Protect your body from diabetes complications

The holidays are already upon us. Just as you are planning for holiday get-togethers, sharing, parties and gifts, don’t forget to plan ahead to take care of your diabetes.

Planning and preparation are at least 50 percent of your diabetes management. As things get busier with more to do, be sure to stay on track with your diabetes management. Continuing your daily physical activity program is essential, and our weather is perfect for being outside and getting exercise.

If you see your blood sugars increasing, increase your duration of activity by 5-10 minutes daily. Use your exercise time to mentally organize yourself for upcoming activities and to increase your energy level.

Keeping blood sugars in control should be your #1 priority so you can thoroughly enjoy the holidays.

Take all medications as prescribed. If taking mealtime medication, be sure to have it ready to go when you leave your house. If traveling during the holidays, be sure to have your medications refilled in time so you don’t run out.

1. Plan meals with protein and plenty of vegetables.
2. Bring vegetable/dip platter or deviled eggs to parties and get-togethers.
3. Limit alcohol so you aren’t tempted to overeat.
4. Have sparkling flavored waters with lime/lemon on hand for guests and if needing something quick to take to a party.
5. Have a plan in place to limit the amount of food you eat
6. Have a protein snack before going to an event or party to satiate you. Never go to an event hungry.
7. Protein shakes or protein bars are handy to have available.
8. What is your plan for physical activity during the holidays? Being physically active every day will help balance the blood sugars.
9. Check your blood sugar frequently, at least daily, to be sure it is staying controlled.
Come January, let’s check in and be proud of keeping your blood sugars controlled. Start now to plan ahead.



Susan Smith, Ph.D., CDE, is a nationally Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a specialist in the field
of diabetes since 1988.

Since 2002 she has worked with patients individually through all of the internal medicine and family
practice providers at Visalia Medical Clinic.

Type 1 diabetes occurs most frequently in children and young adults, although it can occur at any age. Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5-10% of all diabetes in the United States. There does appear to be a genetic component to Type 1 diabetes, but the cause has yet to be identified.

Type 2 diabetes is much more common and accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes. Type 2 diabetes primarily affects adults, however recently Type 2 has begun developing in children. There is a strong correlation between Type 2 diabetes, physical inactivity and obesity. People with Type 2 diabetes may hear their condition described as “mild,” but Type 2 diabetes is not a “mild” medical condition.


Diabetes and foot care

Jeffrey Hagen, DPM, is Board-certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.  He is especially interested in running/athletic injuries, reconstructive foot and ankle surgery and prevention of diabetic complications.

Uncontrolled diabetes causes damage all over the body and can lead to nerve and circulatory damage to the feet and lower legs. In fact, about 73,000 amputations were performed in the U.S. in one year alone due to uncontrolled diabetes.

Dr. Hagen works closely with VMC’s certified diabetes educator Susan Smith, Ph.D. to help patients maintain healthy control of diabetes and avoid complications of the feet. Dr. Hagen is now accepting new patients.


What are the symptoms of diabetes?

  • Blurred vision
  • Unusual thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Slow-healing cuts
  • Unexplained tiredness
  • Rapid weight loss (Type 1 diabetes)
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Numbness or tingling in hands or feet

If you experience more than one of these symptoms, make an appointment with your primary care provider.

Symptoms may occur rapidly with Type 1 diabetes; however, with Type 2 diabetes the onset is more insidious and may not be noticed.

How is diabetes diagnosed?

Through a blood test measuring your blood glucose level. Usually these tests are repeated to confirm the diagnosis.

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, what should you do?

  • Request a referral to a certified diabetes educator and/or a dietitian
  • Obtain a prescription for a glucometer and testing supplies
  • Begin to make lifestyle changes
  • Begin an exercise program
  • Decrease portion size
  • Make healthy food choices
  • Limit your intake of concentrated sweets
  • Increase your fiber intake
  • Test your blood sugar at varying times of
    the day