Diabetes Q and A
By Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N
Q Can the weather affect a person’s blood sugar control?
A Yes, it can. Some people find that they need an insulin increase in the winter and a decrease in the summer. We don’t know why this happens, but it may be related to the fact that some blood vessels dilate in warmer weather, which increases the delivery of glucose in the body. If your diabetes control seems to be related to changes in the weather, check your blood more frequently and work with your health care team to adjust your diabetes care plan to better meet your changing needs.
Q I wear an insulin pump and recently started having an embarrassing problem. —– shoots up to the 300’s. Why does this happen and what can I do about it?
A Any —– insulin or your blood sugar level may go high. Your pump infusion set may be moving out of place during your activity. If it is doing this, you won’t get the insulin that you need and your blood sugar level will go high. Try moving your infusion set to another area or secure it with special tape. Tape samples should have come with the pump supplies. If it didn’t, you can contact your pump company and order some.
Q School is starting again. Are there any special scholarships for students with diabetes?
A The childrenwithdiabetes.com website lists scholarships and financial aid information on its website. There aren’t a great number of options, but you may find an opportunity that fits you. Bayer Healthcare offers an annual college scholarship to incoming freshman who seek a higher education at an accredited four year university, college, technical or trade school. Check childrenwithdiabetes.com for additional information.
Q What is the carbohydrate content of whiskey?
A Whiskey, vodka, bourbon, gin, scotch and rum do not contain carbohydrates. But that doesn’t mean they should be consumed without care. Alcohol can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar levels. Studies showed that people with diabetes who ate food with a moderate amount of alcohol were able to limit the effect the alcohol had on their blood sugar level. Here are some ways to safely include alcohol in your life:
Eat something while consuming alcohol. The additional food helps blunt the hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) effect of the alcohol.
Don’t imbibe if your blood sugar level is low or you have a history of alcohol problems.
Limit your intake to a safe amount. The American Diabetes Association suggests that men with diabetes drink no more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day and women with diabetes consume no more than one drink per day. A serving of alcohol is approximately 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine or 1.5 oz of distilled spirits like whiskey and vodka.
Wear medical identification. Symptoms of low blood sugar often resemble drunkenness. If your blood sugar drops and you have alcohol on your breath, those around you may assume that you are intoxicated and won’t get you the medical assistance you require.
Discuss your use of alcohol with your health care team to see if it is an appropriate choice.
*This article originally appeared in 2008
**please consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diabetes regimen.