Tips for the Holidays 2020

Hello there fellow diabetics! I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays. I know we may not be able to celebrate the same way this year as years before. You may even be celebrating alone this year. Please do not let this get you down, this is not an excuse to eat in excess this year.

There will be a lot of challenges this holiday season and I want to give you some tips to help keep you on track as much as possible.

  • Balance rich treats and special meals with super healthy, veggie-based snacks and meals
  • Fit in extra activity daily
  • Increase your water intake
  • Keep thinking positively
  • Engage with others
  • Don’t let others pressure you
  • Remember your overall health goals
  • Slow down and be present with the food
  • Capture the first bite
  • Take small portions – you can always go back for more
  • Enjoy the flavor and texture of the food
  • Remember family and friends no longer with us
  • Honor your memories, all the special people and moments with the food you make this year
  • Appreciate that you have enough food to eat
  • Appreciate that you have a choice in what you eat
  • Chew your food slowly and savor the flavors
  • I cannot stress this enough, get some extra activity in!

Remember, this is a time to spend being thankful for what you still have this year. I know 2020 freaking sucks, you may have lost a couple people this year. But there is still so much to be thankful for.

There’s a couple of really good looking vaccines that will be available soon. You are still alive right now. You may still have friends and family. You still have someone to talk to (me). You woke up this morning.

Times may seem dark right now, but I want you to know that wherever there is darkness, light is sure to follow. Just hang in there. You are the most amazing person in the world. You can make it through each day one step at a time. You’ve got this!

Some of them are bad quality but I want to share some photos of my fur baby that passed away a month ago. May it trigger your seratonin and make you feel better.

The Toll of Diabetes on Your Mouth

Diabetes can affect a lot of organs and systems in your body, I’m sure you know that. The nervous system, your kidneys and liver, your heart, even your immune system. But do you know the effects of diabetes on your mouth?

If your diabetes is left untreated, it can take a huge toll on your mouth.

  • You may have less saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry.
  • The absence of saliva puts you at a higher risk of tooth decay (cavities).
  • Gums may become inflamed and bleed often (gingivitis).
  • Problems tasting food.
  • Delayed wound healing.
  • Susceptible to infections inside of your mouth.
  • For children with diabetes, teeth may erupt at an earlier age than is typical.

Tooth decay (cavities) occurs when you ingest starchy and sugary foods and drinks. They interact with the bacteria in your mouth and create a sticky film known as plaque on your teeth. The acids in plaque attack the surfaces of your teeth (enamel and dentin) making it easier for bacteria to get within your teeth. This can lead to gum disease.

Early gum disease (gingivitis) occurs when plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing enough. The plaque hardens under your gumline into tartar (dental calculus). The longer the plaque and tartar remains on your teeth, the more they irritate the gums around the base of your teeth, called gingiva. In time, your gums become swollen and bleed easily.

Advanced gum disease (periodontitis) is when untreated gingivitis becomes worse and causes a more serious infection. Periodontitis destroys the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth. Eventually causing your gums and jawbone to pull away from your teeth, which causes your teeth to loosen and possibly fall out.

Periodontal disease is a chronic, inflammatory disease that can destroy your gums, all the tissue holding your teeth, and even your bones. It is the most common dental disease affecting those living with diabetes. People with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum problems because of poor blood sugar control. Serious gum disease may cause blood sugar to rise. This makes diabetes harder to control and makes you more susceptible to infections and are less able to fight the bacteria invading the gums.

To avoid gum disease, get on a Dental Health Action Plan. This includes:

  • Controlling your blood sugar levels. Change to a healthier diet, exercise more, and brush your teeth. Good blood sugar control will help your body fight any bacterial and fungal infections in your mouth and help relieve dry mouth caused by diabetes.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • If you wear any type of denture, clean it each day.
  • Make sure to brush twice a day with a soft brush and floss daily.
  • See your dentist for regular checkups.

Diabetes lowers the body’s ability to fight infection and slows the healing process making periodontitis a larger and dangerous possibility for diabetics.


REFERENCES

Mouth Healthy
Mayo Clinic

Cinnamon Tea & Diabetes

Cinnamon tea has a lot of health benefits. Just boil some water and steep a stick of cinnamon for 10 to 15 minutes and you can reap the benefits. Don’t have a cinnamon stick? A teaspoon of ground cinnamon works just as well.

