Worried about your blood sugar fluctuation? Well, don’t be. Here are six tips from Dr. Ganesh Kadhe, Associate Director, Medical and Nutritional Affairs, Abbott, on how you can control your blood sugar and stay healthy even with diabetes.
Eat well and exercise regularly
Your food choices are very important when you have diabetes. Some are better than others. Eat something every 2.5 to 3 hours, and main meals are no more than four to five hours apart. Eating meals and snacks at regular times helps keep your blood sugar in the target range. Include low glycemic index (GI) foods like whole wheat, brown rice, oats, etc. in every meal. Avoid refined grain products like white bread, noodles, white rice, etc. because they can increase the level of sugar in the blood. Getting regular exercise is just as important in maintaining normal blood sugar levels. But check your blood sugar before and after exercise, and avoid exercising if your blood sugar is too high or too low.
Control your cholesterol level
Diabetes tends to lower the levels of “good” cholesterol and increase the levels of triglycerides and “bad” cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. High cholesterol also leads to a common complication of diabetes known as diabetic dyslipidemia which can lead to blocked arteries and coronary complications. Ideally, avoid a diet high in saturated and trans fats such as fast food – burgers, pizza, fried snacks, as they raise your LDL cholesterol levels.
Check your blood sugar regularly
For a diabetic patient, it is the blood sugar levels that tell if they have high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Both are extremely dangerous. The best way to check your blood sugar at regular intervals is to have a blood glucose monitor handy. Have your HbA1C checked twice a year. HbA1C (hemoglobin A1C) is a simple blood test that measures how well your diabetes has been managed over time. It aims to measure your average blood sugar and see if it has stayed within the required range. It is important to do this test either twice a year or once every three months, depending on how well your diabetes is under control.
Be regular with your medications
Adhering to medications prescribed in the recommended amount and schedule is important for good diabetes control. Missing medication can increase your risk of suffering from several health complications related to diabetes.
Add a formula specific to diabetes
In addition to lifestyle changes and regular exercise, it is advisable to add a diabetes-specific formula to your diet. Look for a formula designed with special ingredients like complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and antioxidants, to help manage the constant release of glucose. Ideally, the formula should be included in your breakfast, lunch or dinner as a partial meal replacement in one of your modified meals. It helps keep blood sugar and weight under control.
Shed those extra pounds
Obesity is one of the most important mitigating factors for diabetes. Obesity also causes your cholesterol levels to skyrocket, which increases your risk of heart disease.