Diabetes FAQ

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Diabetes FAQ

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What do I do if I accidentally missed or mixed up my insulins?

This is a common mistake. Once you realize you missed a dose of insulin or injected the wrong kind of insulin, check your blood sugar often and call Dr. Bains’ office for advice.

How do I manage diabetes when I don’t feel well?

When you are feeling ill and have Type 1 diabetes, be sure to check for urine ketondies and continue checking blood sugars before meals and bedtime. 

Blood sugars will typically be elevated when you don't feel well, but as long as your ketones are negative or trace, we don't recommend adding any extra insulin. If ketones are present, refer to your sick day management plan and call Dr. Bains’ office with any concerns.

What should my blood sugar level be?

Blood sugar levels change all the time and vary with each individual. The American Diabetes Association recommends the following: after fasting, your blood sugar should be between 80 and 120 mg/dl; before meals, it should be less than 140 mg/dl; and two hours after a meal, it should be less than 180 mg/dl.

How often should I check blood sugar level?

Blood sugar levels should be checked at least twice each day

If I have gestational diabetes, what should my blood sugar level be?

Your blood sugar level should be between 60 and 90 mg/dl when you have been fasting and less than 120 mg/dl two hours after a meal.

What are the symptoms of low blood sugar?

Signs include shaking, fast heartbeat, sweating, anxiety, dizziness, hunger, impaired vision, weakness/fatigue, headache and irritability.

What is hemoglobin A1C?

This is a type of blood test. A hemoglobin A1C percentage is important because it is the only way to know how well patients are controlling their diabetes over time. Based on blood tests taken over a period of two or three months, doctors can estimate patients' average blood sugar levels. The goal for most people with diabetes is an A1C of less than 7 percent. This is roughly equivalent to an average blood sugar level of about 150 mg/dl. An A1C of 9 percent indicates an average blood sugar level of about 210 mg/dl.

How do I properly treat a low blood sugar reaction? Should I eat a chocolate bar to bring my sugar back up?

Chocolate is not usually the best choice because the fat in it slows down the absorption of the sugar. Treat a low blood sugar reaction with some type of fast-acting sugar, such as glucose tabs, four ounces of juice, four ounces of nonfat milk or a half can of regular soda.

What foods should I avoid to help control my diabetes?

Foods with higher amounts of simple sugars should be avoided, such as fruit juice, regular soda, sport drinks, candies, sugar, brown sugar, honey, syrup, jelly and jams.

Can I reuse the lancets and syringes I use for insulin injections?

We recommend using new lancets and syringes for each injection. However, many people reuse their personal lancets for one week. This is acceptable as long as the lancet device is not shared with anyone else. In reusing the syringe, patients run the risk of insulin contamination. Therefore, every syringe should be discarded after use.

Do pituitary tumors spread to other parts of the body, like so many other tumors?

No, pituitary tumors are usually benign. They grow very slowly and do not spread to other parts of the body.

Can pituitary tumors be prevented through diet and exercise?

No, these tumors are caused by an abnormality in the genetic material of the pituitary cell, which causes the cells to continue growing and dividing.

How are pituitary tumors treated?

Some pituitary tumors can be controlled with medication. Others may require surgery of radiotherapy.

How do patients who have failure of their pituitary glands live without these hormones?

We have synthetic hormones that patients take either by mouth or injection to replace the missing hormones from the malfunctioning pituitary gland.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones gradually become thin and lose mass. This causes the bones to become frail and break more easily. Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease in America, affecting about 10 million people.

What causes osteoporosis?

The body is constantly replacing old bone with new bone, just like growing new hair and skin. Osteoporosis occurs when the body does not make enough new bone to replace the old or old bone is lost too fast for the body to replace it. A number of factors cause bones to begin thinning and become frail. As women become menopausal, they make less estrogen, the female hormone that helps keep bones strong. Other causes of osteoporosis may be a diet low in calcium or vitamin D, heavy steroid use and alcoholism.

How is osteoporosis prevented?

Preventing osteoporosis starts early in life with a good diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Frequent exercise also plays an important role since It increases bone strength and makes patients less likely to experience fractures or breaks. After menopause, some women may take estrogen supplements to help keep bones strong. Persons at risk for osteoporosis should be checked regularly by a doctor. When the disorder is discovered early through bone scans and x-rays, the doctor can suggest changes in diet, exercise and medications to keep bones healthy. Unfortunately, when osteoporosis is discovered as a result of a broken or fractured bone, it is too late to take preventive action.

What are the signs of osteoporosis?

Some people with osteoporosis experience no symptoms at all, while others may experience pain in the bones and muscles, particularly of the back. A person may experience fractures or broken bones (particularly of the hip and wrist) with very little to cause them. Some people develop humps in their upper back or experience shrinking height because of compression fractures in their backs. When symptoms are experienced, a person may have pain that comes on suddenly, does not radiate, gets worse when weight is put on the area, may be tender locally and generally begins to go away in a week. However, some pain may remain for three months or more.

Does everybody get osteoporosis as they get older?

Not everyone gets osteoporosis, but as we age, it is more likely that we will experience some osteoporosis. Besides age and gender, certain things will make osteoporosis more likely, including:

-       A family history of osteoporosis

-       Being less active

-       Not taking in enough calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D

-       Having your first period late and menopause early

-       Not bearing children

-       Drinking coffee or alcohol and smoking

-       Being Caucasian or Asian (Blacks and Hispanics have a higher bone mass than do Caucasians or Asians)


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