Controlling blood glucose (blood sugar) is a major component of living a healthy life with diabetes. Knowing your numbers and taking control is possible. According to statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 24 million people have diabetes—and many of them may not know it. Your advantage? You’ve been diagnosed and are proactive about controlling your diabetes.
When learning about blood glucose control, sometimes it’s encouraging to read a personal account of how another person with diabetes is managing their disease. Jay Cutler, quarterback for the Chicago Bears, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2008. Though he’s had to pick up new habits and leave some old ones behind, he’s learning how to control his diabetes. To learn more, read EndocrineWeb’s interview with Jay Cutler.
You and your doctor work together to keep these numbers as close as possible to goal.
- Hemoglobin A1c: This is a blood test that reveals your average blood glucose level during the past two to three months. Less than 7% means you are in control.
- Blood glucose levels: You should be monitoring your blood glucose level on a daily basis, checking it at least four times a day—before each meal and before bed. You may also need to monitor your blood glucose 1-2 hours after eating a meal. More monitoring will help you have better blood glucose control. Your doctor will instruct you on how many times per day to test your blood glucose level, and he or she will suggest the best method for doing so. You should aim for the following levels during the day:
Before meals: 70-130 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter)
1-2 hours after meal start: Less than 140 mg/dL
- Blood pressure: When your doctor checks your blood pressure, it should be below 130/80.
- Cholesterol: There are two kinds of cholesterol—the good kind and the bad kind. The good kind is HDL; the bad kind is LDL. Your cholesterol levels should be:
LDL (bad kind): Below 100
HDL (good kind) Above 40 in men, above 50 in women
During regular appointments, your doctor will run necessary blood tests to track your hemoglobin A1c, blood glucose, and cholesterol. He or she will also monitor your blood pressure.
In between visits, there are things you can do to keep your diabetes and health in check: eat healthy, get regular exercise, watch your weight, and monitor your blood glucose level on a daily basis.
Note: Your doctor may prescribe other medications—if needed—to manage your blood pressure and/or cholesterol.