In 2018, the American Diabetic Association reported that approximately 35 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes in the US (roughly 10% of the total population) and that number continues to increase each year. With the holidays coming up, and all the food that comes along with it (some healthy and some not so healthy) the most basic, but crucial thing that you can do to manage your diabetes is to closely monitor your blood sugar (blood glucose).
How? The two most typical ways to measure blood sugar are by a glucometer – poking your fingertip to take a small amount of blood or by a glucose continuous monitor (GCM). new technology is constantly being developed so make sure to ask your doctor or diabetes educator.
When? How often you check your blood sugar depends on things like what type of diabetes you have and if you take any medication for it, but you typically want to check it first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything, before a meal, 2 hours after you start a meal, and before you go to sleep.
Why? Diabetes is very manageable these days however if left uncontrolled it can lead to serious long-term health effects, including vision loss, kidney problems, heart disease, and lower extremity issues. In general, you want to keep your blood sugar between 80 – 130 mg/dL before a meal, and less than 180 mg/dL 2 hours after the start of your meal, but everyone is different so your target range may vary.
When you finish checking your blood sugar make sure to record results. Many things can affect it such as activity, food, and stress. Try and take a close look at your results and see if you can recognize any patterns, what is and is not working. Make sure to discuss these results with a doctor or diabetes educator to see what they mean for you. It’s easy to let your results get you frustrated, upset, or discouraged but just remember it’s simply a way to see if your diabetes care plan is working and if you need to change things.