More Living, Less Carb Counting: Know your 123s and ABCs
Knowing your numbers is a key way you can control your diabetes rather than letting it control you. Having diabetes can feel overwhelming, but you have the power to manage it!
Keeping regular check-ups with your doctor is an important part of managing diabetes. While there are a lot of steps you can and should take on your own to manage your health, meeting with your physician and healthcare team provides accountability and support, ensures you’re keeping blood glucose levels in a healthy range, confirms you’re taking the correct medications at the correct dosage, and perhaps most importantly, helps you prevent long-term complications. Additionally, make sure to check your blood glucose levels regularly at home if that’s part of the management plan prescribed by your doctor.
Know Your Numbers! In addition to monitoring your blood glucose, it’s important to stay on top of your ABCs:
- A1C: This indicates your average blood glucose over three months, rather than a point in time. It is used to diagnosed diabetes and prediabetes, and shows how well you are managing your blood sugar. Your doctor will set individualized A1c goals for you, but under 6.5% is a good general guideline.
- Blood Pressure: Many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure, increasing risk for heart attack and stroke. Monitor your blood pressure regularly and take hypertension meds if prescribed. A heart-healthy diet rich in fruits and veggies and low in sodium; regular exercise; and weight loss all help keep blood pressure in check. What’s a healthy blood pressure? Aim for <120/<80.
- Cholesterol: Diabetes increases your risk for heart disease. Part of keeping your heart healthy is keeping your cholesterol levels in check. You can lower LDL-cholesterol (the bad kind) and raise HDL-cholesterol (the good kind) by incorporating heart-healthy fats such as nuts, avocado, fish and olive oil into your diet; getting regular exercise; and achieving/maintaining a healthy weight (starting to sound familiar?!) Aim for LDL-cholesterol <130 and HDL-Cholesterol >40 for men and >50 for women.
Manage Your Meds:
When you are newly diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes, your doctor may prescribe medications such as Metformin or even insulin to promote blood glucose control. It’s important to take your medications as prescribed to prevent long-term complications of diabetes.
That said, by making some key lifestyle changes – eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight- you may eventaully be able to get off meds, but don’t do so until your doctor gives you the go ahead.
Prevent Long-Term Complications:
By taking positive steps to manage your diabetes, you can get to the point where you are effectively in remission. It’s not always easy in practice- it takes commitment- but this is an investment in your health, and your efforts will pay off. Taking action now is key to preventing irreversible long-term complications. When left uncontrolled over time, diabetes can lead to nerve damage, kidney damage, and vision impairment. When controlled, however, you can live a long and healthy life!
Good Measure Meals’ dietitians are here to support you with nutrition education and to help make sense of all of the overwhelming info on how to embrace your healthiest life. Have specific questions you’d like answered clearly and simply once and for all? Schedule a free 10-minute chat with Alissa Palladino, GMM Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer.