Diabetes care during a pandemic


Access to outpatient medical care may look a little different right now, but it is important not to neglect your diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes has significant health consequences including poor wound healing, kidney disease, nerve pain, insufficient blood flow or circulation that can lead to a serious heart and vascular condition, to name a few.
Most importantly, call your primary care provider to find out how he or she is providing disease management during this time of social distancing. Many offices are offering telehealth visits, as well as safe lab options so you and your provider can keep close tabs on your blood sugar control and be aware of any complications.

Tips to lower blood sugar at home

1. Always remember that carbohydrates should be reduced to moderation. Carbohydrates include sugary sweets as well as foods that your body converts to sugar. Here is a short list:  cereal, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit. These foods should be limited to 25 to 45 percent of your total daily calories. Healthy sources of low-cholesterol calories include proteins like chicken, fish, eggs, soy, low-fat milk and nuts. The brain needs carbohydrates to metabolize energy, so we don't recommend complete elimination from the diet. For more ideas and inspiration, check out the resources available through American Diabetic Association: Diabetes.org.

2. Limit eating frequency to three small-to-moderate sized meals a day. When we are home more, it is easy to snack out of boredom. Having more than three meals a day promotes weight gain and increased blood sugar. If your doctor has prescribed insulin with meals (as a type 2 diabetic), it is hard and perhaps even unsafe to take insulin with each snack between meals. One large meal a day is unhealthy as well and leads to calorie conservation rather than activating your metabolism or burning calories.

3. Move. A brisk walk outside or even inside around the house after a meal can directly lower post-postprandial (after meal) blood sugar elevation. Since spring is upon us, biking and yard work are other great ways to lower blood sugar after a meal.

Managing diabetes at the best of times can feel stressful. If you’re having a harder time now, call your health care provider. They may have suggestions or solutions to reduce your burden.

Julia Freeze, MD, is a primary care provider at Goshen Physicians Family Medicine. She practices general medicine for individuals of all ages and in all stages of life. Dr. Freeze places significant value on chronic disease management and preventive medicine in addition to being available to help her patients with more urgent needs.