The benefits of drinking cinnamon are numerous and don’t just benefit diabetics.

  1. Loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight off oxidation caused by free radicals that contribute to diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
  2. Lowers inflammation and may improve heart health. Inflammation is thought to be at the root of many chronic diseases including heart disease. Cinnamon may also increase levels of HDL cholesterol.
  3. May help reduce blood sugar. Cinnamon may contribute to the lowering of insulin resistance thus increasing insulin’s effectiveness. Cinnamon may also slow the breakdown of carbs in your gut which will regulate your blood sugar levels.
  4. May promote weight loss. Studies don’t completely control all factors, like calorie intake, but if you control your calorie intake and take about 5 teaspoons of cinnamon powder per day for 12 weeks.
  5. Fights off bacteria and fungi. Cinnamon has antibacterial and antifungal properties which prevents the growth of bacteria, fungi, and molds, like Staphylococcus, Salmonella, and E. coli bacteria. It can also help reduce bad breath and prevent tooth decay.
  6. May reduce menstrual cramps and other PMS symptoms. Cinnamon tea can help make symptoms more bearable. You can take 3 grams of cinnamon each day for the first 3 days of your menstrual cycle.
  7. May fight skin aging. Cinnamon may promote collagen formation and increase skin elasticity and hydration.
  8. May have anticancer properties. Cinnamon extracts may help kill certain types of cancer cells, including skin cancer cells.
  9. May help preserve brain function. Cinnamon can help protect brain cells from Alzheimer’s disease and improve motor function in those with Parkinson’s disease.
  10. May help fight HIV.
  11. May reduce acne. Cinnamon can help fight the bacteria that causes acne.

7-11 are not completely concrete benefits of cinnamon tea. More research is being done to come to strong conclusions.

So cinnamon tea has a lot of benefits for all. For diabetics, it can help with insulin resistance and might even help you lose weight. You can either have it as a tea or as infused water. Just remember to keep your cinnamon intake low. Too much could be toxic. The compound coumarin is both beneficial and toxic for your liver.

If you do drink cinnamon tea, stick to one or two cinnamon sticks a day, or two teaspoons max. But go ahead and reap the benefits.


REFERENCES

Healthline
NDTV Food


Spread the Word

Did you like this post? Do you know someone that could benefit from it? Share it with your family and friends!

Follow the Young and Diabetic to get a free Diabetic Log download!

Use it to log your medication, blood sugar, exercise, and food every day.

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

You are following this blog (manage).

Want to see more from this blog? Take this survey to tell me what you want to learn more about!

Lifestyle Change vs. Diet

I’m sure you’ve heard both terms being thrown around a lot, but do you know the difference?

Diet has two definitions:
1. the kinds of food that a person habitually eats.
2. a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.

Which one do you hear more of? I’m forever hearing on the tv about commercials of miracle diets for weight loss. Diets don’t work. Why? Because diets are meant to be temporary. A diet consists of temporarily changing your eating habits to promote a certain outcome, like weight loss, before returning to your previous eating habits.

Now lifestyle changes are where it’s at. A lifestyle change consists of adopting healthy overall habits that promote long-term weight control and health. A diet focuses on food intake whereas lifestyle changes your diet with other factors that affect your weight and health, like exercise. In other words, a diet is a temporary solution and lifestyle changes are healthy habits for life.

What kind of lifestyle changes can diabetics make?

  • At least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, like brisk walking, water aerobics, hiking, or using a manual lawn mower.
  • Cut back on sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Eat more fruits and veggies.
  • Get rid of junk food and snack on more nutritious foods.
  • Replace refined carbohydrates with wholegrain foods.
  • Reduce amount of saturated fats.
  • Choose lean meats over processed meats.
  • Apply stress management techniques in your life.

Did you know that stress can really mess your body up? Stress hormones can increase blood pressure, slow down your digestion, and can make blood glucose control difficult. Reducing stress can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, depression, and anxiety.

In my opinion, I never use the word “diet” unless describing something like diabetes diet, even then I don’t mention it often. Why? Because “diet” is a dirty word. I’m not looking for a temporary change, I’m looking to change my life. Your intentions are everything. If you only intend to diet, you are only looking for temporary. Speak it into existence and tell the Universe you are changing your life for the better.

