By Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N
Q I tested my blood this morning with my sister’s glucose monitor. It was 120. I have diabetes, right?
A A home monitor provides relatively accurate information about blood sugar levels, but is not precise enough to diagnose diabetes – that must be done in a doctor’s office. A fasting blood sugar level of 126 mg/dl or higher is considered a diabetic level, but must be repeated to confirm the results. If your blood sugar tests higher than normal, yet not high enough to be diabetes, you may have pre-diabetes. If this is the case, you may be able to avoid or delay its development by losing some weight and by increasing your physical activity. Please visit your doctor to check this out.
Q Can people with diabetes drink tomato juice?
A They sure can! Tomato juice contains very few carbohydrates (about 7 grams per 6 ounces) and shouldn’t affect your blood sugar level in any significant way unless you consume a large amount. Today’s diabetes meal plans are far more flexible than in the past. They allow individuals with diabetes to enjoy the foods they love as long as they are eaten in appropriate portion sizes. A dietitian can help you plan ways to add many of your favorite foods back into your day.
Q My father was just diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I purchased a few books for him, but he found them very technical and overwhelming. Can you suggest a book that is easy to understand?
A I have the perfect book! Your First Year with Diabetes uses humor and expert information to make learning about diabetes a breeze. It teaches you how to manage your diabetes day to day, week to week, and month to month. It was written by Theresa Garnero, a past AADE Diabetes Educator of the Year and…a stand-up comedian! The book is published by the American Diabetes Association. I think your father will enjoy it and will learn a great deal.
Q Can massage help my diabetes?
A Many people believe it can. A relaxing massage may help reduce stress, which is always a plus. Some studies suggest that massage can also improve blood sugar levels and lessen the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy (nerve problems). Massaging an injection site may also increase insulin absorption.
Q I struggle with food portions when I eat out at a restaurant. Is there an easy way to estimate serving sizes?
A Your hand is a measuring tool that goes with you everywhere you go. Here are a few ways to use it:
- Tip of the thumb to the first knuckle = 1 teaspoon
- Whole thumb up to the second knuckle = 1 Tablespoon
- The palm of your hand = 3 ounces of cooked meat
- Tight fist = ½ cup or 1 cup for a large hand
- Loose fist or open handful = 1 cup or approximately 1 ½ cups for a large hand
*This article originally appeared in 2009
**please consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diabetes regimen.