Managing Diabetes

Control Your Blood Glucose Level

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 and monitor your blood glucose levels.

Good control of your blood glucose level reduces your chance of getting diabetes-related complications.

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Monitor Your Blood Glucose Levels

Everyone is different so check with your doctor to determine the blood glucose range that's right for you.

When to Test ADA's Recommended Target (mg/dl)
Before meals 70 to 130
After meals 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.

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Maintain 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.

Diabetes education

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.

Healthy eating

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

Physical activity

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 will 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.

Healthy coping

Dealing with diabetes can be difficult and stressful.

Stress can:

  • 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

Diabetes risk reduction

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 do the following:

  • 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

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