How does lifestyle, daily routine affect blood sugar? How can I manage my diabetes?
Diabetes management surely needs awareness. With the help of your physician, you can make a diabetes self-care plan to manage your blood sugar level within permissible limits. Keeping your blood glucose levels within the range suggested by your doctor is often challenging as it is affected by many factors.
Factors affecting blood sugar levels
Healthy eating may be a keystone of healthy living, with or without diabetes. But if you have diabetes, you need to know how foods affect your blood glucose levels. It’s not only the kind of food you eat but also how much you eat and the mix of food types you eat.
What to do?
Make every meal well balanced: As much as possible, plan for each meal to be a mix of fruits and vegetables, proteins and fats. Be conscious of the kinds of carbohydrates you choose some foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are better as they are low in carbohydrates and have fiber that helps keep your blood glucose levels more stable.
Carbohydrate counting and portion sizes: A key to some diabetes management plans is learning the way to count carbohydrates. Make use of technology and get an app that helps in carbohydrate counting. For people taking mealtime insulin, it is important to know the quantity of carbohydrates in your food to get the right insulin dose. Make an effort to keep your portion size small with 6 small meals instead of having two large meal sizes.
Coordinate your meals and medications: skipping a meal or irregular timing between your meal and your diabetes medication especially insulin may result in dangerously low blood glucose (hypoglycemia). Food rich in simple sugar or skipped medication may cause your blood glucose level to climb too high (hyperglycemia).
Physical activity is also an important part of your diabetes management plan. When you exercise, your muscles use sugar for energy. Regular physical activity helps your body use insulin effectively.
The harder your workout, the longer the effect lasts. But even light activities like housework or being on your feet for extended periods can improve your blood glucose.
What to do?
- Talk to your physician about an exercise plan: Ask your family physician about what type of exercise is appropriate for you. Generally, most adults should get a minimum of 150 minutes every week of general aerobic activity. Aim for about half-hour of aerobic activity each day on most days of the week. Include Yoga in your routine as it can be modified as cardio as well as aerobic exercise and also releases stress.
- Keep an exercise schedule: Talk to your doctor about the best time of the day to exercise so that your workout routine is in sync with your meal and medication schedules.
- Know your numbers: Talk to your doctor about what blood sugar levels are acceptable for you before you begin to exercise.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water or fluids like buttermilk or cucumber juice (unsweetened) while exercising because thirst can affect blood sugar levels.
Insulin and other diabetes medications are designed to lower your blood sugar levels when diet and exercise alone aren’t enough for managing diabetes. But the effect of those medications depends on the timing and size of the dose. Medications you take for conditions apart from diabetes can also affect your blood glucose levels.
What to do?
- Store insulin properly. Insulin that’s inaccurately stored or past its expiry date might not be effective. Insulin is particularly sensitive to extremes in temperature.
- Report problems to your doctor. If your diabetes medications cause your blood glucose level to drop too low, or if it’s always too high, the dosage or timing may have to be adjusted.
- Be cautious with new medications. If you’re considering an over-the-counter medication or your doctor prescribes a drug to treat another condition — like high blood pressure or high cholesterol — ask your doctor if the medication may affect your blood glucose levels.
When you’re sick, your body produces stress hormones that help your body fight the illness, but they will also raise your blood sugar level. Follow the sick-day rules provided to you by your doctor. Changes in your general health and regular activity also may affect diabetes management.
What to do?
- Plan ahead. Work together with your health care team to make a sick-day plan. Include instructions on what medications to take, how often to check your blood glucose and urine ketone levels, how to adjust your insulin dosages, and when to call your doctor.
- Continue to take your diabetes medication. If you’re unable to eat due to nausea or vomiting, contact your doctor. In these conditions, you’ll have to adjust your insulin dose or shortly reduce or withhold short-acting insulin or diabetes medication due to a risk of hypoglycemia. However, don’t stop your long-acting insulin.
The liver usually frees stored sugar to stop falling blood glucose levels. But if your liver is busy metabolizing alcohol, your blood glucose level might not get the beginning it needs from your liver. Alcohol may result in low blood glucose shortly after drinking it and for as long as 24 hours afterward.
What to do?
- Let your doctor decide if you can take alcohol and if yes, how much: your alcohol intake directly depends upon how controlled your blood sugar levels are and which antidiabetic medication you take.
- Moderate alcohol intake is defined as one drink each day for ladies of any age and men over 65 years old and two drinks for men under 65. One drink equals a 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of refining spirits.
- Don’t drink alcoholic beverages on an empty stomach. If you take insulin or other diabetes medications, be sure to eat before you drink or drink with a meal to avoid a steep lowering of blood sugar.
- Tally your calories. Think of including the calories from any alcohol you drink in your daily calorie count. Ask your doctor or dietitian how to include calories and carbohydrates from alcoholic drinks into your diet plan.
Check your blood sugar level before bed. Since alcohol can lower blood sugar levels long after you’ve had your last drink, check your blood sugar level ahead of when you go to sleep. If your blood sugar isn’t between 100 and 140 mg/dL (5.6 and 7.8 mmol/L), have a snack before bed to avoid a drop in your blood sugar level.
The more you recognize factors that influence your blood glucose level, the more you’ll anticipate fluctuations — and plan accordingly. If you’re having problems keeping your blood glucose level in your befitting range, ask your Drome Family Physician for assistance.
Look up at “Drome.co.in” for further information on how Drome can provide various primary care packages to help you guide and manage your Diabetes.