November is National Diabetes Month, and with the holidays coming up quickly, it is a good time to talk about how to manage your diabetes or help loved ones with their healthcare through the season.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, an estimated 30.3 million people in the United States have diabetes. People with diabetes have elevated blood glucose levels, also known as blood sugar levels. Managing these higher blood glucose levels is critical for patients. However, while medication can sometimes help, diet and lifestyle choices factor heavily into patient care.
While a day or two of indulging will not do significant damage to a diabetic’s health if they generally address the condition correctly, the holiday season is full of temptations. Too much indulging can cause health problems. This is why it’s important to go into the holidays with a plan for your diabetes care. We recommend considering the following as you build out this plan:
- Maintain your eating schedule. With numerous and opulent food options seemingly available everywhere during the holidays, it’s more important than ever to try to stick to your regular eating schedule. If you can’t eat at your regular time, have a small, healthy snack to tide you over, and then eat less when you sit down to the meal. This will help to keep your blood sugar steady.
- Check your blood sugar often. If your usual schedule changes, take the time to check your blood sugar more often than you might otherwise. This is particularly important if you are driving or plan to adjust your insulin dose for different eating patterns. Checking your blood sugar more often will help to accommodate the changes to your work, eating, and exercise habits while controlling your blood sugar levels.
- Watch your alcohol consumption. If you are choosing to drink, try to limit the amount you consume. Don’t drink on an empty stomach - be aware of how much alcohol is safe for you. Remember that the recommendation for healthy individuals with diabetes is one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
- Choose healthy options and treats wisely. If you know you want to indulge in specific holiday treats or sweets, factor that into your carbohydrate intake for the day and pick other dining options that are not carb heavy, such as lean proteins, vegetables, and salad. Being smart about your food choices will allow you to enjoy the holiday sweets you love while still keeping your blood glucose levels in check.
These actions are great starting points for diabetes management. But depending on the severity of your diagnosis, additional action steps may be necessary as part of your holiday care plan. If you have any questions about managing your diabetes through the holidays, our team at Genesis Medical would be happy to assist you and answer your questions. Find your nearest location and contact us today!
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