Controlling Your Blood Glucose
When you have diabetes, it's important to keep your blood glucose in a good range. Good control of diabetes means that your blood glucose stays at certain levels, based on guidelines from the American Diabetes Association (ADA). You should talk to your doctor about the best range for you.
Why is good control of your blood glucose so important? Because controlling your blood glucose level reduces your chance of getting diabetes-related complications.
Monitoring Your Blood Glucose Levels
Below are the ADA's recommended numbers that show where your blood glucose should be. However, since everyone is different, check with your doctor to determine the blood glucose range that's right for you.
|When to Test
||Recommended Target (mg/dl)|
||70 to 130|
||No higher than 180|
A1c (A-one-C) Test
The A1C test measures the amount of hemoglobin with glucose attached. The results show your average blood glucose level over three months.
- Normal is less than 5.7 percent.
- Recommended goal is 7 percent or less.
- Goals may vary from person to person. Talk to your doctor or diabetes educator about what goals are best for you.
Your Personal Diabetes Plan
To work toward good control of your blood glucose, you need a plan. Your health care team will help you develop a diabetes management plan that's right for you.
The more you learn about diabetes, the better you can control your blood glucose level and avoid complications.
To learn how to manage your diabetes, work closely with your health care team and sign up for Diabetes Self-Management Education, a comprehensive education program for people with diabetes.
A healthy diet has many benefits, including blood glucose control and weight loss.
Losing small amounts of weight can make a big difference in your health and can improve your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
A dietitian can help you develop a meal plan that tells you:
- When to eat.
- How much to eat.
- What kinds of food to eat for meals and snacks.
For most people with diabetes, physical activity is very important. Physical activity helps your body use glucose better and, as a result, your blood glucose levels go down.
A physical activity plan can be as simple as taking a walk every day. Before you start a physical activity program, talk to your doctor.
Because physical activity tends to lower your blood glucose levels, your doctor may need to make some changes to your management plan.
The two main kinds of diabetes medicines are insulin and pills.
- If you have type 1 diabetes, you must take insulin by shots (injection).
- If you have type 2 diabetes, you may be able to start with healthy eating and physical activity. Most people also need pills to keep their blood glucose in a good range, and some may need to take insulin. Your doctor will help you decide which plan is best for you.
Blood Glucose Monitoring and Problem Solving
It's important to check your blood glucose levels. A blood glucose meter measures the amount of glucose in a drop of blood.
Testing your blood glucose and keeping good track of your readings are essential for knowing how different activities, food, medicine, and stress affect your blood glucose readings.
Your doctor will tell you how often to check your blood glucose level.
Dealing with diabetes can be difficult and stressful.
- Have a negative impact on your immune system.
- Increase your blood pressure and heart rate.
- Increase your chance of illness.
- Affect your blood glucose levels.
Although different things work for different people, some techniques to help you relax may include:
- Making time for yourself.
- Listening to soft music.
- Reading a book.
- Discussing a problem with a friend, family member, or health care professional.
- Becoming physically active.
To stay healthy with diabetes, it's important to reduce your risk of developing problems, such as high blood glucose levels, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
To reduce your risk for these problems, make sure you:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Keep active.
- Eat healthy.
- Take medicines, as ordered by your doctor.
- Have an annual eye exam.
- Frequently examine your feet.
- See your doctor regularly.
- Do not smoke.