Diabetes: A peek into my mailbox
I read your column each week. I was told four years ago that I had diabetes. I am not on any diabetes medicine at the time. I was told that I could control my sugars by diet and exercise.
I have not been able to exercise lately because of arthritis and a skin condition that keeps me out of the pool. In fact, I haven’t done any regular exercise for eight months.
My weight has increased and I’m always tired. I am very thirsty and just feel run down and weak. I need a list of foods that I should be eating.
You say in your columns that there is not a “No-No” list of foods. Can you send me the “Yes-Yes” list?
— Too Sweet For My Own Good
Dear Too Sweet:
I do not have a “Yes” list for people with diabetes. There is not a list of foods that you should eat. The diabetes meal plan starts with a lifestyle of eating a consistent number of carbohydrates at consistent times of the day.
Your body is trying to stay in balance. Consistency is the key. Pamper your pancreas function. Don’t make it work too hard and it will have a better chance of producing the insulin when you need it. There may be a time when your body is unable to produce insulin or use it properly but consistency gives it the best advantage to function before then.
I recommend that you talk to your doctor and get a prescription for diabetes education and medication. Many hospitals provide a diabetes self-management training program that is covered by most Medicare and insurance plans. During the sessions, you will learn more about diabetes and how every part of your life is affected by this disease.
Many people, including some health professionals, think that managing diabetes only concerns the diet. What you consume is only part of the solution. The timing of the meals and the amount that you eat is even more important than the kinds of food that you put in your mouth.
Exercise is underrated. Actively using your body to use the sugar in your blood as fuel can control diabetes. In fact, a research study revealed that some people can have stable blood sugars just by walking one mile a day without changing much else in their lives.
The sooner someone with diabetes begins taking medication to control their blood sugar, the lower the risk of unwanted complications later in life. Sooner is better than later.
The amount of stress in your life can affect your sugars, too. An education program can help you identify the triggers in your life that affect your blood sugars. Identifying a problem is halfway to solving it. Techniques to control stress are discussed.
As I said previously, I do not have a “Yes” list of foods. I have a “Yes” lifestyle. Ask your doctor to prescribe diabetes education. Call your insurance company and ask how many hours are covered for Diabetes Self-Management Education and Medical Nutrition Therapy. It could change your life.
—At Your Service, Bobbie
Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator and a registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a diabetes self-management training program at Aultman-Orrville Hospital, Orrville. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330–684-4776.