Managing diabetes effectively comes down to one thing – managing your blood glucose levels. While exercise, de-stressing, quitting smoking and all the other actions you take will help you to control your diabetes, the most important factor is your diet and how it affects your blood sugar levels.
Every diabetes sufferer would be wise to try and get their blood sugar levels to a normal level. That’s roughly around 5.7mmo/l (when in a fasted state) to 7.7mmo/l (after meals).
Consult your doctor and discuss how you can monitor your blood glucose levels at home. What gets measured, gets managed. If possible, you should have a food journal and track your blood sugar levels after meals so that you know how the food you’re consuming affects your body.
Keeping a good record will be very helpful for spotting patterns. Since every individual is different, your body’s sensitivity to certain foods may not be the same as someone else. Very often, people blindly rely on the glycemic index chart to plan their meals.
However, in some cases, a food with a low GI may spike your blood sugar levels more than a food that has a higher GI number. That may just be how your body behaves, and you’ll only know if you’re monitoring your glucose levels.
By being mindful of your glucose levels, you’ll prevent your diabetes from spiraling out of control. Diabetes is one of those diseases that silently sits in the background and doesn’t give you any warning signs.
However, you must always remember that it’s the leading cause of amputations, blindness and kidney disease. Very often, diabetes sufferers get complacent and forget about the disease.
Once they overcome the fear and worry that came with the initial diagnosis, they realize that they might just need insulin every now and then or they should just pop a metformin pill to deal with the problem.
This is exactly what makes diabetes such an insidious disease. It makes you think that you don’t really have to do much to manage it.
While it doesn’t give any outward signs, it is silently wreaking havoc on the inside of your body. Diabetic retinopathy (eye damage), peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage), etc. are all related to diabetes getting out of control.
So, monitoring your glucose on a day-to-day basis is something that will help you keep the problem in check. You must be proactive and keep an eye on the disease. Testing your blood sugar levels is not rocket science. You can always purchase a blood sugar testing kit from a pharmacy and use it.
All you’ll need to do is prick your finger with the lancet. Next, you’ll use a strip to absorb a drop of blood from your finger and insert the strip into a meter. The meter will analyze and give you a reading of your blood glucose level.
The reason blood is usually taken from the fingertips is because it’s full of nerve endings and the blood here reflects changes in your blood glucose levels much faster than other areas like your thigh or forearm.
How often you check your blood sugar will depend on your current condition. Your doctor will be the best person to advice you here. For patients who use insulin pumps, they may need to check their glucose levels 2 or 3 times a day. Others may only need to check it once.
Speak to your doctor and decide how often you need to monitor your blood sugar levels. By knowing where you stand with diabetes, you’ll reduce your risks and cope with the disease much better.
“It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.” – Lou Holtz