Diabetes management requires awareness and is measured by how well you can control your blood sugar. Therefore, it is important to know what makes your blood sugar level rise and fall and you need to know how to control these day-to-day factors.
Using these simple steps and strategies in your everyday routine can help you live a better life and possibly avoid a trip to the emergency room.
1) Know how foods affect your blood sugar levels
It's not only the type of food you eat but also how much you eat and the combinations.
- Learn about carbohydrate counting and portion sizes. Carbohydrates have the biggest impact on your blood sugar levels. For people taking mealtime insulin, it's crucial to know the amount of carbohydrates in your food, so you get the proper insulin dose.
- Learn about food portion size. Use measuring cups to ensure proper portion size and an accurate carbohydrate count.
- Every meal should be well-balanced. As much as possible, plan for every meal to have a good mix of starches, fruits and vegetables, proteins, and fats. It's especially important to pay attention to the types of carbohydrates you choose. Some carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, are better for you than are others.
- Coordinate your meals and medications. Too little food in proportion to your diabetes medications, especially insulin, may result in dangerously low blood sugar. Too much food may cause your blood sugar level to climb too high. Talk to your diabetes health care team about how to best coordinate meal and medication schedules.
- Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages. They cause blood sugar to rise quickly so it's best to avoid these types of drinks if you have diabetes. However, sugar-sweetened beverages can be used as an effective treatment for quickly raising blood sugar that is too low.
These factors work together to lower your blood sugar level. The more strenuous your workout, the longer the effect lasts.
- Talk to your doctor about an exercise plan
- Keep an exercise schedule
- Talk to your doctor about what blood sugar levels are appropriate for you before you begin exercise
Check your blood sugar level before, during and after exercise, especially if you take insulin or medications that lower blood sugar
- Stay hydrated
- Have a small snack or glucose tablet with you during exercise in case your blood sugar drops too low
Insulin and other diabetes medications are designed to lower your blood sugar levels when diet and exercise alone aren't sufficient for managing diabetes. But the effectiveness of these medications depends on the timing and size of the dose. Medications you take for conditions other than diabetes also can affect your blood sugar levels.
- Store insulin properly. Insulin that's improperly stored or past its expiration date may not be effective. Insulin is especially sensitive to extremes in temperature.
- Report problems to your doctor. If your diabetes medications cause your blood sugar level to drop too low or if it's consistently too high, the dosage or timing may need to be adjusted.
- Be cautious with new medications.