You Can Lower Your Blood Sugar

Achieving lower blood sugar (also known as blood glucose) is an important part of living a healthy life with diabetes. You will feel better and you will reduce your risk of diabetes complications when you keep your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible.

What are normal blood sugar levels? Blood sugar is measured using the metric measurement of milligrams per deciliter, abbreviated mg/dl. In general, someone without diabetes has a fasting blood sugar level less than 110 mg/dl, according to experts at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, Massachusetts. What is fasting? A fasting blood sugar measurement is the proportion of sugar in your blood after you have not eaten for eight hours, or first thing when you wake up in the morning. If you have diabetes, you should aim for a pre-breakfast measurement in the 70 to 130 mg/dl range.

Your healthy blood sugar levels vary throughout the day. For most people with diabetes, blood sugar levels should be below 180 mg/dl about two hours after a meal, and between 150 and 180 mg/dl before you go to bed, according to diabetes experts at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

How low can you go? Blood sugar levels are personal, and you can feel good about your success in lowering your own blood sugar. You are not in competition with your cousin or your colleague. Many factors, including your age and other medical conditions (even having a cold), affect your blood sugar levels, and it's easy to get frustrated when you think you are doing all the right things and the numbers aren't going down. But don't give up; think about the big picture. Take positive steps each day to lower your blood sugar and you'll reap the long-term benefits of a healthy life. Remember that you are not alone. Network with others for support and tips for lowering your blood sugar.

Pricking Points

Keep these tips in mind and you can make lowering your blood sugar simple and efficient.

  • Find your prime time. Because blood sugar is affected by what and when you eat, try testing at different times of the day and before different meals to get a sense of how well your blood sugar management strategy is working. Especially if you are new to diabetes, try checking your blood sugar 2 to 4 hours after a meal to see how that meal impacts your sugar levels.

  • Choose your best tools. Blood sugar monitors come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with smaller models available for checking your blood sugar on the go. To use some monitors, you need to prick your finger with a special needle called a lancet. But new options, such as infrared light, skin sensor patches, and continuous glucose monitors, provide prick-free alternatives. Don't hesitate to ask your doctor about them.

  • Track your progress. Keep track of your blood sugar levels. Some blood sugar monitors store the information automatically to make your life easier. If you have a model that doesn't do this, note the results on your PDA (personal digital assistant) or in an old-school notebook.