Diabetes: Be Mindful, Be Healthy

If you’re one of the over 1.9 million Canadians living with diabetes, it’s good to remember that you’re not alone. Read on for tips on diabetes nutrition, blood glucose monitoring, insulin injection, and much more.

Your Walmart Pharmacist discusses diabetes

There are many ways your Walmart Pharmacist can help you live well with diabetes:
  • Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) pharmacists in many pharmacies
  • The ABCs of Diabetes, a Walmart-exclusive program that allows you to learn about the topics that matter most to you
  • Just Ask About Diabetes, an online program to help you set goals and follow an action plan to achieve them
  • One-on-one medication reviews
  • Advice on how to monitor your blood glucose levels
  • Guidance on insulin therapy
  • Diabetes clinic days, sharps disposal, and more
It’s always a good time to visit the Pharmacist at Walmart for advice!

Do you know your diabetes ABCs?

The Pharmacist at Walmart can show you:
  • What your A1C test numbers mean
  • How to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels at target
  • What a healthy diet for diabetes looks like
  • How to care for your eyes and feet
  • How to properly monitor your glucose levels
Just ask about the Walmart-exclusive ABCs of Diabetes program at your next pharmacy visit.

Monitoring your blood glucose is important

Knowing your blood glucose (BG) levels and targets is important to keeping your diabetes under control. The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends that everyone living with diabetes can benefit from checking their BG. Depending on your diabetes type and treatment, you may need to check your BG several times per day. If you’re not sure how often to check your blood glucose, ask your doctor, diabetes educator, or the Pharmacist at Walmart.
There are many blood glucose meters on the market, designed to measure and display your blood glucose levels. You can choose a meter to suit your needs:
  • Easy-to-use and easy-to-read
  • Large, lit screens, to make it easier to see at night
  • Compact, if you test at work
  • Easy-to-handle strips, for people with arthritis in their hands
  • Easy tracking, with results stored or downloaded to a computer
Need a new blood glucose meter? Not sure how to use the features on your meter? Just ask. The Pharmacist at Walmart will be happy to review your meter or suggest a meter that suits your individual needs.

Healthy ways to control your blood glucose


Regular physical activity can help lower your blood glucose. You should aim for at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise (jogging, swimming) and 3 sessions of resistance exercise (weights) per week. You don’t have to do all the aerobic exercise at once … even a 10 minute session will help.


Healthy eating is always a good idea. Remember:

  • Eat 3 meals at regular times, no more than 6 hours apart
  • Limit sugars and sweets like candy, desserts and pop
  • Limit high-fat, fried or “junk” foods like chips
  • Eat more high-fibre foods, such as beans or vegetables
  • Use smaller portion sizes to help control your weight
  • Follow the guidelines of Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide
Meal replacements

If you’re having trouble controlling your weight with a healthy diet alone, replacing 1 or 2 meals per day with a vitamin- and mineral-enriched meal replacement product may help.

Natural supplements

Some natural products have been found to slow the digestion of carbohydrates. This helps reduce the entry of sugars into the bloodstream, which may help stabilize blood glucose levels.

Remember to check your blood glucose levels as recommended, especially if you have changed your diet, medication or exercise routine.

All about insulin

Insulin is a hormone that helps your body control the amount of glucose in your blood. For many with diabetes, daily insulin injections are needed to keep their blood glucose under control.

Over time, your body’s insulin needs may increase, and your doctor may need to increase your insulin dose or change your insulin therapy. Sometimes a mealtime injection, to help prevent your blood glucose from rising too much after you eat, may be added.

It’s important to check your blood glucose levels regularly. Blood glucose readings give you information about your body and diabetes to help figure out how to manage it, so you can reach your targets and goals. That’s why you should check in with your doctor or the Pharmacist at Walmart to review your diabetes log book.
Insulin injection tips
  • Shorter needles are recommended to reduce the risk of injecting too deep and into the muscle.
  • Be sure to attach the needle straight onto the pen, not at an angle.
  • Rotate insulin injection sites to keep the skin healthy.
  • Use a new needle every time, and dispose into a sharps container when finished.
If you have lumps or bumps where you inject insulin, or pain when you inject, talk to your doctor or your CDE Pharmacist at Walmart to review your injection technique.