Do you want to know more about a diabetes diet though? Here’s what I have found for you and for myself.

Healthy Carbohydrates:
– fruits
– veggies
– whole grains
– legumes
– low-fat dairy products
Fiber-rich Foods:
– veggies
– fruits
– nuts
– legumes
– whole grains
Heart Healthy Fish:
– salmon
– tuna
– mackerel
– sardines
Good Fats:
– avocados
– nuts
– canola, olive, and peanut oils

When you’re looking for things to eat, remember to avoid these foods:

  • fried fish and fish with high levels of mercury
  • high-fat dairy products
  • coconut oil
  • processed foods high in trans fats
  • high-fat animal proteins

You should aim for no more than 200mg of Cholesterol and less than 2300mg of sodium per day.

Diabetes management is a lifestyle change. We have to create new, healthier habits for our lives to better manage our diabetes. We can do this! Change your life for the better and not for the temporary.


References

Healthy Eating
Diabetes UK
Mayo Clinic


Spread the Word

Did you like this post? Do you know someone that could benefit from it? Share it with your family and friends!

Follow the Young and Diabetic to get a free Diabetic Log download!

Use it to log your medication, blood sugar, exercise, and food every day.

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

You are following this blog (manage).

Want to see more from this blog? Take this survey to tell me what you want to learn more about!

Blood Sugar and Mental Health

You may have noticed when your blood sugar is too high or too low, your mood suddenly shifts. I know I certainly have. What I didn’t know was what is the link between blood sugar and mood or mental health.

The usual symptoms of low blood sugar are:

  • confusion
  • agression and irritability
  • difficulties concentrating
  • hunger
  • difficulty with coordination and decision-making
  • personality or behavior changes

Some symptoms for high blood sugar are:

  • difficulty thinking clearly and quickly
  • feeling nervous
  • feeling tired/low energy

Fluctuations in your blood glucose can result in rapid mood changes. Low blood glucose readings can cause you to be slightly euphoric. The body compounds this pleasant sensation by releasing adrenaline in an attempt to convert any available glycogen in the liver back into glucose to boost levels in the bloodstream.

There have been some links between diabetes and mental health issues. Scientists have identified a mental health condition in diabetics called diabetes distress. It shares some elements with depression, anxiety, and stress. Most diabetics don’t show severe enough signs to be diagnosed as either depressed, anxious, or stressed but these symptoms can still affect our quality of life.

Did you know that 30 to 40 percent of diabetics are diagnosed with anxiety? Did you know 1 in 4 diabetics have depression and that women are more prone to depression than men? 

If you don’t believe the science, believe the experience. I have been going through anxiety, stress and depression related to my diabetes. How does it manifest? I’m stressed and frustrated that my blood sugar still isn’t within range. It’s more consistently out of range than within range. Because of my high numbers I’ve been getting depressed and overwhelmed that I may never get my diabetes under control. The price of my medications has given me anxiety that I may not be able to afford my insulin and diabetes pills and I have a fear of getting in trouble with a low blood sugar incident in public.

All of these things pile up on my mind and overwhelm me every day, but I’m trying to push forward every day. One day at a time, one hour, and one minute every day at a time.

You may also be feeling these things too. Stressed and powerless when trying to control your condition. Believing you’re not doing a good enough job managing your diabetes.

Maybe you’re anxious about going too high or too low and not being able to recognize when you go low causing a social embarrassment or danger while driving or sleeping. Maybe your rigorous insulin regimen and constant glucose checks could interfere with social interaction or employment.

Please remember, managing your mental health is just as important to your overall health as your diabetes treatment plan.

SOME TIPS FOR COPING

  1. Follow your diabetes treatment plan. Especially when it feels overwhelming, keep taking your medications, keep exercising and eating healthy.
  2. Check your blood sugar regularly. Especially when you feel a mood change, then you can see what causes your irritability and you can correct your sugar level accordingly.
  3. Automate your plan. If your trouble is not taking your medication on time (this could cause insulin distress), setup an alarm for your medication.
  4. Plan your meals. Plan out your meals ahead of time, by the ingredients you need when you need them, prep your ingredients ahead of time, and always have a set meal schedule. Eat healthy and regularly to keep your sugars in check.
  5. Seek out help. This is so important. There are so many resources out there for you to utilize. Go to your doctor, find a diabetes educator, go to a diabetes management class, seek out a therapist, keep a strong support network. If you feel like you have no one to talk to that understands you, you can try reaching out to me.

