Top Questions Patients Ask Diabetes Educators
Some of you may have been referred to a diabetes educator at the time of your diabetes diagnosis or may have seen a diabetes educator along your journey with managing diabetes to brush up on the latest management tools/resources. A Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist is a great resource to help problem-solve your diabetes management.
What should I ask my diabetic educator?
Here are three of the top questions and answers that people with type 2 diabetes often ask their educator:
Q: What should my blood sugar be if I have diabetes?
A: The American Diabetes Association reviews the latest diabetes management research to update the recommendations for best health outcomes for a person with diabetes. The current recommendation is to have blood glucose (sugar) range of 80-130 mg/dl before meals and less than 180 mg/dl one to two hours after a meal. This range should place your A1c under in target which is 7 or below.
To help you know how your blood sugar is trending, you can check your blood sugar in pairs (paired checking). For instance, if you are seeing a blood sugar above 180mg/dl before dinner, you may want to check your blood sugar after lunch and before dinner for several days watching for any pattern in the readings. By having after lunch and before dinner information you will be able to see if it’s your lunch is keeping your blood sugar elevated until dinner time. This is information will guide you to make lifestyle adjustments so that your readings stay within the target range.
Q: Do I need to follow a special diet or just avoid sugar?
A: A healthy eating plan includes a variety of foods from each of the food groups. We don’t think of it as a “special diet” but more as an overall healthy eating plan. A great way to ensure you are following a balanced diet is to use the plate method. Using a 9-inch plate, fill half your plate with vegetables, one-quarter of the plate with a source of protein, and the last quarter of the plate with carbohydrates. The plate method also helps with portion control. Note that using a food label and simply avoiding foods that have a lot of grams of sugar is not a healthy eating plan for diabetes. On a food label, we are looking for total grams of carbohydrate (sugar grams are included in the total grams of carbohydrate).
Q: Can my diabetes be cured or reversed?
A: There is some great science-based evidence of placing type 2 diabetes into remission after following a low-fat, plant-based eating plan. Please note that this is not to be confused with your diabetes being “cured” or “reversed”. Once you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it will always be a part of your medical record and your blood sugars will need to be monitored but not as often. Remission does not happen for everyone and it’s important to know that type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition. Be open to making changes with your lifestyle choices and or diabetes medication. The bottom line to diabetes management is to obtain the number of blood sugar readings in the target range at least 70% of the time.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your diabetes?