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Romance

 

Dating and Diabetes

You landed the date. Nabbed a reservation at a nice restaurant. Even wore that fancy shirt that looks great but sort of itches. You’ve thought of everything—except how to divulge your diabetes.

If you’re stressing about when to tell your date about your diabetes (or whether you should keep it a secret after all), take heart. There’s no rule book you don’t know about.

Your comfort level, your date, and a dozen other factors will influence how and when you tell. Still, there are some guidelines you can follow to determine what’s right for you. Read on for tips that’ll help you transition from “Nice to meet you” to “I have diabetes.”

Making It Work

Here is what Kelly has done to best support her health and her relationship over the past 10 months.
Be honest. Kelly has been very honest about her food, exercise, and lifestyle needs to remain healthy. When her sugar levels were a bit elevated after big meals at relatives’ homes, she and her boyfriend, Joe, adjusted accordingly, and Joe was able to speak about portion sizes with relatives. He believes that being open and honest initially about topics that affect you is key to any relationship, and diabetes is no exception.

Teach with patience and love.  Joe liked Kelly’s method of teaching him her processes for maintaining her diabetes. She kindly asked him, “Hey, do you want to learn xyz?” and engaged him in different tasks if he felt comfortable. She taught him how to set up the glucagon pen with an old one (not to worry—it was properly disposed of and not used on her). Essentially, you don’t have to teach that person everything at once. But ultimately, if this person is someone you spend a lot of time with and want to spend the rest of your life with, it is important to determine if you can handle what it takes for
a healthy future.

Patience, patience, patience. Joe cannot tell you how many times Kelly will share a reading with him, and she will ask, “Is that good?” She is the calmest person he has ever met, including when he sees her calmly explain to him how this affects her. Patience is key as your significant other gets a handle on your diabetes.

Take care of yourself. Kelly continues to go to the gym, notes her infusion set changes in her phone, and monitors her blood glucose levels. Her self-care habits are inspiring, and her example has helped Joe to lose weight. As a result, he feels healthier and more confident, and the chain reaction continues to ripple through all elements of their relationship.

Ask for help. It was very helpful when Kelly told Joe about eating habits she wanted his help to improve, such as consuming more fruits and vegetables. Her confidence in him for support has improved the relationship significantly.

Here is what has helped Joe help Kelly manage her diabetes and strengthen their relationship:

Ask questions. You get educated, your worries are eased, and it shows that you care.

Get involved. Joe exercises and encourages Kelly to exercise. They’ll go to the gym together. He eat s well and encourages Kelly to eat well. They go shopping and he’ll fill their grocery cart with foods that her nutritionist recommends. To get involved, you have to be aware of the unique needs of your significant other, so once again, ask questions to see how that person would best like you to get involved.

 Diabetes and dating means doable.

To Tell or Not to Tell

The biggest concern most people with diabetes have is that a date will stop liking them once diabetes is in the picture. Generally, most people are more concerned about that than is reasonable. Which is to say, your date probably won’t be freaking out as much as you are when you mention your diabetes.

True, there’s always a chance you’ll be dumped because of your diabetes, but that’s not likely. And if it does happen, ask yourself: Do I really want to date someone like that? You might meet a person in your life who may be turned off or freaked out about your diabetes, and that might break your heart. It’s going to be a tiny, tiny portion of all the people you’re going to see in your life.

We often project our own feelings about diabetes onto the person we’re dating. If you see diabetes as something to be ashamed of, or if you see yourself as somehow deficient simply because of your diabetes, you may expect others to treat you accordingly. The goal, then, is to work through those feelings until you accept your disease and understand that diabetes doesn’t make you less worthy of love.

In the end, whether you tell a date about your diabetes is up to you. If you’re more comfortable keeping it to yourself, that’s your choice and it’s a valid one. But keeping secret something that affects every aspect of your life may cause problems as your relationship develops. This is especially true if you have type 1 diabetes because it’s harder to hide insulin injections or a pump, and you’re more likely to need to treat lows.

If you’re in a serious relationship, your significant other should be told. To leave your significant other out of that doesn’t lead to an honest relationship. Not only will you be hiding who you really are from someone you’ll increasingly spend more time with, but the lengths you’ll have to go to in order to hide your diabetes can be tiring and cause stress.

The Timing’s Right

There’s no right or wrong time to tell someone about your diabetes, but earlier is generally better. That doesn’t mean you need to reveal it during introductions or even on your first date, but the longer you wait, the harder it will be.

