Download Living Well with Diabetes Guide PDF

TitleLiving Well with Diabetes Guide
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Document Text Contents
Page 1

T A K E A C T I O N !

Read this guide then call
your doctor, the American

Diabetes Association or
a local diabetes educator

for more information.

Living well
with diabetes

Page 2


$12.8 billion was spent on medical costs and lost

productivity related to diabetes in New York

State for 2007

23.6 million children and adults or 8% of the

U.S. population, have diabetes

5.7 million people with diabetes have not been

diagnosed and are unaware they have the


Adults with diabetes are two-to-four times

more likely to die from heart disease

The rate of amputation for people with

diabetes is 10 times higher

Source: American Diabetes Association

“I was diagnosed with diabetes and
I didn’t know where to start. I was
overwhelmed and scared. With the
help of my doctor, a certified Diabetes
Educator and through attending
classes about managing my diabetes
I’ve changed my lifestyle – and it’s
working! After the first six months I
lost forty pounds, my A1C went from
9.9% to 6.4%, the good cholesterol
(HDL) went up and the bad (LDL)
cholesterol went down. I feel great!”

~ Ronald A.



This guide was designed by patients like you
to address questions about what it’s like to live
with diabetes. This guide will give you:

1. Places to go to get information about

2. Information about the best ways to care for

3. Guidance on what you should expect from
your health care team.

4. Questions to ask if you do not receive the
care you expect.

5. Information to find out how well doctors
in your area are following the diabetes
treatment guidelines.

6. A resource to refer back to along the way.


You may not know anything about diabetes or

where to look for answers. You may feel out

of control and not know where to turn. There

is information to help you understand and

manage your diabetes. Managing your diabetes

will affect how well you feel.

You can make a difference in the kind of health

care you get. Most of us depend on our doctors

for information and treatment. We may not

think to ask if we are getting the right care. But

the right care will help you live a full life with

as few problems as possible. You should expect

certain things from your health care team—at

every visit.


Page 6


“As a Certified Diabetes Educator,
I’ve learned how important it is to
first build trust with the patient
and then work together on a plan to
manage their diabetes. After all, they
are the ones that are going to have to
make the changes to improve their
health. I remember one patient
who was referred to me, and the first
words out of her mouth were “I am
not going to pinch my fingers ever
and don’t even try to tell me to do
it. You will be wasting your time.”
Recognizing that she was scared
and also not sure of how important
it is to test your blood sugar on a
regular basis I began by telling her
that I would never force her to do
anything that she didn’t want to do.
Then, I began teaching her about
diabetes and how important it is
to know your blood sugar levels in
order to achieve the best results and
avoid complications. As the evening
progressed, I could see I had gained
her trust. And, when she left it was
with the promise that she would test
herself regularly and check back with
me with any questions or further

~Joanne S., Certified Diabetes


The most important part of your health care team
is you. Make a plan with your health care team to
manage your diabetes and stick to it.

Check your blood sugar and keep track of
the results

When your blood sugar rises too high, and
stays too high you have high blood sugar
(hyperglycemia). This means your diabetes is
not being controlled. It can happen over a long
period of time or very quickly.

Common causes of high blood sugar include:
Not taking diabetes medication

Work with your health care team to keep your
blood glucose level in a healthy range. To do this
it is important to regularly check your level and
review the results. Below is a summary of what a
normal level should look like:

Before meal blood glucose: 70 – 130 mg/dl
Two hours after meal: 180 mg/dl or less

Call your doctor if:
Your level is below 70 mg/dl and you have
been eating healthy meals regularly

You experience symptoms of low blood
glucose even though your level is above
70 mg/dl

You have type 1 diabetes and have taken
insulin and your level is still above 240 mg/dl

You have type 2 diabetes and are taking
diabetes pills and your level is above 240 mg/
dl before meals and stays there for more than
one day.


Page 7

Make healthy
food choices.

