How To Maintain Normal Blood Sugar
If you are one of the millions of people who has prediabetes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome or any other form of insulin resistance, maintaining normal blood sugar levels can be challenging. Over the past several decades, these chronic disorders have swept through the U.S. and many other nations, reaching epidemic proportions and causing serious, but often preventable, side effects like nerve damage, fatigue, loss of vision, arterial damage and weight gain.
Elevated blood sugar levels maintained for an extended period of time can push someone who is prediabetic into having full-blown diabetes . Even for people who arent necessarily at a high risk for developing diabetes or heart complications, poorly managed blood sugar can lead to common complications, including fatigue, weight gain and sugar cravings. In extreme cases, elevated blood sugar can even contribute to strokes, amputations, coma and death in people with a history of insulin resistance.
Blood sugar is raised by glucose, which is the sugar we get from eating many different types of foods that contain carbohydrates. Although we usually think of normal blood sugar as being strictly reliant upon how many carbohydrates and added sugar someone eats, other factors also play a role. For example, stress can elevate cortisol levels, which interferes with how insulin is used, and the timing of meals can also affect how the body manages blood sugar.
Monitoring Your Blood Sugar
Regular blood sugar monitoring is the most important thing you can do to manage type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Youll be able to see what makes your numbers go up or down, such as eating different foods, taking your medicine, or being physically active. With this information, you can work with your health care team to make decisions about your best diabetes care plan. These decisions can help delay or prevent diabetes complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation. Your doctor will tell you when and how often to check your blood sugar levels.
Most blood sugar meters allow you to save your results and you can use an app on your cell phone to track your levels. If you dont have a smart phone, keep a written daily record like the one in the photo. You should bring your meter, phone, or paper record with you each time you visit your health care provider.
Sometimes having high blood sugar can feel like a test you didnt pass. But numbers are just numbers. Think of them instead as information. Did a certain food or activity make your levels go up or down? Armed with that knowledge, you can make adjustments and get closer to your target range more often.
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The food-tracking app from FatSecret is the one that Kimberlain uses most often with her patients. I dont recommend the name, but the capability is why I use it, she says. It enables you to track your food , exercise, and weight, and share that info with your healthcare provider with a link via email. I can make comments and suggestions based on what is entered, Kimberlain says. The app also includes a journal feature so you can keep tabs on your progress, as well as a recipe library with plenty of healthy meal ideas.
For even more features, like advanced meal planning and dietitian-crafted meal plans to suit a variety of diet preferences, upgrade to the premium version for $6.99 per month.
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Whats My Target Range
You might be asking, what’s the normal range for blood sugar levels? The answer is, there is a healthy range that you should ideally be aiming for. The infographics above show the general guidelines, but your individual target range for your blood sugar levels may be different. Youll healthcare team will agree with you what it is.
Youll get different readings at different times of the day, depending on things like what youve eaten and how much you are moving around. Heres a guide to help you get started on finding your target range:
If youre a child with type 1 diabetes
- when you wake up and before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
- after meals: 5 to 9mmol/l
If youre an adult with type 1 diabetes
- when you wake up and before meals: 5 to 7mmol/l
- before meals at other times of the day: 4 to 7mmol/l
If you have type 2 diabetes
- before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
- two hours after meals: less than 8.5mmol/l
How Psyllium Fiber Helps Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
According to the Cleveland Clinic, among supplements that have been studied for their ability to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, psylliumâs evidence was graded the highest. Research has shown that psyllium fiber can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels when looking at both fasting blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1c â an indicator of average blood sugar over the previous 2-3 months.8
It helps control hunger.
Since consuming sugar or carbohydrate heavy foods is what makes our blood sugar levels rise, limiting sugar intake is one way of helping maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Psyllium fiber supplements like Metamucil can help you feel fuller longer by forming a gel in the digestive tract.* This mechanism can help curb hunger between meals, reducing your desire to eat.*
One study showed that taking 2 servings of Metamucil before breakfast and lunch for 3 consecutive days enhanced feelings of fullness and decreased feelings of hunger.9
It traps sugar in the digestive system.
Metamucil, through its gelling action, also helps slow sugar absorption from the digestive tract. Without a gel forming fiber, sugars are free to rapidly be absorbed into the bloodstream and raising blood sugar levels.10
How does psyllium work?
When psyllium mixes with water in the body, it forms a gel that is not digested, absorbed, or broken down.11
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Tracking Blood Glucose Level Using A Mobile App
It is a modern solution and works better because you dont have to carry a printed log sheet with you everywhere. You may also use both a printable blood sugar log and a digital app together if you wish. An app like CareClinic can help track your blood sugar levels on your phone. CareClinic has a food database with over 300,000 foods, so you can easily track the carbs consumed by the time of day or meal type along with other macronutrient information.
You can integrate the app with your fitness tracker to track your activity levels, too. The app works with Apple Health and Google Fit to bring all your data together into one central place without needing multiple Apps! Simply connect your blood glucose meter to Apple Health and allow CareClinic to read your values automatically.
You can also set reminders to take your medication or insulin. The app is free to download and use for Diabetes, and its available for iOS and Android devices. The data can be shared either remotely and digitally from within the App using the Care Team module or you may export your data as a CSV file or PDF and print it to share with your doctor. To get started using CareClinic tap here.
Terms in the logs
How Do I Keep Track
Even though blood glucose meters can help you track your blood sugar test results, it’s still a good idea to write down the results. This makes it easier for you and your diabetes health care team to see patterns and trends in your blood sugar levels.
Writing down all your results in a log book or journal can help. You can also download special programs that allow you to track your blood sugar readings on your phone or computer. You might need to record other information too, such as what you were eating or how active you were. This information will help you learn more about how certain situations like eating or exercising affect your diabetes control.
The more information you, your parents, and your diabetes health team have, the easier it is to keep your blood sugar levels on the right track.
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What Can Affect My Results
They may not be accurate if you have anemia or gout. If itâs hot, humid, or youâre at a high altitude, that can interfere with the results, too. So can vitamin C.
If you consistently see results that arenât expected, recalibrate your meter and check the strips.
The chart below shows you the ideal blood sugar ranges for most adults except for pregnant women. Your ideal range may be different from another person’s and will change throughout the day, so check with your doctor for your targets.
Time of Test
How Does A Continuous Glucose Monitor Work
A CGM works through a tiny sensor inserted under your skin, usually on your belly or arm. The sensor measures your interstitial glucose level, which is the glucose found in the fluid between the cells. The sensor tests glucose every few minutes. A transmitter wirelessly sends the information to a monitor.
The monitor may be part of an insulin pump or a separate device, which you might carry in a pocket or purse. Some CGMs send information directly to a smartphone or tablet. Several models are available and are listed in the American Diabetes Associations product guide.
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Catch Metabolic Dysfunction Early
We can begin to develop insulin resistance more than ten years before it shows up in our fasting blood sugar test at the doctor. A CGM can help us see our total postprandial blood sugar response, giving us more insight into how our body handles a glucose load.
And the earlier we catch metabolic impairment, the easier it is to arrest its development before it reaches prediabetes or diabetes.
Track Your Blood Sugar Levels In Writing
Tracking your blood glucose means more than just jotting down a number from time to time. You can also include the time of day, what you ate, whether you exercised and what medication you took. All of these details will fit together like puzzle pieces to get an overall picture of how your health is doing.
How you decide to record this information will depend on you. If you can settle on a system that you find easy, then youre more likely to keep better track of your blood glucose. Some people like writing in a logbook.You can download logbook pages free of charge from many websites. Prefer to go paperless? Many blood glucose monitors will store not only your glucose readings and the date and time, but additional information about food and activity level, with the option to transfer all this data to your computer.
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Where To Buy Supplies
Talk with your diabetes healthcare provider to get a refill prescription for blood glucose test strips and lancets. You must get refills from your local pharmacy. MSKs outpatient pharmacy does not carry these supplies.
If your blood glucose meter is battery-powered, make sure to always have extra batteries. The Contour Next One blood glucose meter uses 2 CR-2032 batteries. You can buy these batteries online or at your local electronics store, hardware store, or supermarket.
Cons Of A Continuous Glucose Monitor
- Not affordable to many as it consists of delicate sensors and in-built AI tech. Thus, this device can be a little expensive for some people.
- A little discomfort while installing at the beginning. It might take you some time to understand how to fix a CGM around your arm.
- Not so easy to understand at first, But eventually, you will get acquainted with it.
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When Should I Check My Blood Sugar Levels
The number of times you should test your blood sugar levels each day and when will depend on lots of different things. It might even change from day to day. In general, most people with diabetes test their blood sugar levels before breakfast, before lunch, before dinner, and again at bedtime.
You may need to check blood sugar levels more often when you’re sick or when changes have been made to your medication doses or schedule. You also may need to check more often if you suddenly become more active, like after you join a sports team at school.
People who use an insulin pump or who follow a plan to control blood sugar levels very closely also need to check their blood sugar levels more often. Your diabetes health care team will help you decide how often and when you should check.
Sometimes, blood sugar levels must be checked in the middle of the night for instance, by people who are having problems with hypoglycemia symptoms during the night. And those who have just been diagnosed with diabetes may need more frequent blood sugar level tests to get a feel for how certain doses of insulin or other diabetes medicines affect their blood sugar levels.
Which Foods Can Be Included In A Diabetes Diet
Foods in diabetes need to be carefully selected in order to maintain the blood sugar levels of the body. The foods which should be included gestational diabetes diet and other types of diabetic diets are
Carbohydrates Healthy carbohydrates are an important inclusion to diabetic diets, which aim to maintain blood sugar levels. During the process of digestion in the body, sugars or simple carbohydrates and starches are broken down into blood glucose which is required for the functioning of the body. Healthy carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, low-fat dairy products such as milk and cheese, and legumes are important to maintain blood sugar levels of the body. A diabetic diet should not involve any kind of foods or drinks which have added sodium, fats, and sugars.
Fibre Rich Foods All components of plant foods that your body cant digest or absorb are considered to be a part of dietary fibre. Fibre helps manage blood sugar levels by regulating how your body digests. Some of the fibre-rich foods are fruits, nuts, beans, and peas.
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When Should I Call The Doctor
Reach out to your provider if you have any questions about how to use a CGM device safely.
Very high or low blood sugar levels can be dangerous when left untreated for too long. In the most severe cases, this can lead to seizures, coma or even death. You can avoid these complications by keeping blood sugar levels in a healthy range. Call your provider if you have any symptoms youre worried about.
Common symptoms of high blood sugar include:
- More frequent urination .
Make Physical Activity Part Of Your Daily Routine
Set a goal to be more physically active. Try to work up to 30 minutes or more of physical activity on most days of the week.
Brisk walking and swimming are good ways to move more. If you are not active now, ask your health care team about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you. Learn more about being physically active with diabetes.
Following your meal plan and being more active can help you stay at or get to a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, work with your health care team to create a weight-loss plan that is right for you.
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How Do I Pick A Glucose Meter
Your doctor will make a recommendation. Check with your health insurance plan to see if it will pay for your BGM, its supplies, or a CGM. If so, your plan may only pay for a certain meter.
Shop around and compare costs. Consider what features are important to you. For example, some meters are made for people who have poor eyesight. If you want to pay a little more money, you can get a BGM that stores the results in its memory. This allows you to compare results from several days at one time.
What If Your Glucose Levels Are Abnormal
Health conditions such as diabetes and hypoglycemia will obviously have a big impact on your blood sugar levels. Pregnancy can also affect your blood sugar, which sometimes results in gestational diabetes for the duration of the pregnancy.
The American Diabetes Association points out that every persons recommended blood sugar level is different and is based on several health factors. But, in general, the target range for glucose levels in diabetes is 80 to 130 milligrams/deciliter before eating and less than 180 mg/dl after a meal.
If your glucose levels dont fall within the normal range, you and your doctor will need to make a plan to determine the reason why. Additional testing for diabetes, hypoglycemia, certain medical conditions, and other endocrine issues may be necessary to identify why your blood sugar is too high or too low.
Continue to monitor your blood glucose levels while you wait on test appointments or test results. If you experience any of the following symptoms, let your doctor know right away:
- unexplained dizziness
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Instructions For Checking Your Blood Sugar
Your healthcare provider will tell you how often to check your blood sugar. Theyll also tell you what your blood sugar level should be. This is called your blood sugar target range. Your blood sugar target range is based on your overall health and current treatment plan.
When youre ready to start, wash your hands with soap and water. Dry them very well. Touching a blood glucose test strip with damp hands can damage it or make your result less accurate.