Living with diabetes blog

Why blood sugar control is so important

By Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N. and Peggy Moreland, R.N. May 22, 2010

"I don't feel bad, why is good blood sugar control so important?"

We've heard this from patients so many times. Diabetes is a deceptive disease in that most people diagnosed with diabetes have probably had it for a number of years without knowing. The symptoms aren't obvious.

The average blood sugar rises gradually and as it rises there is damage occurring throughout the body. Out of control blood sugar levels can lead to serious short term problems such as hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, or diabetic ketoacidosis.

In the long run, uncontrolled blood sugar can also damage the vessels that supply blood to important organs, like the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves. This can occur even when you feel OK. That's why it's so important to take action as soon as you're diagnosed with diabetes. Our bodies are amazing, but unfortunately once you have a heart attack or stroke, or your kidneys fail, or you become blind, the damage can't be undone.

The good news is that paying attention to blood sugar control can help keep you healthy and prevent health problems from happening later. Some tips:

  • Keep your blood glucose within your goal range as much as possible. Work with your diabetes team to develop and maintain a plan.
  • Take your diabetes medication as prescribed. If you're on insulin, ask to see a diabetes educator to learn how to adjust your dose.
  • Increase physical activity. If you aren't physically active, talk to your health care provider about suitable activities. If you haven't exercised in awhile, consider beginning with five to ten minutes of daily physical activity and gradually increase your activity to at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Even a 5 percent to 7 percent weight loss will help you better manage your blood glucose.

The quality of your future life depends on the decisions and actions that you take today.

Peggy

May 22, 2010