If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a healthy lifestyle. Richmond University Medical Center provides educational material on diabetes to better equip you for the years to come, including the effects of diabetes on the body and what you can do to regulate your blood sugar levels.
How Does Diabetes Affect the Body?
Diabetes prevents the body from effectively turning food into energy. Insulin is the hormone in the body that allows glucose to enter the cells, providing them with the energy they need to carry out their tasks. When your body produces insufficient amounts of insulin, it severely reduces the ability to regulate blood sugar and store additional glucose for energy to be used later on.
Type 1 diabetics cannot produce insulin, whereas Type 2 diabetics are capable of producing insulin but at insufficient levels. Because of this, you’ll need to provide the insulin for your body, and that’s typically done via injection or an automated system. Short term effects of high blood glucose (hyperglycemia) include:
- Blurred vision
- Feeling excessively thirsty or hungry
If gone untreated, hyperglycemia has been known to cause organ damage, and can even lead to heart attack or stroke.
A1C Levels and Average Blood Sugar
Regardless of which type of diabetes you’ve been diagnosed with, you will need to pay careful attention to your blood sugar levels. An A1C test measures the average blood sugar levels in your body over a length of time, which is usually two to three months. These tests are vital to the treatment of diabetes, as it informs your primary care provider how much insulin your body needs regularly.
Throughout the year, you will need to have these tests administered anywhere from two to four times, depending on the type and severity of your diabetes. A1C tests are examined in a laboratory, but you will also have to conduct daily blood sugar readings at home and log them. Currently, there is already an established relationship between A1C levels and average blood sugar, so once you have received your test results, your physician can identify the correct dosage for you.
How to Maintain Proper Blood Sugar Levels
While insulin injections help regulate your average blood sugar levels, there may be instances where it is either too high or too low. When this does happen, there are a few things you can do to normalize your levels. If your blood sugar is too high, your physician may recommend you drink a couple of glasses of water and engage in light exercise or a fast-paced walk. If your blood sugar drops during the day, your physician may recommend the following:
- Take glucose tabs
- Eat a few pieces of candy (preferably hard candy)
- Drink four ounces of fruit juice/soda (not diet soda)
These methods may introduce enough glucose into your system to normalize your blood sugar levels without causing a spike that would lead to high blood sugar. If you find that your blood sugar is frequently higher or lower than it should be, contact your physician immediately.
Visit Richmond University Medical Center Today
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, be sure to keep an eye on your A1C and blood glucose levels. There are several things you can do to normalize your levels throughout the day to stay healthy. If you live in Staten Island, NY, contact Richmond University Medical Center for more information today.