Diabetes Q and A

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

Q When I inject, I sometimes get blood on my clothing. How can I get rid of these pesky blood stains?

A I went to the master herself, Heloise, for advice on how to solve this laundry problem. Here is what she suggests at“For clothes that you launder, soaking the bloodstained garment in cold water for about 30 minutes will usually remove it. However, if stains are visible, mix a bit of water with unseasoned meat tenderizer (which breaks down the protein in the blood) and apply to the area. If the garment can’t be laundered at home, take it to the dry cleaner right away and identify the stain. Let the professionals save the clothing.”

Q Why do people with diabetes have itchy skin?

A When blood sugar levels run high, the body produces more urine to help get rid of the excess glucose. This causes the body to become dehydrated and develop dry skin that may itch. Itching can also happen if high blood sugar levels irritate nerve endings, if a person has kidney problems, or if shingles are developing.

If your skin is dry, try not to scratch it and break the skin. That opens up the area to bacteria. Drink plenty of water and use a rich super fatted soap. Apply moisturizer after showering and moisturize your skin to prevent chapping when the weather gets cold.

Q I heard that chocolate is healthy. True?

A The flavonoids in dark chocolate may help lower blood pressure, improve insulin resistance, help vascular function, and increase glucose sensitivity. But the active ingredient is only found in dark chocolate. Milk chocolate doesn’t contain enough and white has none at all. The flavonoids in the cocoa give dark chocolate its bitter taste. If you do indulge, include your chocolates’ carbohydrate and calories amount in your meal plan.

Q I’m still working on my New Year’s resolution – to lose some weight. I heard that drinking water may help me reach my goal. Should I drink more?

A Drinking water can help you meet your weight loss goals. Here’s how:

  • Drink a glass of water before each meal. This can help you eat less, yet still feel full.
  • Drink a glass of water before grabbing a snack. Many people mistake the sensation of thirst for hunger.
  • A glass water of may satisfy these hunger pangs.
  • Don’t drink your calories! You can cut out a lot of unwanted calories, and encourage weight loss, just by switching to water.

Q My diabetes educator told me to test my blood two hours after a meal, but she didn’t say when the two hours actually begins? After I finish eating?

A I have my patients check their blood two hours after they take the first bite of their meal. Post-meal blood results really put you in the driver’s seat. They give you the information you need to help you make future meal decisions. For example:

Let’s say that you have spaghetti for dinner tonight. If your 2-hour post meal test result is higher than your target goal, you either consumed too large a portion of pasta, didn’t take enough diabetes medication to cover the meal, or need to exercise more during the day (which helps lower blood sugar levels). Most experts suggest the following post-meal targets:

  • For good control – less than 180 mg/dl
  • For better control – less than 160 mg/dl
  • For tight control – less than 140 mg/dl

* This article originally appeared in 2009
**please consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diabetes regimen.

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