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Why Is It Important To Control Your Diabetes?

The Importance Of Monitoring Blood-glucose Levels

The Importance Of Monitoring Blood-glucose Levels

Since your doctor told you that you have diabetes, you’ve had to make a few changes to your habits. Among other things, you probably now have to use a small device called blood glucose meter. Are you aware of the importance of monitoring your blood-glucose levels regularly? Essential facts about diabetes Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects the way the body treats glucose (sugar) in the blood. In the case of type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cannot produce insulin, a hormone that allows the body’s cells to use glucose and produce energy. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is a two-part affliction: first, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, and second, insulin can no longer play its role properly because the body’s cells are unaffected by it (insulin resistance). People suffering from diabetes, no matter what type, have to be followed by a doctor for life. Type 2 diabetes can, in some cases, initially be controlled by healthy eating habits, weight loss and increased physical activity. Many people with type 2 diabetes, however, will eventually have to take medication; it is most often taken orally, but sometimes it is administered by injection, such as insulin. For its part, treating type 1 diabetes is essentially based on daily insulin injections. Oral medication is not effective for this type of diabetes. Why is it important to control blood-glucose levels? Many people who live with diabetes don’t feel any particular symptoms, unless they are experiencing hyperglycemia (glucose level is too high) or hypoglycemia (glucose level is too low). Hyperglycemia can cause significant damage to some organs, which then leads to complications of diabetes. These include: cardiac or vascular event, such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) or stroke; kidney pr Continue reading >>

Setting Goals To Control Your Diabetes

Setting Goals To Control Your Diabetes

Setting goals is one of the most important tools you have for managing your diabetes. After all, if you never set a goal you’ll never reach it. However, it’s important to set realistic goals. If you set goals you can't reach, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s also important to be specific. Rather than saying, “I will eat healthier,” you might say, “I’m going to eat one more serving of vegetables each day.” This is realistic and specific, and once you’ve reached this goal you can set another. “Eating healthy” is a fine goal to have, but to get there you may need to set many small goals. Several small goals can produce big results Goal setting is a process. You may start with a final end result in mind—“I will lose 10 pounds,” for example. Once you have that final goal in mind, think about what steps you need to take in order to get there. Do you need to add exercise to your day? Eat smaller portions? Eat more home-prepared meals? Drink more water? Once you’ve broken the final goal down into smaller parts, you can begin to prioritize them. In the example above, you might decide that the first step is to reduce your portion size. Sometimes the steps need to be broken down even smaller and you may need to challenge your own thinking. For example, if one of your goals is to eat more home-prepared meals, you might ask yourself what’s standing in your way. Do you need to brush up on your cooking skills? Do you need help planning menus? Are you simply short on time? Questions like this can help you not only set your goals but reach them. You can set many different types of goals Although everyone is different, there are some common issues that many people with diabetes struggle with. These include: Glucose control – Of course this Continue reading >>

Healthwise: Keep Moving To Control Your Diabetes

Healthwise: Keep Moving To Control Your Diabetes

Every day, we share news from communities around Central Jersey. Wochit Exercise is one of the best ways to help keep your diabetes under control. Exercise is important for everyone, and if you have diabetes, regular activity can make you feel better and help prevent complications. Exercise provides a variety of health benefits, including; helping your body use insulin better, lowering your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol, and thus reducing your risk for heart disease and stroke. If you haven’t been active and are planning to start exercising, talk with your doctor before you begin; since people with health conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, etc., may need to avoid certain types of exercises. Diabetes medications need to be adjusted for your exercise routine. Exercise can improve your sugars but can also cause low blood sugars particularly in patients taking certain diabetes medications and insulin. Please be sure to contact your doctor for medication adjustments prior to initiating intense physical exercise. Start out slow. Try adding movements to your daily routine gradually. Every little effort counts. Try parking your car farther from the store and walk, take the stairs instead of the elevator, dance to your favorite song or take a walk during your lunch time and find a walking buddy. Try giving yourself a stretch or a small exercise during the commercial breaks while watching your favorite TV shows. Try to find and do the kind of exercises you enjoy, as those are most likely the ones you will be able to continue doing. Exercises like swimming, aerobics, bicycling, skating, tennis and basketball are also great to improve your diabetes control and help you tone your muscles and lose weight. These activities w Continue reading >>

Patient Education: The Abcs Of Diabetes (the Basics)

Patient Education: The Abcs Of Diabetes (the Basics)

