70 North Country Road, Suite 205
Port Jefferson, NY 11777
HVMS@matherhospital.org

Welcome To Diabetes Management

Why is it important to control your diabetes?
Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to a host of long-term complications:

  • Risk factors include:
  • Heart Disease
  • Nerve Damage (Neuropathy)
  • Eye Damage (Retinopathy)
  • Kidney Damage (nephropathy)
  • Poor wound healing
  • PAD (peripheral artery disease)
  • Impotence in men

Early control has been shown to prevent long term complications from diabetes. Make it a priority to manage your diabetes. Don't hesitate to ask your treatment team for help when you need it.

Nutrition
The first step is to maintain a healthy weight by choosing wholesome foods. Losing 5-10 percent of your weight (if overweight) can make a significant difference in diabetes control. A healthy diet is one with plenty of vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruit and lean protein, with a limited amount of saturated fat and added sugar.

Focus on:

  • Don't skip meals - incorporate 3 meals daily
  • Include a lean protein at each meal
  • Make half your plate non starchy vegetables
  • Choosing high fiber grains
  • Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water daily
  • Avoid sugary drinks

Eating healthy can be overwhelming at times when trying to choose healthy food choices, especially if you are on a budget and short on time. But by taking  simple steps you can help yourself and your family eat healthier. We suggest starting by choosing 1 or 2 of the suggestions above and start today! Meet with one of our Dietitians/Nutritionists or Diabetes Educators  to help guide you.

Activity
Physical activity IS crucial for a person with diabetes because:

  • it helps control your blood glucose
  • it helps keep your weight down
  • it helps keep your blood pressure down
  • it helps raise your good cholesterol or HDL (High-density lipoprotein) levels
  • it helps lower your bad cholesterol or LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) levels

Regular exercise helps prevent prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. For those who already have diabetes, exercise will help to maintain better blood sugar control, more effectively than diet alone. Just as little as 10-30 minutes of moderate exercise 5-6 days of the week is recommended. The important thing is you choose something that you can enjoy and be consistent with.

Focus on:

  • Get off the bus or train a stop early
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator at work
  • Walk during your lunch break/walk with a friend/Make a morning walk a family habit
  • Use a pedometer daily (step counter)
  • Getting up to change the television instead of using the remote
  • Dance to music in the house

Medication
Diabetes medications can range from pills to injectables. When you're diabetic, you may be prescribed a number of different medications to help control blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure.
 
Focus on:

  • Keep a list of your medication and dosages on you at all times
  • Set an alarm to help remind you when to take them
  • Know what to do on sick days if you're unable to eat
  • Carry extra medications on you in a pill case or in a cool pack if injectables

Monitoring
Checking your blood sugar is a very important part of your diabetes care plan. Doing so can help you make good day-to-day choices about food, physical activity and allows your team to create a care plan. Talk to your healthcare provider about your personal goals.
 
Focus on:

  • Common target blood glucose range:  
  • Pre-meals 80-130
  • 2 hours post-meal <180
  • Before bed 90-140
  • Decide with your healthcare team when is the best times are for you to check your glucose
  • Determine what causes blood glucose changes
  • Always check your glucose levels when experiencing high or low glucose symptoms
  • What are the symptoms of Hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia is when blood glucose is too low (below 70).

Hypoglycemia can cause:

  • Shakiness
  • Feeling hot/sweating
  • Confusion
  • Palpitations
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety/moodiness
  • Poor coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Feeling hungry
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Headache 

How do I treat hypoglycemia?
You need to raise your blood glucose. The fastest way to do this is to eat some form of sugar. The ADA advises:

  • 4 glucose tablets
  • 1/2 a cup of fruit juice or regular soda
  • 5 to 6 pieces of hard candy

After you have treated the hypoglycemia, wait between 15 to 20 minutes and check your blood glucose again. If your blood glucose is still low, repeat the whole process.

What are the symptoms of Hyperglycemia?

  • Polydipsia – frequent thirst, dry mouth
  • Polyuria - frequent urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Weight loss
  • Cuts and scrapes that heal slowly or poorly
  • Dry or itchy skin
  • Polyphagia - increased hunger
  • Erectile dysfunction (impotence)
  • Recurrent infections
  • Stupor
  • Coma

Drink plenty of water and go for a walk if able to help lower your blood glucose, especially when it is too high. Call your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room if your blood glucose remains high.

An essential part of diabetes self-management is to understand and regularly obtain preventive services.
Focus on:

  • Check A1c every 3 months - target A1C <7%
  • Blood pressure checked at every doctor's visit - goal blood pressure
  • Monitoring cholesterol and kidney blood test every 3 to 6 months
  • Foot and dilated eye exams yearly
  • Dental examination yearly
  • Flu vaccine yearly
  • Pneumonia vaccine
  • Smoking cessation
  • Daily Aspirin use (discuss with your physician)
  • Managing Stress

Please continue to our Common Questions and Myths section

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