Diabetes Education and Resources
You may have learned you have diabetes during a visit with your primary care doctor. If so, you can continue to monitor your glucose working with the doctor who knows you best. But studies show you can achieve even better outcomes if you stay connected and informed by seeing a diabetes specialist for additional education and support. A certified diabetes educator will guide you and personally discuss diabetes-related health issues. ThedaCare offers individual and group diabetes education.
Meal Planning & Portioning
Watching what you eat is part of living with diabetes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite treats now and then. ThedaCare diabetes specialists will show you how to plan and balance great-tasting, nutritional meals and snacks. Once you learn to make smart meal planning a habit, you’ll enjoy the benefits of healthy eating.
The amount of insulin in your body and the carbohydrates you eat affect your blood sugar. To keep it in check, you’ll need to learn basics, such as how to count the carbohydrates in your meals and snacks. Your ideal range will vary.
Meal planning tips include:
- Eat three meals daily, four to five hours apart, and avoid skipping meals.
- Try to eat meals at around the same time each day.
- Select more high-fiber foods. Eat 25-30 grams of fiber per day.
- Learn to count carbohydrates, and keep carbohydrate intake consistent at each meal. Evenly distribute carbs throughout the day.
- Select healthful fats and avoid excess fat from animal sources.
- Read food labels and watch serving sizes.
- Use scales, measuring cups and spoons for accuracy.
- Develop a meal plan for sick days.
- Plan ahead for eating out and special events.
- Decrease your portion sizes by half, then try substituting more raw vegetables and some fresh fruit.
Diabetes & Exercise
Incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine is crucial for blood glucose management and overall health in patients with diabetes and pre-diabetes. Physical activity improves blood sugar control, reduces cardiovascular risk factors, positively impacts weight loss and overall mental wellbeing.
Insulin & Medication
If you have diabetes, you may take multiple pills, insulin therapy and glucose as needed. You might take medications several times a day. Like other aspects of life with diabetes, managing medications can be a balancing act. Your prescriptions will vary as your needs change. Staying connected and staying organized helps. Keep in touch with your doctor and your diabetes educators. Your ThedaCare diabetes educators will show you how to manage changing combinations of pills, insulin or therapies.
Blood Glucose Monitoring
Monitoring your blood sugar levels is part of managing diabetes. You may have to check your blood sugar levels up to four or more times a day. Convenient devices and improving technologies make it easier. Certified diabetes educators at ThedaCare will show you how to monitor and manage blood sugar using conventional glucose meters and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices. Making it easier to check blood sugar makes controlling diabetes easier, too.
High blood sugar (over 240 milligrams per deciliter) is called hyperglycemia. It is caused by too much food, too little medication, stress, illness or a decrease in regular activity. If insulin levels drop too low, you can develop diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) – a life-threatening medical emergency.
Low blood sugar (below 80 milligrams per deciliter) is called hypoglycemia. It can be caused by too much medication, skipping a meal, too much exercise, or drinking alcohol.
A hormone that helps your body use glucose (sugar) for energy. When you have diabetes, your body may not make enough insulin. You may need insulin injections.
Insulin Administration with Syringe
Insulin Administration with a Pen Device
Big things start small. Portion control. A 15- to 30-minute daily walk. A meal plan that’s made in advance. Taking new medications, giving yourself shots or getting familiar with a new app to track your blood sugar. You can start your journey with the best of intentions. Over time, however, little things can get bigger fast – especially when daily life, work demands, health or family needs conflict. A motivational interview with a diabetes educator makes it all work. This may be one of your smartest short-term steps to long-term success in managing diabetes.
If you have prediabetes consider it a wake-up call. It’s an early warning of diabetes, plus an opportunity to get back on track. If you have it, your blood sugar is high, but not yet high enough for a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. With prediabetes, you’re likely to develop Type 2 diabetes within about 10 years. Diabetes education and action can change that.
If you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, ask your provider for a referral for prediabetes education with a registered dietitian.
Diabetic Wounds & Complications
Small cuts, high blood pressure, numbness or other symptoms can be signs of trouble. When you have diabetes, you’re at risk for serious health problems. Complications endanger your vision, limbs, brain, heart and other organs. They can even threaten your life.
The diabetes specialists at ThedaCare will show you how to control blood sugar imbalances that cause complications. Education, expertise and proactive changes help you avoid problems and stay healthy.
Complications of diabetes include:
- Eye problems – including damage to the blood vessels in the eyes (retinopathy), high pressure in the eye (glaucoma), and clouding of the eye’s lens (a cataract). Eye problems can eventually lead to irreversible blindness.
- Tooth and gum problems (periodontal disease) – causing loss of teeth and bone.
- Heart and vascular problems – including trouble with circulation and blood pressure which can lead to heart attack or stroke, or a need for amputation of a limb.
- Problems with sexual function – leading to erectile dysfunction in men and sexual discomfort in women.
- Kidney disease (nephropathy) – eventually leading to kidney failure, which may require dialysis or kidney transplant.
- Nerve problems (neuropathy) – causing pain or loss of feeling in your feet and other parts of your body, potentially leading to an amputation of a limb.
- Wounds and skin problems – including sores or infections that are difficult to heal, possibly leading to loss of toes, feet or limbs.
- Foot problems – caused by nerve injury that leads to serious ulcers.
The good news is you can control diabetes before injuries happen. Awareness, expert guidance and watching for signs of trouble will help improve outcomes.
If you need extra support, your educator can find out about home care specialists who can come into your home and assist you.
In addition to personal care, ThedaCare can help with medical and other supplies. You can find specialized footwear, socks, bandages and other supplies at our ThedaCare At Home stores.
Diabetes Education Services and Support Group
ThedaCare diabetes care starts with diabetes education. Ask your primary care provider for a referral.
Schedule your appointment today:
Don’t have a primary care doctor at ThedaCare? Start here:
ThedaCare offers a support group in Berlin so you can learn more about your diabetes and meet others that understand your disease.
After you’ve registered, download our ThedaCare diabetes education questionnaire. Fill it out, and bring it to your first class.
As a reminder, ThedaCare diabetes care starts with a referral from your provider.