Maintaining Eye Health for Diabetes Patients

diabetes-eye-careDiabetes can affect your whole body — including your eyes — in many ways. The good news is that if you know how to take proper care of your eyesight as a diabetes patient you can maintain a higher quality of life.

Types of Eyes Problems in Diabetes Patients

Regular eye exams helps ensure that any problems with your vision are just a mild annoyance, rather than a threat to your eyesight. Some problems that can occur in patients with diabetes include retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. With regular exams, more dangerous issues can be discovered quickly and resolved more easily.

Ways to Maintain Your Eye Health

  1. Maintain a healthy weight. One of the best ways to determine if you’re in a healthy weight range is to calculate your BMI. Use our calculator on the home page of Eat foods that increase your chances of having healthy vision including green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, salmon, tuna and other non-meat proteins, such as eggs and beans.
  2. Participate in some form of a healthy exercise at least three or four times each week for about 150 minutes total per week. This can mean playing in the park with your kids, walking your dog or shooting hoops at the neighborhood park. It can also include joining a gym or participating in an instructional exercise class or even martial arts.
  3. Kick your smoking habit. The Center for Disease Control states that smoking puts diabetes patients at a higher risk of retinopathy, an eye disease that can cause blindness. If anyone in your home smokes, ask them if they will consider stopping so that you, as a diabetes patient, won’t be exposed to the chemicals in second-hand smoke and the residue left on their clothes.
  4. Be consistent about checking your blood sugar levels. Follow the advice of your physician about how often to do this. Report problematic levels right away so he or she can help you make adjustments to your medications or discuss other reasons why you’re having difficulty keeping your blood sugar levels in control.
  5. Know what blood pressure reading is healthy for you and check it regularly. Report issues to your doctor so he or she can advise you on keeping it under control. Patients with hypertension and Type 2 diabetes have an increased chance of getting retinopathy and other serious vision problems.

Having keen eyesight is vital to being able to enjoy all the aspects of this glorious world. Following the above tips will help keep your vision sharp, and the healthy lifestyle will help your body in control in so many ways.



August 21, 2015 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

How to Stay in Control When Dining Out

Sharing food with friends is an important part of feeling happy and healthy, but dining away from home poses special challenges to people with type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, having a good experience while dining out is just a matter of following a few simple practices. Here are five tips that will let you socially thrive while also staying in control of your diabetes.

1. Be Aware of Timing

Your medication schedule may require that you eat at certain times. Choosing restaurants that accept reservations is one great way to be sure you’ll be eating on-time. If, however, you choose more casual restaurants, try arriving during their less-crowded times when you might be able to get faster service. Delays can always arise, however, so always carry a healthy snack along.

2. Look at the Menu Ahead of Time

These days almost all restaurants have their menus posted online. Spend some time before the meal making plans for what you’ll order so that you can eliminate the stress of deciding on-the-spot. Or at least narrow down the menu to a few healthy choices and then ask questions about how it’s prepared when you speak with your waiter. Committing to a specific ordering plan will let you relax in the moment and enjoy the people you’re sharing the meal with.

3. Expect Understanding

Restaurant staff want their patrons to have a positive experience, and they will respect the fact that diabetes imposes certain restrictions on your diet. Don’t be shy about asking how the food is prepared or about the ingredients used. So feel free to ask whether that sauce has sugar in it, or whether you can have a salad instead of a bread basket, or whether your fish can be broiled with no added fat.

4. Watch Portion Sizes

If your favorite eating spot offers oversized portions, ask if they would box up half your meal for you to take home before they even serve you. That way, you don’t have to rely on your self-control to stop eating halfway through.

5. Create a Restaurant “Favorites” List

Although most restaurants want to cater to their customers’ needs, some offer better choices for diabetes patients than others. And some are more accommodating than others. Reward the restaurants that make your life easier: “Like” them on social media, publish good reviews about them on rating sites, and circulate their information to others in your network. This will increase the chances that they’ll meet your needs in the future, and will also give you a “go to” list for a predictably good experience.

Type 2 diabetes doesn’t have to change the way you socialize with friends. Once you establish a restaurant routine, you won’t feel like you’re compromising your enjoyment. Ordering low-sugar, healthy foods will become second nature and you’ll feel free to devote full attention to your friends’ fascinating stories.


August 5, 2015 at 1:31 pm Leave a comment

5 Delicious Foods That Help Control Blood Sugar

If you are dealing with type 2 diabetes and are struggling to find delicious, healthy foods to enjoy, you may need some guidance. Fortunately, there are foods out there that work to control blood sugar. The five foods listed below will all help keep your blood sugar in control without requiring you to sacrifice taste. However, be sure to enjoy these foods in moderation; portion control is key.