If you wait very long to tell someone, you run the risk of your significant other believing you didn’t have enough trust in them to tell about your diabetes.

Plus, you might devote a great deal of time to a relationship that you wouldn’t want to pursue if your significant other isn’t supportive. Kelly from the story above said that, “My diabetes is such a big part of my life.” It used to take him about five dates to make sure she liked a man enough to talk about her type 1 diabetes. She said, “I want somebody that’s supportive. If somebody gets concerned or scared, that’s a red flag.”

How soon is too soon to tell all? That’s a matter of individual preference. It’s like talking about exes or your previous relationships. You don’t want to give too much information too soon.

 

No Big Deal

Diabetes is a part of who you are, but it’s not who you are, so there’s no need to make a huge deal about it when you decide to broach the subject with your date. Sometimes what you do on your date, such as going out to dinner, will open a window for you to discuss diabetes.

“I didn’t really plan it out, how I did it,” says Kelly. “I said, ‘Oh, by the way, I’m diabetic. I don’t know if you’ve seen me doing this. That’s me checking my blood sugar and giving insulin.’ ” Turns out, Joe, hadn’t noticed her meter or insulin pump but asked her all about his diabetes when she mentioned it.

Remember, your date doesn’t need to know the inner workings of your glucose meter or exactly how to count carbohydrates right off the bat. Simply mentioning it—that diabetes is time consuming but treatable, for instance—will get the ball rolling. Once you mention that you have diabetes, the pressure’s going to be off. Things will come up naturally.

Couple’s Diabetes

Does dating (or marrying) someone with diabetes make for smoother sailing?

One of the advantages of a diabetic couple is that, in day-to-day life, that’s a topic that comes up often.

Your diabetes management may not work for your significant other—and that can cause problems. You may exercise for an hour a day while your partner barely fits in a workout. You have to respect that and just move on. Everyone has a different philosophy.

Crucial Details

Even if you plan to share the bare minimum about your disease, there’s some basic information your significant other should know. Anyone with whom you plan to spend a great deal of time should know about hypoglycemia and its warning signs—and not just because you might get a bit cranky when low. Understanding how to treat a low and what to do in an emergency is important for partners of people with diabetes. Plangetis learned how to give glucagon by practicing with a pillow and one of Dallas’s expired kits.

Teaching a boyfriend or girlfriend how to handle a diabetes crisis isn’t just for those on insulin. That can also apply to diabetes with pills.

 

Information Overload

Think about how long you’ve had to get used to the day-to-day tasks of diabetes. Springing everything you know about diabetes on someone who may have no prior knowledge of the disease can overwhelm him or her.

The best thing to do is take the lead of the other person. If they ask questions and seem to want information, then you can give them all the information they want. If they don’t fire away with questions, it may be a sign you need to move more slowly in sharing aspects of your diabetes.

 

On the Same Page

Consider how involved you’d like your boyfriend or girlfriend to be in your diabetes management. Do you want him or her to avoid the topic completely? Are you looking for someone to push you toward your goals? There’s no right or wrong answer—it’s your diabetes so it’s your choice.

But keep in mind: Your date isn’t a mind reader. If you want the person to avoid foods you can’t eat, or if you need to be held to your exercise goals, you’ll need to spell it out. That’s what Kelly did for his boyfriend  She told him ‘Help me out. My weakness is I have a big sweet tooth.’ She said, “If he’s too intrusive, I’ll tell him.”

As two people become serious, it’s natural for diabetes to play a bigger role in the relationship. The size of that role is up to you, but many people consider their significant other a partner in their own diabetes. “I wanted him to be as supportive and as involved as possible,” Kelly says. “I treat him as if he has diabetes.” The burden is lighter now that they share it.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I made Kelly and Joe up.

 

Marriage and Diabetes 

They said that the first year of marriage is often the hardest. Learning to live as a pair and work as a team when diabetes is in the picture often requires some adjustments, even for the longest-term couples. Here are some tips:

1. Unite as a Team

After planning a wedding and celebrating the big day, then coming back down to Earth, you may find that you have neglected parts of your relationship. Starting off as a married couple means investing in togetherness—even when it comes to tackling diabetes. When one partner is removed from the other’s disease management, it can get in the way of a team approach and healthy relationship.

