Taking control of your Diabetes
Goals of Diabetes Management
One of the main goals of treating Diabetes is to control your blood sugar level by keeping it as close to normal as possible. People without diabetes normally have blood sugar levels less than 100 mg/dL (milligrams of sugars for every 100 milliliters of blood).
The American Diabetes Association 2018 recommends the following blood sugar goals for people with diabetes:
- Before meals: 80-130 mg/dL
- 1-2 hours after meals: less than 180 mg/dL
- HbA1c <7%
These guidelines apply to many people, but not to everyone. Your goals may be higher or lower than these guidelines. Your doctor will help you set the blood sugar target range that is right for you.
Your role in managing your Diabetes
Managing your diabetes is hard work, but it's worth the effort. You feel your best when your blood sugar is normal or close to normal. Controlling your blood sugar may take some time, but if you work at it, you will see improvements in your blood sugar levels. In fact you can be an active partner in the management of your Diabetes.
Keeping blood sugars in range
There are two good ways to find out if your Diabetes is in control. You should do both.
- Test your blood sugar regularly
- Work with your doctor to learn how to use one of the many types of blood glucose meters that are available for personal use.
- Ask your doctor what your testing schedule should be. You may be asked to test before meals and at bedtime. Also, research suggests that occasionally testing your blood sugar after meals is a good way to find out how well you are controlling your diabetes.
- Keep track of your results in a diary and take it with you for your office visits so your doctor can check for any trends.
- Have glycosylated hemoglobin test (HbA1c)
- This can give a clearer picture of whether your diabetes is in control, since it shows your "average" blood sugar level over a 2-3 month period.
- Depending on your treatment and level of Diabetes control, an HbA1c test should be done in any quality laboratory every 3-6 months.
- The ADA recommends that your HbA1c be less than 7% (for patients in general). Your doctor will set the target that is right for you.
- The benefits of staying in control
- Maintaining a near normal blood sugar level may help protect you from many of the serious problems that are related to diabetes. You'll feel much better if you keep your blood sugar levels close to normal. When your blood sugar is higher or lower than normal, you will probably feel tired, sick, and/or uncomfortable.
- Controlling your Diabetes will keep it from controlling you. It will have less power to disrupt your life.
Partnering with your doctor
Although the day-to-day management of your diabetes is very much in your hands, managing Diabetes is always a team effort. So you need on-going professional help such as visits to your doctor and lab tests - to make sure that your treatment plan stays on track. That way, if problems do start, they will be found early. Don't forget that if you have a question or a problem, your doctor is always there to help you. For better management of Diabetes, please partner with your
- Doctor and office staff
- Diabetes educators, such as a nurse, dietitian or other professionals
- Other professionals such as an eye doctor, dentist, podiatrist (foot doctor) or an exercise specialist, depending on your needs
- Family, friends and supporters
Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes2015. DIABETES Care 2015;3 (Suppl. 1)
Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, edition 18, chapters 35, 94, 218, 21, 344
ISPAD Clinical Practice Consensus Guidelines 2014
Uptodate: Overview of medical care in adults with diabetes mellitus Author David K McCulloch, MD, Mar 18-2015
Uptodate: Glycemic control and vascular complication in type 2 diabetes mellitus, Author David K McCulloch, MD, Jun 2015