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Archive for May, 2013


Put exercise in your diabetes control toolkit

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On this last day of May, we bid farewell to National Exercise Month, but not to the potential it has highlighted. Physical activity is a powerful weapon in the effort to improve blood sugar control, according to the Diabetes Management & Supplies welcome guide for people living with diabetes.

Exercise lowers blood sugar, which is great, but it also lowers insulin resistance. This benefit lasts up to 72 hours afterward. With regular exercise, something wonderful happens: the A1c goes down.  In fact, studies show exercise improves the A1c as much as 1 -2 points, making it as effective as most diabetes medications, including insulin.

Exercise lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, both common health problems with diabetes. It also burns calories and gives you more energy.

Getting started

Think of an activity you can see yourself doing on a regular basis – walking, biking, whatever you might enjoy. Then check with your doctor to make sure your plan is safe and will not cause any problems for you. Once you decide what exercise you will do, pick a time of day you are most likely to do it. If you are not a morning person, don’t pick the morning. If you have childcare or family tasks that occupy your afternoons, steer clear of that time. The best time to exercise is when you will do it!

Start with small sessions — 10 minutes the first few days — then add one or two minutes as you feel more comfortable. Your long term goal is at least 150 minutes a week. For most people, this means five days a week for 30 minutes. It could be six times a week for 25 minutes, or 3 times a week for 50 minutes. Just get it done!

Fitness-ExertionHow hard should you exercise?

The key word here is comfortable! You should feel as though you can talk the entire time and not be out of breath. When you are finished, you should feel refreshed. Exercise should give you energy, not wear you out.

The DMS I’m in Control program recommends using the Borg Scale for Rating of Perceived Exertion when you exercise. It is a useful way of checking the intensity of your exercise program. The scale is also helpful when you are trying to manage a limited amount of energy to complete your daily actions.

WebDM explains that by using the Borg Scale you can learn to monitor your performance and intensity. Exercising at moderate levels will help you to increase your exercise endurance and improve your lung function. The Borg Scale helps you recognize when you are exerting at a level that may put you at risk for injury. Learning to use the Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion does not require any special skills or equipment. The scale lets you keep your exercise pace without having to stop to take your pulse rate.

“While you are exercising, try to estimate how hard you feel the work is,” WebMD adds. ”Rate the degree of perceived exertion you feel. Include the total amount of exertion and physical fatigue.”

Concentrate on how hard you feel you are working and rate your effort using the scale. Your goal is to keep a rating between 3 and 4 on the scale.

Exercise is one tool that can help you achieve good blood sugar control. DMS diabetes educators can show you more and help you learn how to self- manage your diabetes through individual sessions and variety of programs and classes.  For more information on specific exercise needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929.

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Swimming cool option for people with diabetes

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swimmersSummer activities are about to kick into high gear. Swimming or exercising in water provides great options for people living with diabetes who want to stay fit and cool at the same time.

The Diabetes Management & Supplies education manual puts swimming in the cardio category. Other exercises of this type include walking, running, dancing and elliptical trainers. Whether in small sessions or using a combination of different exercises, people with diabetes should strive to get 150 minutes of exercise each week. A good rule of thumb is 30 minutes a day for five days.

Your safety precautions start with getting a doctor’s clearance before starting a new exercise routine. Other tips for safe swimming with diabetes include testing your blood sugar before and after swimming and having glucose tablets on hand if you are prone to bouts of low blood sugar when exercising. You should look for insurance discounts or community resources like Silver Sneakers or the YMCA.

Reader’s Digest offers these additional tips

  • Splash in class: A water aerobics class may be the best way to get a  full-body workout in the pool — and you don’t even need to know how to swim. If  there’s upbeat music playing and you’re with a nice group of people, you may  even feel a little bit like you’re at a party. Want to get competitive? Your  pool might have a recreational water volleyball team, so call and inquire.
  • Get a leg up with a kickboard: Your buoyancy in the water is already protecting your joints from impact, but if you need even more lift, a kickboard will help. They’re also handy if you’re not confident of your swimming ability and want extra help in staying afloat. People who just want to exercise their legs can grab a kickboard by its sides and propel themselves through the water with leg power.
  • Work up to 30-minute session: Swim one pool length (25 meters in a standard pool), and then rest for 30 seconds. If that didn’t challenge you, alternate swimming for 5 minutes and resting for 1 minute. Each time you visit the pool, add gradually to your swimming distance, resting as needed, until you reach 30 minutes of total swim time each session. To steadily improve your aerobic fitness, swim three times a week.
  • Protect wounds in the water: Swimming when you have an open wound isn’t a good idea because it increases your risk of infection. Rather than skipping your aqua-workout when you have a cut or sore, ask your doctor whether a waterproof bandage or another skin barrier is appropriate for your situation. Be sure to clear the bandage with the pool’s lifeguard or manager before you jump in.
  • If you use a pump, know its limits: Some insulin pumps are advertised as being “waterproof” (sometimes with the use of inserts to plug the vent holes), but read the instructions carefully about the limits of this protection. The waterproofing may only apply to near-the-surface use and may not apply if you’re diving more than about nine feet underwater. If you find that the tape on your infusion set keeps coming loose in the water, pick up a very lightweight wet suit T-shirt and wear that over the infusion set. The close-fitting shirt will prevent water from peeling up the edges of the tape.

