Control Blood Sugar
If you have diabetes, monitoring and maintaining blood sugar levels is an important part of your everyday routine. Keeping blood sugar levels within acceptably healthy ranges isn't always easy, especially for people who have been recently diagnosed. However, with a combination of healthy dieting, regular exercise, careful monitoring and medication, most diabetics learn to control their blood sugar levels while leading active lives with minimal complications. People can work with their doctors to cultivate lifestyle choices and treatment options to manage blood sugar for the long run.
High blood sugar levels are the root of all health issues for people with diabetes. First, high blood glucose levels cause the body to produce too much insulin, which can ultimately damage the pancreas. High blood sugar levels can also damage other areas of the body, such as kidneys, heart, eyes, nerves, and sexual function. High blood sugar over a long period of time can also cause neuropathy and other serious complications that can be avoided by maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. That's why it's so important for people with diabetes to learn control their blood sugar levels.
Blood Sugar Control: Know Your Goal
The first step toward controlling blood sugar is understanding what different blood sugar levels mean. The exact definition of a "normal" blood glucose level changes from patient to patient, although anything under 100 mg/dL is generally considered normal. Normal fasting blood sugar levels -- which are measured when diabetics haven't eaten for several hours -- range from 60 mg/dL to 90 mg/dL. Those with diabetes or pre-diabetes, however, have fasting blood sugar levels over 100, and anything over 126 is considered diabetes. Anyone with a blood sugar level above 100 mg/dL should take immediate steps toward blood sugar reduction. For people in the prediabetes stage (between 100 and 126 mg/dL), full-blown diabetes can still be prevented with the help of immediate treatment and lifestyle changes.
Once you've talked to your doctor and identified your target blood sugar range, the next step toward controlling blood sugar levels is to monitor your blood glucose and be aware of when corrective measures are needed. Be aware of the symptoms of high blood sugar levels, which include increased thirst, fatigue, hunger and frequent urination -- all symptoms associated with the body's efforts to expel excess blood glucose.
People with diabetes should check their blood sugar levels before and after exercising, and checks during exercise are recommended during lengthy periods of physical activity. Blood sugar tests are also recommended before meals and after several hours without food. In some cases, doctors may advise their parents to check their blood sugar levels after meals as well. People with type 2 diabetes who manage their blood sugar without insulin or medication may be able to go two or three days between blood sugar checks.
Staples of the Diabetic Lifestyle
Nutritious dieting, regular exercise and medication are the primary methods of controlling blood sugar levels. Some patients put all three to use when managing their diabetic symptoms; others may successfully regulate their blood sugar levels only with diet and exercise. Work with your doctor to formulate a treatment plan that best fits your needs.
A healthy diet sets the foundation for all other forms of diabetes treatment. People with diabetes should understand how the foods they eat can impact their blood sugar levels, and they should strive to avoid foods and ingredients that could result in unhealthy blood glucose spikes, such as candy and sugary soft drinks. In addition to knowing which foods are healthier, diabetics must also be more careful about when and how much they eat. Deviating from a diet schedule or eating too much of a good meal can quickly lead to elevated blood sugar levels. On the other hand, eating healthy foods at regular times and in appropriate portions is the key to regulating blood sugar levels naturally.
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