Learning to eat well is an important part of managing your diabetes
Many people find sticking to a healthy diet tricky, even without diabetes. For people with diabetes, a nutritious diet means paying very careful attention to things like serving size, carbohydrates, and mealtimes.
- Read food labels. You can begin to understand how different foods will affect your blood sugar by reading their nutrition labels. Two key things to pay attention to are serving size and carbohydrates. For a helpful tool that lists the nutritional value of certain foods, you can use the food look-up tool on Cornerstones4Care® after signing up
Serving size shown is based the diet for an average male.
- Understand serving size. When looking at the serving size, be sure to compare the serving size to total servings. The sizes on the label may not be the same as those in your meal plan
- Examine fat content. Good fats (such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fish) can help protect your heart and lower cholesterol. Bad fats (like saturated and trans fats found in fast food, butter, and junk foods) raise cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease
- Look for healthier foods. Try choosing foods that have less refined sugar and simple carbohydrates. Keep in mind that a sugar-free product may have the same amount of carbohydrate grams as its standard version. A dietician can help you create a meal plan that includes more healthy options to fit your lifestyle
- Control portions. Check food labels to see the ideal portion size, as it could be less than you usually eat
- Balance carbohydrate intake with insulin needs. Your health care provider can help you understand how a food’s carbohydrate count can increase your blood sugar, and how much insulin you will need to balance that increase
- Keep track of meal and snack times. Your blood sugar may rise and fall throughout the day. The food you eat and the times you eat it work with your insulin treatment to keep your blood sugar stable
The importance of staying active
Staying active can be an important part of your daily routine to keep your blood sugar within your target range. When you are active, your cells become more sensitive to insulin so the insulin can work more efficiently. Exercising consistently can lower blood sugar and improve your A1C.
Exercise doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Activities like walking the dog, cleaning the house, and washing the car can be part of your exercise routine. How you choose to exercise is less important than finding a way to stay active regularly.
For example, you could:
- Lengthen your daily chores, like making several trips to the laundry room instead of one
- Replace a coffee break with going for a walk
- Walk around while on the phone instead of staying seated
- Use the stairs at work instead of the elevator
- Stretch while watching TV instead of lounging
- Park at the far end of a parking lot to get a longer walk
- Rake leaves in the yard or garden
For more support, talk with your health care provider, who can recommend good ways to stay active on a daily basis.
Check in before you start
In addition to helping you make decisions about your exercise routine, your health care provider can talk to you about the diabetes medicines and over-the-counter medications you take. Depending on your level of physical activity, you may need to change from one medicine to another or to adjust the amount you take.
Physical activity and low blood sugar
Sometimes exercise can cause low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia. It is a good idea to bring a snack or glucose tablets in case your blood sugar gets too low while being active.
Speak to your doctor about testing your blood sugar level to see how the physical activity affected your levels. As always, speak to your doctor if you’re concerned about low blood sugar.
Learn about the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia at Conerstones4Care.com.
Consider working with a diabetes educator
If you need more support than your doctor can provide, certified diabetes educators (CDEs) also can help you learn the ways of a diabetes-friendly lifestyle.
These educators can be nurses, dieticians, pharmacists, podiatrists, or other doctors. They can help you plan ways to fit your diabetes care into your life.
To locate a diabetes educator near you, visit the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) website and use their Find a Diabetes Educator tool.
Get inspired and build healthy habits through our custom toolsLearn about the free resources available from Cornerstones4Care®
What is Levemir® (insulin detemir [rDNA origin] injection)?
- Levemir® is a man-made insulin used to control high blood sugar in adults and children with diabetes mellitus.
- Levemir® is not meant for use to treat diabetic ketoacidosis.
Important Safety Information
Who should not take Levemir®?
Do not take Levemir® if:
- you have an allergy to Levemir® or any of the ingredients in Levemir®
Before taking Levemir®, tell your health care provider about all your medical conditions including, if you are:
Talk to your health care provider about how to manage low blood sugar.
How should I take Levemir®?
- Read the Instructions for Use and take exactly as directed.
- Know the type and strength of your insulin. Do not change your insulin type unless your health care provider tells you to.
- Check your blood sugar levels. Ask your health care provider what your blood sugar levels should be and when you should check them.
- Do not share needles, insulin pens, or syringes. You may give or get an infection from another person.
- Never inject Levemir® into a vein or muscle.
What should I avoid while taking Levemir®?
- Do not drive or operate heavy machinery, until you know how it affects you.
- Do not drink alcohol or use medicines that contain alcohol.
What are the possible side effects of Levemir®?
Serious side effects can lead to death, including:
Low blood sugar. Some signs and symptoms include:
- anxiety, irritability, mood changes, dizziness, sweating, confusion, and headache.
Your insulin dose may need to change because of:
- change in level of physical activity, weight gain or loss, increased stress, illness, or change in diet.
Other common side effects may include:
- reactions at the injection site, itching, rash, serious allergic reactions (whole body reactions), skin thickening or pits at the injection site (lipodystrophy), weight gain, swelling of your hands and feet and if taken with thiazolidinediones (TZDs) possible heart failure.
Get emergency medical help if you have:
- trouble breathing, shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, swelling of your face, tongue, or throat, sweating, extreme drowsiness, dizziness, or confusion.
Please click here for Levemir® Prescribing Information.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/safety/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Levemir® is a prescription medication.
If you need assistance with prescription drug costs, help may be available. Visit pparx.org or call 1-888-4PPA-NOW.