Diabetes Management & Supplies offers diabetes self-management and diabetes education services. For more information on specific exercise needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929.

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Pumpers can reap benefits of exercise

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Jay Hewitt lives with type 1 diabetes and competes in the Ironman Triathlon.

If you use an insulin pump to control your blood sugar, you might find the extra sets involved in staying physically fit are more than worth the effort. There’s no need to watch from the stands – jump in and enjoy the benefits and pleasures of sports and exercise.

The American Diabetes Association says by using an insulin pump, you can match your insulin to your lifestyle rather than adjusting your lifestyle to your body’s response to insulin injections.

“With help from your health care team, insulin pumps can help you keep your blood glucose levels within your target ranges both day and night, the ADA Web site explains. “People of all ages with type 1 diabetes use insulin pumps, and people with type 2 diabetes have started to use them as well.”

Even professional athletes like NFL quarterback Jay Cutler and Ironman Triathlon competitor Jay Hewitt have prevailed at both professional sports and day-to-day controlling of type 1 diabetes. Find Jay Hewitt’s story “Athlete with diabetes not raising any white flags” on this site.

More exercising resources for pumpers, check out:

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Divided exercise time equals same benefit

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The diabetes education staff of Diabetes Management & Supplies advocates a good mix of diet and exercise to help control blood sugar. People living with diabetes should try to set a goal of 150 minutes of exercise per week.  A good rule of thumb is to exercise five days a week for 30-minute sessions.

If you are having trouble committing to 30 minutes at a time, experts advise doing aerobic activity for periods of 10 minutes or longer at a time. You can spread these sessions out over the week.

Physical activity tips

  • Nibble on an exercise snack. Plan to do at least 10 minutes of physical activity three times a day on 5 or more days a week. This will help you meet the 150-minute goal. While at work, take a brief walking break. Use the stairs. Get off the bus one stop early. Go dancing with friends. Whether for a short or long period, bursts of activity may add up to the total amount of physical activity you need each week.
  • Strengthen your muscles at least twice a week. Do push-ups or pull-ups, lift weights, do heavy gardening, or work with rubber resistance bands.
  • Shake it up! If you are sitting at the TV or a desk for long periods of time, take breaks to be more active. Do jumping jacks while ads are on, stand up while talking on the phone, or take short walking breaks whenever possible.

For more on mapping out your exercise routine, check out the Physical Activity Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Diabetes Management & Supplies offers diabetes self-management and diabetes education services. For more information on specific exercise needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929.

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Baseball great Brock focuses on ‘fair play’

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LBrock_portraitLou Brock is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but he came to Baton Rouge recently to speak on behalf of others, like himself, who have Type 2 diabetes. Brock, who’s 73, was diagnosed at age 60.

It was shocking news that took Brock some time to absorb and accept. It seemed to help, he said, if he could frame the situation in baseball terms. “What is fair play? Fair play means I’m controlling my diabetes,” Brock said.

Brock spoke at the “Louisiana Diabetes Summit: Meeting Our Challenge” held April 24 at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

For more and complete article, visit

Related video:

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Find detours when diabetes presents obstacles

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detourAll forms of diabetes respond positively to exercise and physical activity, but each also presents obstacles and complications that can make exercising difficult. Like road blocks in the highway, however, detours exist that can help you identify solutions in your efforts to get and stay active.

Type 1 diabetes affects the body’s ability to use sugars, starches, fats and proteins. The body needs various fuels for energy so type 1 disrupts normal energy metabolism at rest and when exercise. Because exercise uses glucose as a fuel, it is an effective way to control blood sugar levels. Exercise has an insulin-like effect on glucose, helping the cells absorb it. Exercise can also counteract elevated blood sugar levels after eating. With exercise, the amount of insulin injected for controlling blood glucose can be lowered in those in type 1 diabetes.

Exercise is a crucial part of the treatment plan for type 2 diabetes. Physical activity can help you improve your blood sugar control, lose weight, and reduce your risk of diabetes-related complications that include heart disease, peripheral artery disease and nerve problems.

Exercise obstacles need not halt your progress. The Joslin Diabetes Center says there is always some type of exercise people with complications can do. They warn not remaining active can lead to developing additional complications and less ability to do the activities of every-daily living.

For example, a common complication, nerve damage, can cause tingling, pain or loss of sensation in your toes, feet and fingers. Joslin’s detour recommendation is to avoid weight-bearing exercises like walking or running and consider stationary bikes or swimming.