You are not alone in your diabetic journey. You always have someone to talk to. Take care of yourselves today. Remember to love yourself and don’t be too hard on yourself today. Safe journey and blessed be.

How to Have a Less Painful Insulin Injection

For all my lovely insulin dependents, are you scared of injecting your insulin tonight because the last one stung a lot? Are you having trouble finding the right place for injection? Have no fear, let me share with you what has helped me take on the fear of painful injections.

First of all, it doesn’t matter if you use a needle and vial or if you use a pen, if you’re dependent on insulin injections, you have to overcome the fear of the injection. If you’re on an insulin pump, I’m not sure if you’re lucky or not, I’d love to know what kind of experience that is to have an insulin pump attached to you at all times.

Before I continue, here is a .PDF file that answers some questions about injecting insulin that I think would be beneficial for all diabetics to know.

The best places to inject is your abdomen, thighs, arms, or buttocks. Injecting in to your abdomen has the quickest dispersal of insulin. You would choose sites 1-2 inches from your belly button in the fatty areas of your abdomen.

Injecting in to your arms and thighs are a slower dispersal of insulin. You should inject in to the fatty part behind the upper arm between the shoulder and elbow or the outer thigh 4 inches from the top of the leg and 4 inches from the knee.

Injecting in to your buttocks is the slowest dispersal of insulin. You should inject into the fatty tissue of the upper buttocks below the waist. Probably have someone you trust doing that.

Your goal is to aim for the fatty layers just under the skin. You need to use fresh needles with each injection to avoid painful injections. Your insulin should be at room temperature; cold insulin could cause a stinging when pushing down the plunger.

Before injecting, relax the muscles in the area you’re injecting in to. Pinch up as much skin and fat you can hold in your skin, then one rapid movement to penetrate the skin with the needle. A rapid penetration is less painful than slow-and-easy.

To help make it even less painful, use a short, thin needle. The thinner the needle, the better. You want to avoid long needles because it could penetrate in to the muscle. Injecting in to muscle is more painful and it could disperse the insulin too fast meaning the insulin won’t last as long as you need it to.

Another tip is rotating injection sites. DO NOT INJECT IN TO THE SAME LOCATION TWICE! This could lead to scarring and pain. Make sure there is at least half an inch distance between injection sites to avoid skin problems. Also, avoid scar tissue, moles, swelling or inflammation, and stretch marks. The thicker or tougher the skin, the more painful the injection. Rotating injection sites also helps the area heal nicer. Generally, you should inject in to the same area for at least 20 days so having 20 different sites in the same injection area is awesome!

To prevent insulin leakages after injection, pinch the skin before injection, rapidly penetrate the skin at a 45 degree angle, and release the pinched skin before you inject. After injection, leave the needle in for another 10 seconds before pulling the needle out, then place a clean finger on the injection site and apply a little pressure for 10 seconds.

As long as the insulin doesn’t come running out of the site like a little stream, you shouldn’t have to worry about replacing the insulin that was lost.

A last ditch tip to help minimize pain, you can use an ice cube to numb the area before you inject, just make sure the area is dry before injecting.

I hope this helps you with insulin injections. I know I still experience pain while injecting. Only just now I learned that a quick penetration is better than the slow-and-easy route I’ve been going. I probably should have known this because that is the way my pharmacist gives me the flu shot, like throwing a dart into my arm. The .PDF has illustrations for what areas to inject in to. For the last five months, I’ve been using my abdomen for injections but it has become so painful for me and I have so much stretch marks that I don’t have anymore places to inject so I have switched to using my thighs.


References

Diabetes In Control


Spread the Word

Did you like this post? Do you know someone that could benefit from it? Share it with your family and friends!

Follow the Young and Diabetic to get a free Diabetic Log download!

Use it to log your medication, blood sugar, exercise, and food every day.

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Want to see more from this blog? Take this survey to tell me what you want to learn more about!

Top 10 Food Swaps for Diabetics

One of the most important factors in diabetes management is food. You have to have some sort of idea how much sugar and carbs a certain food contains before you eat it because it could spike your blood sugar. Food is probably the only aspect in your life that affects your blood sugar that you can control. Here are some healthier alternatives to some of our favorites.


