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How Parents with Diabetes Can Make Their Wellness a Family Priority

For many of us, diabetes is a family affair. Especially when a parent has diabetes, managing the disease with physical activity and healthy food choices can impact every member of the family. This World Diabetes Day, we’re thinking about this as an opportunity to explore the ways diabetes can actually help the entire family get healthy. What do you do when your kids want pizza but you know your blood sugar has been high today? Or when you need to burn some energy but you can’t get your kids to get off the couch and go to the park with you? As a parent managing diabetes, you have an opportunity to model...

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What is Diabetes?

Understanding the basics of diabetes is the first step in gaining control of your health. Let’s look at what causes diabetes, some of the common symptoms, the benefits of healthy living, and what to do if you’ve just been diagnosed. What is diabetes? Diabetes is a chronic disease. Your blood sugar levels are controlled by insulin, a hormone produced by your pancreas. When you eat, food gets broken down and glucose enters your bloodstream. Insulin takes the glucose out of your bloodstream and allows it to enter your cells where it is broken down and turned into energy. If you have...

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Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia occurs when your blood sugar drops too low. The body responds to low blood sugar with warning signs that may be different in each person. Some warning signs of low blood sugar are feeling: Weak Shaky Irritable or confused. Low blood sugar may occur if your meal or snack is delayed or missed, after vigorous physical activity, or if too much insulin is given. In a person without diabetes, the pancreas will stop producing insulin if the blood sugar level falls below normal. In a person with diabetes, the insulin they inject keeps working, even when the blood...

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Hyperglycemia

Hyperglycemia, or high blood glucose, occurs when blood glucose rises above your recommended range. Your healthcare professional will determine the proper healthy blood glucose range for you. High blood glucose can be caused by many things, including: Eating too much food Little or no physical activity Not taking medications Stress, infection or illness Bad or spoiled insulin High blood glucose can cause serious problems and a major cause of long-term diabetes complications. Warning signs of high blood glucose include: Tiredness or...

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Carbohydrate Counting and Exchanges

The myth: If you have diabetes, you can't eat sweets or sugar. The truth: A food doesn't have to be sweet or sugary to raise your blood sugar. Anything with carbohydrates will affect your blood glucose, whether it's from white potatoes, pasta, bread or (insert local sweets here…jelly babies / lollies / strawberry laces).1 Of course, different foods may affect you differently. Why? Eating protein, fat or fiber along with your carbohydrates may slow the absorption of the carbohydrates into your system. That's why the extra fiber in whole-grain foods can help you avoid a...

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Creating a Circle of Support

No one can go it alone. Whether you have diabetes or you’re a caregiver, it’s important to have a few options for emotional support. Knowing who to turn to with specific questions will make life easier. Find other people with diabetes Few things are more comforting than talking with someone who understands you when you have diabetes, or if you are facing a type 1 or type 2 diagnosis. If you don’t already have a friend or family member with diabetes who can fill this role, seek out a diabetes support group  near you. What have you got to lose? If you don’t like one group, look for...

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How to Talk to Your Doctor

Whether you’ve been living with diabetes for years or you’re newly diagnosed, communicating with your healthcare team is one of the best things you can do. If you’re nervous about opening up to your doctor or pharmacist, there are some good reasons to conquer these fears. Less communication leads to measurable increases in your stress, anxiety, and possible depression. It also leads, inevitably, to less frequent and less successful diabetes management.1 Since communicating with your healthcare providers is proven to be good for your health, here are some guidelines for starting the conversation and keeping it going....

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How to Travel with Diabetes

Having diabetes adds complexity to planning a well-deserved holiday. Changing your schedule, time zones, increased activity, eating on-the-go or new foods can affect your health. You’ll want to be ready for anything. But don’t stress! We’re here to make it easy, with a review of everything you’ll need for hitting the roads, skies, seas, or rails. Make a doctor’s appointment If your trip is going to last longer than a day or two, make an appointment with your doctor or pharmacist a few weeks before you leave. Let them know your travel plans, and ask if they have any concerns or recommendations....

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Planning Your Meals

The goal of a meal plan is to control your blood glucose levels, maintain a healthy body weight and feel good. Your dietitian can assist you in meal planning by suggesting the right amounts, types and timing of the foods you eat. Different types of foods have specific roles within the body. Keeping track of what you eat, when you eat and how much you eat, along with regular testing, can help you and your healthcare professional understand how the foods you eat affect your blood glucose levels. As you develop your meal plan, think about the foods that you normally eat. One way to identify this is by creating a list of...

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