Diabetes Management & Supplies offers diabetes self-management and diabetes education services and a unique “I’m in Control” program. For more information on specific exercise needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929.

For more detour recommendations, visit Joslin’s Exercising with Diabetes Complication page.

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Walking path to improved control, health

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about-walk-groupSome of the biggest hindrances to starting an exercise program are choosing an exercise, finding the time to do it and the expense of exercising. The easiest solution is to walk away from those obstacles. Really, just walk away!

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) offers a few guidelines to make walking or any exercise safe and effective. They suggest people with pre-diabetes, diabetes, or the general adult public should aim for a minimum of 30 minutes most days. Walking, gardening, doing yard work, swimming, or cleaning house will all work to meet this goal. Anything that increases your heart rate and causes you to break a light sweat.

Walking is both popular and highly recommended for people with diabetes. It’s easy, relaxing and can be done practically anywhere. Brisk walking is a viable solution that only requires a place to walk and a good pair of shoes.

Diabetes Management & Supplies can help with the selection and fitting of shoes customized to your needs. This newsletter article “The Benefits of a Properly Fitted Shoe for People with Diabetes” offers valuable information on shoes and DMS contact needed to arrange a fitting. You can also call 888-738-7929 to arrange a shoe fitting.


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Regular exercise part of offense against diabetes

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If you are living with diabetes or caring for someone with diabetes, it’s important to understand that regular exercise is a part of the prescription for healthier living and you have several choices that let you find the best exercise or combinations of exercise.

Not all exercise is the same, but there’s something there for all body types and fitness levels whether you are running a marathon or a reformed couch potato. The four recognized types of exercise are cardio, resistance, flexibility and functional. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) identifies several options in each category.

exercisecoupleAerobic exercise

  • Take a brisk walk (outside or inside on a treadmill)
  • Go dancing
  • Take a low-impact aerobics class
  • Swim or do water aerobic exercises
  • Try ice-skating or roller-skating
  • Play tennis
  • Ride your bicycle outside
  • Stationary bicycle indoors

Strength Training

  • Join a class to do strength training with weights, elastic bands, or plastic tubes
  • Lift light weights at home
  • Try calisthenics

Flexibility Exercises

  • Taking an aerobics or fitness classes that includes stretching
  • Doing yoga or Pilates
  • Stretching on your own before and after exercising

If none of these work for you, remember that your everyday activities provide good exercise opportunities.

  • Walk instead of drive whenever possible
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Work in the garden, rake leaves, or do some housecleaning every day
  • Park at the far end of the shopping center lot and walk to the store
  • Walk down every aisle of the grocery store
  • Walk in place or stretch while you watch
  • TV Walk around the house or up and down stairs while you talk on the phone
  • Get up from your desk and take a lap around the office once each hour while you are at work

Some form of physical activity helps one feel and look better, but it also has a positive impact on blood sugar levels much like the effect of insulin on the body.

Diabetes Management & Supplies offers diabetes self-management and diabetes education services and a unique “I’m in Control” program. For more information on specific exercise needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929.

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Exercise your right to improved diabetes control

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ExerciseClassLosing weight and improved conditioning are two  reasons many people start and continue exercising. People living with diabetes can add another motivation – improved blood sugar control.

WebMD explains that exercise can help lower blood sugar levels and improve control.  When exercising, the body needs extra energy or fuel (in the form of glucose) for the exercising muscles, the site explains. For short bursts of exercise, such as a quick sprint to catch the bus, the muscles and the liver can release stores of glucose for fuel. With continued moderate exercising, however, your muscles take up glucose at almost 20 times the normal rate. This helps lowers blood sugar levels. AT the same time insulin levels may drop in anyone not taking insulin so the risks of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is minimized.

Other benefits of exercise:

  • Improving your body’s use of insulin
  • Burning excess body fat, helping to decrease and control weight (decreased body fat results in improved insulin sensitivity)
  • Improving muscle strength
  • Increasing bone density and strength
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Helping to protect against heart and blood vessel disease by lowering ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol
  • Improving blood circulation and reducing your risk of heart disease
  • Increasing energy level and enhancing work capacity
  • Reducing stress, promoting relaxation, and releasing tension and anxiety

The Diabetes Management & Supplies “I’m in Control” program teaches diabetes self-management skills to people living with diabetes. Understanding the condition and the importance of proper nutrition are emphasized as well as the role of physical activity. For more information on specific exercise needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929.

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Ordering Supplies and Equipment

A diabetes treatment plan is very important. Make sure you know how things should work. Carefully following any medication orders and instructions is vital to your plan's success. Make sure you don't run out of supplies just as you refill prescriptions so you don't run out of medication.

Here are some ways you can let us help you reorder supplies:

At Diabetes Management & Supplies, we value the part we play on your treatment plan team and realize that winning is promoting good health.