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November 29, 1999

Meal Planning, Food and Diet

Question from Toronto, Ontario, Canada:

My mother has diabetes; she is 42 years old. Before that, she had diabetes but she recovered by controlling it, but this time it's high. I also don't know what type of diabetes she has. Please can you tell me what she can eat/drink to prevent the risk of getting into serious situations?

Answer:

It is not possible to tell from your description what type of diabetes your mother has. But whether she has type 1 diabetes or type 2, her needs for treatment and information are very much the same. She needs to keep returning to her doctor frequently until her blood sugars are under control. She needs to be testing her blood sugars daily to learn how her food choices effect her blood sugar and to guide her doctor in choosing and adjusting the doses of her medicine or medicines. She needs to obtain diabetes education to learn the skills for daily management of her condition. Part of this will involve learning the right food choices for her situation — for her preferences, body size, medications, and so on. Diabetes education is widely available in Canada and may be free or low in cost.

Your mother’s doctor and diabetes educators will be her consultants only. She is the one who will be managing her situation each day at home. That is why obtaining education as soon as possible is so important. The only “bad” diabetes is uncontrolled diabetes and the only “good” diabetes is a case that’s well controlled. Your mother’s health risk can be reduced dramatically by taking the steps now to learn how to control her blood sugars. She is lucky to have family members who will support her in taking care of her diabetes.

BB