Living with diabetes series
The ABCs of Diabetes
Living with Type-2 Diabetes series-1
I am starting the living with type 2 diabetes series with the ABCs of diabetes. Controlling these builds the foundation for managing diabetes. When you have these in control, you give yourself the best chances of living a healthy life.
What are the ABCs of diabetes?
A — A1c
This test measures your average blood glucose level over the past 2–3 months. Hemoglobin, a component of the red blood cell, carries oxygen to the cells. Sometimes, it mingles with the glucose in the bloodstream. The A1c test shows the amount of glucose stuck to the red blood cells in proportion to the amount of glucose in the blood. The test involves a simple random blood draw.
B — Blood Pressure
This is the force of blood against the walls of arteries. Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers — the systolic pressure (as the heart beats) over the diastolic pressure (as the heart relaxes between beats). The measurement is written one above or before the other, with the systolic number on top and the diastolic number on the bottom. For example, a blood pressure measurement of 120/80 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) is expressed verbally as “120 over 80.”
C — Cholesterol
This is a type of fat produced by the liver and found in the blood; it is also found in some foods. Cholesterol is used by the body to make hormones and build cell walls.
When you manage your A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, you keep the complications of diabetes at bay. This means preventing heart disease and other related problems. Those with diabetes are likelier to suffer from a stroke or develop a heart complication. So, the mantra is — heart-healthy living. The good news is you can keep your cholesterol levels healthy by managing your diet.
How? Let’s talk about getting your A1c under control
Why Does A1c Matter for Living with Type 2 diabetes?
Since the A1c measures average blood glucose, keeping it under control reduces your risk for kidney, nerve, and eye disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Your A1c target should be less than 7% and if it is more, just dropping one percent can reduce your risk for kidney, eye, and nerve disease by 40%.
If you are living with type 2 diabetes, monitor your blood sugar regularly to ensure your levels are in check. The hemoglobin A1c test is an indication of how well you have controlled your blood sugar. In case you see fluctuations or have been advised of a change in treatment, you may be asked to repeat this test every three months.
When I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2014, my A1c was 11.5% and needless to say, I was shocked because I thought I lead a reasonably healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, we cannot fight genetics — and I work hard on a daily basis to ensure that my blood sugar is under control.
Just remember that a lower A1c means less risk of diabetes complications
How to score an A in your hemoglobin A1c test
- Walk at least 30 minutes each day of the week. This lowers glucose which is used by your muscles. As you walk, your liver stocks up on glucose, decreasing your blood glucose. The more you exercise, the better.
- Monitor your carbohydrate consumption.
- Eat your meals at around the same time every day
- If you are on diabetes medication, take it at the same time every day for the best results.
- Manage your stress
- Get enough sleep
Living with type 2 diabetes and managing it involves a daily, consistent effort through a healthy diet, lifestyle, and exercise.
In a majority of people diagnosed with diabetes, the main problem is the lack of diabetes education. The Living with Type-2 Diabetes series will cover various aspects of the condition with tips and suggestions to manage it better.
Disclaimer: The information in this post is purely for educational purposes only and does not substitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your physician for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.
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