Diabetes is closely related to a person’s lifestyle. Individuals with diabetes should eat, exercise and take other medications in accordance with the medications and insulin they use. The person with diabetes may need to change their diet from scratch and add more physical activity to their life. Close follow-up with health workers is very important at this point. With the right follow-up and changes, living with diabetes is not a problem for the person and becomes comfortable.
Understanding Blood Sugar Levels
For diabetes management, it is first necessary to learn how to measure blood glucose. Measuring blood glucose every day helps with diet and medication management. The easiest way to measure blood glucose at home is with a blood glucose meter. The sugar level is determined by the device by dropping blood onto the test strip. The glucose test can be used to measure fasting and postprandial sugars in the morning on an empty stomach or 2 hours after eating. It is important that these values are examined by the doctor and dietitian at regular intervals for medication and diet. These are the ranges in which blood sugar should be:
Before a meal: <80-130 mg/dL
2 hours after a meal: <180 mg/dL
A drop in blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is called hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a condition that can seriously affect a person’s health and blood sugar needs to be raised. Continuous communication with the doctor is very important at this point. Just as risky as hypoglycemia is hyperglycemia, a condition in which blood sugar rises to very high levels. When blood sugar rises, the following symptoms may occur:
Increased feeling of thirst
Feeling of fatigue
In case of high blood sugar, the doctor should be informed and if intervention is necessary, the emergency room should be called. In cases where it is difficult to reach a health institution, symptoms should be evaluated by providing doctor and dietitian communication with telemedicine service.
Changes in Lifestyle
Lifestyle changes while living with diabetes can prevent it from getting worse and causing other complications. The first of these changes is to stop smoking. Smoking can worsen diabetes symptoms in the long term. Apart from this, one of the most important points is nutrition. A nutrition plan compatible with the medications used and blood glucose levels should be planned by a dietitian. Meals consumed at regular intervals and the carbohydrate content of the meal prevents drops and rises in sugar levels. People with diabetes should definitely inform their doctor and dietitian about their diet, and should ask the health personnel any questions they have during meals.
Being physically active can stabilize a person’s blood glucose levels and help overweight people lose weight. Overweight and obesity are among the causes of diabetes and their management can improve blood sugar levels. However, the doctor should be informed before physical activity and activities deemed appropriate should be performed.
Continuous communication with the doctor and other health personnel is very important in the management of diabetes. Periodic blood tests are important for the control of diabetes-related values such as cholesterol, hA1c, fasting blood sugar. In addition to these tests, sugar levels should be reported to the doctor at regular intervals, information about nutrition should be given and consultation should be sought if there are complications. If the person with diabetes is older, regular control of other factors such as blood pressure is also important. For patients on insulin, the link between insulin levels and the carbohydrate content of meals must be correctly established. If the carbohydrate content of the meal is lower than the value of insulin, the person goes into hypoglycemia, while if the carbohydrate content is higher than insulin, a sugar spike occurs. For this reason, foods to be consumed outside the diet should be reported to the dietician or doctor and appropriate foods should be preferred.
For working people or elderly people with difficult transportation, hospital visits can be challenging, except for examinations such as blood tests. This puts people at risk to their health by preventing them from visiting hospitals. People with such health access problems can help manage diabetes by accessing health professionals through telemedicine.