Monday, November 29, 2010

Holidays and Diabetics

Below are some tips, that are not only good for diabetics, but for all of us. I hope they will help make your holidays healthier.

Holiday Help for Diabetics

1. Prepare a dish for the party - consider bringing your own festive, seasonal dish for everyone to enjoy. This will not only allow you to have a dish you know is within your diet but it also allows others to see just easily foods can be converted and still be delicious.

2. Drink in moderation. Alcohol and diabetes can be a dangerous mix if you aren't careful. Drinking on an empty stomach directly after administering insulin or shortly after taking glucose-lowering medications can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), a condition that can cause confusion, dizziness, or even loss of consciousness. (These are also symptoms of drinking too much.)

Be vigilant about only drinking with food to slow the absorption of alcohol, and be sure not to exceed the American Diabetes Association's recommended amounts of alcohol: one drink a day for women and two a day for men. Also, people with complications stemming from diabetes, such as neuropathy (nerve damage) and high triglycerides (fats that circulate in the blood), should speak with their doctor about whether they should abstain from alcohol altogether. Finally, if you're taking medications to control diabetes, check with your doctor or pharmacist about whether the two can be safely mixed.

3. Stress less. For some, the frenzy of the holidays causes stress. And stress, while harmful for healthy people, is particularly detrimental for those with diabetes. Hormones released in response to stress may inhibit the body's ability to produce insulin, which, in turn, causes blood-sugar levels to soar. Manage your anxiety by carving out time for a relaxing activity — something as simple as flipping through a magazine or taking a walk may be enough — and prioritizing your "to do" list so you don't take on too much at once.

4. Get enough exercise. The time constraints of the holidays can make squeezing in a workout a challenge. Still, getting regular and consistent exercise — a minimum of 20 minutes of cardio interval training or core exercises most days of the week — is especially important if you have diabetes. If you're really pressed for time, make several short bouts of activity the goal.

5. Monitor your condition. Making healthy eating decisions is important for weight loss and maintenance, but as a diabetic it's especially important to make other healthy choices to maintain your blood-sugar levels. As always, be sure to monitor your blood sugar — especially before and after a big holiday meal — to ensure it's in the optimal range.

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