Keeping your blood sugar under control is an important part of avoiding and treating diabetes. Diabetes is a condition that can affect your entire body. It occurs when your body cannot maintain healthy levels of blood sugar. Insulin is a key hormone that helps our body regulate blood sugar. Insulin is responsible for converting glucose (sugar) to energy. Glucose comes from foods like bread, fruits, vegetables etc. If you have diabetes, your body can’t convert the glucose from your diet into energy.
There are 3 types of diabetes, type 1, type 2 and type 3. The most common type of diabetes is type 2. Hyperglycemia is the technical term for high blood sugar – which is often associated with diabetes. It can also be caused by other conditions such as pancreatitis. Frequent bouts of high blood sugar can be dangerous, leading to a number chronic health conditions such as:
· Cardiovascular disease
· Nerve damage
· Skin problems
· Kidney damage
· Foot problems like gout
The signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia begin when blood sugar levels are above 200 mg/dL. Signs include:
· Frequent urination
· Extreme thirst
· Blurry vision
· Extreme headaches
· Metal confusion
· Stomach pains
If you experience any of these warning signs, seek help from a medical professional right away. The goal is to prevent high blood sugar from happening in the first place. For diabetics this can mean taking your medication. But there are also lifestyle habits you need to regulate. Hyperglycemia can come on fast. One way to be sure that you are safe is to monitor your blood sugar levels. The American Heart Association set a standard for blood glucose levels. They should be between 70-130 mg/dL before a meal and under 180 mg/dL after you eat.
Diet and Blood Sugar
Eating a well-balanced diet is part of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Keep a close eye on your sugar intake. Sugar from the food you eat will directly influence your blood sugar. It’s important to understand that carbohydrates will increase glucose levels. Your body performs well when blood sugar levels are constant. Eating foods with a low glycemic index (GI) is a good way to keep blood sugar levels consistent. Some foods with low GI are:
· Whole wheat
You should try to avoid eating too many foods with a high GI. This includes:
· White bread
· Soft Drinks
Eating the right foods is a key part of controlling hyperglycemia. Controlling your portions is also important. Eating too much food at once, even if they have a low GI can spike blood pressure. By reducing the amount of junk food you eat, as well as eating reasonable portions you can stay on top of blood sugar.
Exercise to Maintain Blood Sugar
Diet isn’t enough on it’s own to maintain blood sugar. Your body will process food more efficiently with regular activity. Be careful though. For some people, especially those with diabetes, exercise can raise blood sugar levels. Always speak with your doctor before you decide to change your diet or exercise in any way. That being said, the American Heart Association advocates that you should exercise at least five days a week, for 30 minutes. This can include activities like:
These tips can help you regulate your blood sugar. Even if you aren’t at risk for hyperglycemia, eating right, along with exercise is a great way to control weight and stay healthy. If you have diabetes, you will still need to take additional steps to avoid health risks. Speak with your doctor or nutritionist today to measure your blood sugar levels.