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Diabetes: A Caregiver's Checklist for Daily Care

Helping someone take care of her diabetes doesn't just make her feel better. It helps her avoid common diet, foot, and mouth problems. Use this checklist for top-notch daily care.

Daily Tasks for Diabetic People

Most people with diabetes already have their own daily routines. Some don’t need any help at all -- some need reminders and prompts. But if you’re a new caregiver or family member, these are good things for you to know.

  • She is in charge of keeping her blood sugar levels healthy. She might already be keeping a daily record of her blood glucose readings, medicine schedule, exercise, meals, and how she feels. She might be working with her doctor to look for patterns from month to month and let her doctor know about them.
  • When she wants to exercise, note that she should wait an hour or so after eating, when blood sugar is likely higher. It’s always a good idea to pack glucose tablets or a carbohydrate snack, plenty of water, and a diabetes ID tag or card when she exercises away from home. She should also check her blood glucose before, during, and after exercise.
  • Stress can affect her blood sugar. Some daily activities that might help her ease stress: walking, deep breathing exercises, gardening, meditation, listening to music, or working on a hobby.

If she has problems being able to do any of these things herself -- from monitoring blood sugar to taking medications -- you might be able to help.

Grooming

  • People with diabetes are more likely to have problems in their mouths -- like gum disease, fungus, and dry mouth. That's why mouth care is so important. They should brush with a soft-bristled brush after every meal, and floss at least once a day.
  • Ingrown toenails can lead to infection and other problems. Caregivers or family members can help check toenails once a week for swelling or signs of infection. Toenails should be trimmed with a nail clipper straight across and then smoothed with an emery board. Don't round off nail corners.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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Normal
70-130
High
131+

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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