Diabetes can affect different body parts. Hence, you must take steps to manage blood glucose levels, cholesterol and blood pressure to prevent ailments that may occur with diabetes. With an expert healthcare team by your side, you can create a perfect diabetes program for diabetes management. Your diabetes management and prevention program may cover the following steps:
There are three main forms of diabetes.
- In type 1 diabetes, your body does not make sufficient insulin to absorb glucose from foods you consume and transform it into energy.
- In type 2 diabetes, your body cannot make or use insulin efficiently. You may require insulin injections or pills to control the condition.
- Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women. The condition heals on its own after delivery, but such women and their kids have higher chances of getting diabetes later in life.
Knowing your diabetes ABCs will help you manage your cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure in a better way. Fetching the ABCs objectives will also help you lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, nerve damage, eye disease, kidney disease and other diabetes-related health conditions.
- A stands for the A1C test: This test indicates your average blood glucose level in the past three months. The ideal level for most individuals with diabetes is less than 7%.
To know yours, consult your healthcare provider.
- B stands for blood pressure: Ideal blood pressure for most individuals with diabetes is less than 140/90 mmHg.
Enquire the same with your healthcare provider.
- C stands for cholesterol: There are two types of cholesterol in the blood: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). The bad cholesterol LDL clogs the blood vessels, causing stroke or heart attack. The good cholesterol HDL eliminates LDL from the blood vessels.
Consult your healthcare provider to know your cholesterol numbers. If you are above 40 years of age, you might require statin drugs for better heart health.
- S stands for not smoking: This is especially critical for individuals with diabetes as smoking can narrow the blood vessels making you susceptible to heart complications.
Check sugar levels in blood every day for proper diabetes management. Results of regular monitoring can help you make the right decisions about foods you must consume, medicines and physical activity. But before that, you must know the normal range of blood sugar.
- Fasting normal range of blood sugar for an individual without diabetes is 70-99 mg/dl, and that for an individual with diabetes is 80-130 mg/dl per American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommendations.
- The normal range of blood sugar after 2 hours of having a meal is less than 140 mg/dl for those without diabetes. The official ADA recommendation for a person with diabetes is less than 180 mg/dl.
- The HbA1c for a person without diabetes should be less than 5.7%, whereas that for an individual with diabetes should be less than 7.0%.
You can use a blood glucose meter to check the sugar level in the blood at home. Get a drop of blood with the lancet available with the device and apply it to the test strip. Now check the meter to see the glucose levelat the moment. Always keep a record of these self-checks, as you may need them when you visit your doctor.
The tips below will help you stick with your diabetes program and live with diabetes in a better way:
- Stress can get those blood glucose levels soaring. So, learn different ways to lower stress. You can try gardening, deep breathing, meditating, walking, listening to music and working on a favourite hobby.
- Get help at times when you feel down. Support groups, mental health counselors, family members and friends can be good options; they will understand your condition and make you feel better.
- Your ideal diabetes program should include the right diabetes diet or meal plan. You can consult a dietician or your healthcare provider to prepare a plan for you.
- Go for foods low in saturated fats, calories, sugar, salt and trans fats.
- Consume more fibre-rich foods, such as bread, whole grain cereals, rice, pasta and crackers.
- Also, choose foods such as vegetables, fruits, cheese and skim or low-fat milk.
- Have water instead of regular soda and juices.
- Your diabetes-friendly meal should have half a plate of vegetables and fruits, one-quarter of whole grains, such as wheat pasta or brown rice, and one-quarter of any lean protein, such as turkey, chicken or beans.
- Try to stay active most days during the week. Initially, you can start with 10 minutes of brisk walking thrice a day.
- Work out twice during the week to improve muscle strength. You can try yoga, push-ups and heavy gardening like planting and digging with tools or stretch bands.
With a diabetes program, you need to do certain things every day:
- Take your diabetes and other medicines daily. Consult a healthcare provider in case of side effects.
- Brush your teeth and floss regularly to avoid mouth and gum complications.
- Every day, check your feet to see whether red spots, cuts, swelling and blisters are there. Contact the doctor immediately if certain sores do not heal easily.
- Check your blood glucose and blood pressure one or more times daily and keep a record.
Visit your diabetes care team at least twice a year to detect and treat complications early on. At every visit, make sure to have a:
- Weight check
- Blood pressure check
- Review of your diabetes program
- Foot check
Have a complete foot examination, cholesterol test, dental examination, flu shot, dilated eye examination and blood and urine test to check for kidney complications once every year. Also, get a hepatitis B and pneumonia shot at least once in your lifetime.
Living with diabetes can be challenging. Regular stress can take your sugar level higher than the normal range of blood sugar. Thus, staying active, eating well, participating in different activities, and being social can help you manage stress and, eventually, diabetes. If depression is getting in your way, get help from family, friends and professional counselors immediately. Do not forget that it is difficult to manage diabetes, but following the steps mentioned above can help you a lot!