Diabetes: Keeping Up With Your Active Life
Put Your Shoes by the Door
Take a minute to put a pair of slip-on shoes and socks near the door so you aren't tempted to go outside barefoot. Make sure your slippers or house shoes are in a handy location too, so you'll remember to wear them inside to avoid injury.
This is just one of many simple, quick tips that can be done in minutes to better manage your diabetes and prevent complications.
Do a Quick Body Scan
As you dry off from your shower each day, inspect your body head to toe. Look for dry, red, or sore spots that could become infected. Don't forget the places where moisture can hide and bacteria can grow. Check under your arms and breasts, and between your legs and toes. Pay special attention to your feet. Use a mirror to help you see all over and treat injuries quickly.
Prepare Emergency Snack Packs
Put a few glucose tablets or gels, or five or six pieces of hard candy, into baggies. Always carry a few with you when you go out in case hypoglycemia -- low blood sugar -- strikes. It's hypoglycemia when blood sugar drops below 70 milligrams mg/dL and you feel, dizzy, hungry, or shaky. Skipping a meal, taking too much diabetes medication, and exercising harder than usual without eating can trigger it.
Take a Quick Test
Put your glucose monitor on your nightstand to remind you to check blood sugar first thing in the morning. Depending on your diabetes treatment, your doctor will advise you how often you should check your blood sugars. For most people, the target range before meals is between 70 and 130 mg/dL. Within an hour or two after a meal, your glucose target should be less than 180 mg/dL.
Put a Tag on Your Gym Bag
Does your doctor recommend you check your glucose levels? Make a reminder for yourself. Checking before and after exercise can help you learn how it affects your levels and it may help you avoid dangerous drops in blood sugar levels.
Make Insulin Work for Your Lifestyle
If your schedule is fast-paced and meal times are unpredictable, ask your doctor about rapid-acting insulin, as well as an insulin pump which delivers fast-acting insulin. It may be a convenient addition to your current therapy. These rapidly acting insulins can be taken just before eating -- or, your pump can be adjusted prior to meals, exercise, or a change in your usual activity. They typically have an effect on your blood sugars within 30 minutes.
Power Up Your Diet
Print the American Diabetes Association's list of 10 super foods. They have a low glycemic index, meaning they aren't likely to cause a spike in blood sugar. They are also packed with important nutrients. Post the list on your refrigerator so it's at the ready when you make your shopping list, plan meals, or look in the refrigerator for something to eat.
Drink Some Water
High glucose causes your body to lose fluid, and your skin can get dry. It may get itchy or crack, and that can lead to infection. Drink plenty of water and other fluids to help your skin stay moisturized and healthy.
Remember Your Medical Alert Bracelet
Put your medical alert bracelet or pendant near your watch, rings, or other jewelry you wear every day. This may help you remember to wear it. Or keep it near your toothbrush or keys. In an emergency where you're confused or unable to speak, it can save critical time by letting others know about your diabetes.
Exercise in Spurts
Exercising 30 minutes a day is an important part of managing your diabetes. But it can be difficult to fit into a busy lifestyle. Break it up into three 10-minute spurts instead. Try 10 minutes of strength training in the morning. Play an active game with the family during the day or take a brisk stroll at lunchtime. Then, walk with the dog in the evening. This combination of strength and cardio training can help improve your blood sugar control and reduce your risk of heart disease.