Living with Diabetes

With the help of UNM Health’s Certified Diabetes Educators, you can manage your disease and lead a healthier life. Our Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs) are nurses and dieticians who will help you learn how to manage your condition and improve your quality of life.

And the Center for Diabetes and Nutrition Education, you can work one-on-one with a CDE. Together with your doctor, you can design an individualized diabetes care plan that includes free diabetes education classes.

We offer classes in:
  • Carb counting
  • Current topics in health and wellness
  • Dietary approaches to stop hypertension
  • Heart health – dyslipidemia (cooking class)
  • Pre-diabetes (Spanish classes also available at times)

Register for a free class today. Call 505-272-2340

Learn more about the Center in English [PDF] or Spanish [PDF].

Register for a Class

Start your journey to healthy living. Call 505-272-2340 to register or learn more about current offerings.

The Center for Diabetes and Nutrition Education also offers this one-of-a-kind, long-term program, which helps patients use fewer medications by lowering blood pressure and blood sugar. Each individually tailored program helps patients avoid the “crash and burn” effects of hypoglycemia. Our CDE nurses and dieticians work with you to help lower your weight, manage your diabetes and improve your overall quality of life.

This free program is available to those enrolled in the pre-diabetes class. Our registered dieticians help you create a healthy diet, self-monitor your blood glucose, choose healthy foods to eat and quit smoking, if needed.

Learn how to correctly read food labels, safely increase your physical activity and measure and record food portions.

If you have a primary care provider within the UNM Health system, then you can participate and benefit from this nutrition program. Get a nutrition assessment and healthy eating recommendations for the following conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Eating disorders
  • Food intolerances and allergies
  • Food-related gastrointestinal problems
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney and liver disorders
  • Obesity

Manage Your Diabetes At-Home

Your UNM Health team can help you navigate life with diabetes. If you are not able to attend a class or program, remember these basic guidelines to managing your diabetes:

Checking your blood sugars will help you take the right steps to control your diabetes. A finger stick test will tell you much sugar is in your blood at the time you test.

For many people with diabetes, there are two important times to test:

  • Before eating anything in the morning. This is called a fasting test.
  • One to two hours after the start of a meal.

Good blood sugar goals for most people include:

  • Before a meal or four hours after a meal: 90-130
  • Two hours after a meal: less than 180

A diabetes diagnosis does not mean you have to go on a special diet. It is important, though, to know what foods affect your blood sugar.

Here are a couple things to keep in mind for healthy eating with diabetes:

  • Eat meals at regular times. Eating your meals at the same time every day will help keep blood sugars at an even level. It is important to eat something for breakfast soon after waking up as well.
  • Avoid sweetened drinks. Liquid sugar – such as regular soda, fruit juice and sports drinks – can raise blood sugars very quickly. It is best to avoid these drinks. Instead, choose water or unsweetened tea.
  • Know your carbs. Carbohydrates (carbs) are foods that turn into sugar. Carbohydrates are found in starches, fruit, milk, yogurt and sweets.
    • Foods that will raise blood sugar include bread, pasta, tortillas, beans, rice, corn, peas, potatoes, crackers, pancakes, fruits, milk, yogurt, cereal and sweets.
    • Foods that do not raise blood sugar include eggs, nuts, cottage cheese, chicken, fish, beef, turkey, peanut butter, red or green chile and vegetables (except corn, peas and potatoes). If you are still hungry after a meal, choose one of these foods to eat. Vegetables are always the best choice.

Hypoglycemia means that your blood sugar is low. For most people, this means your blood sugar number is less than 70. Here are some symptoms to watch for that might indicate low blood sugar levels:

  • Feeling anxious
  • Feeling tired
  • Headache
  • Hunger
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Weakness

If you think your blood sugar is low, check it right away. If you can’t check it, then treat it just to be safe.

If your blood sugar is less than 70, you should eat a food high in sugar that does not have fat, such as one of these:

  • Half a cup of fruit juice
  • Half a can of regular soda
  • One small box of raisins
  • One tablespoon of sugar
  • Three or four hard candies such as (Lifesavers™ or Jolly Ranchers™)
  • Three or four glucose tablets

Wait 15 minutes and check your sugar again. If it is still below 80, have another serving of a sugary food. Once your blood sugar is back to normal, you may still need to eat more. If it will be longer than 30 minutes until your next meal, eat a small snack. A glass of low-fat milk or a piece of fruit is a good choice.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY: Low blood sugar can happen very quickly. If it is not treated right away, you can pass out. If you have type 1 diabetes, you may need a glucagon shot. Someone you live with should learn how to give you this shot. If they are not able to give you the shot, then call 911 immediately.

Here are a couple things to keep in mind about insulin:

Keep your extra bottles of insulin in the refrigerator. You may store the bottle that you are currently using at room temperature up to one month. Do not let insulin freeze or get too warm. Do not keep it in your car.

Lancets and syringes can be re-used only by you. Recap the needle to keep it clean. When the needle is no longer sharp, throw the syringe or lancet away into a sturdy container with a lid (like a detergent or bleach bottle). When the container is three-quarters full, screw the lid on tight and put it in your trash.

Convenient, Accessible Diabetes Care

Seek help with your type 1 or difficult-to-control type 2 diabetes at the Diabetes Comprehensive Care Center. We are staffed by CDEs and offer care by appointment only.