road map to success.
Here are some ways you can let us help you reorder supplies:
- Call us at 1-888-738-7929
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Click to fill out an Order Form
We value the part we play on your treatment plan team and realize that winning is good health.
Attending school or getting a child with diabetes ready for school presents an added challenge. School supplies and pencils and pens are joined by diabetes testing supplies, needles or insulin pens. Proper planning and measures, however, can counter the anxiety and stress.
A parent of a child with diabetes should first contact the school and connect with the school nurse. A health plan specific to the child should be carefully crafted with providers or a diabetes care team. The child must be properly educated to safely attend school and the school must be prepared and educated on the exact needs of any child living with diabetes.
The Joslin Diabetes Center makes some basic points to cover with school and diabetes mix:
- Know the school’s policies
- Create a plan specific for each person
- Provide the school with a container of supplies
- Investigate the cafeteria and menu plans
- Select a means for disposal of sharps
- Have a plan for field trips and special events
Students who qualify for services under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), should have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). This is the document that sets out what the school is going to do to meet the child’s individual educational needs. There are a lot of specific rules about developing an IEP, reviewing it, and what it must contain. Because IEPs are so detailed and have specific requirements, school districts often use their own form. Although students with diabetes who qualify for services under IDEA are also covered by Section 504, there is no need to write two separate plans. Diabetes provisions should be included in the IEP.
The term “504 Plan” refers to a plan developed to meet the requirements of a federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (commonly referred to as “Section 504”).
A 504 Plan sets out the actions the school will take to make sure the student with diabetes is medically safe, has the same access to education as other children, and is treated fairly. It is a tool that can be used to make sure that students, parents/guardians, and school staff understand their responsibilities and to minimize misunderstandings.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that every student with diabetes have a Section 504 Plan or other written accommodations plan in place.
Students leaving for college should also take steps to prepare for the new demands of college life and the continued health needs of living with diabetes.
Extreme temperatures can affect insulin and make it unsafe or less effective in controlling blood sugar. The rules have changed from previous times when insulin used to control diabetes was beef or pork insulin. Unopened insulin is stored in the refrigerator and once opened the various types of insulin can be stored at or near room temperature for a little less than a month. Please consult your packaging for exact temperatures and storage length for your prescription.
The original pork and beef insulin formulations were supposed to be kept cold all the time. Those cold insulin injections create a sting so the move to being able to keep the newer human insulin at room temperature was a big step in the comfort of people taking daily shots.
The American Diabetes Association offers these tips for storing insulin:
- Do not store your insulin near extreme heat or extreme cold.
- Never store insulin in the freezer, direct sunlight, or in the glove compartment of a car.
- Check the expiration date before using, and don’t use any insulin beyond its expiration date.
- Examine the bottle closely to make sure the insulin looks normal before you draw the insulin into the syringe.
People living with diabetes should not wait until temperatures approach 100 to take precautions. According to the National Weather Service, individuals with diabetes should begin taking precautions when the heat index reaches 80 or 90 to avoid heat stroke, sunstroke, and other problems.
Getting plenty of water and avoiding long periods of unprotected exposure to the sun are simple steps that might help.
It is common to protect insulin from temperature extremes, but health care providers or diabetes educators should be asked about the harm that high temperatures can cause to oral medications, glucose monitors, strips and insulin pumps.
Daily blood sugar levels plus lab reports are just two tools needed to develop a road map to diabetes management success. Knowing those numbers tells you where you are, but goals represent where you would like to be.
A lab report crucial to your goal-setting is your A1C level also known as hemoglobin A1C or HbA1c. The A1C is a common test for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It measures how well diabetes is managed over a period of time instead of just one instance. An A1C reading of 6.5 is the usual indicator of a diabetes diagnosis.
A1C test recommendations
- Every 6 months when you are meeting treatment goals and have stable blood sugars.
- Every 3 months when therapy has changed or if you are not meeting blood sugars targets.
- Used by physician to allow for timely decisions on therapy changes.
- In-home testing may be done with across the counter testing device called A1C Now®. See this at www.a1cnow.com
When setting goals, it is important to strive for noted, but reasonable change. Home testing may be recorded each day, but it might take three to six months to evaluate the big picture and see true progress or regression. Be very patient and don’t expect to drive your averages down or up like the numbers on a scale. Slow and steady not only wins the race, but it also provides a safe playing field for your diabetes treatment plan.