Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers
Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are high. People with diabetes may feel very tired, experience shaking, need to urinate often, or feel very hungry due to high or low sugar levels. Over time, diabetes can also cause serious health problems. Know recommended target blood sugar levels, why monitoring the sugar levels is essential if you have diabetes, and how to measure blood sugar.
Why Should You Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers?
Uncontrolled sugar levels can cause many complications, including chronic kidney disease, nerve damage, foot problems, and heart problems. Monitoring glycemic levels regularly is one of the important aspects of diabetes management. The blood sugar numbers explain how well your diabetes is managed and helps keep blood sugar levels within target. You will come to know when your blood sugar goes up or down and what changes work or are needed in diabetes management. Read to create your own diabetic diet plan.
How Should You Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers?
For self-testing glucose levels, you can buy blood sugar meters from pharmacies. You need to prick your fingertip using a small needle and put the blood drop in the test strip. Placing the strip in the blood sugar meter can give your blood sugar readings. For some new meters, blood can be taken from alternative sites such as the upper arm, forearm, thumb, and thigh. It’s better to get a fingertip sample if you have hypoglycemia signs. Fingertip’s readings show instant blood sugar changes more clearly than from other sites. Ask your healthcare staff to show you how to use the device and read the directions that come with the device carefully.
Blood sugar testing is commonly done after waking up, before meals, two hours after meals, and at bedtime. How often you need to measure depends on the type of diabetes and the medicines you take. Ask your physician to know how much time you need to check. If you take insulin, your physician may ask you to check sugar levels several times
Continuous glucose monitoring devices are devices that measure blood sugar using sensors. A physician will insert a sensor, usually in the arm or abdomen, which continuously sends the information to the monitor that displays the glucose readings. It is usually recommended for people who take insulin for diabetes.
A1C tests are done in the laboratory, which gives your average blood sugar ranges over the past two to three months. This test helps your health care team evaluate your treatment regimen. Health care providers usually recommend this test twice a year for diabetes patients. Some people may need to get this test more often when the reading is more than their goal. Usually, no preparation is needed to get this test. But your health care professional may ask you not to drink or eat anything eight hours before the test. A blood sample will be collected and analyzed. Results may vary if you have hemoglobin problems such as sickle cell anemia. Inform your doctor if you have any disorders.
Target Blood Glucose Levels To Achieve
Glycemic levels change throughout the day. It is lowest in the morning or if you are fasting. It goes up after meals and if you are stressed.
For a healthy adult, the normal blood sugar levels are,
- Before a meal (fasting) - < 100 mg/dl
- 2 hours after meals - <140 mg/ dl
- A1C results – less than 5.7%
- Before a meal (fasting) - <80 – 130 mg/dl
- 2 hours after meals - <less than 180 mg/ dl
- A1C results – less than 7%
Work with your physician to get personalized blood sugar goals suitable for your age, treatment, health, and type of diabetes.
Prevent Diabetic Complications
If you have cholesterol or blood pressure along with diabetes, you are more at risk of developing complications. But there are many things you can do to prevent them.
- Check the blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels periodically and keep them within the target ranges.
- Check your feet daily for the signs of ulcers or sores. Get a dilated eye exam once a year.
- Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity every week.
- Reduce your belly fat even if you are at a normal healthy weight as it can increase the risk of heart disorders.