The content on the UpToDate website is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions. The use of this website is governed by the UpToDate Terms of Use ©2017 UpToDate, Inc. All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete. What can I do to stay as healthy as possible if I have diabetes? — If you have diabetes (sometimes called diabetes mellitus), the most important thing you can do is to control your "ABCs": "A" stands for "A1C" – A1C is a blood test that shows what your average blood sugar level has been during the last few months. "B" stands for "blood pressure" – If you have diabetes, controlling your blood pressure is just as important as controlling your blood sugar. High blood pressure puts you at risk for heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease. "C" stands for "cholesterol" – Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the blood. High cholesterol is another factor that increases your risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other serious problems. Why are my ABCs so important? — Compared with people who do not have diabetes, people who have diabetes are 2 to 3 times more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke. People with diabetes also have heart attacks at a younger age, and that are more severe and more deadly. Plus, people with diabetes are much more likely to get kidney disease. By keeping your ABCs under control, you can lower your risk of these problems by a lot. Isn't my blood sugar the most important thing? — Keeping blood sugar low is important in preventing some problems caused by diabetes, including: Eye diseases that lea Continue reading >>

Importance Of Diet In Diabetes Control

Importance Of Diet In Diabetes Control

For a diabetic patient, having control over eating habits is mandatory. Diet is one of the single most effective ways to keep this deadly disease in control. For patients who are recently diagnosed with diabetes, it is necessary to get proper education about a diabetic diet so that you are in a better position to cope with the disease and manage its complications. Research from the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) study has shown that people can delay or prevent Type 2 Diabetes by: Losing weight (at least 5-7 % of their existing weight) Eating a healthy diet (low fat and low calories) Increasing physical activity (participating in at least 30 minutes exercise for minimum 5 days a week) Planning the diet Once you are diagnosed, you will need to make various important lifestyle changes along with diet changes so that you can practice diabetes control. While planning the right food for diabetes, it is important to consider your taste, health, goals and lifestyle. Your doctor can help you find a good nutritionist, who can assist you with the right diet plan. Here are a few tips to help you get started with your diabetes diet: Manage the sweetness Having a control over your sweet tooth is a primary criteria for diabetic patients. In order to control your blood sugar level, you must have a minimum intake of sweet foods. Luckily, there are a lot of options available for diabetic patients to make their meals tasty, without using refined sugar. Carbs The important thing to add in your diet is healthy carbohydrates. Instead of eating sugar and starch that turn into glucose, you must eat whole grains, lots of fruits, different kinds of beans and lentils. Fibre For diabetic patients, it is important to eat foods that are rich in fibre as your body cannot absorb or digest these foo Continue reading >>

Controlling Blood Sugar In Diabetes: How Low Should You Go?

Controlling Blood Sugar In Diabetes: How Low Should You Go?

Diabetes is an ancient disease, but the first effective drug therapy was not available until 1922, when insulin revolutionized the management of the disorder. Insulin is administered by injection, but treatment took another great leap forward in 1956, when the first oral diabetic drug was introduced. Since then, dozens of new medications have been developed, but scientists are still learning how best to use them. And new studies are prompting doctors to re-examine a fundamental therapeutic question: what level of blood sugar is best? Normal metabolism To understand diabetes, you should first understand how your body handles glucose, the sugar that fuels your metabolism. After you eat, your digestive tract breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugars that are small enough to be absorbed into your bloodstream. Glucose is far and away the most important of these sugars, and it's an indispensable source of energy for your body's cells. But to provide that energy, it must travel from your blood into your cells. Insulin is the hormone that unlocks the door to your cells. When your blood glucose levels rise after a meal, the beta cells of your pancreas spring into action, pouring insulin into your blood. If you produce enough insulin and your cells respond normally, your blood sugar level drops as glucose enters the cells, where it is burned for energy or stored for future use in your liver as glycogen. Insulin also helps your body turn amino acids into proteins and fatty acids into body fat. The net effect is to allow your body to turn food into energy and to store excess energy to keep your engine running if fuel becomes scarce in the future. A diabetes primer Diabetes is a single name for a group of disorders. All forms of the disease develop when the pancreas is unable to Continue reading >>