Diabetes makes foot care important

Did you know that diabetes can cause foot problems? Diabetes-related nerve damage and poor blood flow can mean that you might not feel a foot injury, and can make it more difficult to heal. This could lead to a serious infection.
Foot Care:

What can you do?
  1. Put together a foot care kit, with clippers, nail file, moisturizer, and a mirror.
  2. Wash your feet daily, in warm (not hot) water and mild soap.
  3. Dry your feet carefully, especially between the toes.
  4. Check your feet daily, looking for cuts, blisters, or dry skin.
  5. Keep your toenails trimmed, but not too short.
  6. Apply a moisturizer to your heels and soles.
  7. Always wear clean socks and well-fitting shoes.
Ask the Pharmacist at Walmart about foot care... it’s a step in the right direction.

Diabetes, cold & flu: be prepared!

Nutrition is vital when you have diabetes and a cold or the flu. When you’re feeling sick, it’s normal to have a loss of appetite. But eating regularly will help fuel your recovery.

If you are unable to stick to your regular diet, switch to softer foods and be sure to drink enough liquids. Drink ½ to ¾ cup of calorie-free liquids every 30 minutes to an hour. Water or diet soda are good choices.

Try to eat or drink 50 g of carbohydrates every 3 to 4 hours. That’s about 6 saltine crackers 2 ½ cups (600 mL) of milk, or 6 saltines and 1 ½ cups (350 mL) of orange juice.

Remember, don’t stop taking your diabetes medications when you are sick. And you should test your blood glucose levels more often than usual.
Contact your doctor if:
  • Your blood glucose level stays unusually high or low
  • You’re vomiting or have diarrhea for more than 6 hours
  • You have symptoms of dehydration, such as dry mouth or dark urine
Talk to the Pharmacist at Walmart about making a diabetes sick day management plan.
Cough medicine: which one is right for you?
There are basically 2 types of over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine:
  • Cough suppressants help relieve coughs by blocking the cough reflex.
  • Expectorants make mucus thinner, which helps clear it from your airways when you cough.
When you have diabetes, it’s important to check that your cough medicine is both sugar- and alcohol-free.
Many OTC medicines can impact people with diabetes. If you’re not sure... just ask the Pharmacist at Walmart.

Beyond healthy eating

Fibre facts

Having a fibre-rich diet that includes fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains has a positive impact on your digestive health. For people with diabetes, fibre can help control blood glucose and cholesterol levels.

Adding a daily fibre supplement can be a good option for many people who struggle to get enough fibre in their diet. There are supplements available that are clear and taste-free, dissolve completely and are non-thickening, so you can simply mix them into your favourite soft foods, or beverages. These same options are also gluten-free and 100% natural; they don’t contain added fillers, sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavours or colours.

Meal replacements for diabetes

You know that achieving a healthy weight is key to managing your diabetes. For some people, a partial meal replacement plan can help.

Meal replacement products are portion-controlled, and enriched with vitamins and minerals. They can be used to replace 1 or 2 meals a day, and help make it easier for people to watch their calories and nutrition. Make sure you choose a meal replacement product that’s designed for people with diabetes.

Ask your doctor or the Pharmacist at Walmart if a fibre supplement or a partial meal replacement plan could help you control your blood glucose.
A recipe for wellness

Diabetes-friendly favourites

Click here to learn how to make Salmon with Mango Chutney.


Other ways to stay well

Dealing with chronic pain

A feeling of sharp or acute pain is part of the body’s nervous system. It alerts you that something is wrong, so you’ll react to lower the pain.

But when pain lasts for more than 3 months, it’s called chronic pain. This can result from conditions like arthritis, shingles, a stroke, or diabetes. As many as 1/3 of Canadians may suffer from this kind of pain.

If your pain is chronic, there are things you can do:
  1. Stay active – focus on low-impact exercise like swimming or yoga.
  2. Keep up your healthy diet – gaining weight may worsen your pain.
  3. Try to get a good night’s sleep – avoid caffeine, set a regular bedtime, reduce sound and light distractions.
  4. Ask your doctor or the Pharmacist at Walmart about pain relief options.
The challenge of osteoporosis

Are your bones strong? Osteoporosis causes bones to become thin, brittle and more likely to break (fracture). It’s more common in older women, but anyone can get it. Fortunately, you can help reduce your risk with:

  • Exercise
  • More calcium and vitamin D in your diet
  • Calcium and vitamin D supplements
Just ask the Pharmacist at Walmart to learn more about keeping your bones strong.

Important information

The Pharmacist at Walmart is always ready to help you live well with diabetes... Just ask!

This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.


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This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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