1. Berries

Even though berries contain sugar, they also contain essential nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. Compared with other fruits, berries tend to be lower in sugar and can be included in a diet for people with diabetes in moderation. Pair the fruits with other healthy foods like fat-free yogurt for a nutrient boost.

2. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate may be a sweet treat, but its lower sugar content makes it a safe choice when compared with milk chocolate. The flavonoids in dark chocolate are able to help regulate insulin production, so the sweet treat is ideal for people with diabetes who miss having candy. Not only is dark chocolate beneficial for insulin regulation, but it can also help suppress your appetite and reduce cravings.

3. Citrus Fruit

A grapefruit in the morning or a small glass of 100 percent orange juice can help those with diabetes get enough fiber in their diets while offering a healthy dose of vitamin C. Be cautious when adding citrus to your diet; adding sugar to citrus fruits negates its positive effects, and juice could contain added sugar. Be sure to read labels before purchasing any fruit juice to ensure that it only contains fruit juice and water. A splash of lemon or lime juice in a recipe can also give people with diabetes the nutritional boost that citrus fruit offers while enhancing the flavor of a dish.

4. Sweet Potatoes

Including sweet potatoes in a healthy diet can reduce fasting blood sugar, and the vegetable offers a healthy dose of antioxidants. The high amounts of vitamin A and fiber that can be found in sweet potatoes also make them a healthy alternative to white potatoes for people with diabetes who are trying to overhaul their diet.

5. Melon

Another sweet food that can be enjoyed in moderation, melon offers antioxidants and a healthy dose of vitamin C. High levels of vitamin A in melon protect eye health, and the water content of melon makes it low in calories.

Now that you know five foods that will help you keep your blood sugar in control, you can use them as ingredients in new recipes or favorite standbys to keep your meals and snacks interesting.


July 27, 2015 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

How to Control Type 2 Diabetes Without Medication

The onset of Type 2 diabetes can lead to a wide variety of health conditions including problems with eyesight, nerve pain, increased risk of heart and kidney disease, and even stroke.

In some cases, Type 2 diabetes can be controlled without medication. Typically this requires early detection and quick action. First, talk with your doctor about your plans for a lifestyle change and be sure to use your medication as prescribed until your next check up, where your doctors can decide if a dosage change is in order. Your doctor should monitor your weight loss and medication dosages throughout your weight loss process.

Lose Weight

Being overweight is a major cause of Type 2 diabetes. Eighty to ninety percent of those with Type 2 diabetes have a Body Mass Index (BMI) that is classified as obese. Losing 5 to 10 percent of your current body weight can have a huge effect on regulating your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. This can be done with:

  • Exercise: Exercising 150 minutes per week is recommended by the American Diabetes Association. That’s 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week. Try to exercise at least 3 times a week with no more than two days in a row without exercising.If you like to walk, aim for 10,000 steps in day. This can be tracked with a low-cost pedometer or one of the more advanced systems like Fitbit or the Apple watch. Using a schedule or a monitoring device is known to help people stay on-track with an exercise schedule.
  • Fewer Calories Per Day: Reducing calorie intake helps you lose weight. Use a calorie calculator to better understand how many calories you need each day in order to lose weight. And then keep a food journal of what you eat throughout the day so you can be careful about how the calories are adding up.Be sure you never skip meals even when you’re trying to eat less! It can be dangerous for a diabetes patient and it reduces your ability to lose weight because your metabolism slows down, holding onto the calories that it gets.

Monitor What You Eat and Drink

Reducing calories isn’t the only way for you to bring Type 2 diabetes under control. You also have to regulate the amount of sugar in your diet. You might be surprised by how much sugar is actually in the typical American diet!

Satisfy your sweet tooth with a piece of fruit or a cup of berries instead of sugary treats like chocolates and pastries. Fruit can help you get rid of the craving for sweets while also providing fiber and vitamins your body needs. Be careful of using fruit juice, however. It can contain quite a bit of sugar. Other foods that will help you reduce sugar include protein-rich foods with good fats like fish and nuts, lean meats and whole grains. You’ll also need to reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption because alcohol is quite high in sugar.

Relax and Get Some Sleep

Getting 7-8 hours of sleep and reducing stress can also help you manage your diabetes. Lack of sleep releases stress hormones which are linked to increased glucose production. And that can increase your blood sugar levels.

Finding ways to reduce stress through exercise, deep breathing, meditation, or other enjoyable activities can help to reduce the everyday stress you experience.

Next Steps

Careful eating and regular exercise is known to bring Type 2 diabetes under control without the use of medication for some patients. Talk with your doctor about what’s right for you before starting an exercise or diet plan. Never stop taking medication without talking your diabetes specialist first. If you’d like to visit with one of our diabetes specialists in the Houston, Dallas or San Antonio areas, view our locations.