  1. Instead of mashed potatoes, try mashed cauliflower. Potatoes are full of starch and calories, they also have a high glycemic index. Cauliflower has a glycemic index of 15 putting it low on the blood-sugar-spike scale. If you use fresh cauliflower instead of frozen, you will have better results. You can still use frozen cauliflower, but it might be a little runnier than you’d want it to be.
  2. Instead of rice, make quinoa. Quinoa is a relative to spinach and beets, therefore it has the nutritional value akin to leafy vegetables. Quinoa also has high levels of minerals, fiber, and it is a complete protein with all 9 essential amino acids.
  3. Instead of buns or bread, use iceberg lettuce leaves. An average hamburger bun has about 20-25g of carbs, whereas iceberg lettuce is full of Vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, folate, and 19 amino acids, making it much more beneficial than a piece of bread. Iceberg lettuce is also low in calories, nutrient dense, and a good source of fiber.
  4. Instead of drinking sugary beverages, drink fruit-infused water. Fruit-infused water is low in sugar and calories, more hydrating, and very refreshing. It also helps to spruce up your daily water intake if you ever get tired of drinking just water all the time. I will do a post later of different combinations of infused water with some added benefits.
  5. Instead of using wheat flour, use almond flour. I’ll admit right out, almond flour is expensive. In my town at least, it’s cheaper to get almond flour in bulk than buy it packaged at the store. But here are the benefits, almond flour is much more nutritious, can reduce your LDL “bad” cholesterol, and improve insulin resistance. It’s also lower in carbs, higher in healthy fats and fiber, has a lower glycemic index and is gluten-free. My suggestion is to learn more about how almond flour is used before you bake with it, you won’t get the same results as wheat flour.
  6. Instead of using a large plate for food, use a smaller plate. Using a smaller plate helps with portion control and being able to control your portion sizes is very important. It can give the illusion of more food on a smaller plate tricking your brain into thinking you’re eating a lot of food. Another tip, slow down when you’re eating and enjoy your food. Make sure to thoroughly chew your food before slowing, it’ll make you feel fuller faster.
  7. Instead of eating cookies, candies, and chips, eat berries, nuts, seeds, and veggies. Cookies, candies, and chips are full of empty calories and carbs, whereas your healthier option has healthy carbs and proteins that will help keep your blood sugar spikes low.
  8. Instead of having little to no veggies on your plate, make sure more veggies make up half of your plate. Fill half your plate with veggies, 1/4 with protein and 1/4 with 100% whole grains to get a well-balanced meal. This will help you feel full and keeps your blood sugar more even.
  9. Instead of eating white potatoes, eat sweet potatoes. Frying white potatoes is high in unhealthy fats and oils, white potatoes are already full of carbs and have a high glycemic index. Sweet potatoes can be roasted or baked with olive oil and be a healthier option. Sweet potatoes also have a lower glycemic index and lower in calories and carbs.
  10. Instead of microwave popcorn, try stove-top popcorn. Microwave popcorn is high in trans fats, almost 5g. Stove-top popcorn may take a little longer, but it’s much healthier. It has less calories and it doesn’t come already pre-buttered, you can add however much you want to your popcorn. Also it’s cheaper than the organic microwave popcorn brands, they may be healthier altogether, but who wants to pay $6 per bag? That’s theater popcorn pricing!

Hopefully, all of these food swap options can give you some ideas for a healthier diet and hopefully it gets you out in to the internet or books to find even more swaps you can make! There are many other options out there, just do your research and consult your dietician to make your diet healthier and diabetic-friendly.


Spread the Word

Did you like this post? Do you know someone that could benefit from it? Share it with your family and friends!

Follow the Young and Diabetic to get a free Diabetic Log download!

Use it to log your medication, blood sugar, exercise, and food every day.

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Join 572 other followers

Want to see more from this blog? Take this survey to tell me what you want to learn more about!

Travel with Diabetes

As a diabetic, you need to be more prepared for traveling than others. There are more equipment and medications to pack and more steps to take before you are even ready to leave for your trip. This post mostly refers to type 2 diabetics, but some of these tips can transfer over for type 1 diabetics.