2. Be Aware of Care

Your partner should not be left in the dark about your diabetes management. For example, Dylan Hardwood-Sanchez, 35 of Virginia, has been married to her husband, Diego, for 2 years. She was diagnosed with  type 1 diabetes as a child. She manages it properly by following a healthy diet. It’s up to the person with diabetes to educate their partner in the care of their health. If a partner is willing to attend an educational program or [a] session with a diabetes counselor, that would be a huge step forward for the couple.

 

3. Have Patience.

Vicki Palermo, late 30s, of , has been living with type 1 diabetes since she was a child. Her husband, Sam Robinson, doesn’t have diabetes, so his learning curve has been a bit steeper (the couple has been together since 2020 and married in 2030). “Life with diabetes, or a new life with a loved one with diabetes, is like learning a new language,” Robinson says. “There are lots of new terms, new tools, different meanings, and jargon to learn.” Sam read all kinds of things about diabetes, but that was only part of the story.” His cousin, Maria also had type 1 diabetes. Talking about expectations for both partners, as well as any assumptions either might have, has helped the couple navigate life together.

 

4. Set Some Rules

Katie Marceau, a book editor, said that she and her husband, TJ set ground rules for how they would manage her type 1 diabetes as a shared responsibility. When TJ thinks she’s low, he has permission to tell her to check her blood glucose, no questions asked, and Katie will comply. But they also have boundaries. There is a risk for the partner without diabetes to become the “diabetes police,” over-managing the spouse’s health—and likely frustrating both. Allow people with diabetes to make their own decisions about their diabetes management. It’s important that the person without diabetes … be flexible and understanding.

5. Safeguard Reproductive Health and Pleasure

Problems with blood glucose control can affect intimacy in the bedroom, too. Men with diabetes, especially those with poor glucose control, can develop erectile dysfunction. Women with diabetes who are trying to get pregnant should aim for excellent glucose control—an A1C as close to normal as possible—and should have their thyroid function tested before trying to conceive. Women may face urinary tract infections, experience pain during intercourse, or require additional time to become aroused. If your spouse begins to have sexual issues, don’t take them personally. There are effective treatments. Talk to your health care provider about what may work for you and your spouse. And if one doesn’t work, try another. Intimacy is a very important area of your life together. You don’t have to say farewell to it just because one or both of you have diabetes.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I made those people up.

Carbohydrates

Carb counting and diabetes:

Carbohydrates are the main kind of food that raises blood sugar levels.  That’s why it’s important to be aware of the amount of carbohydrates you eat.  Simple carbohydrates, or sugar, will begin to raise blood sugar very soon after you eat them. Complex carbohydrates, or starchy foods, take longer for the body to change into sugar but will eventually be changed completely to sugar. Protein and fat have little effect on blood sugar levels.

Carbohydrate (or “carb”) counting can help you:

  • Manage your blood sugar
  • Be more flexible in your choice of foods and at mealtimes
  • Eat more foods that you enjoy

 

To count carbs, you need to:

  • Know which foods contain carbs and find out how many
  • Read food labels and use measuring tools, such as measuring cups, spoons, or a food scale
  • Work with your diabetes care team to decide how to divide your carbs among your meals and snacks

 

Many foods contain carbs. The foods that contain the most carbs are:

  • Starches–all bread, cereal, crackers, grains, rice, pasta
  • Starchy vegetables–potatoes, corn, peas, beans
  • All fruits and fruit juices
  • All milk and yogurt
  • Sugary foods–candy, regular sodapop, jelly
  • Sweets—cakes, cookies, pies, ice cream, sugar-free treats

 

In fact, the only food groups that generally don’t contain carbs are:

  • Meats and meat substitutes, such as eggs and cheese
  • Fats and oils

 

Because carbs raise blood sugar more than they nutrients, you may wonder why you should eat them all. You need to eat foods with carbs because they provide your body with energy, along with many vitamins and minerals.  Sweets are okay to include in your meal plan once in a while. But keep in mind that sweets often contain a lot of carb, calories, and fat, with very little nutritional value.

Sugar alcohols are one kind of reduced-calorie sweetener.  They include sweeteners like maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and isomalt.  Sugar alcohols are used in some sugar-free candy, gum, and desserts. Despite their name, sugar alcohols do not contain alcohol. Products containing sugar alcohols are not always low in carbs or calories. So be sure to check the label on any of these products. The effect of sugar alcohols on your blood sugar can vary (i.e. pass gas).

