Diabetes Holiday Tips from Dr. Shomali
Diabetes presents most people with life-long challenges. Taking control of diabetes means you need to check your blood sugar (blood glucose), be mindful of what you eat, take medications, and stay as active as possible. Holiday times can really impact all of these areas. During the holidays, you may not be in your usual routine. If you are like many of my patients, you may not monitor your blood glucose as much; you may eat more sugary and fatty foods and you may miss your usual exercise activities.
Celebrate the occasion
The first thing I tell my patients is to celebrate the occasion. You have diabetes every day and the holiday season comes but once per year. Blood glucose that is a little higher than usual for a brief period of time would not have much adverse impact on your health. Of course, moderation is always best, and keep the celebration to a few days, not weeks.
While celebrating is important, I still want my patients to stay safe. The holiday season is not a time to skip checking your blood glucose. Readings consistently in the 200 to 300 mg/dL range (11 to 17 mmol/L) or higher are not safe and need to be taken care of. Make sure you have a plan from your medical team or diabetes educator of what to do if your blood glucose goes too high. Depending on your treatment plan, this could mean a temporary adjustment in your medications or insulin dose. It’s a good idea to counter a few extra carbs with a brisk walk.
One last word, on alcohol. The American Diabetes Association and Diabetes Canada recommend limiting alcohol to one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men. Keep in mind that alcohol in combination with some diabetes medications and insulin can increase the risk of having a low blood sugar reaction. If you drink sugary beverages with alcohol, high blood sugar may result. Because of this unpredictability, make sure you check your blood glucose more frequently during these times.
Happy Holidays to all! Wishing everyone good health and happiness in the new year.