Diabetes (Daily) Life Skills
Things We All do Every Day
As a Person With Diabetes, you encounter numerous challanges on a daily basis. This section of my site, will help you learn about these challanges, and show you the best way to manage them, and make Living with Diabetes easier for you, and those that share life with you, your family, friends and co-workers.
The things we all do, on a daily basis, are learned and usually become so simple, we tend to do them automatically, and forget we are doing them. As a Person With Diabetes, you will need to learn another set of basic skills. These new skills, which are all related to self-care (or caring for yourself), will be both new and strange, but are very important.
To avoid confusing everyone, please allow me to define and explain what self-care means. As Health Insurance and the things that drive Health Insurance changes, the policy holders find themselves paying more for the things most necessary to them. As an example, I now find myself liable for a co-payment for Diabetes Patient Education, unless I can locate a place where it is offered for free. In my case, to see a diabetes Education, or CDE, it costs me $ 40.00 per visit, which is the same amount I pay to see my Diabetes Doctor, who is an Endochrinologist.
I work, and pay bills, along with everybody else, and find that I can use the $ 40.00 better for other things, such as food, gas and leasure acvtivities. As a result of this financial reality, which most of us have probably experienced, the focus of Patient Diabetes Education has shifted to doing things for ourselves, or self-care , which quite simply means doing things for yourself - by learning how to accomplish these tasks, with training and support from an individual with the experience to offer you this training.
Before I was diagnosed as a Person With Diabetes, my day-to-day activites were fairy routine (and normal). I would wake up, shower and shave, brush my teeth, have breakfast, pack my food for the day, and then grab my stuff, and leave for work.
As a Person With Diabetes, this normal routine has changed, and steps have been added to it.
- Blood Sugar Testing. I get out my Blood Sugar Meter, and check my Blood Glucose.
- Diabetes Medications. I administer adequate Insulin to cover my morning meal (via Insulin Pump).
- Other Medications. I take my other non-diabetes (oral) Medications - and there a quite a few of them.
- Foot Self-Exam. I self-examine my feet for cracked skin, rough spots, and abnormal wear. I trim and file my toenails, as needed, before putting on my socks and shoes.
- Food. I prepare a diabetes-friendly breakfast and lunch for myself. To me, diabetes-friendly means, low-carb, low-sugar, high-fiber foods, which not raise my blood sugar.
These additional steps include:
All of these added steps are both critical and important.
Please read on and learn what they are.
Self Monitoring of Blood Glucose (SMBG)
Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose (SMBG) is an important component of modern therapy for diabetes mellitus. SMBG has been recommended for people with diabetes and their health care professionals in order to achieve a specific level of glycemic control and to prevent hypoglycemia. The goal of SMBG is to collect detailed information about blood glucose levels at many time points to enable maintenance of a more constant glucose level by more precise regimens. It can be used to aid in the adjustment of a therapeutic regimen in response to blood glucose values and to help individuals adjust their dietary intake, physical activity, and insulin doses to improve glycemic control on a day-to-day basis.
SMBG works by having patients perform a number of glucose tests each day. The test most commonly involves pricking a finger with a lancet device to obtain a small blood sample, applying a drop of blood onto a reagent strip, and determining the glucose concentration by inserting the strip into a reflectance photometer for an automated reading. Test results are then recorded in a logbook or stored in the glucose meter’s electronic memory. People with diabetes can be taught to use their SMBG results to correct any deviations out of a desired target range by changing their carbohydrate intake, exercising, or using more or less insulin.
Learn how your meter works, before you begin to use it. Most meters work in similar ways. Read the manufacturer's information, view their web site, and call the help (or customer support) number, which is included with the device.
Testing Your Blood Sugar
The Generic Version
Daily Foot Care
- Inspect feet daily, including the tops, sides, heels, and between the toes.
- When inspecting, look for cuts, cracks, splinters, blisters, and calluses on the feet.
- Wash feet in warm, not hot, water daily; to prevent infection, make sure the feet are thoroughly dry, especially between the toes.
- To prevent drying and cracking of the skin, use lotion on the tops and bottoms of the feet, but not between the toes (lotion between the toes promotes microbial growth).
- When trimming toenails, cut them straight across and slightly round the edges with an emery board.
