Managing diabetes while holiday shopping

December 2, 2009

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Millions of Americans are already preparing for the holiday “shop ‘til you drop” marathon. But for the 24 million Americans living with diabetes, it is critical to plan beyond getting the best sale to ensure diabetes doesn’t interfere with holiday shopping.

Marc Wolf, registered pharmacist and CEO of Diabetic Care Services (www.DiabeticCare, provides the following tips to help people with diabetes prepare for the holiday shopping season.

1. Dress for success. Crowded parking lots and long-lines are a given when holiday shopping. It is important to wear comfortable, supportive closed-toe shoes and special diabetic socks to protect feet.

Also, be sure to give careful consideration to how you will carry extra diabetes testing supplies and medications. With numerous shopping bags to tote during an extended shopping trip, consider storing supplies in a purse or satchel with a long strap that you can sling over across your chest. Securing your bag this way will help you avoid setting it down at a cash register and accidentally leaving it behind.

2. Arm yourself to battle lows. In addition to diabetes testing supplies and medications, pack several healthy snacks that are proven to quickly battle low blood glucose levels. If you feel a low coming on while in a store that does not allow food or drink, products like Glucose RapidSpray, available at, deliver glucose in spray form that is quickly absorbed.

3. Make a list … and check it twice! Cut down on the time and energy spent holiday shopping by preparing a list of items before leaving the house. To shave even more time off your trip, comparison shop online to determine which stores have the prices and selections you want.

4. Balance is key. Before embarking on a shopping trip, eat a balanced meal that includes protein and fat. Protein and fat help balance energy and prevent low blood sugar.

5. Multi-task. When shopping for friends or family members that also have diabetes, shop for gifts and for yourself at the same time.

Online diabetes suppliers and pharmacies like Diabetic Express,, sell items that make great holiday gifts, including fashion-forward diabetes supply cases and the latest meters.

6. Relax. According to the American Diabetes Association, stress hormones can directly alter blood glucose levels. Incorporate small tasks into your shopping routine that make the process less stressful, including:

• Read advertisements carefully to ensure you understand limitations on special deals.
• Only use cash to avoid spending more than you should.
• Always ask for a gift receipt.
• Schedule shopping trips at the beginning of the week and later in the day, when stores are less crowded.

Diabetic Care Services, headquartered in Cleveland is one of the nation’s leading mail order durable medical equipment suppliers dedicated exclusively to diabetes supplies and prescription medications for patients with diabetes.

For more information, call 800-633-7167 or visit their website at