Managing Diabetes can sometimes feel like an impossible task. It can be incredibly frustrating when your body doesn’t perform the way you want it to. The key to everything in Diabetes is your ability to manage your blood glucose levels. If you can keep those in the recommended ranges, then you’re going to be feeling great.
Recommended Blood Sugar Range
There’s two different units that are used when testing your blood sugar. The first is millimoles per litre (mmol/L) and the second is milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). The first produces a number that should ideally be in the single digits. mg/dL is actually just 18 times bigger than mmol/L.
Your ideal blood glucose range is going to depend on whether you’ve been fasting (before meals) or testing to see how your glucose is responding after meals. Unsurprisingly it should be lower before meals.
Your ideal range before a meal is 72 mg/dl (4.0 mmol/L) to 125 mg/dl (7.0 mmol/L). If you are testing after a meal (should do so about 90 minutes after) then it should be between 90 mg/dl (5.0 mmol/L) and 162 mg/dl (9.0 mmol/L)
How to Test Your Blood Glucose
Testing your blood glucose will change depending on the type of diabetic you are. If you are using apump you won’t really need to. The pump will automatically test many times throughout the day. If you are not, you’ll need to prick your finger, add blood to a testing strip that’s been inserted into a blood glucose meter and see the result. Modern meters require far less blood and it’s relatively gentle. Always alternate fingers and hands so you don’t do any damage to them or build calluses.
How Often Should you Test Your Blood Glucose?
The less time you’ve had Diabetes, the more often you should test. When you’re first diagnosed with Diabetes you’re going to be testing yourself a lot. This is because you want to know what your blood sugar levels are both before and after meals. A standard is testing either before every meal in a day or after every meal in a day. Some people will test before/after a single meal each day when they are in a rhythm. Some will do spot checks at different times over a week. However those on a schedule that isn’t constant will always check at the first sign that they don’t feel right. This can include headaches, blurred vision or just a general malaise.
Tips for Maintaining your Blood Sugar
Maintaining your blood sugar is hard. Here’s some suggestions on ways to keep things going the right way.
- Preemptively portion food - To make things easier, food is often measured or divided up so that it contains 15g of glucose/carbohydrates for a diabetic. Meals should often consist of 30g/45g/60g depending on the diabetic. Being able to pre package food so that it fits into these amounts means you can sometimes have things you wouldn’t expect. Potato chips are dangerous straight from the bag as the “one more chip syndrome” can turn into an entire bag gone. With tupperware or sandwich bags, they can be portioned into appropriate snacks.
- Healthy Snacks are a Must! - Finding a snack that is no/extremely low carb is a great way to fight off food urges. The problem is many of them are known for tasting like a sock someone has been wearing while dancing at a wedding. However every day there are more options coming out and some are actually pretty good! Find one that you like.
- Have “Go To” meals - One trick for cooking for yourself as a diabetic is having some simple low carb meals that you really enjoy. Rather than eating these all the time, you only eat them when you find yourself without an idea for a proper meal. This keeps food fatigue from encroaching and ensures that you’ve got a healthy backup plan.
- Be tough, but don’t go too far - You’re going to make slip ups. It happens with everyone. Make them small and move on with it. Trying to adhere to an ultra strict schedule is far more likely to result in a large break.
- Small indulgences - If you want to have that piece of pie, first off, cut it in half or thirds. Then afterwards, take a small 20-30 minute walk. It will help you digest and the exercise will make up for some of the excess carbohydrates. Diabetics can have indulgences, but they just need to be smaller, and we need to be smarter about it!