Brenda Conch joined us from United Hospital Center for the second of a three-part series on diabetes. The full interview is listed below:
Question: What should we be doing to manage diabetes and prevent complications that can occur from too much blood sugar over time?
Answer: Eat well to feel good. Include time in your day for physical activity and find techniques to decrease stress
you must understand your condition. If you are not controlling your diabetes – it will control you and ultimately damage your health.
Question: What is the key to diabetes management?
Answer: Diabetes management requires awareness. Know what blood glucose range your doctor or care provider has recommended for you. Know what makes you blood sugar level rise and fall and how to control or smooth out large swings in your blood sugar readings.
There are many things that cause our blood sugar levels to change, sometimes unexpectedly – so, it is important to keep a daily activity, finger stick, and food diary. Over time these diaries will assist you and your doctor or care provider to understand what causes your glucose levels to change and then you can control most of the triggers you discover!
Question: How important is healthy eating?
Answer: Healthy eating really is the cornerstone of healthy living. It is critical to know how foods affect your blood sugar levels. Remember it is not only the type of food you eat but also how much you eat and the combinations of food types you eat.
Learn about carbohydrate counting and portion sizes. Understand that all foods that grow from the ground contain carbohydrates and that all carbohydrates break down in the body into “sugar”. Make every meal well-balanced
Coordinate your meals and medications and avoid sugar-sweetened beverages.
Question: Probably what most of us find challenging with living healthy, either as a diabetic or not, is exercise.
Answer: Unfortunately, that is the case, but physical activity is an important part of a diabetic’s management plan. When you exercise, your muscles use sugar (glucose) for energy. Regular physical activity also helps your body use insulin more efficiently. These factors work together to lower your blood sugar level. The more strenuous your workout, the longer the effect lasts.
Even light activities such as housework, gardening or being on your feet for extended periods can improve your blood sugar level. Make sure you talk to your doctor about an exercise plan. Then keep an exercise schedule and check your blood sugar levels before, during and after exercise. Please always stay hydrated and always have a small snack or glucose tablet with you during exercise in case your blood sugar drops too low. If you take insulin, may also need to reduce your insulin dose before exercising or wait awhile after exercise to inject insulin.