If you have a diabetes diagnosis, you know that focusing on diabetes management is crucial. It may be tempting to eat all the carbs you want, not worry about your diabetes supply levels, and forgo blood glucose tests for days on end. However, this isn’t in your best interest. Untreated diabetes can lead to severe complications, including organ damage and heart disease.
Diabetes management can be a hassle for even the most motivated person. Fortunately, there are ways to simplify this job (and significantly reduce your risk of burnout and diabetes distress along the way). Keep reading for 10 diabetes hacks you can use to make life with diabetes a bit easier.
Improve Your Diabetes Management with these Diabetes Hacks
1. Have Access to Snacks
No matter how careful you are about checking your glucose trends, a blood sugar low could catch you off-guard. But you don’t need to panic about this situation if you plan ahead. Taking fast-acting carbs with you is an excellent way to prevent hypoglycemia.
Is your blood glucose level under 80 mg/dL? If so, it’s time to act by consuming 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates. Foods and beverages that can deliver this dose of carbs include:
- A tablespoon of honey or sugar
- Three to four glucose tablets
- Five or six jelly beans
- A half-cup of juice or (non-diet) soda
- One glucose gel dose
2. Know How to Share Emergency Info
When people with diabetes face severe hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia, there’s a good chance they’ll need urgent care. Storing your emergency contact and health info on your smartphone is a great way to prepare for this possibility. But there’s a catch: emergency workers need a reliable way to access this information. You can’t unlock your phone for them if you’re in a diabetic coma, after all.
iPhone users can create a Medical ID that’s accessible from their phone’s lock screen. When you do this, first responders can find important information like your diabetes diagnosis and emergency contact info—even if you’re unconscious. The settings and contacts apps found in many Android phones offer similar features. Search for “emergency” on your Android’s settings app to get started.
3. Stay Hydrated All Day Long
If you have diabetes, your risk of dehydration is higher than average. Making matters worse, even being slightly dehydrated can trigger a blood sugar increase. Luckily, you can prevent dehydration by taking a water bottle with you and drinking from it regularly.
Preventing dehydration isn’t the only benefit that can come with using a water bottle. You might also find it easier to avoid overeating or indulging in sugary drinks.
4. Take Meal Planning Seriously
Everyone with diabetes understands the importance of following a diabetes diet. But like any diet, this can be hard to stick to over the long term. You can keep up with your diabetes diet by:
Planning meals ahead of time. Each week, take some time to think about your dietary needs and prepare meals that fit these requirements. By doing so, you’ll have healthy meals ready to go when you need them—and you’ll save time and money in the process.
Packing snacks the right way. Preparing snacks ahead of time is a great idea, too. While doing this, put your snacks in individual bags. Then, you can label these bags with each snack’s carbohydrate content.
Using a diabetes app. Today’s leading glucose monitoring apps go far beyond just giving you a place to record your blood sugar levels. Some of these apps can help you plan diabetes-friendly meals and analyze your current diet.
5. Know When You Need a Refill on Diabetes Supplies
Generally speaking, people with diabetes rely on multiple supplies as part of their diabetes management strategy. Do you use insulin, test strips, or oral medication? If so, you should take steps to reduce your risk of running out of these vital supplies.
One of the easiest ways to work towards this goal is using a rubber band to attach your prescription to your second-to-last supply package. When you open that package, be sure to call in a replacement order simultaneously.
The absolutely easiest method to never run out of supplies? Use ADS for all of your diabetes care. ADS ships 90-day’s supplies and will call or text you when it’s time to reorder. Easy peasy!
6. Make a Diabetes “Go Bag”
Between work, appointments, family matters, and everything else, it can feel like you’re in a rush every single day. Despite this, you can’t afford to ignore diabetes planning—no matter how busy you are.
Putting together a “go bag” filled with diabetes supplies will ensure you’re ready for what each day brings. This bag should include testing supplies, infusion sets, fast-acting carbs, and any other items you might need to manage diabetes.
7. Consider a CGM
Glucose testing can be a pain—literally and figuratively. Whenever it’s time to check your blood sugar, you need to stop what you’re doing to complete a time-consuming fingerprick test. On top of that, many people with diabetes have to perform these tests multiple times per day.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to eliminate fingerprick testing from your life. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t significantly reduce your traditional glucose testing requirements. When you start using a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system, you’ll receive real-time glucose readings from an unobtrusive sensor 24/7. And with many CGMs, checking your glucose level is as easy as opening an app on your smart device!
8. Use Technology to Your Advantage
CGMs aren’t the only technological development that can make diabetes management easier. Practically every smartphone on the market today offers reminder capabilities. These reminders can help you remember when it’s time to:
- Test your blood sugar
- Take medications
- Drink water
- Schedule healthcare appointments
- Reorder diabetes supplies
Some CGM systems can deliver reminders and notifications based on your current glucose readings. Even if you don’t have a system with this feature, you can keep track of diabetes management tasks by setting time-based reminders on your phone.
9. Make Exercise a Priority
Along with dietary changes, exercise is one of the most effective ways to manage diabetes. Working out can help you control your weight, reduce your blood pressure, and increase your “good” HDL cholesterol—just to name a few benefits. But if you’re just getting started, sticking to a new exercise regimen can be even more challenging than following a diabetes diet.
There’s no shortcut to getting more physically active, but a few things can help. For example, you could try:
- Starting slow. Easing into a workout routine won’t just help you adapt to this lifestyle change. You’ll also reduce your risk of burning out or getting injured.
- Finding a workout buddy. When you aren’t getting exercise alone, you’ll find it more enjoyable (and you’ll have an extra source of motivation).
- Doing what you can. If you have a jam-packed schedule, you won’t be able to work out every day. On truly hectic days, remember that some physical activity is better than none—even if that just means parking further away from the office than usual.
Starting slow. Easing into a workout routine won’t just help you adapt to this lifestyle change. You’ll also reduce your risk of burning out or getting injured.
10. Get Your Diabetes Supplies from ADS
Even if you follow all the diabetes hacks listed above, you’ll still need a trustworthy company for your diabetes supplies. At ADS, we carry all sorts of products—including CGM systems, diabetes testing supplies, glucose meters, and much more.