Diabetes & Blood Glucose Levels
Tips to help gain and maintain control of your blood sugar levels.
These days, you hear a lot of so-called experts talking about the health and wellness benefits of living a balanced life. However, if you are among the millions of Americans currently living with diabetes, you already know that balance is more than an aspirational goal. It’s a necessary part of your everyday routine, because managing glucose levels is what keeps your diabetes in check and allows you to live a happy, active and healthy life. Balanced blood sugar also helps you avoid major health complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease, neuropathy, kidney disease, eye issues, and vascular problems.
Managing blood sugar is a delicate, and, often difficult, challenge for many people with diabetes. After all, the disease itself raises blood sugar levels. Insulin injections and other medical treatments lower blood sugar levels. Then, there are things like diet, exercise, weight, stress, and anxiety levels that all do their own part to either lower or elevate blood sugar levels.
In other words, for most people living with diabetes, life is full of ups and downs. They key to healthy living becomes finding ways to achieve, manage and maintain balanced glucose levels and A1C scores. This is often easier said than done, which is why this post includes a few tips and strategies to help you better manage those blood sugar ups and downs.
Always having the right diabetes supplies is a big part of maintaining balanced blood sugar levels. You will find everything you need at diabeticwarehouse.org. We offer the finest diabetes products at great prices, including diabetic test strips by top brands, such as Accu-Chek, OneTouch and FreeStyle Lite test strips; insulin syringes by Clever Choice and Easy Comfort; pen needles by Easy Comfort and BD Ultra-Fine; and glucose meters by leaders like Accu-Chek, FreeStyle and True Metrix.
Step 1 – Formulate A Personal Diabetes Plan with Your Doctor
More than 34 million Americans are living with diabetes and each and every one of us is unique. Diabetes impacts people in different ways, which is why the first step to developing an effective blood sugar management program is to sit down with your diabetes physician and care team. Together, you will create a customized diabetes health and treatment plan designed around your personal diabetes condition, including insulin resistance level and any individual health and lifestyle concerns you might have. Your diabetes care plan will likely include:
– Individualized insulin treatment program and other medications (if necessary)
– Meal plan/dietary restrictions
– Exercise/wellness program
– Additional health concerns - obesity, cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc.
– Blood sugar testing schedule
– What type of diabetic equipment and supplies will work best for you
– Support system - family, friends, mental healthcare program
– Diabetes education program
– And any other areas your doctor feels are important
Once you have developed your individual diabetic care and treatment plan, it’s important that you stick to it. This is absolutely critical to maintaining balanced blood sugar levels and avoiding those severe ups and downs.
No plan is foolproof, which is precisely why this post looks into some additional lifestyle strategies that may help you manage blood sugar more effectively. However, rule one is always follow your personal diabetic plan as closely as possible. If you don’t, you’re far more likely to see those ups and downs in glucose become much more severe. Additionally, any other steps you take to manage your blood sugar level will likely be far less impactful.
Seven Strategies to Balanced Blood Sugar
Along with adhering to your personal diabetes health and treatment plan, there are some lifestyle choices and that can help you better manage glucose levels. Remember, as with any change or addition to your diabetes care plan, it’s important to consult your personal physician before making any decisions.
That being said, here are some tips worth considering:
- Eat on a regular schedule.
This very well may be part of your doctor’s recommendations, however, it’s so important, we’re putting it on the list. Balanced blood sugar isn’t just about what you eat, it’s also about when you eat. Regular dining intervals can help steady glucose levels, while also staving off hunger and cravings which can lead to poor diabetes nutrition choices.
- Test blood sugar consistently.
Do your best to adhere to your testing schedule. After all, it’s easier to spot those spikes and dips in blood sugar before they become severe with regular testing. Your doctor might prescribe a continuous glucose monitor to make the testing process easier. If not, make sure you have an adequate supply of test strips and a properly functioning glucose meter, and that you use them correctly and on schedule.