Before leaving on a road trip or vacation, remember to get a doctor’s note that includes a list of medication, monitoring and dispensing equipment, details on the need to carry supplies in your hand luggage as well as contact details for your diabetes care team.

Big tip: When you’re planning for a trip, make sure your destination has an in-room refrigerator for your insulin, if you take any.

Road Trip

BEFORE YOU LEAVE: Check your blood sugar, less than 100mg/dL -> have a snack (like a hard-boiled egg or orange), wait 15 mins then test again.

Stock the car with hard candies, crackers, and other fast-acting sugars within reach while driving. Add some substantial snacks (like cheese and crackers or trail mix).

If you’re on the road for an hour or more, check you blood sugar every 2-4 hours.

Once you get to your destination, place your insulin in the fridge.

Hypoglycemia – if you experience sweating, anxiety, and the shakes, pull over to the side of the road as quickly and safely as possible. Check your sugar and treat your low before you get back to driving.

Airport

  1. While planning for a long distance trip, make sure your destination has hospitals or pharmacies nearby. In case of emergency, if you’re in need of a hospital, extra supplies, or medication. Also take note of the time change so you can change the time on your equipment for better management.
  2. If you have an iPhone, make sure you setup/update your Medical ID. It should include the numbers for your doctors, medical condition, medication you’re on, and the contact information of any family members that know about your medical condition.
  3. Consider getting travel insurance. In case of medical emergency or cancellation, or lost, damaged, or stolen luggage. Especially if you’re storing your equipment in your checked luggage.
  4. Flying with diabetes supplies – As a precaution and in case of emergency, pack twice as many supplies than you think you need. In your carry on pack lancets, test strips, insulin, health insurance card, extra batteries for your monitor, contact information, oral medications, snacks and juice boxes, and glucose tablets.
  5. Get to the airport at least 3 hours before your flight. In case you run into any snags while checking in.
  6. TSA & Diabetes – Find out about the TSA’s guidelines for traveling with diabetes. You can get a TSA diabetes notification card or a letter from your endocrinologist.
  7. Tell the TSA officer about your diabetes supplies. You can’t remove your CGM or insulin pump.
  8. Keep your insulin cool while flying. Use a pouch or bag with an ice pack. There are some on Amazon that you can purchase for under $15.

Check your sugar before leaving for the airport, check again before boarding your flight, and once more when you’ve landed. If your flight is more than one hour, check every 2 to 4 hours as you think is needed. If you don’t have a designated disposal container, carry a ziplock bag or container with you for the used test strips and discard securely when able.

Arrival

When you arrive at your destination, here are a few tips to help keep your trip enjoyable.

  1. Avoid raw or undercooked seafood.
  2. Stay clear of food that’s been left out for long periods of time.
  3. Buy bottled water.
  4. Ask for your drinks without ice.

No one wants to spend their vacation on the toilet the whole time.

Remember no two people are the same. Some run high, some low. You know how your diabetes works so act accordingly to avoid medical emergencies.

If you have any more travel tips, please feel free to comment them below and share them with your fellow diabetics.


Spread the Word

Did you like this post? Do you know someone that could benefit from it? Share it with your family and friends!

Follow the Young and Diabetic to get a free Diabetic Log download!

Use it to log your medication, blood sugar, exercise, and food every day.

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

You are following this blog, along with 428 other amazing people (manage).

Want to see more from this blog? Take this survey to tell me what you want to learn more about!

Your Diabetes Care Team

When you get diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to establish referrals and contacts with other medical professionals that can help you manage your diabetes. This team of professionals will help you during your journey and will require multiple appointments throughout the year. Here are the professionals you should have on your team.

