If you have questions about diabetes, treatment, and more, this is the place to find the answers. Our TeamingUp Coaches are all registered nurses who have been in the trenches for years working with people who are living with diabetes. And since they’ve answered each and every question, you can trust the information you find here. Of course, you should talk with your doctor before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or treatment routine.

    Coach Mallory C.

    Coach Mallory answers your questions about your diabetes knowledge and treatment. Be sure to talk with your doctor before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or treatment routine.

    What would you tell someone who is starting a new medication?

    Dealing with new challenges can become overwhelming. So when faced with a change in medication, I find it helps to start with the facts. Diabetes can change over time. That means it is not unusual for your doctor to change your medication or your medication dose. It is also not unusual to have lots of questions. Your healthcare team, including your doctors, pharmacist, and diabetes educators, can help explain the differences in medicines and the ways they work to lower blood sugar. And they can help answer any questions you may have about how to take your medications and what, if any, side effects to expect. There are also helpful tips you can try for fitting medication changes into your daily routine.


    What would you say to someone who has had diabetes for several years?

    First, I’d say “bravo” to you, for doing what you can to manage your diabetes. Balancing a treatment plan means that you are following a healthy diet, exercise, and medication routine, and tracking your blood sugar. It’s not surprising that sometimes you may need some help, so having a support system that has your back can be invaluable. One step is discussing the questions you have with your doctor. Building your team is another step.


    What happens to my blood sugar levels at night?

    It’s actually kind of interesting. Your blood sugar may go up at night because your body is producing less insulin and more glucose or sugar. If you think your fasting blood sugar levels are too high, it may help if you try eating earlier in the evening or doing an activity, like going for a walk, after dinner. Work with your doctor to set a blood sugar goal that’s right for you.


    Can stress affect my blood sugar?

    The simple answer is “yes.” Whether it’s physical, like when your body is trying to recover from an injury, or emotional, like when you are trying to deal with a tough issue, stress can cause your blood sugar levels to go up. In fact, scientists are discovering that stress can be a serious health hazard, especially for people with diabetes. Even just thinking about managing your blood sugar can lead to stress.

    Stress can alter your blood sugar in 2 ways:

    1. People under stress may not take good care of themselves. They may forget or not have time to check their sugar levels or plan healthy meals.

    2. Stress hormones may also change blood sugar levels directly.

    Fortunately, there also are strategies to help lower people's stress:

    • Exercise has been proven to help manage stress levels.
    • Relaxation techniques also help.
    • Know your stress triggers and avoid them.

    It's important to talk to your healthcare provider when you feel stressed. He or she can suggest several ways to help you manage stress.


    Coach Manisha P.

    Coach Manisha answers your questions about eating well with diabetes. Be sure to talk with your doctor before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or treatment routine.

    What is a good rule of thumb for how many carbohydrates I should have each day? What about fats? Proteins? Fiber?

    Everybody is different, so always check with your healthcare provider to find what is right for you. There is no rule of thumb when it comes to carbohydrates and people with diabetes, because what is best for one person may not be best for another. Experts agree that:

    • The amount of carbohydrates you consume should total between 45% and 65% of your caloric intake.
    • Less than 10% of your calories should come from saturated (unhealthy) fats.
    • Adults should try to include one protein with every meal.
    • Adult women should try to consume 25 grams of fiber a day, and adult men should try to consume 38 grams of fiber a day.



    Can I drink alcohol if I take diabetes medications?

    Ask your doctor if you can drink alcohol. When it comes to drinking alcohol, common sense applies, such as not driving and not drinking on an empty stomach. If you decide to drink, remember the key is to drink moderately. Moderate drinking is defined as no more than one drink a day for adult women and no more than two drinks a day for adult men. One drink is 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits (liquor).

    Can alcohol affect your blood sugar? Absolutely, most often causing very low blood sugar. Some medications, including some diabetes medications, require limits on alcohol use. Alcohol can also affect your thought process. You should be able to think clearly enough to monitor your blood sugar levels and to know what to do should they drop lower than what is recommended for you. If you are drinking, make sure to tell a friend what to do in the event of low blood sugar. It may be a good idea to wear an ID bracelet indication that you have diabetes.

    See how alcohol affects blood sugar.

    Can I eat fruit?

    It’s hard to imagine life without delicious fruit! Fruits are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber, just like vegetables. And they’re great for satisfying your sweet tooth. Just remember that fruit contains carbohydrates, so you need to take that into account. Try to stick to fresh, but if you can’t, choose canned or frozen in juice or light syrup.


