Archive for Lifestyle Tips
In almost every corner of the country, fall signals a beautiful change in outside scenery or a reprieve from hot or cold conditions. Walking may be just the ticket for those looking to increase their exercise and physical activity.
Walking is one of the most highly recommended forms of physical activity for people with diabetes. It requires very little preparation and cost. It can be done practically anywhere – parks, malls, and in the street or the woods.
Take good care of your feet and they will take care of you. You might not spend a lot, but invest in good walking shoes. The shoes need to fit comfortably, with plenty of room in the toe area. They should not rub at the heel. Some walking shoes include an extra pair of eyelets close to your ankle. Lacing these may help prevent heel friction. Make sure your walkers have flatter, broader soles, which help improve balance.
Wear good socks. Cotton socks can bunch and retain moisture. Check out newer synthetic fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin.
A regular walk will be an effective way to control blood pressure. People living with diabetes should consider these tips from About Health magazine before taking off.
- Begin slowly and easily. Walking just 5 or 10 minutes on the first day is perfectly acceptable if that’s all you can accomplish. The important thing is to not get injured or sore, which could end a walking campaign at the starting line.
- Add 5 or 10 minutes per week. As one continues to improve, aim for 45 minutes to an hour, five to seven days per week. That’s an ideal amount of time for blood glucose maintenance. However, health benefits begin to accrue at just 30 minutes per day.
- Break it up. Several 10- to 15-minute sessions are just as effective as one longer walk.
- Count your steps. During the last few years, pedometers — small devices that clip to the belt to count steps — have become popular. They can help track total steps taken on daily walks, or all day long. Recording walking totals can be motivating.
- Find a place to walk. If one’s neighborhood is unsafe, limit walking to daytime, walk in groups or try a nearby school track, community center or shopping mall.
Carbohydrates, when broken down, turn into sugar. Too many carbs at one time can cause your blood sugar to go too high. The amount of carbs that you should eat at one meal depends on the individual. Contact a diabetes educator or a dietician for a customized meal plan.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has a simple principle that explains all carbohydrates are created equal: A carb is a carb is a carb! It is important to understand that sucrose (table sugar) and other sugars do not create a more harmful effect on blood sugar and they are not absorbed more rapidly than starches. The totalamount of carbohydrates eaten will have more of an effect on blood sugar levels than the source of the carbohydrate.
A healthy eating regimen doesn’t just help control blood sugar. It also can have a positive effect on other conditions like obesity, hypertension and heart disease.
Diabetes Management & Supplies offers diabetes self-management and diabetes education services. For more information on specific nutrition needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email email@example.com.
Diabetes involves metabolism, but this doesn’t mean food is the enemy of people living with diabetes. Good food is in your prescription for health and and proper nutrition plays a role in getting and maintaining blood sugar control.
Some foods are better than others in helping to reach diabetes control. The American Diabetes Association has identified the top 10 diabetes superfoods in an effort to encourage individual steps for staying healthy. These foods have glycemic impact and are rich in the key nutrients we often miss out on in our current eating habits. Those key nutrients include calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, C and E.
Here are your 10 Diabetes Superfoods
- Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
- Citrus Fruit
- Sweet Potatoes
- Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Whole Grains
- Fat-free Milk and Yogurt
- Strawberries with Honeyed Yogurt Sauce
- Grilled Salmon Salad
- Shaved Pear Salad
- Braised Cabbage with Apples
Diabetes Management & Supplies offers accredited diabetes education services that can make managing diabetes and other conditions an easier task. For more information on care management needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email an educator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fruits and vegetables are a valuable part of a healthy diet. The standard for how much produce should be on your plate may be going up again. A study release this week encourages seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day instead of five.
The United Kingdom researchers found that people who eat up to seven servings of fruit and vegetables a day can cut their risk of preventable death by 42 percent. They also concluded and that vegetables may be more important than fruit to overall health.
- The participants ate an average of 3.8 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Older, non-smoking women tended to eat more than other demographic groups. Produce consumption was also linked to participants’ body mass indexes; those who ate more fruit and vegetables tended to have a lower BMI.
- The researchers found that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can be protective against cancer, heart disease and all other causes of death. Eating at least seven servings was best, but each serving increase was associated with a lower risk of death from preventative conditions.
This is also good news for people living with diabetes. One can control blood sugar and take advance of vegetables and fruit. The American Diabetes Association encourages people with diabetes to focus on non-starchy vegetables and don’t hold back.
Vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber. Fiber is the part of produce that is hard to digest. Foods high in fiber take longer to digest. This gives a slower effect on blood glucose.
The ADA Recommendations:
- The best choices are fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and vegetable juices without added sodium
- If using canned or frozen vegetables, look for ones that say low sodium or no salt added on the label.
- As a general rule, frozen or canned vegetables in sauces are higher in both fat and sodium.