  1. Primary Care Physician (PCP): your family doctor may be the physician who diagnosed your diabetes. Your PCP can coordinate your healthcare team and even recommend diabetes specialists for you.
  2. Endocrinologist: this doctor specializes in treating diseases of the endocrine system, such as diabetes and thyroid problems. The endocrine system is the collection of glands that produce hormones that help regulate metabolism, sleep, and more, including the creation of insulin in the pancreas.
  3. Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE): a specially trained healthcare professional, such as a nurse, dietician, or pharmacist, who can counsel and educate people with diabetes. A diabetes educator helps you set achievable behavioral goals and helps you address your concerns and challenges. To find one in your area click here.
  4. Ophthalmologist: a doctor that monitors your eye health to look for any damage uncontrolled blood sugar may have done to your vision. Check ups are usually for at least once a year, maybe more depending on your condition. Diabetes can affect the blood vessels in the eye.
  5. Podiatrist: this doctor checks your feet for nerve damage or wounds. They treat feet and lower leg problems. Uncontrolled blood sugar can damage the nerves in your body and the podiatrist checks your feet once or twice a year to make sure you can still feel in your feet and there are no hidden wounds between your toes. Daily checks done by yourself can also help you notice if anything has gone amiss.
  6. Dentist: a dentist knows about oral care and is trained to take care of your teeth and gums. Diabetics are at greater risk of gum disease because of the high amounts of sugar in our body. Our mouths become the best place for bacteria to thrive. Check us with your dentist are recommended for every 6 months.
  7. Registered Dietician: an expert in nutrition (what food your particular body needs to stay healthy). They help you use what you eat and drink as tools for managing your blood glucose.

It is important to choose diabetes care team members who can provide the best level of support you want and help when you need it. But let’s not forget that just as much as you need a team of professionals for support, you also need the support of your family and friends. You’re not going through this alone.

If you ever need anyone to talk to, feel free to reach out to me. I’m not a professional, but I will be a friendly ear you can talk to. My inbox is always open.


References

Web MD
Diabetes.org
Health Monitor, Guide to Diabetes, p. 14.


Spread the Word

Did you like this post? Do you know someone that could benefit from it? Share it with your family and friends!

Follow the Young and Diabetic to get a free Diabetic Log download!

Use it to log your medication, blood sugar, exercise, and food every day.

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Join 572 other followers

Want to see more from this blog? Take this survey to tell me what you want to learn more about!

Diabetes and Pregnancy

This topic is important to my husband and I. One day, we would really love to welcome a child into our lives, but I have to make sure I am healthy enough to get pregnant. Here’s what I have been able to uncover so far.


During pregnancy, women who have type 2 diabetes may need to up their dosage of insulin, take different medication, or may not need to change anything at all. Women who don’t already have diabetes can develop gestational diabetes which can be controlled by diet and exercise and may need insulin injections. Usually gestational diabetes goes away after giving birth, but if it doesn’t go away it could develop into type 2 diabetes. Most women who have gestational diabetes can develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

Being diabetic and pregnant means you have to visit the doctor a few more times than other women, and that’s okay.

If diabetes isn’t controlled during pregnancy it could increase your chances for birth defects, macrosomia, miscarriage, and stillbirth for the baby. For mommy, it increases your chances of developing preeclampsia which could put baby and mommy in danger and the need to induce labor earlier than the due date will increase.

Macrosomia is when the baby is born bigger than normal. The high blood sugar of the mother is absorbed through the placenta and causes the baby’s pancreas to create more insulin to process the blood sugar. The extra sugar in the baby’s body gets converted to fat.

Preconception

When you’re diabetic, pregnancy comes with a whole bunch of complications and worries, but it’s not impossible to give birth with diabetes. To prepare for your pregnancy, it’s best to prepare far in the future. Some women may need six months or more to get their diabetes under control enough to conceive.

What goes into this preparation? You need to undergo a series of tests to check where your diabetes is at currently and how much needs to be changed to be ready to conceive, then you retake those tests until you’re ready to go. You need to speak to the members of your diabetic health team to go over those results and make the necessary changes. These changes can include a healthier diet, regular exercise, losing weight, and taking vitamins and supplements, such as folic acid.

Some tests you should undergo:

  • urinalysis – checks if there are any problems with your kidneys
  • blood tests – check your cholesterol, triglycerides, and kidney and liver function
  • eye exam – check for glaucoma, cataracts, and retinopathy
  • electrocardiogram – check your heart function
  • foot exam – check for nerve damage

You need to get your blood sugar levels close to range before and during pregnancy. High sugar levels can harm your baby during the first 4 to 8 weeks of pregnancy, even before you know you’re pregnant. The baby’s organs start developing during the first few weeks and are very vulnerable to high sugar levels.

You need to check your A1C, too. If your A1C is 10% or higher, you have a 1 in 5 chance of giving birth to a baby with a malformation such as a heart, kidney, brain, or spinal cord defect. Try to get your A1C down below 7% to lower the chances of a malformation in your baby.

