In the Living With Type 2 Diabetes series, I’d like to begin with the ABCs of Diabetes.
Controlling these builds the foundation for managing this condition and if you have these in control, you give yourself the best chances of living a healthy life.
What are the ABCs of diabetes?
A – A1c – a test that measures your average blood glucose level over the past 2-3 months. Hemoglobin, a part 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.
B – Blood Pressure – 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 – 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 these, 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 than those without. So the mantra is – heart healthy living.
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 per cent can reduce your risk for kidney, eye and nerve disease by 40%.
If you are living with type 2 diabetes, check 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 a change in treatment, you may be asked to repeat this test every three months.
Aim for an A1c of around 7% or less. When I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, my A1c was 11.5% and needless to say, I was shocked, because I lead a reasonably healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, we cannot fight genetics and I am working hard at bringing it back under control.
A lower A1c means less risk of diabetes complications.
Here are just some ways 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.
- Count 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 best results.
- Manage your stress
Living with type 2 diabetes and managing it involves a daily, consistent effort through a healthy diet, lifestyle and exercise.
I am glad to say three random blood tests and a fasting and post-prandial test all showed “normal” readings. Yes, a healthy lifestyle pays off big time.
Please stay tuned for the next post – tomorrow.
Today is Day 1 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge
My Theme: Living With Type 2 Diabetes
A is for the ABCs of Diabetes
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Monotoring sugar levels is a very critical part of the care of my Mother, who has type 2 diabetes. In South Africa,the hospital/clinic generally gives the patient a handheld measurement device, so you can monitor your condition at home rather than relying on tests when you come in for a check up.
I also bought a small device at the local pharmacy to monitor her bloog pressure. It was not expensive at all.
I measure my mother’s blood sugar levels daily, usually in the morning after breakfast and her morning dose of meds and her blood pressure once a week or so. I also measure her for sugar and blood pressure if she’s feeling/looking off. It generally helps me determine what could be the problem, though I must admit there have been times when her sugar/blood pressure were OK and she still looked off.
You know, Damaria – the prob with diabetes is – in spite of doing everything right, one can feel tired. I feel it on days when I think I’ve been exemplary! Also, my doc says that while medications keep us fine most of the time, sugar levels can fluctuate sometimes.
Glad you are monitoring daily. I used to do that for my father in law who was on insulin as well as medication following a collapse from a dental visit! He is fine now – off the insulin, minimum medication and is taking good care. Also, monitoring at home is such a blessing – avoids the hassle of having to plan a visit to the clinic!
Hugs and praying for your Mom’s good health!
Thanks. She’s doing very well too.
Diabetes is so rampant these days isn’t it? My husband was diagnosed with it during a recent medical checkup and we were pretty clueless about how to handle it. Now thanks to his exercise regimen and some diet control he’s doing well.
Oh, I can identify with the clueless part, Tulika. Thankfully, diet, exercise can go a very long way in healing, as I am finding out. Write to me if you’d like any specific info. 🙂 I’ll be happy to help with what I know! Hugs!
This is going to be a storehouse of information – much needed too. Stay well. ♥
I had the gestational type of diabetes while pregnant which they said was a sign of later getting this disease. Diabetes has plagued my dads side of the family. At age 49 it showed it and is currently being monitored with daily finger sticks and controlled with changing my diet. Carbs which is everything I love have now become the enemy. Great post and start to the A-Z!
My father and his family have been victims of this disease. Informational post and great tips Vidya.
I think this one blog of yours I should bookmark daily. Very informative Vidya 🙂
You know why this hits home, given my recent loss. Still, a storehouse of information which can be used much later too. Thank you for this and I hope you are doing the daily walk as always 🙂
I have seen patients of Diabetes in my family and how their wounds would stop healing if the diet is not controlled. Very informative share Vidya.
This is good information. My husband and I both just made a plan to walk every day. Diabetes is a serious disease. I want to do whatever I can to prevent it.
That’s an informative post. I am on the border of type 2 & fighting obese condition. Yes as long as I was running things got under control but now for some months that’s out of my routine & I can see the effects 🙂 Your most now reminds me to get back & stay motivated. Thanks a lot 🙂
Since both my parents are Diabetic, this theme will really help me :)thanks for the first post 🙂
Informative post, Type 2 Diabetes is often considered same as Diabetes, BUt its not.
Such a wonderfully informative post. I got a taste of diabetes when I was pregnant for both of my children. It wasn’t fun, but doable. ♥
Just a side note, for animals with diabetes – a similar test to a1c is fructosamine. Don’t want to highjack, but thought I would share 🙂 I love your blog!
Hi Melanie! Very interesting! In fact, just yesterday, after I posted this, my son and I were talking about whether animals can become diabetic and how they would be diagnosed. Then of course, he became upset at all the non-pets that had no one to care. Thank you for sharing! You are welcome to “hijack” any time!
Hmm.. both my aunt and dad are pre-diabetic.
I suppose I should pay attention to these just in case.
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