By: Alyssa Vosecky, PHC, PharmD Candidate Class of 2017, The University of Iowa College of Pharmacy
Do you or a loved one live with diabetes? Diabetes is a very complicated disease state and it is much more than just checking your blood sugars. Those with diabetes can tell you there is an endless amount of work behind the scenes. Care can seem overwhelming, so let’s look at 3 quick simple things you can do from home to keep your diabetes in check.
Your feet take you everywhere! It is important to take care of them. Did you know that diabetes can harm your feet? As the sugar in your blood builds up it creates traffic in your blood stream. The sugar has a hard time squeezing through the smaller parts of your blood stream. This can result in damage to the blood stream and nerves leading to sores on and numbness in legs and feet.
What’s the big deal? With feet going numb, you may not feel things like a blister or a sharp object you stepped on. When blisters go unchecked, they can lead to sores that may become infected. A sharp object may also cause a sore or cause further damage to your foot.
What can I do? Check your feet every day. You can look at the tops of your feet to make sure there are no sores. When it comes to the bottoms of your feet, you can place a hand mirror on the floor and rotate your foot so that you can see all angles. Another helpful trick is to wear white socks. If you were to step on something or have a sore, it is easier to see blood or discharge on the white material.
- Blood sugars
You can log your own blood sugars at home. Most meters have the capability to record the time and date of each test. You may also use the old fashion pen and notebook. This data is very useful to not only to the providers, but to you!
What’s the big deal? Your blood sugars act as a tool to show us what your body has been doing to process your sugar. Being high or low can give doctors an idea of who to use your medication. Having the patterns and treads better guide your doctor to know what types of medications will work, how much to give, and what times of days to give the medication.
What can I do? Ask your local pharmacist to assist you in setting up the time and date on your meter. They can also show you how to view the stored data. Check with your doctor and see if they can check the numbers directly from your meter or if they need you to write down the numbers prior to appointments.
If you take insulin you know that injections can become routine. Most people find they have a few areas that work great for injecting insulin. While it may be easy to use that same easy to reach spot, it is important to rotate injection sites.
What’s the big deal? Insulin must be injected into our fat tissue for it to be used correctly. When you use one spot repeatedly it can cause scar tissue to build up and make your skin lumpy. Insulin does not like to be around scar tissue and won’t go to work in our bodies the right way. It may even cause the insulin to spray back out after injection so you don’t get your full dose.
What can I do? You can use the “pinch an inch” rule when injecting to help avoid getting the insulin into the muscle tissue. You have a whole belly of injection sites available to use. Make sure to stay at least 1 inch away from your belly button (see diagram below). You may rotate all the way around your belly button as if it were a clock face. You are not limited to the left and right of the belly button.