Make sure your weight is within a healthy range as well. Being overweight or obese can cause complications in your diabetes, pregnancy, and may lead to other diseases.

Once everything looks good and you’ve spoken to your various doctors and a dietician, hopefully you are ready and able to conceive.

During Pregnancy

During your pregnancy, the biggest thing to remember is DO NOT STOP YOUR MEDICATION. It is much worse for you to stop your medications and have your blood sugar increase than to have a fear of your medication. There is no evidence as of yet that your medication could cause a malformation to your baby. Remember, none of the medication you’re on have been 100% proven to cause any harms.

If you do have any concerns about your medication and your baby, talk to your doctor before stopping your medication. Your doctor can work with you to figure something out to keep your sugar levels low throughout your pregnancy. Besides, your body changes multiple times during your pregnancy and you’ll be going back to your doctor throughout to keep everything in check and make sure you make the right changes at the right time.

Insulin injections will be your number one drug during pregnancy because the insulin doesn’t cross the placenta therefore does not cause any affects on your baby. With diabetes, you might also be put on oral medications to help overcome insulin resistance.

Make sure to meet with your dietician to make sure the diet you were on during your preconception is still the right diet to be on now that you are pregnant, most times it will be, but just double check to make sure. During the early part of pregnancy, blood sugar levels can decrease from your normal levels and you might not need all the medication or the low glycemic-index foods. Check with them to be sure.

During your first trimester, you don’t have to load up on calories. Morning sickness will probably get to you anyway.

Exercising will help you lower your stress levels, blood sugar levels, and might make labor easier for you. It doesn’t have to be intense, just enough to get your heart pumping and a little sweat to start. Obviously, avoid training for a marathon, contact sports, any exercise that raises your temperature too much, and heavy lifting. When in doubt, contact your doctor.

It’s natural to gain weight during your pregnancy. The goal is not to gain more than 25 to 30 pounds if you’re already at a healthy weight, and nothing more than 20 pounds if you’re overweight or obese. Studies have found that babies born to obese mothers tend to develop heart disease, asthma, or type 2 diabetes.

By your third trimester, your need for more insulin will increase. Your medication, diet, and exercise might need to be tweaked at this point. Your doctor might order you more tests and scans at this point to keep any eye on baby’s development, especially the size. Babies born from diabetic mothers tend to be larger than normal and that could be a concern at this stage. If the baby is big in size, it could complicate a vaginal delivery and might require a C-section. Your doctor might not want you to go on beyond 39 weeks.

Hopefully, delivery goes well and you and baby come out okay.

After Delivery

Ideally, you are lucky enough to go to a hospital with a good neonatal intensive care unit on hand in case your baby has some special needs that need monitoring after delivery. In case the baby is born prematurely, with low blood sugar, or any other need, the NICU should be able to take care of it.

After delivery, your insulin needs should decline, but you may be in danger of hypoglycemia. Two weeks after delivery, you should see your doctor for a checkup. Please note that insulin also doesn’t affect breast milk, so if you want to stay on insulin (if you weren’t on it before pregnancy) after delivery, you totally can. Breastfeeding is the best option, if you are able to produce enough or have the time to do so, it does take a lot of energy to breastfeed. There are many benefits for you and the baby, like it helps lower your blood sugar and it can lower the risk of the baby developing type 2 diabetes.

Postpartum depression is a serious condition for mothers and even moreso in diabetic mothers. If your “baby blues” don’t improve after two weeks, consult your doctor about meeting with a mental health professional. You don’t want to stress yourself out with your new responsibilities as a mother while also taking care of yourself. Sometimes it can be too much, please remember you don’t have to go through this alone. No one will think any less of your capabilities to be mother if you need to ask for help.

I’m not a professional, but if you ever want to talk to anyone, please know that you can always reach out to me and I will be a friendly, non-judgmental ear you can talk to.

Having diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t have a family of your own, it just means it’ll be a lot more work to have your family. If you really want a family, you’ll be able to go through it. Just know you are not alone.


Spread the Word

If you liked this article, spread the word and share it with your family and friends. Do you know someone who has diabetes or who is pregnant or trying to become pregnant? Share this article with them to help give them an idea of what to expect when they are expecting!


References

Center for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease
WebMD
Diabetes Forecast, May/June 2019, p. 44-49.