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Diabetes - Simple Ways to Control Blood Sugar Level

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Diabetes - Simple Ways to Control Blood Sugar Level

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Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that elevates the blood sugar level. It is a common condition that affects people of all age groups. Read below to know more.

Written by

Dr. Alka

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Preetha. J

Published At December 15, 2016
Reviewed AtAugust 9, 2023

Introduction

Diabetes is affecting millions of lives these days. It is a metabolic disorder in which the blood sugar of the body is in a higher range than normal. It is spreading very fast these days due to the unhealthy lifestyle of people and their poor eating habits. The initial symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, excessive hunger, frequent urination, and fatigue. Sometimes, these symptoms might be absent too.

What Are the Types of Diabetes?

Diabetes is divided into the following types:

  • Type 1 Diabetes (Insulin-Dependent Diabetes): It is an auto-immune disease in which the immune system of the body targets, attacks and destructs the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas due to reasons that are unknown.

  • Type 2 Diabetes (Non-insulin-Dependent Diabetes): In this type of diabetes, the body is either unable to manufacture sufficient insulin or the body cells offer resistance against the insulin (insulin-resistant).

  • Type 1.5 Diabetes: It is also called latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA). It manifests in adulthood and its onset is similar to Type 2 diabetes. It is an autoimmune disease and cannot be corrected through dietary or lifestyle changes.

  • Prediabetes: This is the stage preceding Type 2 diabetes. In this stage, the blood glucose levels exceed the normal levels but are not high enough to be regarded as Type 2 diabetes.

  • Gestational Diabetes: This is the type of diabetes that develops in women during pregnancy. Those having gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the later stages of life. Usually, this diabetes resolves after delivery.

Is Diabetes Common?

Diabetes is a very common condition among many people. About 11 percent of the population in the United States suffer from diabetes which is approximately 37.3 million people. Amongst all the types of diabetes, Type 2 diabetes is very common and about 90 to95 percent of people are affected. Nearly 537 million adults worldwide are affected by diabetes and it is predicted by experts that this number will increase to 643 million by 2030 and to 783 million in the year 2045.

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

The following are the general symptoms of diabetes:

  • Polydipsia (increased thirst) and dry mouth.

  • Fatigue.

  • Frequent urination.

  • Unexplained weight loss.

  • Blurred vision.

  • Slow healing of wounds, sores, or cuts.

  • Frequent skin or vaginal yeast infections.

  • Tingling or numbness in the feet or hands.

Besides general symptoms, certain symptoms are common in men and women. The symptoms of diabetes in men are:

  • Erectile dysfunction.

  • Decreased sexual drive.

  • Poor muscle strength.

The symptoms of diabetes in women are:

How Is Diabetes Diagnosed?

Diabetes is diagnosed by assessing the glucose level in a blood test. The following are the common diagnostic methods:

  • Fasting Blood Glucose Test: To undertake this test, one must not eat or drink anything for a minimum of eight hours before the test. One is allowed to drink water during this period. As food has a remarkable impact on the blood glucose level, this test enables the healthcare provider to evaluate the baseline blood sugar level.

  • Random Blood Glucose Test: As the word suggests, this test can be performed randomly at any time no matter if one has fasted or not.

  • HbA1C: It is also called HbA1C or glycated hemoglobin test and is a test that provides the average blood glucose level over the past two to three months.

The oral glucose tolerance test is used to screen and diagnose gestational diabetes.

What Are the Normal Values for Various Diagnostic Tests for Diabetes?

The following are the general values for various diagnostic tests for diabetes but there can be minor variations.

  • Fasting Blood Glucose Test: The normal value should be less than 100. In the case of prediabetes, the range is between 100-125 and if the value is 126 or higher, then diabetes is confirmed.

  • Random Blood Glucose Test: If the value is 200 or above accompanied by symptoms of hyperglycemia (increased blood sugar level) or hyperglycemic crisis, then diabetes is confirmed. Normal and prediabetic values are not applicable in this type of test.

  • A1c: The normal value should be less than 5.7 percent. In the case of prediabetes, the range is between 5.7 to 6.4 percent, and in the case of diabetes, the value is 6.5 percent or higher.

How Is Diabetes Treated?

