Ways To Control Your Blood Sugar Levels
Ways individuals with diabetes can balance their blood sugar include keeping their weight in check, exercising regularly, following their medication and diet plans, and checking their blood sugar levels regularly. For some individuals, taking insulin shots may be necessary to keep glucose levels in check. Sticking to a schedule is important for individuals with diabetes. As it can help them regulate their blood sugar level.
However, just eating healthy and exercising regularly can help to a great extent. High fiber food, green vegetables, low GI fruits are all good food choices for people with diabetes. And exercises like Zumba, yoga, or just walking for 30 minutes every day can be very beneficial for bringing the blood sugar level back to normal.
Check Your Blood Sugar Often
Talk with your provider about when you should check your blood sugar every day. People who have low blood sugar need to check their blood sugar more often.
The most common causes of low blood sugar are:
- Taking your insulin or diabetes medicine at the wrong time
- Taking too much insulin or diabetes medicine
- Taking insulin to correct high blood sugar without eating any food
- Not eating enough during meals or snacks after you have taken insulin or diabetes medicine
- Skipping meals
- Waiting too long after taking your medicine to eat your meals
- Exercising a lot or at a time that is unusual for you
- Not checking your blood sugar or not adjusting your insulin dose before exercising
- Drinking alcohol
How Do Carbs Affect Blood Sugar
Carbs in food make your blood sugar levels go higher after you eat them than when you eat proteins or fats. You can still eat carbs if you have diabetes. The amount you can have and stay in your target blood sugar range depends on your age, weight, activity level, and other factors. Counting carbs in foods and drinks is an important tool for managing blood sugar levels. Make sure to talk to your health care team about the best carb goals for you.
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Things To Do If You Have Diabetes
Common things that people with diabetes should avoid include eating lots of simple sugars, eating too much food for the activity theyve performed recently, and not following medication or exercise plans.
Some things that can be harmful to people with diabetes are smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol in excess, and eating large portions of unhealthy foods.
The person should maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. The doctor may also recommend taking insulin or other medications to manage their blood sugar levels.
When Should I Check My Blood Sugar
How often you check your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes you have and if you take any diabetes medicines.
Typical times to check your blood sugar include:
- When you first wake up, before you eat or drink anything.
- Before a meal.
- Two hours after a meal.
- At bedtime.
If you have type 1 diabetes, have type 2 diabetes and take insulin, or often have low blood sugar, your doctor may want you to check your blood sugar more often, such as before and after youre physically active.
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What Is Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body no longer produces enough insulin, or has difficulty using the insulin it produces, causing sugar to build up in the blood.
Over time, this damages blood vessels and nerves and can result in severe complications including: blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, nerve damage, amputation, and erectile dysfunction.
Adopting a healthier lifestyle can help prevent or control type 2 diabetes, and can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, and stroke. It can also contribute to your overall well-being and quality of life.
Did You Know?
Nine out of ten Canadians with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. Seniors represent almost 45 per cent of the total number of people with the disease, and this number is expected to rise as Canada’s population continues to age.
What Are The Symptoms Of Diabetic Retinopathy
Like many conditions of this nature, the early stages of diabetic retinopathy may occur without symptoms and without pain. An actual influence on the vision will not occur until the disease advances.
Macular oedema can result from maculopathy and affect vision occurs if leaking fluid causes the macular to swell. New vessels on the retina can prompt bleeding, which can also block vision in some cases.
Symptoms may only become noticeable once the disease advances, but the typical symptoms of retinopathy to look out for include:
- Sudden changes in vision / blurred vision
- Eye floaters and spots
Read more about the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy
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Do You Have To Fast For An A1c Blood Test
Unlike the fasting plasma glucose and the OGTT tests, there is no need to fast before having the A1C test. If A1C test results indicate a person has or might have diabetes, a healthcare provider might suggest one of these tests to confirm the results. Another test, the random plasma glucose test, which does not require fasting, can also be used. If the results are borderline or if the results of the different tests do not match, a doctor might suggest repeating the test in several weeks or months.
Insulin Blood Sugar And Prediabetes
Prediabetes can develop when the system goes awry and your blood sugar levels increase. This happens due to resistance to a hormone called insulin, which is produced by an organ called the pancreas. Your pancreas release insulin when your blood sugar levels rise after a meal. Insulin helps sugar get out of your blood and into your fat, muscle, and some other cells so that they can use the sugar for fuel, and so that the extra sugar leaves your bloodstream.
