Person checking their blood sugar with a glucose monitor

Illustration of a person checking their blood sugar with a glucose monitor

Health Made Simple

Managing Diabetes: How To Control Blood Sugar

If you or a loved one has diabetes, controlling their blood sugar can be quite confusing. But here are some tips to help you understand sugar a bit better.

No matter where we are and what we do, food will always find a way to be at the center of our lives. Whether for a simple catch-up date with a friend or a grand celebratory dinner with family, buffets or plated meals are served to accompany the pleasant stories we share.

However, these events can also cause massive blood sugar spikes for people with diabetes.

Instead of simply enjoying one's company, they could spend the time worrying if they ate too much pasta and bread.

It certainly takes time, trial-and-error, and guidance to maintain one's blood sugar. And if you have a friend or loved one with diabetes, it's helpful to know how this condition affects their health and what you can do for support.

How does diabetes affect blood sugar?

Diabetes is classified into three types: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes, which develops during pregnancy. In all three cases, diabetes makes it difficult to produce enough insulin for the body's needs.

Insulin is used to convert glucose (sugar) into energy. And if there isn't enough insulin, glucose stays in the bloodstream, leading to high blood sugar. People with type 2 diabetes have a hard time producing just enough insulin. Meanwhile, those with type 1 diabetes can't produce insulin entirely.

To restore balance and help the body regulate insulin, doctors may prescribe their patients oral medicines like metformin or injectable medications that contain insulin.

Key factors affecting blood sugar levels

Though the food you eat can affect blood glucose, it's not the sole culprit. Besides your diet, poor physical activity and stress levels may cause your blood pressure to rise. To keep blood sugar under control, here are some things to consider.

The carbs you eat

If you're an avid sweet tooth and enjoy your midnight trips to the pantry for a snack or two, you may want to practice some control. Popular carbs like white rice, bread, and sodas are notorious for spiking blood sugar. Carbohydrates, in general, however, are not entirely bad for you. In fact, carbohydrates are your body's primary energy source.

The problem lies in what type you're consuming. Simple carbs like those mentioned earlier are more easily digested and may lead to a sudden sugar surge. It's healthier to go for complex carbohydrates like whole grains and vegetables. They're packed with more nutrients and fiber, which is better for your blood pressure.

Levels of physical activity

Though sweating it out and putting your muscles to work may not appeal to everyone, having a regular exercise regimen can help maintain blood sugar. A round of physical activity makes your body more insulin sensitive, leading to lower glucose levels.

How you're managing stress

If you're prone to high-stress levels at work and home, this may contribute to increased blood sugar. For people with diabetes, proper stress management is key to maintaining healthy glucose control.

Under stress, your body produces the hormone cortisol, which taps into stored glucose. This process is meant to give you energy for fight-or-flight scenarios. So when you're constantly stressed out and producing glucose, you'll also have higher amounts of sugar in your bloodstream.

Medications and other conditions

Aside from lifestyle factors, sugar levels may fluctuate depending on your medications. Natural body processes like menstruation may also make blood sugar levels unpredictable due to changing hormones. Some women report experiencing higher blood sugar during their periods, while others claim to experience the opposite.

How to control blood sugar

Now that you know what factors to watch, here's how they can be implemented.

First, you would need to have a baseline if you want to control your blood sugar. With the help of a doctor, you can determine a safe blood sugar target suitable for your age and other health needs.

Having blood glucose monitors at home is excellent for keeping you on track with your target. Once you're set on a goal, here are some things you can do.

Eat body-regulating foods

The nutrient quality of the food you eat unlocks many health benefits and some peace of mind. Eating body-regulating or protective foods ensures you're fueled with all the vitamins and minerals you need to stave off deficiencies. Non-starchy vegetables like cauliflower, cucumber, and squash are great options for people with diabetes. You can opt for plant-based proteins to minimize fats and carbohydrates as a source of protein.

As much as possible, you'd want to avoid added sugars and limit the amount of sodium and saturated fats you're consuming. There isn't a one size fits all diet for everyone, but it does help to have a registered dietician by your side to help you design the best meal plan for you.

Cut back on high-carb food

Not all carbohydrates are bad, and it's just a matter of choosing healthy carbs. Cutting back on simple carbohydrates not only frees your mind from worries but also fills your body with higher-quality energy sources.

This doesn't mean that you'll never get to taste your favorite sweets again. You just have to savor them in smaller amounts. And instead of sugar-sweetened drinks, look for natural options like whole fruits that still have a good amount of fiber.

Commit to an exercise regimen

Sedentary lifestyles where you sit or lie down for hours on end may contribute to insulin resistance. Forming an exercise habit is ideal for your metabolism at its prime and may even prevent heart disease. As a start, you can begin by committing to 30 minutes of exercise daily. Working out also lowers your blood sugar up to 48 hours after an exercise session.

Can supplements help with diabetes?

When diagnosed with diabetes, follow the advice of your doctor and the medications they recommend for your health. Natural fruits, vegetables, and protein are also the best sources for your body's vitamin needs. You can also consult with your doctor for supplements they may recommend.

Diamaxin Forte

To ease some of the symptoms and prevent complications related to diabetes, Diamaxin Forte is here to help. This dietary supplement comprises nutrients like Alpha Lipoic Acid, Zinc, and Chromium Picolinate, which work together to balance blood sugar and support your immune system.

Many factors come into play in controlling and maintaining one's blood sugar. And though it may not be the same for everyone, one thing is certain — each body is unique and requires its unique way of being taken care of.

With the help of a doctor and the treatment plan and medications they recommend, people with diabetes may have an easier time managing their condition. And with the support of their loved ones, celebrations can be less about the food they can't eat but what memories they can create. — (MyPharma)

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