Healthy 2012

Expert Tips for Staying Healthy Into the New Year

(ARA) – While the winter months bring the joys of snowy days, holiday feasts and New Year’s resolutions, they can also be a challenging time to stay healthy – especially for people living with diabetes. Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) Lara Hassan notes that maintaining blood sugar levels during the winter months can be done.

“Nearly 26 million Americans are living with diabetes,” says Hassan, a registered dietitian and a CDE on the Sanofi US CDE Help Team. “When setting goals and resolutions for the New Year, it is extremely important to remember that just a few simple decisions can help those living with diabetes better maintain their blood sugar levels.” Below are a few of her helpful tips:

Watch the starches
The winter months are notorious for their adverse effect on our waistline, predominately due to the abundance of holiday meals and parties. Hassan’s golden rule: Up your vegetable intake and prepare no more than two starchy dishes when preparing meals. When it comes time to hit the buffet, Hassan says to scan the selection first and then decide what you want. Though drinks like hot cocoa and eggnog may be seasonal favorites, Hassan suggests opting for lower carbohydrate beverages such as seltzer or diet cola.

Maintain physical activity
Though the tendency during the cold months may be to hunker down in front of the fireplace, it is extremely important to maintain physical activity. If you can’t make it to the gym or do not want to brave the outdoors for a walk, Hassan suggests finding alternate sources of exercise, such as walking down every aisle at the grocery store or taking an extra lap or two around the mall while shopping. Simple things like walking around the house while on the phone or stretching during TV commercials can also make a difference.

Keep on track with treatment
While the temptation to cheat on your diet or routine may be greater during the winter, Hassan reminds her patients that adherence to treatment is paramount: “Things like ski trips and long-distance vacations can interfere with your usual habits. Skipping or delaying your treatment can make your blood sugar levels harder to control.” Hassan says that a lot of her patients opt for the once a day insulin Lantus® (insulin glargine [rDNA origin] injection), which comes in the Lantus® SoloSTAR®, a disposable pre-filled pen, as part of their overall diabetes treatment plan which includes a healthy diet, exercise and oral medications. Hassan also notes it’s important to work with a healthcare professional – no matter what time of year – to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.

Indications and Usage
Prescription Lantus is a long-acting insulin used to treat adults with type 2 diabetes and adults and children (6 years and older) with type 1 diabetes for the control of high blood sugar. It should be taken once a day at the same time each day to lower blood glucose.

Do not use Lantus to treat diabetic ketoacidosis.

Important Safety Information for Lantus®
Do not take Lantus if you are allergic to insulin or any of the inactive ingredients in Lantus.

You must test your blood sugar levels while using insulin, such as Lantus. Do not make any changes to your dose or type of insulin without talking to your healthcare provider. Any change of insulin should be made cautiously and only under medical supervision.

Do NOT dilute or mix Lantus with any other insulin or solution. It will not work as intended and you may lose blood sugar control, which could be serious. Lantus must only be used if the solution is clear and colorless with no particles visible. Do not share needles, insulin pens or syringes with others.

The most common side effect of insulin, including Lantus, is low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which may be serious. Some people may experience symptoms such as shaking, sweating, fast heartbeat, and blurred vision. Severe hypoglycemia may be serious and life threatening. It may cause harm to your heart or brain. Other possible side effects may include injection site reactions, including changes in fat tissue at the injection site, and allergic reactions, including itching and rash. In rare cases, some allergic reactions may be life threatening.

Tell your doctor about other medicines and supplements you are taking because they can change the way insulin works. Before starting Lantus, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions including if you have liver or kidney problems, are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding or planning to breast-feed.

NJ Doctor