Follow the 3 Fs of diabetes care to enjoy summer

With the arrival of summer, here are a few reminders to help you to healthfully enjoy the summer that remains. So pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee and let's talk about friends, fruit and feet in relation to taking care of your diabetes.

The support of friends is crucial in all aspects of our lives. When you are dealing with diabetes, support from others becomes even more important.

In a recent issue of Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, a study was conducted that compared the outcome of participants with diabetes who received only individual counseling for nutritional and activity goals to the participants with diabetes who received the same counseling and also attended small support groups.

The results showed that the participants who attended the support groups missed fewer days of work and also were less likely to go on disability. Knowing that you are not alone in managing your diabetes provides perspective and offers you a chance to learn how others have dealt with similar challenges.

Olympic Medical Center sponsors a free diabetes support group from 7-8 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month, and I conduct a free diabetes support group from 10-11 a.m. on the first Wednesday of the month at the Sequim Senior Activities Center. Join us and make some new friends.

This is the season for freshly picked strawberries, cherries, blueberries and blackberries at the local market. Fruit is packed with fiber and numerous micro-nutrients but also can raise havoc with your blood sugar readings when you have diabetes.

To slow the digestion of fruit and still reap the nutritional benefits, eat fruit after you have consumed other food. This will help you to prevent glucose spikes and safely savor the sun-kissed sweet flavor of the local produce.

It is important to protect your feet all year. But when the temperature rises in the summer, it is tempting to wear open toe shoes or go without shoes at all.

Loss of sensation in the feet (neuropathy) is a common complication of diabetes, and any foot injury can be a precursor of infection with possible amputation. For your health, wear well-fitting supportive shoes to prevent injury.

Look for a shoe that bends only where your foot bends, provides a wide base at the heel area for solid support and is constructed of a material that will breathe to allow your feet to breathe. You should be able to freely wiggle your toes and no irritation should develop when you wear them.

For your protection and to ensure a good fit, tell the staff in the shoe store that you have diabetes. If they reply "So what?" leave and go to a different store. You must protect your feet and this medical information must be taken into account when you are being fitted with new shoes.

So this month, meet up with some friends, enjoy the summer fruit and protect your feet to enhance a healthy life with diabetes.

Susan Sorensen is a registered nurse who does diabetes education in the community and can be reached at

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