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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I treat a low blood sugar?

A: If your reading is below 70 mg/dl, have 15 grams of carbohydrate. If you cannot check your blood sugar right away, eat or drink 15 grams of carbohydrate just to be safe.


4 glucose tablets

½ cup fruit juice

1 tablespoon sugar, honey, or corn syrup

1 cup of Skim or 1% milk

15-gram tube of glucose gel

½ cup regular soda

3 sugar packets

5 LifeSavers

Wait 15 minutes and then check your blood sugar again. If it’s still low, or if you do not feel better, have another 15 grams of carbohydrate. Repeat these steps until your blood sugar is 70 mg/dl or above. If your next meal is 1 hour or more away, eat a snack. If you still have low blood sugar after three checks, call 911.

Many people over-treat when they have low blood sugar causing blood sugar to rise too high. Regularly over-treating a low blood sugar may make it harder to manage your weight. Portion-controlled glucose tablets can help you avoid over-treatment.

Q: How can I prevent amputations?

A: Evidence shows that long-term complications of diabetes, such as amputations, can be delayed or prevented with improved blood sugar control. You are giving yourself the best chance for good health by keeping your blood glucose near the normal range. Some of the problems are reversible or their progress can be slowed, if they are found and treated early. Regular examinations are needed.

Q: Do I have to take insulin shots to control my diabetes?

A: Not necessarily. Your treatment is based on what your body needs. Some people need to take medication right away. Others start treatment with a food plan and activity alone. Below are the diabetes treatment options.

  • Food and Activity Plan
  • Food and Activity Plan + Diabetes Pill
  • Food and Activity Plan + Diabetes Pill + Diabetes Pill/Injectable
  • Food and Activity Plan + Diabetes Pill(s)/Injectable + Insulin
  • Food and Activity Plan + Insulin

Over time, medications may be added or changed in your treatment plan. Diabetes medications include diabetes pills, a non-insulin injectable, and insulin injections. Each can help lower blood glucose levels.

Q: Should I soak my feet?

A: NO. Do not soak your feet, because soaking will dry your skin. Wash your feet daily in warm water. Before you put your feet into the water, test the temperature with your wrist or elbow to prevent burning your feet. Use a mild soap and rinse well. Gently dry your feet with a soft towel, making sure to dry between the toes. Cracks in the skin are places where infection can enter. To soften dry feet and keep the skin from cracking, use a mild cream or lotion, except between your toes where athletes foot often occurs. If your feet sweat a lot, lightly dust with foot powder. Wear socks that are mostly cotton and change them if they become damp.

Q: Do I have to give up my favorite foods?

A: You don’t have to give up all the foods you like, but you do need to follow some guidelines. Eating right helps keep your blood sugar within your target range and helps you maintain a healthy weight. A dietitian can help you make a meal plan that fits your needs. Your meal plan tells you when to eat your meals and snacks, what kinds of foods to eat, and how much food to eat.

  • Eat mostly complex carbohydrates like whole-grain breads and cereals, wild or brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, vegetables, dry beans and peas.
  • Eat low-fat protein foods like lean meat with all visible fat removed, poultry with skin removed, low-fat or nonfat dairy products, fish and plant proteins like beans, tofu and peanut butter.
  • Eat less fat and sugar. Cut back on butter, margarine, oil, cream, cheese, bacon, lunch meat, ice cream, and sweet bakery goods. Stay away from high-sugar foods such as regular sodas, Kool-Aid, candy bars, syrup, jams and jellies.
  • Learn portion sizes and eat until you feel satisfied, instead of very full. Try to eat your meals and snacks at about the same times each day and avoid skipping meals.