Blood Sugar Savvy: The ABCs Of Diabetes Management

The following tips can help you manage your diabetes, ensuring health and reducing the effects of chronic illness.

I want to make sure I am managing my diabetes correctly. How can I do this?

As with many chronic illnesses, it is essential to keep diabetes under control from the beginning. Managing the disease effectively not only prevents sudden health crises, but also reduces long-term damage to your skin, organs, and blood vessels. Though managing the disease may seem complicated, it is easy to accomplish as long as you remember the ABCs: A1C hemoglobin tests, Blood pressure screening, Cholesterol control, and smoking cessation:

A: The A1C Test

A1C hemoglobin glucose screening tells you the concentration of glucose in your blood for the previous 3 months. Typically, you should aim for a score that is less than 7 percent, but specific requirements vary by patient; ask your doctor what the ideal score is for you if you do not already know.

You should take this test once every three months, and adjust your eating and exercise habits if your blood glucose is too high. Failing to control glucose levels leads to damage to your heart, eyes, feet, kidneys, and blood vessels. Increased exercise, portion control, and the avoidance of simple carbohydrates all help to lower blood glucose.

B: Blood Pressure Screening

High blood pressure is dangerous for anyone, but it is particularly risky if you have diabetes because the two diseases can exacerbate each other and lead to complications. Thus, along with managing your blood glucose levels, it is also important for diabetes patients to keep blood pressure under control.

Ideally, your blood pressures should be below 140/80 at any given time. If you can keep your blood pressure under this level, you are less likely to experience strokes and other potentially deadly ailments. Blood pressure management also makes you less likely to suffer from vision loss, a common ailment among diabetics. Exercising more, eating healthier meals, and limiting alcohol consumption can all reduce blood pressure.

C: Cholesterol

Excess cholesterol clogs your blood vessels and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Given the pressure that diabetes puts on your heart and blood vessels, it is particularly important for diabetics to keep cholesterol levels under control. Ideal cholesterol levels vary by patient; talk to your doctor about the best levels for you to achieve. You can lower your cholesterol by reducing alcohol and calorie intake, increasing your level of exercise, and losing weight if you are obese.

C: Smoking Cessation

In addition to the damage it does to your lungs, smoking raises cholesterol levels, increases your blood pressure, and damages your nerves, heart, eyes, kidneys, and extremities. Tobacco use also makes it difficult to control diabetes itself, notably by interfering with insulin dosing. It is thus essential for diabetics who smoke to quit as quickly as possible.

As the largest independent pharmacy in Arkansas, Smith-Caldwell Drug Store provides the full range of equipment and medications for diabetes management. For more information on blood pressure screenings and other ways that we help you manage diabetes in Benton AR, contact us by calling (501)-392-5470 today.