Work with your dietician or another member of your diabetes care team to find the number of carbs you need in our meal plan. That’s the number that you should aim for each day. Your dietician or diabetes educator can help you easily divide your carbs among your meals and snacks. If you take diabetes pills or 1 to 2 injections of insulin a day, try to eat the same amount of carbs at the same meals and snacks each day. If you take 3 or more insulin injections, you may have more flexibility with your meal plan.

Skipping meals can lead to low blood sugar, especially if you take insulin. If you include snacks in your meal plan, count the carbs!

Keep in mind that in the food lists, 1 carb unit equals 15 grams of carbohydrate. For example, a cranberry juice cocktail should be counted as 1 carb. That means that 1/2 cup of cranberry juice cocktail has about 15 carbs.

For foods that come in packages, the best place to find the carb count is on the Nutrition Facts label. The grams of total carbohydrate on the label are the key to carb counting. Don’t worry about counting the sugar and fiber grams. They are included in the total carb number. Check serving size. Information on the label is based on the serving size. See how many grams of carb are in each serving. Decide whether the food fits in your meal plan. Also, check the sugars on each food item and sugar alcohols on sugar-free sweets.

 

 

Planning Healthy Meals

To create your plate, split your plate down the middle.  Then divide one of the halves into two. Put nonstarchy vegetables (i.e. spinach or broccoli) in the big half.  Put starchy foods (i.e. potatoes or rice) in one of the small sections. Put meat or meat substitute (i.e. eggs or tofu) in the other small section. Add an 8-ounce glass of fat-free milk or low-fat milk and a piece of fruit.

The goals of your meal plan are to help you:

  • Keep your blood sugar within your goal range
  • Manage your weight
  • Manage blood cholesterol and blood fat levels
  • Manage blood pressure

 

Ask your diabetes care team to refer you to a registered dietitian (RD) if there is not already one on your team. This person can help you make a meal plan. You want to have the right balance of food, medicine, and activity.

 

It’s also important to include fiber in your meals. Fiber:

  • Helps control blood sugar levels
  • Lowers blood cholesterol levels
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Helps prevent constipation and diarrhea

 

The American Diabetes Association recommends that you eat 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day.

Good sources of fiber include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans, peas, and other legumes
  • Grains and whole-grain products
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

Remember that foods high in fiber also may contain a large amount of total carbohydrate, which can raise your blood sugar.

 

Using Exchange Lists for Meal Planning 

Exchange lists can be used to count carbs.  They can be used to count calories too.  Each list has foods that have about the same amount of carbs.  They have about the same amount of calories, protein, and fat too.  So you can exchange, or switch, one food from a list with another food from that list.  Let’s say your breakfast plan calls for 1 serving from the fruit list.  You can choose 1/2 grapefruit, 1/2 banana, or 1 serving of a different fruit from the list.

Check the introduction to each food group. See how many carb grams the servings in that group have.

The exchange lists come in these groups:

  • Starch
  • Fruits
  • Milk
  • Sweets, desserts, and other carbohydrates
  • Nonstarchy vegetables
  • Meat and meat substitutes
  • Fats

For foods without a label, such as fruits and vegetables, you can use the food exchange lists in this booklet to find the carb counts.

For example, your goal is to have 60 to 75 carbs for breakfast. You can have:

  • 1 1/2 cups of cereal (1 1/2 servings)=36 carbs (Check the Nutrition Facts label)
  • 1 cup of skim milk=12 carbs
  • 1/2 banana=15 carbs

Total=63 carbs

 

Portion Sizes Count!

It’s not just about right types of foods, it’s also about the portion size. For example, a small 4-ounce apple (the size of a small fist) has about 15 carbs. A large apple has about 30 grams.

To make sure your portions are right, you need to weigh and measure your foods after they are cooked. You don’t have to do this every time you eat. However, it’s helpful if you weigh and measure your foods when you first start carb counting. It’s also helpful to continue weighing and measuring your foods every once in a while, just to make sure your portions haven’t grown over time.

 

Advanced Carb Counting

Advanced carb counting helps you manage your blood sugar better. The goal is this kind of counting is to try to to match the amount of fast-acting insulin you take with the amount of carbs you eat. You use an insulin-to-carb ration to do this. Each person responds in a different way to insulin. So, each person has a different ratio.  You may need different ratios for different meals or times of the day, too.

Your insulin-to-carb ration is made just for you. An RD (registered dietician) can help you find it. He or she can teach you how to do advanced carb counting, too. If you don’t have an RD or a diabetes care team, ask your team to refer you to one.

