Diabetes: 5 Tips for Controlling Sugar
Are you one of the many diabetics who have trouble controlling your blood sugar level? Is your doctor unhappy with your A1C readings no matter what you do?
Most likely, the situation is not as desperate as it seems. With enough information and motivation, any type II diabetic can align their results with current recommendations. The question, then, is: do you have enough information and motivation?
Here are 5 practical tips to control your sugar.
1. Adapt to reality. Patients often tell their doctors that they are taking their medications as prescribed when, in fact, they are not. None of us like to be scolded by a father figure. But who are you kidding, your doctor or yourself? Rather than viewing your doctor as an authority figure, think of him as a partner or advisor in your health care. If your doctor has prescribed a medication that you do not intend to take, say so so the two of you can find a better solution. If you never remember your insulin dose at night, talk to your doctor about a realistic dosing schedule, who can switch you to a different type of insulin or combine it with an oral medication. If it is too difficult to give yourself an injection, find a way for someone else to give it to you. If your pills give you side effects, ask your doctor to switch you to another instead of just not taking them. If you can’t afford your medications, ask your doctor to switch to something more affordable or check out a patient assistance program.
2. Learn about the glycemic index. Many diabetics believe that sugar is the only food they should avoid. This is far from the truth. Other carbohydrates raise your blood glucose level as fast and as high as the sugar itself. Even the glycemic index is not the final answer; Also find out about the glycemic load. While cantaloupe and croissants may have a similar glycemic index, it is much easier to gorge on croissants than cantaloupe. The total calories consumed is at least as important as the glycemic index of a particular food.
3. Just eat less. If educating yourself on the glycemic index and glycemic load is too difficult, just eat less. Eat less of everything and your sugar will surely improve. If you have a Big Mac and large fries for lunch, cut down to a cheeseburger and small fries; It is not the healthiest diet, but it is still an improvement. If you normally have seconds for dinner, stop after your first serving. Most diabetics became that way through an established pattern of overeating. Cut out a third of your calories and watch your levels improve. Discuss this approach first with your doctor, in case your medication needs to be adjusted. You also don’t want to risk low blood sugar.
4. Switch to insulin. Most diabetics fear the needle. But nowadays the needles are so small that you hardly feel them. With so many oral medications available, patients often take 2 or 3 different types to postpone the onset of insulin. This becomes expensive and the dosing schedule can be complicated. It’s often easier to tease and switch to insulin. There are so many different types available that your doctor should be able to find one to suit your needs. Enroll in a diabetic class to learn everything you need to know about insulin injections and blood sugar control.
5. Find out why your blood sugar is too high. Does it run high only in the morning? Only after breakfast? Before dinner? While it’s a pain to check your blood sugar several times a day, doing it for short periods should reveal which pattern of hyperglycemia you’re most concerned about. Another method is to check your fasting blood sugar daily and again later in the day, but at different times. By recording the information on a chart or flow chart, your doctor can examine it for patterns and adjust the timing or dosage of your medication accordingly.
It really is up to you how well you control your sugar. Don’t fool yourself by avoiding the need to act. Partner with your doctor and take charge of your healthcare today.
Copyright 2010 Cynthia J. Koelker, MD