In preventing or delaying health problems caused by diabetes, you must keep your blood glucose (sugar) in target range. You can take most of the steps needed yourself such as to use a meal plan, take your medications, be physically active, try to reach your blood glucose targets most of the time and keep track of your glucose numbers using results from a daily blood glucose testing and A1C check.
Our blood glucose levels will rise and fall throughout the day and taking care of your diabetes is why you need to understand why it rises and falls. Knowledge of this will help you take steps to keep your blood glucose on target.
These are some things that will make your blood glucose rise:
- Eating meals or snacks that have more carbohydrates (carbs) than usual
- Physical inactivity
- Not enough diabetes medicine
- Side effects of other medicines
- Infection or other illness
- Changes in hormone levels as during menstrual periods
Things that will make your blood glucose fall are:
- Having a meal or snack with less food or fewer carbs than planned or missing a meal or snack
- Alcoholic drinks on an empty stomach
- More activity than usual
- Taking too much diabetes medicine
- Various side effect of other medicines
The target set by the American Diabetes Association for blood glucose targets for those with diabetes are:
- ADA Target before meals, 80 to 130 mg/dl
- ADA Target 2 hours after a meal, below 180 mg/dl
Use a blood glucose meter to track your blood glucose at any moment and/or get an A1C check at least twice a year.
Your health care provider might recommend you check your glucose level once a day or several times a day. After acquiring the reading you should record the information in a record book to help you make choices about food, physical activity and medicines. The A1C test will give you the average level over a 2 to 3 month period. The Association’s target is for the A1C to be below 7%. If your levels are often higher than the recommended level, see your provider about meal plan changes or activity and medicine changes.
If your glucose is too low it is called hypoglycemia and has dropped below 70 mg/dl. You might feel shaky, hungry, nervous, sweaty, light-headed, sleepy, anxious or even confused. If you have symptoms you may take glucose tablets, ½ cup of fruit juice, ½ cup of regular soda, 8 ounces of milk, 5-7 pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey to get it back in line. Recheck your level after 15 minutes and repeat the extra carbs until your level is above 80. Control of diabetes can be in your hands.
-Dr Fredda Branyon