Summer Newsletter – Online Edition
Welcome to your Select Health Diabetes Management Newsletter. We’re here to bring you all the most up-to-date information on managing your diabetes, providing strategies to prevent diabetes from interfering with your life activities, and giving you helpful tips to live the healthiest life possible!
When you’re living with diabetes, it’s important to keep up to date on your screenings. A1c checks are crucial, but here are four other screenings you will want to review with your healthcare provider to make sure you’re keeping yourself safe.
Blood pressure measures the force your blood places on your arteries and veins. Diabetes is known to raise blood pressure, and high blood pressure could lead to heart disease, stroke, vision loss, or kidney disease. That’s why it’s important to get it checked regularly.
The target number for most patients is 140/90 mmHg, but your doctor will know your situation best, and may adjust this target accordingly.
Make sure to get your blood pressure checked at every time you visit your doctor.
Albumin-to-Creatine-Ratio (ACR) and Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR) are important urine and blood tests measuring kidney function. Because patients with diabetes often have higher blood sugar levels, this can put increased strain on the kidneys. To make sure your kidneys aren’t being damaged by high blood sugar, it’s important to have these tests performed at least once per year, though this may be more frequent if your doctor deems it necessary.
Because diabetes can lead to poor circulation and nerve damage in the feet, diabetics are at higher risk of infection and slow-healing wounds in their feet. That’s why it’s important to get your feet checked regularly.
Cholesterol blood test (lipid panel)
Diabetes tends to raise LDL (bad cholesterol) levels, which can cause fatty buildup inside your blood vessels. Get your blood tested regularly, and check with your doctor about the need for a statin medication to reduce blood cholesterol levels.
If you can get these four simple checks, you’ll be a long way towards living your healthiest life possible with diabetes.
Traveling with Diabetes
Don’t let diabetes hold you back from taking the trip of your dreams! With a little planning, you’ll be well on your way to a worry-free vacation.
Firstly, make sure to keep all of your medications in their original packaging with the original prescription label. If you are traveling to an extreme climate, make sure to keep your insulin between 36⁰ F and 86⁰ F. And don’t let time zones fool you – set an alarm so you take your insulin on schedule!
If you’re traveling by plane, train, or bus, you may need a letter from your physician in order to bring your medical supplies through security. Make sure to check with your doctor a week in advance if you do need a letter.
Let airport security know that you are diabetic, and if you have an insulin pump or CGM. Don’t put your pump through the x-ray machine!
Consider wearing a medical ID bracelet and carrying a “health passport.” Health passports should list your doctor, medications, pharmacy, and conditions, so that in the event of an emergency, you can receive prompt treatment.
Make sure to pack healthy snacks to keep your glucose level steady. And don’t forget to walk around frequently, to help balance all that snacking. As always, drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
If you want to learn more, check out the resources at American Diabetes Association or Intermountain Health’s Primary Children’s hospital.
Preparing for an Emergency with Diabetes
After the pandemic, we hardly need reminding that a disaster can strike at any moment. During an emergency, it may be three days before you or your family can return home, find temporary shelter, or have utilities restored. Medical care and pharmacies may be unavailable. That’s why it’s crucial you have access to food, water, and additional medication. The best way to ensure this is to have a 72-hour kit.
Tip: Keep unopened vials of insulin in the refrigerator. Once opened, the insulin can be used for 28 days so long as it is kept at room temperature (56⁰ F to 86⁰ F). Insulin can spoil if it is allowed to get too hot or too cold.
What should be in my 72-hour kit?
- A list of all your medical conditions and the medicines used to treat them.
- An insulated pouch or cooler, and ice for storage of insulin
- Glucometer and strips
- Glucose control medications
- Syringes, lancets, pen needles, alcohol wipes, and a plastic sharps container
- Urine ketone strips
- Emergency glucagon
- Extra batteries, cables, and supplies for your insulin pump and CGM (if you use one)
- Fast-acting carbs, such as fruit, hard candy, or glucose gels
- Protein-rich snacks like nuts or jerky
Your kit should be placed in a waterproof carrying case and stored within easy reach in the event of an emergency. Also make sure to have plenty of fresh water available by storing it ahead of time. Finally, make sure to update your kit each year and to replace any expired items.
Care ManagementWe all need a little help with our healthcare sometimes. That’s where Select Health’s Care Managers come in. They’re nurses and social workers, trained to help you meet your health goals.
They’re here when you need help with:
- Getting screenings and immunizations
- Coordinating care for a chronic condition
- Understanding your insurance benefits
- Or even just getting a ride to a clinic
Learn more about Select Health Care Management.
Want more information about diabetes? Check out the following resources to help you stay in the know.
Intermountain Health – Search for “diabetes” to find great answers to common topics.
American Diabetes Association – find recipes, helpful tips, community resources, and much more!
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases – This government resource can help you stay up to date on important guidance relating to diabetes from the National Institutes of Health.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – The CDC also has great guidance on managing, preventing, and caring for diabetes, along with helpful guides and recipes, as well as up to date science.
Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs
Looking for a healthy, delicious, diabetes-friendly recipe? Look no further! You and your family will love these sweet and tangy chicken skewers, which have no added sugar.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Splenda granulated sweetener or other sugar replacement
- 2 whole garlic cloves, minced
- 1 whole jalapeño, seeded and minced
- 1 medium red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1 knob ginger, peeled and minced
- 10oz fresh pineapple chunks
- 2 bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Marinate your chicken in a bag or bowl with the oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sweetener, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, and jalapeño. Rub the mixture into the chicken and make sure every piece is covered. Then refrigerate and let stand for at least 1 hour, but it’s better to leave it overnight.
- Soak your wooden skewers in water for at least thirty minutes before cooking.
- Then, remove your chicken from the marinade, and boil the marinade so that you can apply it to the skewers while they grill.
- Skewer your chicken, pineapples, bell peppers, and red onion, alternating ingredients as you see fit.
- On medium heat, grill the kebabs, rotating occasionally and brushing with marinade until fully cooked (usually 10-15 minutes).