Diabetes is a group of diseases that result in too much glucose, more commonly called sugar, in the blood. There are several common kinds of diabetes.
- Type 1 diabetes – A chronic condition caused by the pancreas producing either little or no insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes – A chronic condition affecting how the body processes glucose.
- Prediabetes – A condition in which you have high blood sugar levels, but it isn’t high enough to be Type 2 diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes – A form of high blood sugar experienced by women who are pregnant.
Diabetes can be managed, and you can live a long and healthy life by taking proper care of yourself daily. Diabetes can affect almost every part of the body. Managing your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels can prevent health problems that often result from diabetes. When not properly managed, diabetes can lead to vision loss, kidney disease or kidney failure, neuropathy of the hands and feet, infections, greater risk of stroke or heart attack, dental issues, and amputations because of foot infections.
How to Manage Diabetes
With the guidance of your medical provider and your healthcare team, you can create a self-care plan to manage your diabetes. Here are some steps that your healthcare provider might suggest for your self-care plan:
- Watch what you eat and follow your diabetes meal plan. Watching what you eat plays a major role in your overall health and your blood sugar levels.
- Make physical activity a part of your daily routine.
- Take any medication prescribed for your diabetes.
- Regularly check your blood sugar levels.
- Manage your diabetes ABCs – Know your A1C goal, which is the test that shows your average blood glucose levels for three months. Many people with diabetes have an A1C goal set for less than 7%. You should discuss your goal with your healthcare team. Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and if you smoke, stop.
- Use healthy coping techniques to address your diabetes in healthy ways.
- Work with your medical care provider and healthcare team.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring
A way to check your blood sugar levels is continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). CGM systems involve inserting a tiny sensor underneath your skin. The sensor will measure the glucose levels in the fluids located between the cells of your body every few minutes. It will show changes in your sugar levels throughout the night and day. If the CGM shows that your glucose levels are too low or too high, you should then use a blood glucose meter before you make any changes to your medications, eating plan, or physical activity. A CGM system is helpful for those who take insulin and have experienced problems with their blood sugar getting too low.
What are Recommended Blood Glucose Target Levels?
Many people who suffer from diabetes focus on keeping their blood glucose aim to keep their blood sugar at near-normal levels. Before a meal, they want their blood sugar level to range from 80 to 130 mg/dL and about two hours after a meal starts less than 180 mg/dL. You should talk with your healthcare provider about your target levels and if your glucose levels often go lower than or above your target range. Your medical provider will help you come up with a personalized plan for treating and managing your diabetes.