Keep Moving To Control Your Diabetes

Keep Moving To Control Your Diabetes

Exercise is one of the best ways to help keep your diabetes under control. Exercise is important for everyone, and if you have diabetes, regular activity can make you feel better and help prevent complications. Exercise provides a variety of health benefits, including; helping your body use insulin better, lowering your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol, and thus reducing your risk for heart disease and stroke. If you haven’t been active and are planning to start exercising, talk with your doctor before you begin; since people with health conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis etc. may need to avoid certain types of exercises. Diabetes medications need to be adjusted for your exercise routine. Exercise can improve your sugars but can also cause low blood sugars particularly in patients taking certain diabetes medications and insulin. Please be sure to contact your doctor for medication adjustments prior to initiating intense physical exercise. Start out slow. Try adding movements to your daily routine gradually. Every little effort counts. Try parking your car farther from the store and walk, take the stairs instead of the elevator, dance to your favorite song or take a walk during your lunch time and find a walking buddy. Try giving yourself a stretch or a small exercise during the commercial breaks while watching your favorite TV shows. Try to find and do the kind of exercises you enjoy, as those are most likely the ones you will be able to continue doing. Exercises like swimming, aerobics, bicycling, skating, tennis, and basketball are also great to improve your diabetes control and help you tone your muscles and lose weight. These activities work your large muscles, raise your heart rate, and increase how much air Continue reading >>

Blood Sugar Control For Diabetes – A How To Guide

Blood Sugar Control For Diabetes – A How To Guide

If you have just been diagnosed with diabetes you may be thinking that life as you know it is over. However, diabetes is a very manageable disease that will allow you to live a long and happy life. One of the most important factors to living a long and essentially symptom-free is your diabetic blood sugar control. There are normal ranges of blood sugar that doctors and clinicians alike agree that diabetics should aim to stay between. These ranges are for normal non-pregnant otherwise healthy adults. Depending on your treatment goals, these ranges may vary from your doctor’s recommendations. Checking Blood Sugar – Who Should Be Doing it? Blood glucose monitoring is the main tool used for Type I diabetics. This monitoring tells the person their blood glucose level at any time and allows them to effectively manage their diabetes. Often, keeping a log of your blood glucose levels (like the one pictured) can help you get an idea of your blood sugar control. Taking insulin Difficulty controlling blood glucose Low blood glucose symptoms High blood glucose symptoms Those are just a few reasons that you should be monitoring your blood glucose. Talk with your provider to determine a schedule that works for you. How do I Check My Blood Sugar Levels? Blood sugar control depends on your monitoring and abilities to follow your diabetes care plan. Checking your blood sugar can be done in 4 easy steps: Wash your hands and insert a strip into your blood glucose meter Clean your finger with an alcohol swab and using a new lancet, prick your finger and wipe the first drop of blood with a piece of gauze. Using the next drop of blood, touch the blood to your test strip that is in your glucose meter. Wait for your results to appear on the glucose meter screen. Be sure to dispose of all m Continue reading >>

Controlling Your Blood Sugar Helps Prevent Complications. Here Are 5 Ways To Do It.

Controlling Your Blood Sugar Helps Prevent Complications. Here Are 5 Ways To Do It.

Nerves are the body’s messengers. From your fingertips to your toes, your nerves control everything from a simple sneeze to your beating heart. But sometimes diabetes can damage this complex network. Researchers believe this happens when, over time, a surplus of glucose destroys the walls of the blood vessels that feed your nerves, particularly in the legs. An estimated 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have some form of nerve damage, also known as neuropathy. Individuals who have lived with diabetes for many years are at the highest risk for developing neuropathy. But even those who have only had diabetes for a short time can suffer from nerve damage if their blood sugar has been out of control. Experts believe that you can drastically lower your chances of neuropathy and other diabetes complications by consistently keeping your glucose levels in the target range. An important 1993 study found that maintaining strict control over blood glucose reduced risk of neuropathy in people with diabetes by as much as 60 percent. Even if you already have some nerve damage, tighter control of your blood sugar levels may help to thwart or delay further injury. 5 tips to keep your blood sugar levels in check As you know, controlling your blood sugar each day is a big task that requires constant monitoring. And if you take insulin, you also require numerous doses of medicine throughout your day. The following tips can help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels and avoid complications: 1. Eat healthy. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, a healthy diet can help you manage your glucose level. Monitoring your carb intake is especially important, as carbs can have a dramatic impact on your blood sugar. An ideal meal plan includes a variety of colorful veggies and fruits Continue reading >>

