Diabetes Q and A

By Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N

Q. I received a health club membership for Christmas, but can’t stand going. There are too many people for too few pieces of equipment. Any ideas?

A Some people find the health club scene energizing, while others prefer to work out in a less populated environment. Most clubs report a quick drop in attendance shortly after January has ended. Right after New Year’s, classes fill up with folks who have made exercise resolutions, but quit shortly after. Wait until the crowds die down- then go. If you still feel uncomfortable, have one of the club’s personal trainers design a safe workout routine for you to do at home on your own equipment.

Q A friend told me about a diabetes quilt display. Have you heard about it?

A The display is the Quilt for Life collection, and it is extraordinary! It is the project of and is made up of about 600 quilts designed by children and adults with type 1 diabetes. The display travels to numerous conferences each year. Visit to view the quilts. If you wish, create your own quilt to add to the collection; entry guidelines are posted on the website. Many view diabetes as a disease that affects a large group of faceless individuals. These quilts remind all who see them that people with diabetes are unique individuals with dreams, goals, and strong hopes for a cure.

Q Can stress affect my blood sugars?

A Stress can play games with your blood sugar level – it may raise or lower it. It will also affect long-term health if it causes a person to ignore his or her diabetes care. Signs of stress include:82556873

  • Headaches
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Tight jaw or neck muscles
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Feelings of anger

To help reduce your stress level, try the following:

  • Join a support group
  • Take frequent work breaks
  • Participate in regular physical activity
  • Listen to relaxing music
  • Begin a hobby
  • Ask for help with challenging tasks
  • Plan fun activities with friends and loved ones
  • Meditate or do yoga
  • Set realistic goals – don’t sweat the small stuff!
  • Share your feelings with a friend or qualified mental health professional

Read the book Diabetes Burnout by Bill Polonsky, PhD, CDE. It discusses diabetes-related stress and offers many ways to help cope with these feelings.

Q I’m scheduled to go for a drug screening as part of a job application. I heard that poppy seeds can cause you to have a positive result for opium use, so I’m avoiding them. Can my insulin affect my results too?

A Companies that use pre-employment drug tests are concerned about the use of illegal drugs such as amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, marijuana, and heroin. Having insulin in your body will not affect the results of these tests.

Q I take insulin before every meal. I test my blood at the table then inject the amount I need even if I’m at a restaurant. Do other people do this or do they usually go into the restroom to inject their shot?

A Many people have discussed their public diabetes care behaviors with me. Some remain at the table and discretely inject into their skin or right through their clothing, which is safe to do. (Using an insulin pen makes public injections so much easier!) A few head to the rest room and are fine with that, and a large number go to the rest room but resent it immensely. We all seem to have different ideas about how to handle our diabetes care. If you are comfortable with the actions you take, you’re doing the right thing for you.

*This article originally appeared in 2008
**please consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diabetes regimen.

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