Diabetes is a disease that impacts how your body creates and uses insulin, resulting in an overload of blood glucose, or blood sugar, in the bloodstream. Having too much blood sugar can lead to serious complications, including nerve damage, vision problems, or even coma. It’s therefore vital that people suffering diabetes have effective measures in place to manage their blood sugar levels. We’ve put together a guide with three top tips for managing your blood glucose, to help you keep your diabetes in check. Keep reading to find out more.
Measuring blood glucose
In order to stay on top of your blood glucose levels, measuring it regularly is absolutely essential. There are a number of ways this can be done, each with their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Finger-pricking is the traditional way to test blood glucose. You prick your finger with a sharp needle, known as a lancet, and drip the blood onto a test strip. The test strip is then placed into a special meter that will give you a blood sugar reading almost immediately. Some advanced meters give you additional information, such as maps of your levels over time.
Another method is through the use of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems. These are devices made up of a meter, which can be attached to belts, clothing, or can even come in mobile app form, and a small sensor that sits under the skin. This sensor constantly reads your blood glucose levels and transmits this information to the meter, which will alert you when you’re outside of your target range. The finger-pricking method is an easy and cheap way to monitor your levels. However, for those uncomfortable with needles or looking for more detailed readings, a CGM system may be the best choice.
Exercise is often recommended as one of the best ways to manage diabetes and control blood glucose levels. It helps promote insulin activity in the body, which helps your body control blood sugar naturally. Furthermore, it uses up blood glucose as energy is expended and different muscle groups are used. Check your levels before and after different types of exercise, this will help you see what activities benefit you the most.
Diet is often the first thing people think of when they think of diabetes treatments. While you will need to be more vigilant about what you’re eating, you shouldn’t have to make strict, wholesale changes. Keeping things balanced is the key, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and avoid too much fat or dairy. You’ll need to watch your carbohydrate intake, as these get turned to sugar in the body and can cause a spike in your levels.
With the proper treatment plan and lifestyle changes, diabetes is a far more manageable condition than people might first suspect. Keeping on top of your blood glucose levels is the most important thing you can do. Monitor it regularly through finger-pricking or CGM systems, exercise often, and eat a healthy, balanced diet.