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Control Your Blood Sugar

1) Work with your health care provider and make sure you understand all the instructions given and feel able to implement them when you get home. If you do not feel comfortable with any of the instructions, inform him/her at the time of your office visit.

2) Know your sugars and keep them charted. It is impossible to control numbers if you do not know what they are. If you are not checking your blood sugars now, ask your health care provider if “home glucose monitoring” is appropriate for you. If your sugars are at goal sometimes and not at others, try to figure out why and what changes can be made. Bring a copy of your log to your health care provider. He/She will be in a better position to help if you provide this data.

3) The hemoglobin A1C is a 3-month average sugar measurement. If the sugars are consistently at good levels, your health care provider will probably be very satisfied. If a good average is achieved with many high and low sugars, he will probably want to make changes to lower the variation in your sugar level.

4) If the sugar is not at the established goal, the first place you should look is diet. If you are gaining weight inappropriately, you may need to make adjustments. If the sugar is too high after meals, you may be consuming too many carbohydrates. Keep a log of your diet as well as the sugars and bring this into your health care provider. Many people improve their control by changing their diet. In addition to discussing this with your health care provider or a nutritionist, realize that your diet is your responsibility. You will need sufficient cooking skills, knowledge about food labels, and the desire to implement this knowledge consistently. I have found many people with diabetes are unable to implement their knowledge because they lack the desire or ability to cook. Please consult our website (listed below) as well as other sources to learn basic cooking skills as well as how to read food labels.

5) Find out your appropriate weight and set that as an important target. A proper diet involves proper portion sizes as well as proper foods. Watch your weight, and if it increases, review your diet with your health care provider. If he or she feels the foods are all appropriate, you may want to consider decreasing your portion size. You may need a scale to learn the appropriate portion sizes for you.

6) Ignore marketing hype and look at the nutrition labels on all foods. Even if a food is marked “appropriate for diabetes” or “no sugar added,” you must still pay attention to portion size!

7) Try to be consistent with your diet. If you only follow a diet 5 days a week, you will have a very difficult time losing or maintaining your weight at normal levels as well as controlling your sugar.

8) If your health care provider directs you to restrict sodium (Na), green leafy vegetables, or other elements, you will have to follow this advice in addition to limiting carbohydrates.