5 Tips To Get Your Diabetes Under Control

5 Tips To Get Your Diabetes Under Control

Controlling your diabetes is a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly challenge, but the effort is worth it. Right away you'll feel better and have more energy.The payoff? You'll live better longer with less risk of problems from diabetes like heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, even blindness. The key to managing your diabetes is to keep your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. It sounds tough, but there are simple steps you can follow. Spot Check Your Sugar You and your doctor will have set a schedule to test your blood sugar. Add an extra check on top. Maybe at breakfast one day, lunch the next, and so on. It's like popping in unannounced. "If you're a supervisor and your workers know that you're only going to come once a day to check on them, chances are they're going to be well-behaved during that particular time and the rest of the day you're going to be doing other things," says Sethu Reddy, MD, chief of the adult diabetes section at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. "If you spot check, you have a much better sense of how things are going." Use that information to adjust your eating and exercise to gain even better control if you need to. Count Carbs They can quickly send your blood sugar on a roller-coaster ride. That's why it's so important to keep track. Most women need 35-45 grams of carbs per meal while guys need 45-60 grams, says Jessica Crandall, a dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A cup of rice or pasta is about 45 grams. To make the most of them, pair your carbs with a protein, like nuts. Opt for high-fiber carbs. Both will slow digestion so you feel full without raising blood sugar. "Fiber is really important for blood-sugar control, but it's also a Roto-Rooter to clear out cholesterol building in Continue reading >>

Exercising With Diabetes

Exercising With Diabetes

Exercise is paramount for good health and for managing your diabetes, plus it can be incredibly fun. Whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, exercise plays a significant role in controlling your condition. Exercising with diabetes assists with maintaining your goal blood glucose levels, and it can help insulin or diabetes medications work more efficiently. Exercise also works to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check, helping to prevent long-term diabetes complications. In addition, exercise can actually help stabilize and regulate your blood glucose levels for hours—even after you stop exercising. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should strive for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (eg, brisk walking) per week and 2 or more days a week doing muscle-strengthening exercises (eg, lifting weights).1 In addition, a well-rounded exercise routine should also incorporate flexibility (eg, yoga) exercises. But you don't have to fit in all your exercise requirements in on one day. In fact, you can break your workouts into smaller increments throughout the day. For example, instead of walking for 30 minutes straight, break it up into three 10-minute segments. If you're new to exercise, you can make an appointment with a physical therapist or personal trainer. They can teach you how to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle, as well as specific exercises you can do to help you manage your condition. We've broken this article into 2 sections: exercising with type 1 diabetes and exercising with type 2 diabetes. Exercising with Type 1 Diabetes When you exercise, your body—more specifically, your muscles—uses glucose as fuel (energy). Exercise has a similar effect as insulin on the glucos Continue reading >>

Managing Diabetes With Blood Glucose Control

Managing Diabetes With Blood Glucose Control

There are two common ways that physicians assess how well diabetes is controlled: [1] Frequent measurements of blood glucose, and [2] measurement of glycohemoglobin (A1c). Each method has its good and bad points, but combined they give a fairly accurate picture of the state of glucose control in a diabetic. Most physicians will use both methods. Why Tight Blood Glucose Is Important Measurement of Blood Glucose (Blood Sugar) When we speak about measuring blood glucose levels, it can be done 2 different ways. Blood glucose can be measured randomly from a sample taken at any time (called a "random blood sugar" or RBS). Blood glucose can also be measured in the "fasting" state, meaning that the person has not eaten or taken in any calories in the past 8 hours (usually this is done overnight and it is referred to as an overnight fast and is called a "fasting blood sugar" or FBS). In a person with normal insulin production and activity (a non-diabetic) blood sugar levels will return to "fasting" levels within 3 hours of eating. People with diabetes (type 1 and type 2) may not be able to get their blood glucose down this quickly after a meal or drinking a calorie-containing drink. More about this can be found on our Diagnosing Diabetes page. Learn More about How to Manage Diabetes Remember, the normal fasting blood glucose level is between 70 and 110 mg/dL. Frequent Measurements of Blood Glucose. The goal in this part of diabetes management is to strive to keep fasting blood sugars under 140 mg/dL and preferably closer to the 70 to 120 mg/dL range. Ideally, one could monitor blood sugars 4 times per day (or more) to follow how well the sugars are controlled. This information could be used to adjust your diet and medications to achieve this goal. Usually blood glucose measureme Continue reading >>

