Keeping on top of diabetes can be a difficult struggle. Still, keeping in mind the importance of consistently low blood-sugar levels should help one find the motivation to do so, if for no other reason than feeling better. Below are some simple steps to help managing diabetes you stay focused and organized in your approach.
6 Tips for Managing Diabetes
#1. Put carbohydrates on the radar.
Not only must carb intake be tracked daily, but people with diabetes should strive to take in a consistent level of carbs on any given occasion. This can help prevent high sugar spikes and low blood sugar drop-offs that might result from them. In general, a person with diabetes should aim for a meal to consist of about 35% to 45% carbs. Snacks can bend this rule slightly but should consist of around 15% to 25% or fewer carbs, as more than three meals a day can over-stimulate pancreatic activity even with fewer carbs consumed.
#2. Distinguish between kinds of carbs
It may not sound like a big revelation to be reminded of the importance of “bad” carbs, but what might be forgotten is that there is a key difference between the body’s absorption of foods that break down into sugars (rice, bread, potatoes, sauces of various kinds, etc.) and processed straight sugars (candies, cakes, etc.).
There is a profound difference between the two groups since straight sugar (or “junk”) foods are unaccompanied by other nutrients. In contrast, the former group have foods with considerable nutrient levels (potassium, niacin, etc.). This, in part, gives them not just more nutritional value than the “junk” sugary stuff but slows their absorption into your bloodstream, and therefore, spikes blood-sugar levels less.
It should go without saying that sugar binges will not only destroy carb maintenance during the splurge but will make getting blood-sugar levels back under control a more difficult task later on down the road.
#3. Keep checking your blood sugar levels.
Many non-diabetics suppose that the big downer of being diabetic is pin-pricking. Still, any person with diabetes will confirm that it is the constant monitoring of blood sugar levels that become the big headache. If you have type-1 diabetes (insulin-dependent), checking should generally be three times a day or more if necessary. People with type-2 diabetes might stick with a once-a-day check, or as symptoms dictate (excessive urination, unusually strong waves of sleepiness, etc.), just when needed. A borderline diabetic might make a check every other day or every few days.
Regardless of which class you are in, get with your doctor and consider your ups-and-downs to determine the best overall pattern for you, remembering that life always throws curveballs, and needs may occasionally change.
What cannot be forgotten is the ongoing need to monitor sugar levels. Remember that damage is done to the body – and to a fetus in a pregnant mother-to-be – when blood sugars remain high for too long.
#4. Watch out for the water.
Getting and staying hydrated is important (especially since most Americans don’t do a good enough job at this). Still, over-hydration robs the body of nutrients as the water is excreted. This will inevitably affect glucose levels in the blood. So keep track of your water consumption and find a level that is right for you.
#5. Stay active
You not only need sufficient amounts of glucose, but you need a way to help your cells process it throughout. This is why light cardio exercise, even if done for only a few minutes per day, is imperative. Exercise has a proven effect of lowering blood glucose levels for up to 48 hours after an exercise period. Make sure to go for some consistently light exercise at least every other day. Too strenuous exercise brings in other dangers since prolonged intensity can deplete glycogen reserves and cause sugar drops more often. Learn your body and strengthen it. Your system becomes better able to handle fluctuating sugar levels the more active you are.
#6. Keep mealtimes consistent
While most diabetics shouldn’t go longer than 6 to 8 hours without eating, the importance of whatever schedule is adopted demands regularity. That is to say; your body needs to know when to get hungry. Try not to vary eating times too much. This way, your body begins to make what insulin it can in preparation for mealtimes. This helps with the whole digestion process.
Taken together and applied, these points should ensure that you see a long-term levelling-out of your blood-sugar levels over time. Life and living often get in the way, so assess, track, and re-assess as needed.