Isolation, working from home, and business closures during COVID-19 have been challenging and stressful for many people around the world, including those with underlying conditions such as diabetes. With many doctor’s offices closed, your local pharmacy is one place you can still go to receive healthcare advice; your pharmacists are here to help. It is difficult for many people right now to get prescriptions for their underlying conditions when they cannot go see their doctor.  Keep in mind that many doctor’s offices are taking telephone appointments and you can reach out to your clinic to learn how they have altered their practice to provide you with safe care. Pharmacies have also altered their practices to safely serve their patients, and here in Newfoundland & Labrador for example, many prescriptions for chronic illness medication can be extended by your pharmacist. This means that in the case that you’re not able to schedule a telephone appointment with your doctor, your pharmacist may be able to help ensure that you always have your medication. Please talk to your pharmacist if you can’t get an appointment and would like to learn if your prescriptions are eligible for this extension.

Managing Blood Glucose levels:

Insulin-dependent diabetics should continue to check their blood glucose levels regularly during COVID-19.  If you are managing your diabetes without insulin, you likely need to check your blood glucose levels occasionally or as discussed with your health care provider.  For refills on any supplies you may need to complete your blood glucose monitoring, contact your pharmacy and they can ensure you receive them in a safe manner.

For an average adult with type 2 diabetes, the following are the target ranges for blood glucose levels:

  • Fasting for 8 hours (usually overnight): 4-7mmol/L
  • 2 hours after a meal: 5-10mmol/L

One way to combat high blood glucose is to maintain an active lifestyle.  However, during COVID-19 as gyms, pools, and other activity centres are closed for the foreseeable future, it may be challenging to maintain your normal fitness routine. There are many alternate options to help you achieve an active lifestyle.  The change in routine may be difficult at first without access to these facilities, as working out and staying active may be the main methods you use to help control your blood sugar.  Regardless of the closures, there are many ways you can stay active during this time without going to the gym and they can all be turned into fun family activities.  As the weather is getting nicer, a walk, run or bike ride around your neighborhood is a great way to get out of the house for some fresh air.  If you’re looking for a specific workout or to stay inside on rainy or chilly days, many companies are offering free online classes or videos to help you through this tough time.

Many of us have also noticed that being home all the time inevitably leads to more snacking and more baking.  To help control blood sugar, try to find a balance between enjoying these activities, and healthy eating habits.  You can still enjoy those banana muffins and that yummy sourdough you probably spent the last week preparing, but make sure it is all within moderation.  When making your weekly grocery store run, try to plan your meals in advance so that you can pick up ingredients for healthy and balanced meals all week.  This will ensure that you have everything you need in your house to cook meals to keep you full throughout the day and avoid snacks that are high in sugar.  It is also a great idea to keep some snacks that are low in sugar on hand for when you do feel like snacking, such as nuts, vegetables, and fresh fruit.

Ultimately, this uncertain time is difficult for everyone, and controlling your diabetes may be the last thing on your mind. Remember to take your medications regularly, check your blood glucose levels when required, and maintain a healthy lifestyle to stay in control of your disease. You can always reach out to your local pharmacist for more information on managing diabetes during COVID-19.

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