- Log your daily regimen.
You can use a notebook, or many diabetic supply companies offer their own diabetic log books. An accurate recording of insulin treatments, meals, activity, even sleep will give your doctor a much clearer picture of your diabetes needs - what’s working, what’s not, and where changes need to be made to better manage blood sugar.
- Approved regular exercise.
People who exercise regularly generally have better control over their blood sugar. Activity also helps you control other health factors that can contribute to diabetes complications, including high blood pressure and cholesterol. As always, be sure to discuss activity level with your doctor and care team before beginning an exercise regimen.
- Plan ahead when dining at restaurants.
We all love a good meal out now and then. However, dining out can pose a problem in terms of balancing your glucose level, as restaurant menus tend to be full of no-nos. A good tip is to go online and review the menu prior to your visit. This way, you’ll have plenty of time to review ingredients and make your choices in advance.
- Get your loved ones involved with your diabetes health plan.
It is a lot easier (and more fun) to eat right and be active when you’re doing it alongside someone you care about. Think of it this way. You can either make doing the right things to balance your blood sugar a personal chore, or you can use them to get even closer to family and good friends. Besides, the people who care about you will want to participate in making you healthier and your life better.
- Be kind to yourself.
Diabetes is manageable. However, sometimes even when you do everything according to plan, blood sugar levels can rise and fall. This is a disease, and its progression is different for different people. Don’t be hard on yourself should you find it a challenge to achieve balanced glucose levels. You may need higher doses of insulin or other medication, which your doctor and care team will determine. It’s important to do what you can to manage your diabetes. It is also important to accept that you just can’t control everything.
Another thing you might want to consider adding to your diabetic toolbox is a strategy called “pattern management”. Basically, the idea is to look for and catalog patterns in your behavior and treatment regimen that correlate to high or low blood sugar levels.
For example, if you examined your blood sugar tests over time, are there periods that seem to regularly equate to higher or lower glucose readings? Maybe you tend to be low toward the end of the day just before dinner time? Maybe your glucose spikes a bit after eating breakfast? Is it high during those stressful working hours and then subsides slightly as the day winds down?
The point of pattern management is to determine both the medical and lifestyle factors impacting blood sugar levels. Once again, keeping a diabetes log to chronicle your daily routine and diabetic treatment regimen is a great way to identify these patterns.
Some things worth logging include:
– Times and results of daily glucose tests
– Doses and times of insulin treatment
– Mark when you start a new cartridge or bottle of insulin
– Type of foods you eat and when you consume them
– Activity schedule and duration
– Missed meals
– Dining out
– Work/travel schedule
Compile this information and share it with your diabetes physician. Together, you can use it to identify potential problem areas; determine any necessary changes in your insulin dosage or other medicines; and examine lifestyle and dietary changes that might help you break the cycle of ups and downs and better manage your blood sugar levels.
Blood sugar highs and lows are a fact of life for those living with diabetes. However, the choices you make in how you live; how you approach blood glucose management; and how effectively you address issues that arise play a tremendous role in how effectively you’ll be able to avoid major fluctuations in glucose levels.
This post offers up some valuable tips to help you improve blood sugar management. Discuss them with your care team, and remember, your diabetes health plan is designed to address your individual needs. This may be the most important takeaway of all. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. What works for you, is what matters most.
One aspect of diabetes care that is universal is making sure you have the right tools to test and treat yourself effectively each day. At Diabetic Warehouse, we’re committed to providing you with products from the leading names in diabetes health, including FreeStyle, Clever Choice, Easy Comfort, Accu-Chek, BD Ultra-Fine and others, at the very best prices we can possibly bring them to you.
Diabetic Warehouse is a trusted supplier of diabetes care products and accessories. For more information and to explore a complete range of products, including test strips, syringes and needles, glucose monitoring systems, and more, visit www.diabeticwarehouse.org.