Diabetes -the Medical Perspective
Self-monitoring of blood glucose is an important part of
management of your diabetes. Those with diabetes should be
taught how to use their machines. A schedule for blood glucose
checks should be agreeable to both the health care team and
the patient. The health care team will check periodically
to be sure that the person with diabetes continues to use
the machine correctly and that the machine is still accurate.
Your health care team will discuss with you the best times
for you to check your blood glucose. Those times often are
before breakfast, before lunch, before supper, and before
bedtime snack. Sometimes it also is a good idea to check your
blood glucose an hour or two after a meal. This will give
you and your health care team information about how your medication
is handling the food you eat.
There are times when more frequent monitoring of your blood
glucose may be wise. Those times include:
- during stressful times, like the holidays
- when you are ill, even with a cold
- when you are taking new medications, even if only temporarily
- when you suspect your blood glucose may be low.
Getting a good drop of blood is important when checking
your own blood glucose. Remember to wash your hands with warm
water, shake your hands below your waist, and squeeze or “milk”
you finger a few times before the finger stick.
Remember, record your readings and talk to your health care
team if the results don’t make sense to you.
Diabetes and Food
Many Americans face temptation this time of year as they
attend parties and family gatherings for the holidays. For
people living with diabetes, healthy holiday eating is necessary
because weight management is very important to maintaining
It is important to remember to set reasonable goals for yourself.
This is usually not the time to try to lose weight. Instead,
a goal could be for you to just maintain your weight. You
can do this by controlling what you eat and by making wise
With a hectic holiday schedule it is wise to have healthy
snacks with you to keep blood sugar levels balanced. A light
snack before meals can also help you avoid overeating.
Use substitutions in your recipes to make high-fat recipes
lower in fat. You will be surprised how much old-fashioned
flavor is retained with clever substitutions and how much
fat and calories you can cut.
If you can’t eliminate the food or make it more healthful,
limit it. Put a tablespoon of high-fat gravy on the side of
the plate and dip your turkey in it for taste. Cut back a
little on other foods to allow for tiny indulgences. It is
your total food intake that is most important.
Talk with your doctor first and make sure it is safe for
you to combine alcohol with your diabetes medication. Only
consume alcohol if your diabetes is under control and even
then limit yourself to one drink. Stick with low-alcohol and
low-sugar drinks and eat food at the same time.
Exercise as a Part of Living
You may be busy and it may be cold outside, but don’t
let the winter be an excuse to not exercise. You should still
make exercise a priority. Exercising will help your blood sugar
levels stay within a healthy range and balance out any extra
food you are enjoying.
Try walking a couple extra laps around the mall or renting
a low-impact exercise video. If you use an exercise machine
like a treadmill or stationary bike, put it in front of the
TV or use a bookstand to ward off boredom. Hand weights and
jump ropes can give you a good workout, and so can just walking
up and down the stairs.
Remember - talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise
Recipes to Try
Pumpkin, Raisin, Pecan Braid
Braid: 1 cup canned pumpkin
¼ cup brown sugar
1 egg, separated
1 teas. cinnamon
¼ cup chopped pecans
1/8 teas. ginger
¼ cup raisins
1 8-oz. can low-fat crescent rolls
non-stick cooking spray
Glaze: ¼ cup cold water
1/3 cup sugar replacement
2 teas. cornstarch
1 teas. vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 350º. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick
- Combine pumpkin, brown sugar, spices and egg yolk. Add
pecans and raisins.
- Unroll dough onto cookie sheet, sealing perforations
to form one 13x7 rectangle. Spread filling down center,
to within about 2 inches of edges.
- With scissors make cuts 1 inch apart along sides of dough.
Fold these strips at an angle across filling. Beat egg white
until foamy and brush over braid.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie
- To make glaze, blend water and cornstarch. Pour into
saucepan. Add salt.
- Boil until clear and thickened. Remove from heat. Add
sugar replacement and vanilla, stirring to dissolve. Pour
Per serving: 250 calories 4 grams protein
35 mg cholesterol 35 grams carbohydrate
10 grams total fat 37 % calories from fat
More than Potato Soup
6 1-cup servings
2 teas. margarine
2/3 cup water
3 medium potatoes, peeled, and sliced (3 cups)
28 oz. fat-free chicken broth
1 small celery root, peeled and diced (1 cup)
2 small parsnips, peeled and sliced (2 cups)
salt to taste
2 garlic cloves, chopped
- Melt margarine in large saucepan. Add all remaining ingredients
except broth. Bring to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes until
most of the water has evaporated.
- Add the broth, bring to a simmer and cook until vegetables
- Mash with potato masher to desired consistency.
Per serving: 138 calories 4 grams protein
28 grams carbohydrate 2 grams total fat
0 mg cholesterol 10% calories from fat
Glucovance ® is an oral hypoglycemic medication that
combines two medications into one. Glucovance ® contains
both a sulfonylureal (glyburide) and a biguanide (metformin).
Combining these two medications means Glucovance ® works
- It helps the pancreas produce more insulin; and
- It helps the liver produce less glucose.
Like any medication, it cannot control your blood glucose
without a program of a healthy diet and good exercise as a
base. However, the combination medication has been shown to
lower blood glucose more effectively than either glyburide
or metformin alone.
Not everyone can take Glucovance ®. If you are over
80 years old, drink an excessive amount of alcohol, or have
kidney problems, liver disease or heart failure, Glucovance
® may not be the correct medication for you.
The most common side effect of Glucovance ® is diarrhea,
although hypoglycemia may occur. Talk to your doctor if you
want more information on this or any other hypoglycemic medication.
For a good comparison of the seven most widely used insulin
pumps, visit www.diabetesnet.com/diabetes_technology/insulin_pump_models.php
With the holidays near, think about medical ID jewelry for
those who are on your shopping list and who have diabetes.
One website to visit is www.diabetesnet.com/
commonly known as the Diabetes Mall. A larger selection can
be found at www.americanmedical-id.com
. For teens and children, www.missbrooke.com/
may have more of what you’re looking for.
If you are interested in participating in multi-center, national
studies of diabetes, visit www.niddk.nih.gov/patient
for a listing of ongoing and new studies across the US.
If you have questions about your diabetes, but can’t
get an appointment to see your dietitian soon, try www.dietitian.com/diabetes.html
Remember, back issues and Spanish issues of this newsletter
are available at www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/diabetes/
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