No matter what medication is prescribed for diabetes management, a healthy eating plan is an important part of the treatment plan. Healthy meals are a balance of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, and healthy fats.
Eating regularly scheduled meals and snacks, as appropriate, will maintain blood glucose control. When taking insulin and some oral medications that can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), it is especially important not to skip meals and to monitor your blood sugar before periods of physical activity.
Blood glucose readings below 70 mg/dl are hypoglycemia and should be treated with a fast-acting carbohydrate. The only way to be sure you are experiencing hypoglycemia is to check your blood glucose level at the time symptoms occur. Common hypoglycemia symptoms include a rapid heart rate, shakiness, chills, sweating, anxiety, lightheadedness, and dizziness. The lower the blood sugar reading, the more pronounced the symptoms.
Treat hypoglycemia by consuming 15-20 grams of glucose or simple carbohydrate. Wait 15 minutes and recheck your blood glucose. If hypoglycemia continues, consume an additional 15-20 grams of carbohydrate. Once blood sugar returns to normal, eat a small snack if your regularly scheduled meal is more than an hour or two away.
Examples of simple carbohydrates to treat hypoglycemia include:
- Glucose tablets – follow package directions
- Gel tubes – follow package directions
- 4 ounces regular soda or fruit juice
- 2 tablespoons of raisins
- 8 ounces fat-free or low-fat milk