By Joseph Feste, M.D., ACOG, AACS, AACG, Director, NBH Lifetime Health Hormones & Weight Loss

LEARN THESE SKILLS

Basic diabetes management skills will help prevent the need for emergency care. These skills include:

  • How to recognize and treat low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
  • What to eat and when
  • How to take insulin or oral medication
  • How to test and record blood glucose
  • How to test urine for ketones (type 1 diabetes only)
  • How to adjust insulin or food intake when changing exercise and eating habits
  • How to handle sick days
  • Where to buy diabetes supplies and how to store them

After you learn the basics of diabetes care, learn how the disease can cause long-term health problems and the best ways to prevent these problems. Review and update your knowledge, because new research and improved ways to treat diabetes are constantly being developed.

SELF-TESTING

If you have diabetes, your doctor may tell you to regularly check your blood sugar levels at home. There are a number of devices available, and they use only a drop of blood. Self-monitoring tells you how well diet, medication, and exercise are working together to control your diabetes. It can help your doctor prevent complications.

The American Diabetes Association recommends keeping blood sugar levels in the range of:

  • 80 – 120 mg/dL before meals
  • 100 – 140 mg/dL at bedtime

Your doctor may adjust this depending on your circumstances.

WHAT TO EAT

You should work closely with your health care provider to learn how much fat, protein, and carbohydrates you need in your diet. The staff at NBH Lifetime Health Weight Loss and Hormone Clinic can help you plan your dietary needs.

People with type 1 diabetes should eat at about the same times each day and try to be consistent with the types of food they choose. This helps to prevent blood sugar from becoming extremely high or low.

People with type 2 diabetes should follow a well-balanced and low-fat diet. Eliminate sugars and eliminate most grains.

HOW TO TAKE MEDICATION

Medications to treat diabetes include insulin and glucose-lowering pills called oral hypoglycemic drugs.

People with type 1 diabetes cannot make their own insulin. They need daily insulin injections. Insulin does not come in pill form. Injections are generally needed one to four times per day. Some people use an insulin pump. It is worn at all times and delivers a steady flow of insulin throughout the day. Other people may use inhaled insulin. See also: Type 1 diabetes

Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes may respond to treatment with exercise, diet, and medicines taken by mouth. There are several types of medicines used to lower blood glucose in type 2 diabetes. See also: Type 2 diabetes.

Further, recent studies have shown the benefit of taking Vitamin D3, pharmaceutical grade, to help control blood sugar and insulin. NBH Lifetime Health Weight Loss & Hormone Clinic recommend a daily dose of 5,000 mg.

Medications may be switched to insulin during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Gestational diabetes may be treated with exercise and changes in diet.

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