Diabetes Q and A

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

Q I’m renewing my driver’s license soon. Can I list myself as an organ donor?

A You can under certain conditions. There are two types of donations – ones made while the donor is living, such as a kidney, and those made after a person has passed away. If you have diabetes, you are not permitted to donate an organ while you are alive. But all individuals can become donors, regardless of age, race or medical history, once they have passed away. The parts of the body that can be used depend on their condition at the time of death.Being an organ donor is an incredible act of love and generosity. Visit for more information. As a reminder, people with diabetes can donate blood as long as they have never used beef-derived insulin from 1980 or later. Contact your local blood donation center for details.

Q The holidays are coming. How do I deal with friends and relatives who don’t understand my food preferences?

A Communication is the key. Politely inquire about the menu before each event. This alone may initiate a helpful conversation. If nothing meets your needs, offer to bring a diabetes-friendly dish for all to enjoy. If the host refuses your help, eat a small meal at home and take just enough of the food at the party to keep your plate full. Being together is important, so don’t let diabetes keep you from enjoying time with loved ones.

Q I’m starting early. How can I keep my New Year’s Resolutions for this year?

A First, don’t try to keep a goal for an entire year – you will have more success if you break your goal into small, weekly challenges. To do this, use the Jump Start Pledge method, which I discuss in my book, DIABETES ON YOUR OWN TERMS. Here’s how you do it:

  • Choose a small and reasonable health behavior.
  • Pledge to do it for one week.
  • At the end of the week, renew it, change it to fit your needs better, or add an additional pledge.

Q What should I eat if I become sick?

A It’s a great idea to plan ahead. Here are some general rules to follow if you become ill:

  • Take your diabetes medicine as usual. Being sick is very stressful to your body and can raise you blood sugar level.
  • Monitor your blood sugar level every 4 hours.
  • If your blood sugar is running high, monitor your blood sugar for ketones. A positive ketone urine test means that your body is having difficulty using carbohydrates for energy. Contact your doctor and share these results.
  • Keep your carbohydrate intake as normal as possible. The following are foods that can help you do that:
    • 1/2 cup Non-diet soft drink – 15 g carbohydrate159668609
    • 1/2 cup fruit juice – 15 g
    • 1 cup milk – 12 g
    • 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream – 15 g
    • 1/2 cup cooked cereal – 15 g
    • 1/2 cup regular gelatin – 20 g
    • 1/2 cup sherbet – 30 g
    • 1 popsicle – 24 g
    • 1 tsp sugar – 4 g
    • 1 cup coffee, tea, bouillon, broth – 0 g
    • 1 cup thin creamy soup – 15 g
    • 1 cup thick chunky soup – 20 g
    • 1 cup cream soup made with water – 15 g
    • 1 cup cream soup made with milk – 27 g
    • 1/2 cup regular pudding – 30 g
    • 1/2 cup sugar-free pudding – 15 g
    • 1 cup plain or artificially sweetened yogurt – 17 g
    • 1 cup fruit flavored yogurt – 40-60 g

* This article originally appeared in 2007
**please consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diabetes regimen.

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