July 21, 2015 at 10:11 am Leave a comment

Six Go-To Snacks for Diabetes Patients to Keep Handy

It’s the beginning of a busy day, and you’re facing the same challenge yet again: wondering what you’re going to snack on while you’re out and about during your day. There’s not always time to run to the grocery store in between meetings and more often than not, it’s easier to stop by a drive-thru restaurant or convenience store when you’re on the go, which don’t always offer healthy options. But when you’re trying to keep your blood sugar in control, a little planning can really help your health — and your waistline.
Here are six foods safe for diabetes patients that are great for on-the-go snacks.

1) Tuna Pouches

These pouches are great to grab out of your pantry and easy to bring along with you for a protein-packed, omega-3 rich snack in the perfect portion size. The protein will help to keep you full and there is no added sugar. Mix with fat-free plain yogurt and a dab of dijon mustard for a quick tuna salad!

2) Fresh Berries

Berries are naturally sweet and they’re good for you. The American Diabetes Association recommends berries because they include antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. Plus they are low-carb! Three-quarters of a cup of berries can help curb your appetite and keep your blood sugar levels in control. They’re a great option for those with a sweet tooth!

3) Baby Carrots

The American Diabetes Association recommends that diabetes patients eat non-starchy vegetables as often as possible. Carrots are included in that list and they’re easy to take on the go! Most grocery stores carry portioned pouches of baby carrots, making it so easy to pop in your purse, bag or desk drawer to open up when you’re craving something crunchy. Or measure out about a cup of baby carrots in a baggie to take with you. They’re also a great source of Vitamin-A, which promotes eye health.

4) Dried Fruit & Nuts

As long as the mix is all-natural, there are no sweeteners added, and there’s no candy included in the mix, dried fruit and nuts are easily portable and don’t need to be refrigerated. You can buy prepared mixes or you can make your own combination of dried fruits and nuts that you like. If you do this, try to buy the “raw” version of the nut to avoid added salt and any sugary coatings that could be on the nuts in some mixes. Pop some in a baggie and you’re prepared wherever you go!

5) Oranges, Clementines & Tangerines

The introduction of the easy-to-peel clementines and tangerines makes it even easier to throw fruit in your bag when you leave in the morning — no measuring or label checking required! One or two of these can refresh your energy and keep your diet on track.

6) DietIQ Meal Replacement Bars and Shakes

The Diabetes America weight loss program, DietIQ, offers a variety of prepared food and drink options that ensure you have the right combination of nutrients to give you energy without a lot of sugar and unnecessary calories. Plus they contain essential vitamins and minerals and the right combination of carbs and protein! These are very easy to take with you and would be a better choice than most granola bars or drink mixes that use sugar as one of their main ingredients. The meal replacement shakes and bars include flavors like chocolate mint, vanilla pudding, and dark chocolate s’mores.
If you have questions about the right foods to choose to help keep your diabetes in control, visit with a dietitian. The Diabetes America locations offer a certified dietitian to help patients with their meal planning and lifestyle choices. Contact the location nearest you if you’d like to schedule an appointment.

July 16, 2015 at 4:18 pm Leave a comment

Diabetes Care Made Easier with Saturday Appointments

We know it’s hard to schedule doctor appointments during the week with our busy schedules. But we also want patients to stay focused on their health and keep their diabetes care scheduled regularly. After receiving requests for appointment availability on Saturdays, we’re now able to see patients at our Katy location on Saturdays starting April 11, 2015. You asked and we listened!

Patients can schedule Saturday appointments to:

  • See our diabetes specialist physician for an initial or follow up appointment.
  • Draw labs that may be needed.
  • Schedule a session with our diabetes educator.
  • Start the Diet IQ physician-managed weight loss program.
  • Schedule a Diet IQ weekly follow up appointment with the doctor or educator.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment at the Katy location please call 713-840-5150 or schedule an appointment online.

Saturday appointment availability is being piloted at the Katy location. If well-received, Saturday appointments may be added to the schedule at other Diabetes America locations in the Houston, Dallas and San Antonio areas in the future.

March 27, 2015 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

Spring Forward

spring forward

This weekend we spring forward with Daylight Savings Time. It is important for people with diabetes to integrate the time change into their diabetes management. Please remember to change the time on your pumps and glucose meters on Sunday as most do not automatically update on their own. It is also a good idea to closely monitor your blood glucose levels to detect any highs or lows that may be due to the change in time of meals and medications. Have a healthy weekend!

March 6, 2015 at 10:03 am Leave a comment

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