Ada Diabetes Self-Management Guidelines

ADA Diabetes Self-Management and Diabetes Patient Education Guidelines

Are you living with diabetes? Find out what steps you can take to improve your diabetes care plan, from diet and exercise to treatment and management.
 

 

Managing Diabetes Has NEVER Been Easier!

Diabetes mellitus is not curable. As such, this chronic disease needs to be managed well as it could lead to other health problems and death. In diabetes management, blood sugar level has to be monitored regularly in order to take action to keep the blood sugar level normal.

For the diabetic, it is just as dangerous to have the sugar level too low as it can lead to hypoglycemia in which a person can go into a coma. Managing this blood sugar level can be done through exercise, diet as well as the doctors’ prescribed medicine.

Diabetes Complications

To prevent or lessen complications resulting from poor management of diabetes, it is essential for a patient to understand the disease well and participate in all the steps necessary to keep the blood sugar level at HbA1C level of 6.5%. This level can be allowed to go a little higher but it must never be allowed to be lower. Patients must understand that elevated cholesterol levels, smoking, lack of regular exercise and high blood pressure, can exacerbate the harmful effects on his health.

For diabetes management, a patient needs to be constantly aware of the factors that can raise or lower his blood sugar level.

Explaining Diabetes and The Body – Video Guide

Lifestyle

Blood sugar control is the major consideration in diabetes management. It is keeping blood sugar level within a certain range that determines the health and longevity of a diabetic. So, a diabetic must acquire the knowledge of the factors which causes blood sugar level to go up or down.

Below is a list of such factors.

Diabetes Diet

Eating right is the most important factor in diabetes management. However, a diabetic must understand that it not just the right food but also the amount as well as the time that counts when it comes to blood sugar level.

As such, a diabetic has to remember the following points when it comes to eating.    

  • Have a schedule : Due to the fact that a diabetic’s blood sugar level is at its highest one or two hours after each meal before it gradually drops, a diabetic can keep the blood sugar level more or less stable by eating smaller meals or snacks several times a day at regular intervals throughout the day.
  • Every meal must be well-balanced : Every meal ought to be planned to ensure that only the right amount of carbohydrates, vegetables and fruits, proteins and fats are consumed. Since carbohydrates is mainly responsible for the surge in blood sugar level, it is important to consume just the right amount of carbohydrates at each meal. For the right amount of food, it is advisable to seek the advice of a dietician concerning the best choices of food for a balanced meal.
  • Consume the right amount : Knowledge is essential to consuming the right amount of the various types of food. Note how much of a certain food ought to be eaten. Write such information down to help you plan your meal, noting down the measurements for the food which can be with measuring cups or in weight.
  • Eat according to medication : Understand how much food is too little or too much for the medications your doctor has prescribed. When it comes to insulin, too little food can result in (hypoglycemia) low blood sugar while too much food can lead to (hyperglycemia) high blood sugar level; both of which are dangerous. Therefore, there is a need to seek medical advice on the amount appropriate for your diabetes medicine.

Physical Activity

Exercise is the second most important factor in diabetes management. Exercise not only use up glucose, it also gets your body to respond to insulin better and so assist to lower blood sugar level. The higher the intensity of the physical activity, the longer and greater is its benefit as metabolism is vastly improved with strenuous exercise.However, that does not mean that light activity does not help to lower blood sugar level. It does! Even housework and gardening needs energy and so they do play a part in lowering blood sugar level.

So, what should be done?

  • Seek advice before starting any exercise program : For people who have been sedentary, a doctor’s examination of the heart and fitness are essential before any kind of exercise can be considered. Whatever the exercise, which can be aerobic and strengthening, should be planned based on the knowledge of the person’s heart condition and physical fitness.
  • Coordinating exercise with meal and medication schedule : In order to coordinate your exercise with your medication and meal taking, get advice from your doctor concerning the right time for you to exercise.
  • Know what blood sugar level to begin with : Before beginning to exercise, make sure you know what blood sugar level you ought to have.
  • Check blood sugar level : When taking medications or insulin that helps to reduce blood sugar level, always check your blood sugar level at all stages of your exercise, before, during and after. Know the symptoms of low blood sugar level which are feeling confused, lightheaded, weak, shaky, hungry, tired, anxious, or irritable.
  • Drink sufficient water : Since dehydration have an effect on blood sugar level, always drink lots of water during your physical activities.
  • Be on guard : Always carry along a glucose pill or snack at all times, especially during exercise when sugar is depleted faster, causing your blood sugar level to fall too low. As this can lead to unconsciousness, it is wise to have a medical identification bracelet while exercising.
  • Adjust your medication : If an insulin injection has been administered, the diabetic has to wait a number of hours before exercising. Either that or you change the dosage of the insulin. Such changes of dosage must only be made on the advice of a doctor. If you increase the duration or the number of times per week you exercise, your diabetes treatment has to be adjusted accordingly.

Medication

Other diabetes medications and insulin have to be used to lower a too high blood sugar level in spite of exercising and dieting. However, managing diabetes cannot be effective unless the dosage and timing of the medications are right.Other than these, effectiveness also depends upon any other medications the diabetes patient is taking for other health problems as some of them do have an effect on blood sugar level.

So, what do you need to do?

  • Is your insulin still effective? : Diabetics must be aware that the effectiveness of insulin depends upon proper storage and its expiry date.
  • Give immediate feedback to your doctor : Immediately inform your doctor if your blood sugar level falls too low after taking your diabetes medications. There may be a need to adjust the dosages or the timing.
  • Know your medications : Always enquire about any new medications given to you for any other health problem, perhaps high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Find out if such medications can affect blood sugar level and, if they do, ask for alternative medications, if any.

Aim of Diabetes Management

The aim of diabetes management is to help the body to efficiently metabolize carbohydrates with an external supply of insulin when the body itself is unable to produce sufficient amount of insulin to perform the function of metabolizing carbohydrates. Persons with such insulin deficiency are given insulin replacement therapy in which insulin can be injected into the body or by the use of an infusion pump. If diabetes is due to insulin resistance, it can be overcome with changes in diet and exercise.

Another aim of diabetes management is the prevention as well as the treatment of the numerous health complications which can occur from diabetes itself or as side-effects of its treatment.