dDiabetes is a chronic condition that cannot be cured but can be well-managed. The steps to managing diabetes starts with understanding the disease. Implementing a healthy lifestyle as a result of this understanding is the main purpose so that the quality of life can be improved and various life-threatening complications can be avoided.
The 4 steps to controlling diabetes.
Step 1: Understand the disease
Generally, there are three different types of diabetes which are type-1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.
It is important to accept that you are the one who has to be in control of your diabetes while relying on your loved ones for support along the way. To do so, in addition to your doctor, you can get assistance from multiple different fields, such as dentist, dieticians/nutritionist, optometrist, psychiatrist, counsellors, nurse, pharmacist, and even social worker. Apart from getting adequate information about diabetes from them, you could also learn about it from verified sites online.
Step 2: Understand the treatment goals
Diabetes treatment is aimed to control four important parameters: blood sugar levels, HbA1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol. If you are overweight or obese, you should also aim towards reaching a normal BMI.
- Blood sugar levels
Fasting blood sugar level between 80-130 mg/dl (optimal if less than 110 mg/dl) and blood sugar level 2 hours after meals less than 180 mg/dl (optimal if less than 140 mg/dl) are the panels that need to be checked regularly. Your doctor will advise you on the target blood sugar level you should aim for.
HbA1c level can be measured by performing a blood test that will indicate the average blood sugar levels for the past 3 months. It is more reliable than checking blood sugar levels because it describes the average profile of blood sugar levels in the long term.
The HbA1c target for people with diabetes is generally less than 7% (optimal if less than 6.5%). Your doctor will advise you on the target HbA1c you should aim for.
- Blood pressure
High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, stroke, kidney damage, and eye problems. Blood pressure target in most people with diabetes is less than 140/90 mmHg. Your doctor will advise you on the target blood pressure you should aim for.
There are several types of cholesterol in the blood, some of which are LDL (sometimes referred to as bad) and HDL (sometimes referred to as good). LDL can accumulate and clog arteries which can sometimes trigger a heart attack or stroke. Meanwhile, HDL helps clear LDL in the blood. The recommended target of LDL for diabetes is less than 130 mg/dl, and HDL is more than 40 mg/dl for men and 50 mg/dl for women. Your doctor will advise you on the target cholesterol levels you should aim for.
Step 3: Learning to live with diabetes
Despite knowing the steps to control diabetes, a person with diabetes can feel sad and/or tired. Being courageous, following a proper diet, having an active lifestyle and maintaining a disciplined routine can contribute greatly towards betterment. Your condition can change from time to time depending on your health as well. it’s important to stay motivated and positive at all times.
Step 4: Monitoring health
Make regular visits to your doctor, at least twice a year (or as many times as your doctor requests you to visit him/her) during which a thorough evaluation of your diabetes management will be done. This is key in ensuring you are doing well in the other steps above mentioned. Do not skip your doctor visits just because you may feel good.
By knowing and following the four basic steps above, you can manage your diabetes and improve your quality of life. Remember diabetes is not a life sentence. You can live a full and healthy life just like a non-diabetic if you manage your condition well.