Diabetes is a complex condition and hence multiple and customized management plans are required. Diabetes is treated in the following ways:

  • Monitoring the Blood Sugar: Monitoring the blood sugar levels from time to time is important to assess how the current management plan is working. The blood sugar levels can be frequently checked using a glucose meter, finger stick, and a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).

  • Oral Medications: Metformin is the most commonly used oral medication to treat diabetes. Other classes of drugs include Biguanides, Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, DPP-4 inhibitors, Glucagon-like peptides, Meglitinides, Sulfonylureas, Thiazolidinediones, and SGLT2 inhibitors.

  • Insulin Therapy: People with Type 1 diabetes require synthetic insulin to cope with diabetes. There are various types of synthetic insulin and each of them works at different speeds and remains in the body for varied lengths of time. The modes through which insulin can be replenished in the body include injectable insulin with a syringe (shot), insulin pumps, insulin pens, and rapid-acting inhaled insulin.

  • Diet: Food has a remarkable influence on blood sugar, hence following a proper, healthy diet is necessary to manage diabetes. Healthy eating habits aid in managing weight and reduce the risk of heart disease. Being vigilant about the carbs consumed through foods and drinks is important.

  • Exercise: Staying physically fit and exercising regularly can help manage diabetes since physical activity increases the sensitivity of insulin and helps decrease insulin resistance. Diabetes-friendly exercises include walking, swimming, dancing, and cycling.

What Are the Complications Associated With Diabetes?

The following are a few complications:

  • Heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

  • Nerve damage (neuropathy).

  • Nephropathy (kidney damage).

  • Skin conditions like bacterial and fungal infections.

  • Feet and oral health may be affected.

  • Vision, hearing, and mental health issues.

  • Depression and dementia.

What Are the Dos and Don'ts in Handling Diabetes?

The following are the certain do’s:

  • A healthy diet containing green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, green gram, lentils, soybean, bitter gourd, and so on should be included in the diet.

  • Eating on a regular basis and not skipping the meals. Also, managing the food portion is helpful.

  • Gram flour should be included in the diet as it has so many advantages. Gram flour has a lower glycemic index than wheat flour, so it reduces cravings. It has fewer calories than wheat flour, so aids in weight reduction. This is important since diabetic patients should not be overweight.

  • Gram flour has more proteins than wheat flour. It also helps in reducing cholesterol as it has healthy unsaturated fats. If one is used to taking roti regularly, then some gram flour can be added to wheat flour or gram flour can be consumed directly.

  • Regularly taking half a teaspoon of fenugreek powder on an empty stomach will help in controlling blood sugar levels.

  • Consuming more water instead of juice and soda. fruits should always be the first choice for sugar craving.

  • Exercise, yoga, and meditation should be done regularly. Walking for 30 minutes to one hour a day can be beneficial if one cannot spare time for doing exercise.

  • Taking the medications regularly and keeping an eye on the blood sugar level is important. Necessary laboratory investigations should be undertaken every six months.

  • Diabetes also affects the eyes, so getting an eye checkup done every six months is essential.

  • Maintaining adequate weight and checking it periodically.

  • Adequate and sound sleep is very important for the body since during sleep, our body automatically repairs the wear and tear.

The following are the certain don'ts:

  • One must refrain from a sedentary lifestyle, quit smoking, and should not drink alcoholic beverages.

  • Potatoes, rice, sweet fruits, deep-fried foods, and red meat should not be consumed by diabetic patients.

  • These little things will help one in the long run in controlling the blood sugar level as diabetes can lead to other disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and so on.

Conclusion

Diabetes is a lifelong condition for a majority of people. Achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight, being physically active, following a healthy diet, and refraining from smoking, tobacco, and the use of other abusive substances can help prevent and manage diabetes. The prognosis (outlook) of diabetes is decided by the type of diabetes, age of onset, other health conditions, diabetes-related complications, access to diabetes care, and how well one manages diabetes.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

How to Lower Blood Sugar Quickly in Diabetes?

The best and safest way to lower the blood sugar level of diabetic patients is to take fast-acting insulin. A patient should keep extra insulin injections with him in case of emergency. Also, a person should check their sugar intake and exercise regularly to control blood sugar levels.