Healthy Eating Basics

It is extremely important to stay healthy.  To manage your diabetes, you’ll want to:

  • Eat a variety of foods in proper amounts
  • Be sure to check food labels for calories, carbohydrate, total fat, and sodium amounts
  • Eat regularly
  • Match how much you eat with your activity level
  • Eat fewer foods high in calories, cholesterol, saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium

 

You don’t need to ban any foods from your meal plan, but you may need to limit the amounts you eat or how often you eat some of them.

Good diabetes self-care means following your meal plan, being active, and taking your medication as directed. Your meal plan should:

  • include a wide variety of foods so that you get needed nutrients
  • include many of your favorite foods so that you enjoy what you eat
  • be easy to follow

 

For more information on diabetes, go to this link: https://www.cornerstones4care.com/

 

 

 

 

Diabetes Myths

I personally don’t believe those myths. Don’t you believe them either.

1. Diabetes is caused by consuming too much sugar.

The truth: You may have heard that diabetes is brought on by eating too many sweets, but that is not the case. Type 1 diabetes is caused when the pancreas can no longer produced insulin, a hormone that’s necessary when it comes to regulating your blood sugar levels. Although the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is still unknown, it’s believed to be brought on by a variety of factors, including genetics and certain environmental triggers, such as toxins and viruses. Type 1 diabetes, on the other hand, is caused when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin and/or is unable to use insulin properly.

2. Monitoring your blood sugar is painful.

The truth: It doesn’t have to be! If you experience pain while testing your blood sugar levels, then it’s time to make some simple changes in your everyday routine.

3. Obesity causes diabetes.

The truth: Yes, it’s true that being obese increases your risk for developing diabetes, but other diabetes, but other factors, such as family history play a role as well. According to the American Diabetes Association, the majority of overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are either at a normal weight or only slightly overweight.

4. All diabetics need insulin.

The truth: Not so! While this is true for type 1 diabetes, many people with type 2 diabetes are able to control their condition by leading a healthy lifestyle that involves a proper diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in starches, saturated fats, sugar and sodium, healthy habits (no smoking), regular exercise and taking any doctor-prescribed medication(s).

Tips for Living with Diabetes Successfully

  1. Keep your glucose meter always in the same place so you don’t have to go looking for it. Mine is on my kitchen counter resting beside two small stuffed bunnies always smiling up at me.
  2. Get a dilated eye exam every year from an ophthalmologist. But here’s what no one tells you: Lower the blinds in your house before you leave for your appointment and bring sunglasses — even if it’s raining.
  3. Lancing devices that allow you to check your blood sugar on your palm just below your thumb give you very similar numbers as your fingertips do.
  4. Use a 100-hour timer and set it to 72 hours to know when to change your insulin pump infusion site.
  5. Keep your glucose meter in a brightly-colored case, not the black one it came in. You’ll find it quickly. It may also make you smile more.
  6. Simple carbohydrates spike your blood sugar, requiring more insulin. Insulin is a fat storage hormone. Cut down on refined carbs and watch your blood sugar spikes reduce as well as your waistline.
  7. Drop the idea that you’re going to do this “diabetes thing” perfectly.
  8. Exercise in the morning so you don’t have time to talk yourself out of it.
  9. If you use two insulin pens, wrap a rubber band or ribbon around one. It can prevent ending up in the hospital like countless others have who mixed up their pens.
  10. Take a full minute to look at your child/children before leaving the house. That’s why it’s worth taking care of your diabetes. Okay, you can look at your spouse or your dog too.
  11. Clear a path from your bed to the bathroom so when you get up in the middle of the night to pee you won’t hurt yourself or wake up the neighbors.
  12. Opt for plain Greek yogurt instead of regular — it has more protein, less carbohydrates and is way more fashionable.
  13. Use endive, cabbage and lettuce leaves as a scoop for dips and ditch the crackers and chips.
  14. Make two or three boxes of different flavored sugar-free Jello, pour 6-8 ounces into plastic cups and pop them into the refrigerator. When you need a snack, they’re ready to go.
  15. Substitute almond meal for flour when making biscotti or many other cookie type confections. Sure, they crumble, but they taste great and have a LOT less carbs.
  16. Need more exercise? Get a dog or do something else.
  17. Replace the clothes on your stationary bike with a book rack.
  18. To raise low blood sugar, eat fast-acting carbs such as four glucose tabs.
  19. Keep cans of soda at home, the office, your briefcase, your locker, in your car. It’s okay to have a sugary drink when your low, blood sugar’s making the world a very fuzzy place.
  20. Join a diabetes social media site or make a diabetes friend. You need someone in your circle who “gets it.”
  21. If you take insulin or a glucose-lowering medication, be prepared for lows. Keep glucose tablets or SweeTarts in all your jacket pockets, purses and bags.
  22. Ask your doctor to write scripts for your pills at twice the dose and cut them in half. Also, see if she’ll give you some samples from that big closet in her office.
  23. If you need to cut down on fat and protein go the Latin way: less meat more rice — brown of course — and beans.
  24. See everything you try to manage your diabetes as an experiment and learn from it. Failure doesn’t exist.
  25. Diabetes is a marathon, not a sprint. Learn everything you can and do the best you can.
  26. Keep a positive outlook and take care of yourself.
  27. To manage your blood sugar, do daily blood sugar checks and test your A1C. The A1C test shows what your estimated blood sugar has been over the past 2 to 3 months. You and your diabetes care team will decide on your A1C goal.

