2 Strategies for Better Blood Glucose Management
I was shocked. I could not believe what I was hearing.
“Makes sense that Type 2s only need to test their blood sugar once a day. It’s not like there’s anything they can do about it.”
Okay, most people with type 2 diabetes don’t use insulin. But that doesn’t mean that the information they collect with checking their blood glucose is useless. There are choices and adjustments they can make in response to a high or low reading. And there is encouragement to be had from an in-range reading.
Saying there’s nothing they can do about their blood glucose readings isn’t just dismissive, it’s dangerous.
Two strategies for better blood glucose management
There are numerous ways that people with type 2 diabetes can use their blood glucose readings to better manage their diabetes.
Here are two strategies that don’t involve taking insulin:
- Checking or testing in pairs
- Making decisions based on current blood glucose readings
Checking or testing in pairs
When checking in pairs you are checking your blood glucose levels before and after some event and then looking at the difference for clues about the impact that event had on your blood glucose levels.
The basic process for checking is pairs is:
- Check your blood glucose level
- Do something that may have an effect on your blood glucose levels like eat, exercise, or rest
- After a set amount of time, like two hours after starting a meal, check your blood glucose level again
- Measure and record the difference in blood glucose readings
- Reflect on the change in readings and record any observations
The idea is to begin to understand how various events and the things you do affect your blood glucose readings.
While you cannot predict with 100% certainty how your blood glucose readings will respond, things beyond your control like hormone levels and fever also influence blood glucose levels, patterns will become apparent.
Your new understanding of these patterns will take you to the second strategy.
Making choices based on your current blood glucose reading
Your current blood glucose reading is more than a data point. You can use it to make a decision about what you are going to do in the moment to better manage your diabetes.
Starting the day with a blood glucose reading that’s a little high? Maybe have eggs for breakfast instead of toast.
Really like having toast in the morning, but even the whole grain bread drives your blood glucose readings up? Experiment with baking a loaf using almond flour or another alternative flour.
In your target range before starting your exercise class? Go for it!
Put your decision making together with what you’ve learned from checking in pairs and you have a powerful body of knowledge to call upon for better diabetes management.
For example, not all yogurt is the same. Flavored yogurt is different from plain Greek style yogurt. Not all chocolate is the same. Milk chocolate and baker’s grade dark chocolate affect blood glucose differently. Which works best for you? Check your blood glucose levels for each alternative and find out.
Exercise is another thing that can have varying effects depending on the type of activity. A stroll is different from a jog. Strength training is different from aerobic exercise. How will each of these affect your blood glucose levels? You need to check!
Use blood glucose checks to better manage diabetes
Blood glucose readings can be used to better manage diabetes, if they are actively tracked, reviewed and analyzed. Passively accepting that without insulin there’s nothing to be done is not just wrong, it puts people with type 2 diabetes at risk for the complications that can come with poorly managed diabetes.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your diabetes?