- Never apply a hot water bottle or a heating pad to the feet.
- To promote good circulation to the lower limbs when seated, prop up your feet and avoid standing in one position for long periods of time.
- Do not attempt to remove corns or calluses without seeking the advice of your Podiatrist.
- To prevent foot injuries, do not walk barefoot, especially outdoors.
- To avoid injury, keep floors free of sharp objects.
- Immediately report any sores or skin changes, such as blisters, cuts, or soreness, to your Podiatrist.
- Always contact your primary health care provider if wounds show no signs of healing.
Bagged Lunches with Diabetes-Friendly Alternatives
The Importance of Lunch
Eating a healthful lunch can help control blood glucose, hunger, and weight. Lunch is a chance to fill up on healthful fuel for the rest of the day and fit in some important food groups. Get more mileage out of your lunch by including satisfying fiber from whole grains and protein from low-fat dairy products and other lean protein sources.
A Packed (or bagged) Lunch is Better
Breakfast is the most neglected meal of the day, lunch can often be the most hurried. A recent survey found that 62 percent of Americans rush through lunch at their desks.
If you work, then eating lunch can get even more complicated. Canteens, Cafeterias, fast food places, and vending machines are notorious for having few healthy choices available. Cooking and packing up a quality healthy lunch is a good idea for so many reasons, especially for diabetics.
When you eat out, you tend to take in more calories, unhealthy fats, high carbs,and sodium than when you eat at home. But when you eat your packed lunch, you have 100% control over your meal.
Taking a homemade packed lunch to work or school is an easy step toward a healthier lifestyle. You should still be aware of your food choices and portions when packing your own lunch. It is alwat=ys best to prepare your lunch the night before, when you have adequate time for this.
- The basic diet for diabetics should be low in fat and high in fiber.
- If you also need to lose weight or strictly control your weight, you’ll have to make careful food choices to limit the energy content of your meal.
- Eat a variety of foods to ensure that your diet is balanced and that you obtain all the nutrients you require on a daily basis.
- Choose low-fat or fat-free salad dressings and watch how much you use.
- Pick whole-grain bread over white bread.
- Practice portion control.
- Choose lean protein sources, such as turkey, ham, chicken, lean roast beef, and fish.
- Avoid fried foods.
- Eat fresh fruit, which is always available, or purchase fruit-cups, packed in water and bring these along as a part of your baggede lunch.
- Stay away from fatty chips. Pretzels are an excellent replacement for chips.
- If you are craving a sweet after lunch and fresh fruit just won’t do, reach for sugar-free, fat-free frozen yogurt. Be careful of sorbets and sherbets that are loaded with sugar.
- Pack finger-foods such as carrots sticks, sliced celery and cucumbers. all are very low in calories, and are healthy alternatives, which will supply nutrients.
- Avoid sugary beverages; drink water and tea instead.
Healthy Lunch for Diabetics
Sometimes figuring out what to eat for lunch is hard, especially if you have Diabetes. All of a sudden, the things you used to like to eat, are on the forbidden list. Because of your Diabetes, it becomes more important to maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, it’s even more important to watch what you eat, everyday.
The following principles must guide all your food choices when you have Diabetes:
Taking the medication prescribed by your Health Care Team to control both your Diabetes and any other conditions you may have is extremely important. You should ask that those medications which need to be taken at a specific time of the day have that information included on the lable (or drug) container.
The failure to take all of your medications on a regular basic is called non-compliance, and is a very serious omission, which can make you very sick, and should be avoided. Programs exist in all areas to provide financial assistance in obtaining medications. If taking your medications causes either financial or psychologist problems, speak to a friend, health-care provider, or a loved one about it.
All of your maintenance medications are important, and should not be missed. A skipped dogage should be taken as recommended by your Physician or Pharmacist.
In addition to the Medications to control your Diabetes, many of us take numerous other medications.
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)/
- Heart Disease/
- 81 mg ASA (baby aspirin/
- A statin for Cholesterol
- Calcium Channel Blocker for Cholesterol.
- Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitor.
- Vitamins and Supplements. Always check for drug interaction on theses.
- Beta blockers, which help your heart to beat slower and with less force, ultimately reducing your blood pressure.
- Diuretics (water pills) to decrease water and sodium (which tend to increase your blood pressure) through urination.