Tips to Keep Diabetics Out of the Hospital

Diabetic complications often lead a trip to the hospital. People with diabetes know what they’ll hear whenever they see their doctor: another exhortation to eat right and exercise, because that’s how to keep blood sugar levels under control. It’s proven advice, but not enough to prevent a long list of diabetic complications — heart and kidney disease, for example — from sending you to the emergency room. Consider these tips to stay healthy and out of the hospital:

  1. Check your feet daily. A high blood sugar level can cause nerve damage in the feet, and you might not feel a cut, scrape or blister that could be the start of a deep skin infection. Young men are prone to such ulcerations. Applying lotion regularly and drinking lots of water can keep skin on the feet — and the rest of the body — from becoming dry and cracked, advises the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse.

2. Coddle teeth and gums. Diabetes sufferers run an increased risk of tooth decay, inflamed gums and gum disease because the condition increases vulnerability to bacterial infections and hampers the ability to fight them. Periodontitis, an especially severe infection that destroys gum tissue and the bone that holds teeth in place, also complicates a diabetic’s life by raising blood sugar levels when hormones are released by the immune system to battle the infection, warns the American Diabetes Association. Brushing after every meal, or at least twice a day, and flossing once a day is crucial, according to the NDIC.

3. Go easy on salt. Sodium and high blood pressure go hand in hand, and if you have diabetes, high blood pressure multiplies your already elevated risk of cardiovascular and kidney diseases. And cutting back on salt isn’t just a matter of reaching for the shaker less often. Prepared foods tend to be salt-heavy: One large fast-food taco or egg-and-sausage biscuit has close to the American Heart Association’s recommended daily sodium limit. Even unlikely suspects such as one-half cup of low-fat cottage cheese or a smallish cinnamon-raisin bagel will kick in almost one-third of the recommended total.

4. Ditch the butter—go for olive oil. Switching can make a marked impact on cholesterol, especially for those who have trouble reducing overall fat intake. The saturated fat in butter raises blood cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular problems; olive oil is a monounsaturated fat that can reduce bad cholesterol. A diet heavy in olive oil may even reduce the chance of developing diabetes.  One study in Diabetes Care tracked 418 non-diabetic Spanish adults over four years who ate either a traditional Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, their normal Mediterranean diet supplemented with fat from nuts or a low-fat diet. By the end, between 10 and 11 percent of those in the two Mediterranean groups had developed diabetes, compared with 18 percent in the low-fat group.

5. Kick the habit. Smoking is a major factor in atherosclerosis, which frequently puts people with diabetes in the hospital when an artery becomes blocked and causes a heart attack, stroke or other vascular problem. Smoking also raises blood pressure and cholesterol. Diabetes also puts smokers at greater risk of pneumonia — and of having a worse case.

6. Fend off depression. Depression is dangerous  for people with diabetes because it can make them feel as if they have no control over their illness. That may make them feel so helpless they don’t stick to their medications or show up for doctor visits. Yoga and meditation can reduce the stress, and a special interest or activity — a book club, fantasy football, birdwatching — can provide daily happiness, making the disease more manageable.

Most complications stemming from diabetes are preventable. The key is to understand and manage the illness from day one to keep minor complications from becoming major. Diabetes is a time bomb. It’s ticking and unless you’re taking care of it…you’ll end up in the hospital.