6 Ways to Wreck Your Blood Sugar Level

Type 2 diabetes is a tough disease. It requires constant vigilance to keep your blood sugar level under control. 

It also requires avoiding some common mistakes, many of which are the product of long-held bad habits. 

Injuries that are minor in a healthy person can have severe consequences when you have diabetes, so good wound care is essential. Because of reduced circulation and problems with sensation (neuropathy), people with diabetes are at a much higher risk for complications from ordinary, everyday cuts and scrapes.

Read the Diabetes Wound Care Checklist: What’s in Your First Aid Kit? article > >

 Here are six mistakes that you can learn to avoid.

1. Not Knowing Your Disease

“You are your own doctor 99.9% of the time,” says Andrew Ahmann, MD, director of the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, OR.

By that he means that you are the one watching your diet, making sure you exercise, and taking your medication on schedule. Understanding how diabetes works will help you make better decisions about how to monitor and manage it. Classes on coping with diabetes are an excellent but underused resource.

“Not enough patients seek them out, and not enough doctors send their patients to them,” Ahmann says.

 That’s unfortunate, because not only do they offer essential information, but they are often support groups as well, bringing together people who have the same problems and giving them a place to meet and talk with each other.

2. Expecting Too Much Too Soon

One of the biggest hurdles in controlling your blood sugar is sticking to your eating and exercise habits. Many patients become frustrated and give up because they don’t see results right away, says endocrinologist Preethi Srikanthan, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.

“Most people expect something dramatic is going to happen right away,” she says. “But it has taken them a decade or two to get to this point, and it will take a while for them to even to get to that initial 5%-10% reduction in weight. …These are challenges that must be taken in small steps.”

Expecting too much change right away is a mistake. So is doing too much before you are ready, especially when it comes to exercise, Ahmann says. He advises starting off slowly and easing into the habit.

“If they do more than they can tolerate, they will often quit,” he says. “Or they will do too much and hurt themselves.”

Be sure to talk with your health care provider before starting a new exercise program, especially if you aren’t already active. He or she can help plan a routine that’s safe and effective, as well as set realistic goals.

 
 
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