Prediabetes happens when your cells become less sensitive, or more resistant, to the effects of insulin. You progressively need more insulin to get the sugar out of your blood and into your cells. Eventually, possibly after years or decades, your body cannot produce enough insulin to keep up with demand.
This is when blood sugar rises to the levels that are seen in prediabetes. At this point, your doctor might diagnose you with prediabetes after taking a blood glucose test. Even higher levels, which can happen if you do not treat prediabetes, indicate diabetes.
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Why Do I Need To Know My Blood Sugar Numbers
Your blood sugar numbers show how well your diabetes is managed. And managing your diabetes means that you have less chance of having serious health problems, such as kidney disease and vision loss.
As you check your blood sugar, you can see what makes your numbers go up and down. For example, you may see that when you are stressed or eat certain foods, your numbers go up. And, you may see that when you take your medicine and are active, your numbers go down. This information lets you know what is working for you and what needs to change.
How To Keep Blood Sugar In The Normal Range
To keep your glucose levels under control, the first step is to check your fasting blood sugar level every morning and make normal blood sugar levels chart. It will help you record your blood sugar levels every day, both random and fasting in the early morning. Fasting blood sugar level should be less than 100 mg/dL and, at random, it should be less than 140 mg/dL
Monitor closely when your blood sugar goes high, which food items are the triggers, and share it with your physician so that they can guide you better.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
Getting professional medical advice from a healthcare provider like an endocrinologist is the best way to learn more about whether your blood sugar levels are where they should be. Not getting proper treatment for low or high blood sugar levels can be serious and lead to health complications, especially for those with diabetes. Diabetes complications include nerve damage, kidney disease, heart disease, or heart attacks.
If you see a healthcare provider about your blood sugar levels, be prepared to answer questions about risk factors like what you eat, how much you exercise, and about your family history. Some healthcare providers may want to take a blood sample to test your blood sugar levels. They may also order an A1C test, which is a blood test that measures blood sugar levels over several months. You may have to fast eight hours beforehand to get accurate test results, so its always a good idea to check before your appointment.
If your blood sugar level goes above 250 mg/dL, you should go to the ER for immediate medical attention, says Dr. Tarugu. Emergency rooms are equipped to handle high blood sugar levels and can administer treatments like insulin therapy and fluid or electrolyte replacement.
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Factors That Can Affect Blood Sugar Levels
If you have prediabetes or diabetes, you may have insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin. This means your body has difficulty regulating blood sugar levels on its own.
Its a delicate balance to maintain, so the following list can help you familiarize yourself with factors that can cause your blood glucose levels to go up or down.
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How Frequently Do You Need To Check For Blood Sugar Levels
Most people with prediabetes, also called as impaired glucose tolerance, dont need to keep track of their blood sugar levels. The most important thing is to take efforts to prevent type 2 diabetes by changing your food, increasing your physical exercise, and other parts of your lifestyle.
A person with prediabetes will have their blood sugar levels checked at regular yearly checks. This is typically done with an A1C blood test, which measures average blood sugar levels over the previous two to three months. If youve been diagnosed with prediabetes, though its not a bad idea to ask your doctor about blood glucose monitoring. This will show you where your blood sugar is at all times of the day, which may encourage you to keep making the changes and doing the measures that will help you avoid contracting type 2 diabetes.
Your doctor will tell you how often you should monitor your blood sugar. The regularity of testing is usually determined by your diabetes type and management strategy.
What Are Blood Sugar Targets
A blood sugar target is the range you try to reach as much as possible. These are typical targets:
- Before a meal: 80 to 130 mg/dL.
- Two hours after the start of a meal: Less than 180 mg/dL.
Your blood sugar targets may be different depending on your age, any additional health problems you have, and other factors. Be sure to talk to your health care team about which targets are best for you.
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The Best Healthcare Options To Prevent Diabetes
Health care is expensive. Canada spent an estimated $253.5 billion in 2018, and as the cost of health care increases, so does the cost to you. Pre-existing medical conditions, family history, and BMI are all factors that increase the cost of health care. These factors also increase your risk of diabetes, so you must be covered.
Of course, as a Canadian, you are entitled to some free and subsidized health care, which is great. But many people opt for private healthcare and for diabetes prevention this can be very useful. If youâre shopping around for private healthcare, itâs important to choose the right package.
Basic health insurance will usually cover health care, medical services, and prescriptions, but they tend to lack customizations. If you opt for a premium/guaranteed health insurance you have the bonus of a custom plan based on your needs if you are worried about your risk of diabetes this is like gold dust.