Avoid foods high in
sugar – like soda, candy,
pastries, etc. – that can
raise your blood sugar

level. Eat a balanced diet
and try to keep portion

sizes small.

Find healthy ways to
cope with stress.

Stress may affect your
blood pressure and

cholesterol levels. And,
for people with diabetes,

this can directly impact
your blood sugar levels

causing them to spike or
decrease rapidly. You can lower your stress level

by talking to your friends, exercising or writing in
a journal.

Stop smoking.
When you smoke, you

raise your blood pressure
level. That makes it

harder to control your
diabetes. Smoking also
makes your circulation

worse, which can cause foot
problems, stroke or heart attack.

Set a plan to quit, starting with a goal quit date.
Get help from your doctor, family and others. If at

first you don’t succeed, keep trying.

Stay active.
Exercise lowers your
blood sugar, blood
pressure and cholesterol.
People with diabetes
should do something
actively for about 30
minutes every day – with
their doctor’s approval. Ideas
for activities include taking a walk, cleaning your
house or working in your garden.

Lose weight.
Many people with
diabetes are overweight
and have high blood
pressure and high
cholesterol. To achieve
better health, set a goal
and make small changes in
what and how much you eat
and your activity level. Talk to members of your
health care team for help.

Visit your dentist at
least two times a year.
Diabetes may make it
harder for your mouth
to fight germs. High
blood sugar levels can
cause gum disease or
make it worse. To prevent
this, brush your teeth twice a
day, and floss your teeth every day. Look for early
signs of gum disease, like puffy or bleeding gums,
and if these are present tell your primary care
doctor right away.

11 12

Page 12

dialysis—A method for removing
waste from the blood when the
kidneys can no longer do the job.

flu—An infection caused by the
“flu” (short for “influenza”) virus.
The flu is a contagious viral illness
that strikes quickly and severely.
Signs include high fever, chills,
body aches, runny nose, sore
throat, and headache.

food exchanges—A way to help
people stay on special food plans
by letting them replace items from
one food group with items from
another group.

gestational diabetes—A type
of diabetes that can occur in
pregnant women who have not
been known to have diabetes
before. Although gestational
diabetes usually subsides after
pregnancy, many women who’ve
had gestational diabetes develop
type 2 diabetes later in life.

gingivitis—A swelling and sore-
ness of the gums that, without
treatment, can cause serious gum
problems and disease.

glucagon—A hormone that
raises the blood glucose level.
When someone with diabetes has
a very low blood glucose level, a
glucagon injection can help raise
the blood glucose quickly.

glucose—A sugar in our blood
and a source of energy for our

heart attack—Damage to the
heart muscle caused when the
blood vessels supplying the
muscle are blocked, such as when
the blood vessels are clogged with
fats (a condition sometimes called
hardening of the arteries).

HDL (or high-density lipopro-
tein)—A combined protein
and fatlike substance. Low in
cholesterol, it usually passes freely
through the arteries. Sometimes
called “good cholesterol.”

high blood glucose—A condi-
tion that occurs in people with
diabetes when their blood glucose
levels are too high. Symptoms
include having to urinate often,
being very thirsty, and losing

high blood pressure—A condi-
tion where the blood circulates

through the arteries with too
much force. High blood pressure
tires the heart, harms the arteries,
and increases the risk of heart at-
tack, stroke, and kidney problems.

hormone—A chemical that
special cells in the body release
to help other cells work. For ex-
ample, insulin is a hormone made
in the pancreas to help the body
use glucose as energy.

hyperglycemia—See high blood

hypertension—See high blood

hypoglycemia—See low blood

called vaccination; a shot or injec-
tion that protects a person from
getting an illness by making the
person “immune” to it.

impotence—A condition where
the penis does not become or
stay hard enough for sex. Some
men who have had diabetes a
long time become impotent if
their nerves or blood vessels have
become damaged.

influenza—See flu.

inject—To force a liquid into the
body with a needle and syringe.

