Managing Diabetes FAQ

Why meet with a dietitian if I've been living with diabetes for years?

Within one year of beginning treatment with a Registered Dietitian, a study of 2,500 people with diabetes helped participants achieve between 7.9-9.4% weight loss. Those 65-74 years of age were the most successful, achieving healthy weight loss toward the higher end of results. Insulin dependent participants still acheived 7.4% weight loss.

The direct relationship between diet and diabetes management increases the value of individualized attention from a Registered Dietitian. According to the American Diabetes Association, Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) provided by a Registered Dietitian is important for improving your level of personalized care by managing existing diabetes and preventing or slowing the onset of diabetes related complications. If you'd like to know more about Registered Dietitians and what they do, check out this blog post!

What is the difference between a Nutritionist and a Registered Dietitian (RD)?

Registered Dietitians are even more regulated than Nutritionists, and their studies go several steps further. A Registered Dietitian will have:

  • Bachelor's degree with course work approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics accreditation council for education in nutrition and dietetics
  • Completed an accredited and supervised practice program at a health care facility, community agency, or food service corporation
  • Passed a national exam administered by the American Dietetic Association (ADA)
  • 75 hours required continuing education every 5 years
Check out this blog for more info!

How does exercise help manage diabetes?

Routine physical activity can do many things to help with diabetes, such as:

  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol
  • Improves the body's ability to use insulin
  • Helps weight loss
  • Reduces body fat
  • Gives you more energy

How often should I exercise with diabetes?

With Type 2 diabetes it is recommended to get around 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week, according to the American Diabetes Association. For many people this is much more than their current routine, so it is important to safely introduce more physical activity gradually, check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen. Also keep in mind that you can break the 30 minutes of exercise down to smaller intervals to make it more fitting to your schedule, for example working out three times a day for only 10 minutes at a time. Enjoy our FREE Workout Log to track your routine and progress!

What are some safe ways to introduce exercise into my daily routine?

First and foremost, make sure that you start slowly! You can increase your everyday movement with simple changes, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going for walks. When you are ready to take the next step, be sure to choose an activity that you enjoy! Aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching are all great ways to get more physical activity. Consider joining a group class or working out with a partner to hold you more accountable as well as for safety. Remember to always check your blood sugar and examine your feet for any cuts, sores or redness after excercising.

What should I do to take care of my feet?

Poor circulation, infections, and nerve damage in the feet are all complications of diabetes and can lead to some serious complications. However with the proper care people with diabetes can maintain healthy feet.

  • Examine your feet for cuts, sores, or redness daily. Consider asking a loved one to do this for you if you are unable to see your feet easily
  • Wash you feet and dry them fully
  • Visit a podiatrist regularly to have your toenails cut and your feet checked
    • We highly recommend this, as a podiatrist is very skilled in foot hygiene and nail care!
  • Avoid going barefoot, as this can leave your feet suseptible to injury

Is the pain in my feet related to high blood sugar?

This is likely, especially if you have battled high blood sugar levels for years and the pain has lasted for months. Some people find pain in their feet and legs decrease when blood sugars are brought closer to normal. It can even be painful for bed sheets to touch their feet. If you experience this, discuss your pain with your doctor or nurse. They may suggest placing a hoop over the end of the bed so the sheet is kept off of your feet, providing temporary relief until your blood sugar levels can be lowered.

Why wear diabetic shoes?

Footwear technology has advanced to provide not only protective, but attractive shoes for people with diabetes. Specialized shoes help reduce the risks of foot complications caused by poor circulation, high blood sugar, and loss of feeling (neuropathy). Styles vary from formal to casual, athletic to sandal-like, and laced to velcro so you don't have to trade style for comfort! America's Dietitians has selections of diabetic shoes, custom inserts, and socks to keep your feet looking and feeling great!