    Does the amount of water I drink affect my blood sugar?

    When you have diabetes, water is your friend. So drink up! If you don’t drink enough water, your blood sugar may go up. People with diabetes can get dehydrated (lose too much water from their bodies) very easily, so it is important to stay hydrated. Try to drink four or more 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Working out or being out in the heat are just two examples of when your body needs more water. So be sure to carry and drink plenty of water, even when you’re not thirsty, to help keep your blood sugar under control.


    What happens if I skip a meal?

    Skipping a meal can cause low blood sugar levels. You’ve heard it a zillion times: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Turns out, it’s true. That first meal of the day lets you “break the fast” between dinner the night before and lunch later in the day. It is never a good idea to skip a meal. It keeps your body from maintaining normal blood sugar levels. When your body goes without food for a while, it can go into a fasting state where it “thinks” it is not going to be fed for a long time and stores whatever you eat next as fat. And here is the double whammy: Missing a meal can make you overly hungry, so you may eat more the next time you do eat. Remember to check your blood sugar, including when you wake up, as directed by your healthcare provider.


    What are some common "trigger" situations that can lead to unhealthy food choices?

    Here are a few common triggers that can tempt you to pile your plate with unhealthy food choices. Plus a few quick tips to get you back on track.

    1. Not getting your zzz's. When you don't get enough sleep, your levels of the "hunger hormone" ghrelin rise, which can increase your appetite. The solution: establish a regular sleep routine, going to bed and rising at the same time each day (even on weekends), to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep.

    2. Daily challenges. Ever find yourself reaching for that bag of chips or cookies when you’re feeling stressed, anxious, depressed—or just plain bored? You’re not alone. To help overcome temptation, wait a few minutes and think about the real reason why you’re lunging for the chips. You may find that the craving passes. Or try keeping a “food diary” to help you identify all those times when you use “comfort food” as a way to make up for something that’s missing in your life. That way, you can be more mindful the next time you’re inclined to indulge.

    3. Social situations. From cocktail parties to holiday gatherings, it’s easy to follow the crowd. Instead of indulging, have a healthy snack ahead of time so you’re not so hungry. Or switch things up. Instead of chips and dip, go for vegetable crudités. Instead of cocktails, opt for sparkling water with lemon, lime or a touch of fruit juice.


    What tips do you have for making good choices at a cookout?

    No question about it—temptation is everywhere at a good barbeque (BBQ). But there are some tips that can help you make healthy choices.

    1. Tips for hosting a cookout: If you’re the one having the BBQ, it’s easier to control what’s being served and how it’s prepared. Instead of using a bottled BBQ sauce with lots of sugar, make a dry rub. Or use a basil or pesto–based sauce. Grilled chicken or fish is also a nice addition to burgers or ribs. If you can't resist BBQ sauce, choose one that’s vinegar–based. They have less sugar than the ketchup–based sauce. Grilled chicken or fish is also a nice addition to burgers or ribs. Don’t forget about healthy side dishes such as grilled vegetables or leafy salads.

    2. Taste everything—but just a little bit. Go ahead—if you want to have some coleslaw, by all means, have a bit. If you taste it and it’s sweet, limit yourself to a small portion. Consider bringing a healthy side dish or two that you know you can eat without worrying. Vegetables and salads go well with ribs and burgers. Fresh fruit as a dessert is also an option.

    3. Watch the carbs. Be on the lookout for sugary and high carbohydrate foods like BBQ sauce, buns, potato salads, and cornbread. Try to have a snack before you go to the cookout. This way, you may not be as tempted to eat too much. Also, choose iced or sparkling water with lemon or lime instead of a sugary soda.

    Being aware of what you're eating can help you can make smart food choices, And that's what summer's all about.

    Coach Wendy C.

    Coach Wendy answers your questions about exercise. Be sure to talk with your doctor before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or treatment routine.

    I have limited mobility. Is there something I can do to incorporate exercise into my overall diabetes management?

    Start by “rethinking” what exercise can be for you. Walking the dog? Vacuuming the carpet? Both are types of exercise. Simple movements like just raising your arms or legs count as exercise if you repeat them and do them regularly. Just start slowly, and of course, always talk to your healthcare provider before you begin any exercise program.


    How does exercise affect my blood sugar?

    Exercise is a great way to help lower blood sugar in the short term. And staying active on a regular basis may also help lower your A1c. Exercise can lower blood sugar in several ways. It can make your cells more insulin "sensitive" which means they are better able to use any available insulin to take up blood sugar during and after activity. And when your muscles stretch and contract while you use them to walk, lift weights, or even pick up a grandchild, your cells use even more sugar for energy.


