FAQs - Diabetes Management


Q: Which type of diabetes do I have?

A: You have one of three types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes
The body stops making insulin.
Without insulin to put blood sugar (glucose) into your cells for
energy, the glucose builds up in the blood causing high blood
sugar levels. Insulin injections are needed to bring blood sugar levels down to a healthy range.

Type 2 Diabetes
The body does not make enough insulin, or use the insulin well, or both.
Without enough insulin to put the glucose into your cells for
energy, the glucose builds up in the blood causing high blood
sugar levels. A person may require pills, insulin or other injectable medication to bring blood sugar levels down to a healthy range.

Gestational Diabetes
Diabetes that happens only during pregnancy.
There is a high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes in the future once you have had gestational diabetes. Make sure to have your blood sugar checked 6 to 8 weeks after delivery.

Q: I have diabetes. What should I be eating to control my blood sugar?

A: You should:

  • Eat three meals per day – no skipping meals!
  • Eat smaller portions of food
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Eat more whole grains
  • Healthy snacks should be 100 calories or less
  • Make an appointment with a dietician at South County health to learn more about healthy eating and to develop a plan

Q: I've just been diagnosed with diabetes. Will I need insulin?

A: People with Type 1 diabetes need insulin to lower blood sugar and keep it in a healthy range.

Sometimes people with Type 2 diabetes also need insulin as time goes on. This is because the body makes less insulin over time. This does not mean you are doing anything wrong or your diabetes is worsening.

If you’ve had diabetes for an extended length of time, your doctor may prescribe insulin to help maintain your blood sugar levels so you can feel better and stay healthy.

Your doctor may also prescribe insulin if you become sick, are very stressed or are planning to have surgery. This may be temporary as blood sugar can go up to unhealthy ranges when you are not feeling well. Once you are feeling better your doctor will evaluate the need for continuing insulin.

Q: How do I test my blood sugar at home?

A: The best way to tell if your blood sugars are high or low is with a blood sugar meter. You and your medical provider will decide when you need to check your blood sugar and how often it should be done.

Steps to checking blood sugar at home:

  1. Wash hands with soap and water
  2. Use a new lancet every time
  3. Use a new strip every time
  4. Prick side of finger to get drop of blood
  5. Apply drop of blood to strip
  6. Write your number down in your log book
  7. Use sharps bottle to dispose of lancet

Check your specific meter “Quick Start” Guide in your meter kit for steps.

Your readings will show you how food, activity, stress, illness and medications affect your blood sugar every day.

Q: What should my blood sugar numbers be?

A: Always discuss your personal blood sugar goals with your medical provider.

  • Before a meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) 80 mg/dl – 130 mg/dl
  • After a meal (1-2 hours after) Less than 180 mg/dl

Q: Why do I need medication?

A:

  • Medications help to lower blood sugar and keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range.
  • Medications need to be taken when directed by your medical provider. Forgetting to take your medications can cause your blood sugars to rise.
  • Some diabetes medications can be taken by mouth and others are injected.

Q: What do I do if I get sick?

A:

  • It is important that you continue to take your diabetes medications and continue to test your blood sugars, even when you are sick.
  • You may need to test your blood sugars more frequently to make sure that your blood sugar does not go too high or too low.
  • It is important to drink lots of fluids when you are sick.

Call your medical provider if:

  • Your blood sugar is less than 70 mg/dl or higher than 250 mg/dl for more than 2 blood sugar checks.
  • You are vomiting or unable to keep fluids down.
  • You are vomiting or have diarrhea for more than six hours.
  • You have a fever of 101°F or higher.
  • You have an illness lasting more than 24 hours.
  • You have severe pain in your stomach and/or chest pain and/or a hard time breathing. 

Q: Does South County Health offer a support group for those with diabetes?

A: Yes, South County Health offers free support groups for adults with diabetes quarterly, as well as their families. Members of the Hospital’s diabetes education team, including registered dietitians, nurses, and clinical exercise physiologists, lead our support groups. Join us for ongoing education. Come give and get support. Calendar of Events >

For more information on obtaining a physician referral and to set up a first appointment, call us at 401 788-1135.

You can also join the conversation online and receive support and ask questions through the American Diabetes Association's online message board.