Why It Pays To Lose Weight If You Have Type 2 Diabetes

Why It Pays To Lose Weight If You Have Type 2 Diabetes

The point is not to get skinny. The point is to gain the benefits of exercise.(ISTOCKPHOTO) About eight out of every 10 people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese, and excess weight—particularly around the bellyis a major cause of type 2 diabetes. Some people can even "cure" the disease with massive weight loss (including bariatric surgery). However, the relationship between weight and type 2 diabetes is a tricky one. Complex relationship between genes, weight, and diabetes An unexplained weight loss is sometimes a sign that's something wrong. So when you are finally diagnosed and treated you may actually gain weight. In addition, it's not clear if extra weight causes diabetes, or if some underlying genetic component contributes to both. "A lot of folks who are overweight and who are sedentary won't get diabetes. So there's an important genetic contribution to developing diabetes that's out of people's control," says William Bornstein, MD, an endocrinologist at the Emory Clinic in Atlanta. "Secondly, it may be actually harder for folks with diabetes to lose weight, that that may be part of the disease as well." Certain diabetes drugs, such as sulfonylureas, thiazolidinediones, meglitinides, and insulin, are associated with weight gain, too. However, the blood-sugar-lowering benefits of these drugs outweigh the risks of gaining weight. (Others, such as Byetta and metformin, may result in weight loss). While it may feel like the deck is stacked against youparticularly if you've lost and regained weight in the pastyou should still make an all-out effort to shed excess pounds. Now that you have type 2 diabetes, the goal isn't to get back into your high school jeans, but to prevent heart attacks, save your vision, and avoid amputations. Trying to lose weight is im Continue reading >>

4 Steps To Manage Your Diabetes For Life

4 Steps To Manage Your Diabetes For Life

This publication has been reviewed by NDEP for plain language principles. Learn more about our review process. Actions you can take The marks in this booklet show actions you can take to manage your diabetes. Help your health care team make a diabetes care plan that will work for you. Learn to make wise choices for your diabetes care each day. Step 1: Learn about diabetes. What is diabetes? There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes – Your body does not make insulin. This is a problem because you need insulin to take the sugar (glucose) from the foods you eat and turn it into energy for your body. You need to take insulin every day to live. Type 2 diabetes – Your body does not make or use insulin well. You may need to take pills or insulin to help control your diabetes. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes. Gestational (jest-TAY-shun-al) diabetes – Some women get this kind of diabetes when they are pregnant. Most of the time, it goes away after the baby is born. But even if it goes away, these women and their children have a greater chance of getting diabetes later in life. You are the most important member of your health care team. You are the one who manages your diabetes day by day. Talk to your doctor about how you can best care for your diabetes to stay healthy. Some others who can help are: dentist diabetes doctor diabetes educator dietitian eye doctor foot doctor friends and family mental health counselor nurse nurse practitioner pharmacist social worker How to learn more about diabetes. Take classes to learn more about living with diabetes. To find a class, check with your health care team, hospital, or area health clinic. You can also search online. Join a support group — in-person or online — to get peer support with managing your Continue reading >>

Why The A1c Test Is Important

Why The A1c Test Is Important

The A1c is a blood test, done in a lab, that shows what your average blood sugar has been for the past 3 months. Other names for this test are glycosylated hemoglobin, glycohemoglobin, hemoglobin A1c, and HbA1c. How the A1c Test Works The glucose that the body doesn't store or use for energy stays in the blood and attaches to red blood cells, which live in the bloodstream for about 4 months. The lab test measures the amount of glucose attached to the red blood cells. The amount is the A1c and is shown as a percentage. Your A1c number can give you and your health care team a good idea of how well you've controlled your blood sugar over the previous 2 to 3 months. When you get your A1c result from a Kaiser Permanente lab, you'll also see another number called the estimated Average Glucose, or eAG. Understanding the eAG Your estimated Average Glucose (eAG) number is calculated from the result of your A1c test. Like the A1c, the eAG shows what your average blood sugars have been over the previous 2 to 3 months. Instead of a percentage, the eAG is in the same units (mg/dl) as your blood glucose meter. The chart shows the relationship between the A1c percentage and the eAG. If A1c % is: Your eAG is: 6 126 6.5 140 7 154 7.5 169 8 183 8.5 197 9 212 9.5 226 10 240 10.5 255 11 269 11.5 283 12 298 What the Numbers Mean The A1c and eAG reflect your average blood sugar over a period of time. These numbers help you and your doctor see how well your treatment plan is working. The higher your A1c and eAG numbers are, the higher your chances for having long-term health problems caused by consistently high blood sugar levels. These problems include heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, vision problems, and numbness in your legs or feet. The lower your A1c and eAG numbers, the lower you Continue reading >>

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