2.

What Food Products Can Help to Lower Blood Sugar?

One of the first things a diabetic patient should do is control the sugar intake in his diet. Along with that, the patient should make some changes in their diet plan to maintain their sugar levels, which can be done by adding the following foods to the diet, such as -
- Oats.
- Beans and lentils.
- Salmon and other fatty fish.
- Eggs.
- Nuts and seeds.
- Unsweetened yogurt and kefir.
- Fermented vegetables.
- Leafy greens.
- Grapes.
- Blueberries.
- Apples.
- Citrus fruit.
- Avocados.

3.

Is There a Cure for Type 2 Diabetes?

There is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but some people can reverse it. This can be done by changing diet and exercising regularly to maintain the ideal weight. By this, a person can maintain normal blood sugar levels without medication.

4.

Which Type of Diabetes Is More Dangerous?

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are both serious conditions. Although type 2 diabetes is often a milder form of diabetes than type 1, it can still cause major health complications, particularly to the eyes, nerves, and kidneys. These are serious conditions that can cause heart disease and stroke risk.

5.

What Food Should Diabetic Patients Avoid?

It is essential for diabetes patients to take control of their diet and weight. Some of the foods that diabetic patients should avoid after diagnosis includes -
- Processed grains, like white rice or flour.
- Cereals with excess sugar.
- White bread.
- Fried food like french fries.
- Canned vegetable products.
- Veggies cooked with lots of added butter, cheese, or sauce.
- Canned fruit with heavy sugar syrup.
- Chewy fruit rolls.
- Regular jam, jelly, and preserves.
- Fruit punch, fruit drinks, fruit juice drinks.

6.

Is It Good to Have Dark Chocolate for Diabetes?

Yes, dark chocolate does lower the risk of diabetes. Daily consumption of dark chocolate has positive effects on insulin sensitivity and blood sugar, both responsible for developing diabetes. But that does not mean a person should start overeating dark chocolate daily, as it has a negative impact on the body.

7.

What Can a Diabetic Patient Eat Before Bedtime?

A diabetic patient can have a high-protein, low-fat snack before bed. This can help stabilize the blood sugar levels overnight. A diabetic patient might have any of the following before bedtime -
- A handful of nuts, 
- Hard-boiled egg.
- Baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, or cucumber slices.
- Celery sticks with hummus.
- Roasted chickpeas.
- Sliced apple and peanut butter.
- Sugar-free Greek yogurt.
- A handful of seeds.

8.

What Is the Required Water Intake for Diabetic Patients?

For diabetic patients, drinking plenty of fluids (water) is essential. Drinking water can help reduce blood sugar levels by diluting the amount of sugar in the body. It can also help with dehydration due to excess urination caused by high glucose levels.

9.

Can Vitamin D Cure Type 1 Diabetes?

There is no scientific proof that can show that vitamin D helps in curing type 1 diabetes. However, some studies have shown that a regular dose of vitamin D in the early phase of life helps in reducing the risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Vitamin D also helps to improve glucose levels and insulin sensitivity in people with type 1 and 2 diabetes.

10.

What Type of Food Helps in Increasing Insulin Secretion?

Healthy fat helps in increasing the secretion of insulin in the pancreas naturally. Some of the dietary sources that can be taken to improve insulin production includes -
- Avocados.
- Nuts like almonds, peanuts, or cashews.
- Oils include olive, canola, or flaxseed oils.
- Some types of fish, such as herring, salmon, and sardines.
- Sunflower, pumpkin, or sesame seeds.

11.

What Are the Initial Signs of Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, which can occur due to various reasons like gallstones, excessive alcohol consumption, infection, cancer, and many more. The early signs of pancreatitis include -
- Upper abdominal pain.
- Abdominal pain that radiates to your back.
- Tenderness when touching the abdomen.
- Fever.
- Rapid pulse.
- Nausea.
- Vomiting.

12.

Who Is More Likely to Have Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis can occur due to various reasons. Some of the most common risk factors which can lead to this condition include;
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Cigarette smoking
- Obesity. 
- Diabetes. 
- Family history of pancreatitis.
Dr. Alka
Dr. Alka

Ayurveda Specialist

Tags:

diabetes
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