People who do not have diabetes keep their blood glucose levels within a narrow range for most of the time. The beta cells in the pancreas are able to produce just the right amount of insulin at the right time and they are constantly fine-tuning the blood glucose level. People with diabetes do not have this fine control over their blood glucose levels, that is why it is essential to know how to control your blood sugar levels.
In practical terms, you will need to learn about things that raise your blood glucose level and those that lower your blood glucose level. Then you will need to balance these factors on a day-to-day and possibly even hour-by-hour basis.
Some of these factors are relatively constant from day to day and are quite easily accounted for; some factors are more variable. No two days are ever exactly the same, or entirely predictable, and this makes it difficult. So, blood glucose is not easily controlled.
This also means coordinating medication, food and activity levels, whilst making appropriate allowances for stress, illness or changes in your daily activities.
You will be aiming to avoid the extreme highs and lows, trying to manipulate your blood glucose toward the normal range. You will be doing regular finger-prick blood glucose tests and using these results to help balance those things that make your blood glucose rise with those that make it fall. When you have evened out your blood glucose level you will still need to keep an eye on it and continue to make adjustments.
Controlling blood glucose is a continuous process and it will require your attention from now on, for the rest of your life. Don’t worry! It may sound daunting to you right now, but it will soon become second nature.
People who do not have diabetes have blood glucose levels between 4 and 8 mmol/l for most of the time. In general, people with diabetes should try to aim for test results between 4 and 10 mmol/l most of the time.Some people – pregnant women, for example – will need to aim for tighter control.
Your diabetes team will give you individual guidance on the blood glucose levels that you should be aiming for.
In the short term, controlling blood glucose levels is important in order to avoid diabetic emergencies – very high or very low blood glucose levels. Both of these conditions are unpleasant and can be dangerous, so they should be avoided if at all possible.
High blood glucose levels in Type 1 diabetes, if caused by a lack of insulin, can lead to a condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis or ‘DKA’ which can be fatal if it is not treated in time.
Aside from taking the required medications, there are alternative ways to keep your blood glucose levels under control.
Let’s take a look at the 5 essential tips to control your blood sugar levels:
1 You may already know this, but exercise is really important.
Infographic by the diabetes council
Exercise boosts morale, keeps your body fit, helps you maintain your weight and also helps the body burn unwanted fat content. It is important to incorporate exercise in your schedule and to maintain regular hours every week.