insulin—A hormone that helps
the body use blood glucose for
energy. The beta cells of the pan-
creas make insulin. When people
with diabetes can’t make enough
insulin, they may have to inject it
from another source.

insulin-dependent diabetes—See
type 1 diabetes.

ketones—Chemical substances
that the body makes when it
doesn’t have enough insulin in
the blood. When ketones build up
in the body for a long time, seri-
ous illness or coma can result.

kidneys—Twin organs found in
the lower part of the back. The
kidneys purify the blood of all
waste and harmful material. They
also control the level of some
helpful chemical substances in
the blood.

laser surgery—Surgery that uses
a strong ray of special light, called
a laser, to treat damaged parts of

the body. Laser surgery can help
treat some diabetic eye diseases.

low blood glucose—A condition
that occurs in people with diabe-
tes when their blood glucose lev-
els are too low. Symptoms include
feeling anxious or confused, feel-
ing numb in the arms and hands,
and shaking or feeling dizzy.

LDL (or low-density lipoprotein)—
A combined protein and fatlike
substance. Rich in cholesterol, it
tends to stick to the walls in the
arteries. Sometimes called “bad

meal plan—A guide to help
people get the proper amount of
calories, carbohydrates, proteins,
and fats in their diet. See also
food exchanges.

microalbumin—A protein found
in blood plasma and urine. The
presence of microalbumin in the
urine can be a sign of kidney

nephropathy—See diabetic
kidney disease.

neuropathy—See diabetic nerve

non-insulin-dependent diabe-
tes—See type 2 diabetes.

pancreas—An organ in the body
that makes insulin so that the
body can use glucose for energy.
The pancreas also makes enzymes
that help the body digest food.

periodontitis—A gum disease in
which the gums shrink away from
the teeth. Without treatment, it
can lead to tooth loss.

plaque— 1. A film of mucus
that traps bacteria on the surface
of the teeth. Plaque can be
removed with daily brushing and
flossing of teeth; 2. A coating of
lipids that adheres to blood ves-
sels and can result in a heart at-
tack, stroke and other conditions.

retinopathy—See diabetic eye

risk factors—Traits that make
it more likely that a person will
get an illness. For example, a risk
factor for getting type 2 diabetes
is having a family history of

self-monitoring blood glu-
cose—A way for people with
diabetes to find out how much
glucose is in their blood. A drop
of blood from the fingertip is
placed on a special coated strip of
paper that “reads” (often through
an electronic meter) the amount
of glucose in the blood.

stroke—Damage to a part of
the brain that happens when the
blood vessels supplying that part
are blocked, such as when the
blood vessels are clogged with
fats (a condition sometimes called
hardening of the arteries).

support group—A group of
people who share a similar
problem or concern. The people
in the group help one another by
sharing experiences, knowledge,
and information.

type 1 diabetes—A condition
in which the pancreas makes so
little insulin that the body can’t
use blood glucose as energy. Type
1 diabetes most often occurs in
people younger than age 30 and
must be controlled with daily insu-
lin injections.

type 2 diabetes—A condition
in which the body either makes
too little insulin or can’t use the
insulin it makes to use blood
glucose as energy. Type 2 diabetes
most often occurs in people older
than age 40 and can often be
controlled through meal plans
and physical activity plans. Some
people with type 2 diabetes have
to take diabetes pills or insulin.

ulcer—A break or deep sore in
the skin. Germs can enter an ulcer
and may be hard to heal.

vaccination—A shot given to
protect against a disease.

vitrectomy—An operation to
remove the blood that sometimes
collects at the back of the eyes
when a person has eye disease.

yeast infection—A vaginal
infection that is usually caused by
a fungus. Women who have this
infection may feel itching, burning
when urinating, and pain, and
some women have a vaginal
discharge. Yeast infections occur
more frequently in women with

Page 13

Western New York
Association of Diabetes Educators (WNYADE)

Sponsored by:

716-835-0274 ● toll free 888-diabetes

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