Sometimes, living with diabetes can seem like a full-time job -- trying to
keep up with everything you need to do for proper diabetes care.
"Diabetes is a very time-consuming disease to manage well," says
Karmeen Kulkarni, MS, RD, CDE, and former president of health care and
education for the American Diabetes Association. "The medication, the food,
the physical activity -- you add life in general to that whole picture and it
ends up being quite challenging."
There was a time when doctors couldn't get anywhere near Sherri Buffington with a needle. "I was deathly afraid of needles," recalls the 44-year-old senior legal secretary from Sicklerville, N.J. "I've been petrified of needles since I was a little kid."
Then in 2004, Buffington was diagnosed with diabetes. When oral medications didn't control her disease, her doctor prescribed an injectable prescription medication along with insulin. Taking these drugs meant she would have to inject herself, sometimes...
Kulkarni and other experts shared these tips with WebMD to help you get
organized and manage your time while keeping up with all your diabetes care
Use a datebook, Palm Pilot, or other scheduling system to write in times
for important diabetes care tasks, such as checking your blood sugar, taking
medications, exercising, and doctor’s appointments.
Reinforce your diabetes care schedule by putting up sticky notes or other
messages as reminders. "The more reminders around the home or office, the
better," Kulkarni says.
Keep all your medications, needles, test strips and other supplies in one
place in your home. That way, you won’t waste time looking for things. And
you’ll see at a glance which supplies are running low. Don’t wait until the
last minute to get new supplies.
Take a diabetes care "travel kit" whenever you leave the house, not
just when you’re on vacation. Pack the kit with all of your medical supplies,
snacks, and water. Don't forget to include glucose tablets or hard candy in
case you have low blood sugar. "Whenever you leave home, you could be
caught in a situation where your blood sugar drops, and you’re in an emergency
situation," says Pamela F. Kelly, a Chicago consultant who has counseled
people with diabetes on managing their time.
If you’re struggling to manage your diabetes, find a care partner, such as
a spouse or friend. "People with diabetes a lot of times will get very sad
or depressed. Either they’re not managing their diabetes at all, or they’re
having a tough time because it’s a constant struggle," Kelly says. A care
partner can help. "They’ll understand your situation, your medication, any
other diseases you have," Kelly says. "They’ll understand what to look
for and how to help you."
These days, doctors’ visits can be quick, 15-minute sessions. The key to
getting the most from your appointment: plan ahead.
Write a list of questions and concerns before your visit so you don’t
forget anything important. Do you have any new symptoms? Have you had trouble
with low blood sugar? Do you have questions about foods or medications? Be your
own advocate. "You shouldn’t take for granted that your provider’s going to
cover anything," says Andrea Zaldivar, MS, C-ANP, CDE, clinical director at
North General Diagnostic and Treatment Center.
Bring all of your medications in a bag for your doctor to review. Include
your diabetes drugs and those for other health conditions.
When you talk with your doctor, mention your top concerns first. Don’t save
them for last, or you may not have time to address them adequately.
Write down what your doctor says so that you can remember the instructions.
Or bring a friend or relative to help take notes.
Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!
Your level is currently
If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Thank you for signing up for the WebMD Diabetes Newsletter!
You'll find tips and tricks as well as the latest news and research on Diabetes.
Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?
Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.