In America today, over 30 million people have diabetes and roughly 90 million are pre-diabetic. This is truly a health crisis as diabetes puts people at risk of heart problems, kidney disease, blindness and even amputations. It occurs when you have a high blood sugar when insulin production is inadequate or when the body doesn’t respond appropriately to it.
If you suffer from diabetes, the doctor may have told you to expect polyuria or frequent urination, polydipsia and polyphagia. Presently, diabetes cannot be cured, but it is managed by medication, lifestyle changes, and healthy nutrition.
Unique Ways to Manage Diabetes
Your doctor may not always tell you everything you need to know about your condition. This is why you should take your health into your own hands and find unique ways to manage diabetes.
Diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be managed. Taking care of your condition can help you to feel even better in the future. When your blood sugar is very close to normal, you can have more energy, urinate less, be less thirsty or tired, heal better, and also have few skin and bladder infections. Also, if you care for your condition, you reduce your risk of developing some health issues related to diabetes such as stroke or heart attack, eye problems or even blindness, tingling, numbness in the feet or hands, teeth and gum problems, and kidney problems.
One way to manage your diabetes is to talk to your doctor about your A1C levels. The A1C is a blood test which measures the average blood sugar level for the past three months, and it is quite distinct from the regular blood sugar checks. It is vital to know your blood glucose level as you would not want the numbers to become too high and hurt the blood vessels, heart, kidneys, eyes, and feet. You should also have an A1C goal, ask the doctor about this as it may be a different goal for every individual.
It is quite common to feel sad or overwhelmed if you are living with diabetes, but learning unique ways to manage diabetes will help reduce negative thoughts about the condition. Stress can raise the blood sugar and should be avoided at all costs. A few activities that can help reduce stress are gardening, deep breathing, taking a walk, working on your hobby, meditating, listening to music. Others ways to prevent stress include taking to others in your family or a support group or even your doctor.
Also, it is important that you eat healthy foods as this will improve your overall health. Contact your doctor and work together to make a diabetes meal plan. This meal plan must contain foods that are lower in saturated fats, calories, Trans fat, salt, and sugar. They should also contain fiber, which can be found in whole grain cereals, crackers, rice, bread, and pasta. Also include vegetables, fruits, bread and cereals, whole grains, cheese and low-fat skim milk. Water should also be included instead of soda or juice. When taking a meal, fill the plate with one-quarter lean protein like chicken, beans, or turkey, half with fruits and vegetables, and a quarter with whole grain like whole wheat pasta or brown rice.
Set goals to become more active every day of the week. Begin with a slow pace by taking ten minute walks three times daily. Also, consider taking yoga classes to increase muscle strength. Heavy gardening can be a safe alternative to yoga.
Ensure that your medications are taken daily and ask your doctor what NSAIDs you can take for pain and discuss any side effects that may arise from the drugs. Check your body for cuts, swelling, blisters or red spots on a daily basis so that you can contact your doctor immediately and have the problem taken care of before it escalates. Brush your teeth and also floss daily to keep both the mouth and gums healthy. Smoking does not also go well with diabetes, and it is advised that diabetic patients avoid smoking. Numerous support groups can help you achieve this aim, speak to your health provider about this addiction.
Ways to Lower Your A1C Levels
The American Diabetes Association recommends that you go for an A1C test twice every year. The test is simple and can be conducted in your doctor’s office. It provides insight into the efficiency of the treatment plan or if there is need to modify the treatment.
There are several ways to lower your A1C levels, and they include:
Try to get 30 minutes of exercise every day of the week. This does not have to be strict exercise, but something you enjoy that gets your body moving. It could be taking your dog for a walk, or playing a sport with a friend.
Eat a balanced meal with proper portion sizes as stated earlier. You can eat plenty of non-starchy vegetables. However, you must be mindful of the serving sizes when eating fats, fruits, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, and starches. Eating with a salad plate can help prevent overeating. Also, avoid processed foods and say no to sugary drinks and fruit juice.
Create a schedule and stick to it. Skipping meals, allowing too much time to pass between meals, or even eating too much can make your blood sugar levels to drop and rise excessively.
Follow your treatment plan strictly. Diabetes management is very individualized, and your doctor can help you to determine the steps you must take to manage your diabetes effectively. Ensure that you talk to your doctor before embarking on any modification.
Lastly, check your blood sugar regularly as directed. Checking your blood sugar by yourself is still necessary, even if the doctor is observing your A1C levels frequently. Having a journal of your blood glucose level can tell you and also your doctor how some actions affect your blood sugar and enhance the treatment. It can also help you determine a perfect eating schedule and inform you on meals that cause blood sugar increases.
Current A1C Guidelines
Current research has changed the way health professionals observe A1C levels. Instead of the previous practice of setting tight controls, a healthy A1C level now depends on the patient. Previously, an A1C of about 7 percent was seen as a healthy goal for all diabetic patients.
The American Diabetes Association Standards of Medical Care 2005, recommend the following A1C levels in a diabetic patient:
- 5 percent or less: This goal is more stringent, and health care providers may suggest this goal for individuals who can attain this goal without experiencing hypoglycemia episodes or any other adverse effect of having a lower blood glucose level. This may be individuals who have not been diagnosed with diabetes for many years and people with type 2 diabetes who have already made lifestyle changes. It may also be people using a glucose-lowering drug that does not cause hypoglycemia or younger adults who have many years to live and individuals with no substantial heart and blood vessel ailment.
- 7 percent: This is quite reasonable as an A1C goal for a lot of adults suffering from diabetes who aren’t pregnant. At this level, research has shown that individuals experience less long-term complications like nerve damage and retinopathy if the target can be attained and also sustained for years.
- 5 percent: This goal is recommended for all infants with diabetes from 0 to 18 years old. It is important with that these children and the parents balance the health benefits of glucose control and the risks of hypoglycemia, specifically in children who are younger than six years old and may be unable to identify symptoms.
- 8 percent or less: This goal is considered less stringent. It may be suitable for people who have a history of acute hypoglycemia, and who have been diagnosed with diabetes a long time and have difficulty attaining tighter control. It is also appropriate for people who are not likely to live for long due to diabetes-related complications or any other medical problems.