    Do I have to exercise at the same time each day?

    You know the saying “Timing is everything?” Exercise at any time of day can be helpful. But doing it at the same time every day goes a long way toward making it a habit. That’s true for everyone, but when you have diabetes, making exercise a part of your daily routine is especially important. If you are a morning person, that’s even more reason to rise and shine.


    What tips do you have for working out at home?

    There’s no place like home—especially when it comes to working out on a day when you don’t feel like going out. Need inspiration? Just pull some soup cans out of the cabinet and use them for weights! And watching TV doesn’t have to mean lying on a couch. Lie on the floor and do leg lifts or sit-ups! You can dance around the house to the radio, and even while you are on the phone. All in the privacy of your climate–controlled home!

    Get ideas for fitting exercise into your day.

    Do you have any suggestions for fitting in exercise on vacation?

    Going on vacation is a lot of fun, but it can disrupt your normal exercise routine. The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to add some fitness into your day when you're away from home.

    1. Traveling alone? Pack comfortable shoes or sneakers so you can go for a stroll or an easy hike. Chances are, no matter where you are, you'll find walking trails. Avoid the hottest time of the day— go early in the morning, or later in the afternoon. Remember to bring water. You also have other options. Many hotels have gyms, free fitness classes and even pools.

    2. Fitness for two. Vacationing with a friend is always fun. Why not exercise together? If you're in a city, find out about walking tours. You may also be able to rent bikes. If you're near a lake, you've got even more options. There may be paddleboats or canoes. Be sure to do a bit of research before you go to see what activities you can take advantage of. But by all means, get out there and explore.

    3. Family fun. Bring the whole family with you to explore the area. Go for a walk or hike before or after dinner. If you're at the beach, swimming or splashing around with the kids could be fun. Amusement parks are great for children. And you'll get a nice workout by keeping up with the kids throughout the park. If there's a gym in your hotel, be sure to use it. Too cold outside? Lace up your shoes and go for a power walk at the local shopping areas. Or visit a local museum or galleries.

    Coach Alissa H.

    Coach Alissa answers your questions about getting diabetes support. Be sure to talk with your doctor before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or treatment routine.

    Is it unusual to feel overwhelmed when it comes to managing my diabetes?

    Sometimes the more full your life is, the more overwhelming it can seem. Family, career, holidays, vacations—add diabetes to the mix, and it’s not at all unusual to find yourself juggling 24/7. It may help to get to know other people who are managing their diabetes, and learn how they are coping. Dealing directly with diabetes care issues may help. For instance, are you frustrated with taking your medicine, going for regular testing, and eating as you should? Ask a member of your diabetes team for a referral to a support group. Making friends with others who want to share their own experiences may help lighten the burden. Another source of support can be hearing or reading those stories online.


    Does Sanofi offer any patient support programs to help manage the cost* of medications?

    You have enough on your plate trying to manage your diabetes. Sanofi wants to help make affording diabetes medication manageable. If you are taking a Sanofi medication, you may be eligible to receive savings* and be part of a support program. To learn more go to Savings & Support. Eligibility restrictions apply. Please see below.

    Do I need to see a diabetes specialist instead of my regular primary care doctor?

    Your regular primary care doctor wants you to have the most appropriate care possible. So if you are diagnosed with diabetes, your regular doctor may suggest adding a diabetes specialist to your healthcare team. A doctor with special training in diabetes is called an endocrinologist. Most people with type 1 diabetes will usually see an endocrinologist when they are first diagnosed. Talk to your doctor about the specialists that can help you meet your overall diabetes management goals.


    How do I travel with my medication?

    Whether it’s an overnight business trip or a week’s vacation on the beach, traveling with diabetes medication is all about planning. It’s important that you pack more than enough medicine, and bring along your prescription, just in case! And if you take insulin, it’s important to keep in mind that while insulin does not need to be refrigerated, extreme heat or cold can cause it to lose strength. It’s a good idea to bring along a travel pack to keep it at a safe temperature. Having a separate travel bag for your medications is a good way to always be ready when you travel. If traveling on a plane, please check out the TSA website for more information.


    *Certain restrictions apply. Sanofi savings offers are not valid for prescriptions covered by or submitted for reimbursement under Medicaid, Medicare, VA, DOD, TRICARE, or similar federal or state programs including any state pharmaceutical programs. Void where prohibited by law. Upon registration, patient receives all program details. Sanofi US reserves the right to change the maximum cap amount, rescind, revoke, or amend this program without notice.