- If using canned vegetables with sodium, drain the vegetables and rinse with water. Then cook the rinsed vegetables in fresh water. This will cut back on how much sodium is left on the vegetables.
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Close monitoring can help you hit your blood sugar targets. Driven by good control, you can avoid complications such as heart disease and eye problems. Use logs and charts to record your blood sugar readings. Over time, you will begin to see patterns. These patterns show your highs and lows. If you have problem times in the day, you will begin to understand how to avoid them.
Your doctor’s office will keep record of your A1C. Those tests will only show the three-month blood sugar average. Your A1C will tell you very little about how your blood sugar varies from day to day. This makes home-monitoring crucial to diabetes management.
Pattern management is a tool to help you make sense of your readings. Several days’ readings will show patterns. If those patterns are outside your targets and goals, you and your doctor can use the readings to make care plan changes.
The next examples show three methods of charting blood sugars.
- DMS Weekly Blood Glucose Monitoring Chart. This chart leaves space for a date and a choice of five testing times.
- ACCU-CHEK 360 View Tool. This chart is a comprehensive record of meal, medication and health information. Three days’ worth of blocks are filled out and then a visual pattern will be presented.
- ACCU-CHEK Testing in Pairs Tool. This simple paper tool helps you see changes in your blood sugar before and after a specific meal, exercise or other event. Use it for 7 days to see how one thing in your daily routine affects your blood sugar.
Blood sugar control is not “one-size-fits-all,” so a variety of products and supplies are available to help each person find a perfect fit when it comes to medication and monitoring. Diabetes Management & Supplies offers a survey tool that can assist in helping to determine what tools and products are best for you.
As our understanding of diabetes increases, people living with diabetes are being given an expanded tool box of products and devices that can be used for treatment and daily management. Insulin pumps have been used since the 70s so as a category they are not new. They have, however, increased in popularity as the technology associated with them has evolved. Insulin delivery through a pump is popular with people with extremely busy lifestyles and the pumps may provide a more stable, consistent blood sugar control.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA), offers an Insulin Pump 101 for those new to pumping and as an update on the latest features of the new class of insulin pumps. The pump parts and associated terminology are explained.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) isn’t mandatory when using an insulin pump, but CGMs and insulin pumps are being lauded as the “dynamic duo” of blood sugar control. 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 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.
Visit the Diabetes Management & Supplies Products section or click on the box above to take the brief survey to learn more about options for monitoring and medication delivery.
Elaine Blackwood, a certified diabetes educator with Diabetes Management & Supplies, draws attention to many cold-weather tips starting with caution when using electric blankets and bathing or soaking in warm water.
Experts at the Mayo Clinic explain that one diabetes complication, nerve damage, can spread and cause loss of feeling in the limbs. A person with nerve damage may not be able to sense if an electric blanket or heating pad is too hot. This can lead to burns. The same is true of water temperature when bathing.
If you have diabetes and would like to use an electric blanket, it is advised that you warm up your bed with the blanket before bedtime. Later, turn the blanket off or remove it from the bed before you get in.
Other winter topics related to diabetes include:
- Avoiding colds and the flu
- Ways to stay warm
- Eating well when it’s cold
- Exercising and staying active in winter
For a detailed list, see Managing diabetes in the winter: Safety tips
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 Thanksgiving and Christmas are days to relax and celebrate. Treat yourself to your favorite stuffing or homemade pie on these days. Keep these treats to Thanksgiving and Christmas. 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. Chicken, turkey, cheese and non-starchy vegetables are great. These foods fill you up, but will not affect your blood sugar.
- 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.
Today is the Great American Smokeout. The American Cancer Society marks the yearly event, but there’s a health message for those living with diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control reports that smoking increases your chance of having type 2 diabetes. No matter what type of diabetes you have, smoking makes your diabetes harder to control.
If you have diabetes and you smoke, you are more likely to have diabetes complications including:
- Heart and kidney disease
- Poor blood flow in the legs and feet that can lead to foot infections, ulcers, and possible amputation
- Retinopathy (an eye disease that can cause blindness)
- Peripheral neuropathy (damaged nerves to the arms and legs that causes numbness, pain, weakness, and poor coordination)
The Great American Smokeout is on the third Thursday of November each year. By quitting — even for one day — smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk.
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Meals built around turkey can be more than just holiday favorites. Turkey is low in fat and high in protein. It is cheap source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins. A serving of turkey is a 2 to 3-ounce cooked portion. The Food Guide Pyramid suggests 2 to 3 servings from the meat group each day.
The following portions represent 100 grams, approximately 3 1/2 ounces, of sliced meat from a whole roasted turkey. A 3 1/2-ounce portion of turkey is about the size and thickness of a new deck of cards. The fat and calorie content varies because white meat has less fat and fewer calories than dark meat and skin.
As you ponder menu items for your leftover holiday bird, consider these recipes from Chef Wright: