Know your diabetes ABCs to manage blood sugar levels and lower your risk of complications  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- Following a healthy diet and being physically active most days of the week can help you keep your numbers in your target ranges
- Knowing your ABCs of diabetes will help you have a good sense of your risk for cardiovascular disease and other complications
- Here’s what people with diabetes can do to keep their blood sugar under control and lower their chances of having a heart attack and other complications
New Delhi: If you have diabetes, your endocrinologist or healthcare provider may have told you why good nutrition and regular physical activity are important parts of a healthy lifestyle. Following a diabetes-friendly diet and increasing physical activity can help blood sugar levels in target your range. Perhaps, your diabetes educator or health care team might have told you why it’s imperative to manage your diabetes ABCs to control diabetes and prevent complications.
But what exactly the ‘ABCs of diabetes’ mean for diabetics? Read on to find out why it’s so important to learn about diabetes ABCs and what other steps diabetics can take to manage their blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of diabetes complications such as cardiovascular disease.
The ABCs of diabetes: What is it?
Knowing and managing your ABCs can help lower your chances of diabetes complications such as a heart attack or stroke.
- A stands for A1C test (A-one-C): A1C is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar level over the past three months, and it’s different from the blood sugar checks people with diabetes do each day. The A1C for most people with diabetes is below 7% – without risking low blood sugar.
- B stands for blood pressure: People with diabetes are more likely to develop high blood pressure, which can lead to serious health conditions, including a heart attack, stroke, kidney and eye problems. Hence, keeping blood pressure in check is just as important as keeping blood sugar under control. The goal for most people with diabetes is to keep blood pressure below 140/90, or lower in some cases.
- C stands for cholesterol: Diabetes also increases a person’s chances of having high cholesterol linked to heart disease, stroke and other serious health issues. If you are living with diabetes, talk to your doctor and ask what your cholesterol numbers should be. This is due to the fact that your goal may be different from other people depending upon various factors – age, medication, etc. Generally, diabetics are advised to have a blood test to measure triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol at least once a year.
Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider to find out what your numbers – A1C, blood pressure, cholesterol – should be and what you can do to reach or maintain in your target ranges.
Tips to manage blood sugar levels and control your diabetes
Other steps that you can take to manage blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes complications include:
- Eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods from all food groups – in the amounts your meal plan outlines – focusing on fresh fruits (apples, oranges, berries, melons, etc), non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, carrots, peppers, greens, etc), lean protein (fish, eggs, chicken, lean meat, nuts), non-fat or low-fat dairy such as milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.
- Include foods that contain heart-healthy fats.
- Avoid or limit the intake of fried foods and other foods high in saturated fat, trans fats, and salt.
- Avoid beverages with added sugars such as regular soda, sports or energy drinks. Instead, drink plenty of water.
- Do not smoke and avoid alcohol.
- Stay physically active, which will help you stay in shape, lower stress levels, and improve health.
- If you’re overweight, work with your doctor to create a weight loss plan.
- Get adequate sleep every night.
Healthy lifestyle changes can go a long way in effectively managing diabetes and maintaining overall health.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.
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