Healthy Blood Glucose ManagementGlucose is a type of sugar we get from foods, and as it travels through the bloodstream to the cells, it’s called blood sugar or blood glucose. Insulin is a hormone that moves the glucose from your blood into the cells. However, if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you either can’t produce insulin or can’t use it properly, and glucose builds up in the blood.
Preventing Diabetes Complications
Diabetes complications occur when blood sugar builds up. If it builds up in the blood vessels in the back of your eye, you can develop diabetic retinopathy. If it builds up in your kidneys, you may develop kidney disease. Other diabetes complications include stroke, heart attack and nerve problems. In addition to blood glucose monitoring, your primary care provider or endocrinologist will regularly measure the A1C levels in your blood to prevent complications.
It’s important to remember that nutrition plays a large role in glucose control. Carbohydrates are what cause blood sugars to rise, whereas proteins and fats do not. Glucose is found mainly in foods rich in carbohydrates, like fruit, bread and pasta. Protein can help to anchor carbohydrates in a meal, preventing a large blood sugar increase.
When planning a meal, the best thing to do is centre your meal around a protein source. Next, think about filling half your plate full of brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables. If you do choose a grain product or a starchy vegetable, try to keep the portion to a fist-sized volume or less.
The Importance of Blood Glucose Monitoring
Blood glucose monitoring is an important part of any diabetes management plan. Traditionally, you prick your finger, put a drop of blood on a test strip, and insert it into a blood glucose meter.
Some people use a sensor inserted under the skin, called a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Others use flash glucose monitoring, a touchscreen reader device and a sensor patch you wear, which allows you to get a blood glucose reading without sticking your finger.
Flash glucose monitoring works by measuring the amount of glucose in the fluid that surrounds your cells (interstitial fluid) through the sensor patch. It records your blood sugar levels throughout the day, and stores the data (your ambulatory glucose profile) to help you and your diabetes healthcare team make decisions on treatments.
The goal of blood glucose monitoring in diabetes is to keep your blood sugar as close to target range as possible. To do so, you need to eat healthy foods and stay active. Some patients also require diabetes medications.
Talk to an endocrinologist to learn more about blood glucose management.
3 Important Things to Remember
- Nutrition plays a large role in glucose control.
- Blood glucose monitoring is an important part of any diabetes management plan.
- Diabetes complications such as diabetic retinopathy, kidney disease and nerve damage can develop if you don’t effectively manage blood sugar levels.