Living with diabetes requires careful management of things like food and medication. Active Plus Home Health Care, Inc. provides diabetes management to help patients keep symptoms under control and enjoy a happy lifestyle. Through applicable knowledge and monitoring of blood sugar levels, patients can reduce their risk of needing inpatient care.
The Role of Food in Diabetes Management
Patients with diabetes need to know how certain foods affect their blood sugar levels. The quantity of food that is eaten and the combinations of food types also impacts blood sugar levels in patients living with diabetes.
To manage the effects of food on diabetes symptoms, patients need to:
- Track carbohydrate intake and maintain healthy portion sizes. Carbohydrates are one of the biggest macro nutrients impacting blood sugar levels. Patients taking mealtime insulin need to know how many carbohydrates are in their food to ensure they administer the proper insulin dose.
- Know the appropriate portion size for each food type. Patients should simplify their meal planning by writing down portions for foods they eat on a regular basis. Measuring cups or a scale can be used to ensure proper portion size and accurately track carbohydrates.
- Balance each meal. In every meal, there should be a good mix of starches, fruits and vegetables, proteins, and fats. Patients should pay close attention to the types of carbohydrates they consume.
- Know the good and bad sources of carbohydrates. Some fruits, vegetables and whole grains are better for diabetics than others. Foods low in carbohydrates and high in fiber helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Patients should talk to their doctor, nurse, or dietitian to learn about healthy sources of carbs.
- Coordinate meals and medications. Too little food in proportion to diabetes medications — especially insulin — can lead to a serious drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia). On the other hand, too much food could cause a spike in blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). Active Plus Home Health Care, Inc. nurses can teach patients how to best coordinate meal and medication schedules.
- Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages. Sugar-sweetened beverages are high in calories and low in nutrition. They also cause blood sugar to rise quickly. The exception to the rule is a low blood sugar level. In these instances, a sugar-sweetened beverage, such as soda, juice, and sports drinks can be used to quickly raise blood sugar.
The Role of Medication in Diabetes Management
Insulin and other diabetes medications help lower blood sugar levels when diet and exercise are failing to effectively manage diabetes. However, the effectiveness of these medications depends on the timing and size of the dose. Non-diabetes medications can also affect blood sugar levels.
To manage the effects of medication on diabetes symptoms, patients need to:
- Properly store insulin. Improper storage or keeping insulin past its expiration date may reduce its effectiveness.
- Report concerns to their doctor. Issues with diabetes medications, such as causing blood sugar levels to drop too low, may require adjusting the dosage or timing.
- Be cautious when taking new medications. Patients should speak to their doctor or pharmacist before taking an over-the-counter medication or a new prescription to treat another condition. Patients may need an alternate medication to minimize the impact on blood sugar levels.
With Active Plus Home Health Care, Inc., patients can obtain the tools they need to monitor blood sugar levels and diabetes symptoms around the clock.