Private healthcare plans can cover the cost of many expenses related to diabetes such as blood tests, blood sugar monitors, specialist referrals, hospital stays, and much more! The most important thing to note about private health care is that it covers costs for preventative care, not just treatment for diseases.
How To Reduce Blood Sugar
You can take steps to reach your blood sugar goals as soon as you find out that it is high. This is how to reduce blood sugar if you have a single high reading that may be dangerous:
- Ask your doctor what to do if you missed a dose of insulin or another diabetes medication
- Ask your doctor if your medication types and doses are still appropriate for you
- Drink water to dilute the sugar
- Exercise for 15 minutes
- Eat a small protein snack, such as a hard-boiled egg, ½ ounce of peanuts or pistachios or other nuts, ½ cup of beans, or ½ cup of plain yogurt or cottage cheese
If you have chronically high blood sugar in prediabetes or diabetes, you can follow this treatment plan:
- Exercise regularly, assuming your doctor approves it
- Lose weight if you are overweight or obese
- Eat a higher proportion of vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and fruit
- Limit sugary foods and beverages, fried foods, refined starches, and processed and fatty red meats
- Beware of starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, which can spike your blood sugar. Check out our guide of which veggies to avoid!
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How Does Blood Sugar Level Work
With a lack of nutrients and food that contain glucose, the blood sugar level will begin to decline. This is known as hypoglycemia.
After blood sugar becomes low, the pancreas releases a peptide hormone called glucagon. When this happens, the glucose that is stored in the body for energy is instructed to release due to the liver. This causes the glucose to turn into glycogen, known as the glycogenesis process. This is what can help a body to regain energy as the readily stored glycogen, in the liver and muscles, will release into the body.
On the other hand, the blood sugar can also rise and become too high which is known as hyperglycemia.
When the body does not produce enough of the insulin hormone, blood sugar levels begin to increase. This is because glucose relies on the insulin hormone to help it absorb into the bloodstream. Usually, this occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin, known as type 1 diabetes, or does not respond to insulin correctly, known as type 2 diabetes.
Eating too many processed foods can also cause your blood sugar level to rise. If there is not enough insulin present in the body, too much bad food can cause your blood sugar level to build up.
For those with a normal blood sugar level, this will be due to eating the right foods and your body being able to produce and respond to insulin.
You may be wondering what exactly causes an imbalance in blood sugar levels, so here is a roundup:
Levels After Youve Eaten
Many foods have types of carbohydrates called starches and sugars. When you eat foods with these types of carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is a type of simple sugar, and releases the glucose into your bloodstream. Aside from glucose produced by your liver, food is the main source of plasma glucose.
Two hours after eating, your blood sugar levels rise. They rise more when you eat more carbohydrates, when you do not eat fiber, fat, or protein with your carbs, and when you eat certain types of carbohydrates, such as refined sugars and starches.
These are target values from The Joslin Diabetes Center, which include levels for people with diabetes:
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How Often Should I Check My Blood Sugar
The number of times that you check your blood sugar will depend on the type of diabetes that you have and the type of medicine you take to treat your diabetes. For example, people who take insulin may need to check more often than people who do not take insulin. Talk with your health care team about how often to check your blood sugar.
The common times for checking your blood sugar are when you first wake up , before a meal, 2 hours after a meal, and at bedtime. Talk with your health care team about what times are best for you to check your blood sugar.
Now That Youre Checking Your Blood Glucose What Do The Numbers Mean
Depending on your diabetes treatment plan, your doctor or diabetes educator may advise you to check once a week, once a day or up to 10 times a day . But what does it mean when you see a 67, 101 or 350 on your meter? And what is a normal blood sugar, anyway? Great questions! After all, if you dont know what the numbers on your meter mean, its hard to know how youre doing.
The American Diabetes Association provides guidelines for blood glucose goals for people with diabetes, and the goals vary depending on when youre checking your glucose:
Fasting and before meals: 80130 mg/dl
Postprandial : Less than 180 mg/dl
By the way, these guidelines are for non-pregnant adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Children, adolescents and pregnant women may have different goals.
Your blood glucose goals may be different, however. If youre younger, have had diabetes for a shorter amount of time or are not taking any medicine for your diabetes, your glucose goals might be a little tighter, or lower. Likewise, your blood glucose goals may be higher than what ADA recommends if youre older, have diabetes complications, or dont get symptoms when your blood glucose is low.
Bottom line: talk with your health-care provider about the following:
When to check your blood glucose How often to check your blood glucose What your blood glucose goals are
- Normal reading for nondiabetic person = 7099 mg/dl
- The recommendation for someone who is diabetic = 80130 mg/dl
Two hours after a meal
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