5 Quick Tips to Help Control Blood Sugars

By: Director of Cardiology Services and Prevention Gayla Oakley, RN, CCRP, MAACVPR

When you have diabetes, you may still feel alright on the outside while serious damage is happening on the inside. That’s why you cannot use how you feel as a good measure of how well your diabetes is controlled.

What’s happening underneath the surface is what matters. When you eat, your body breaks down the food into sugar called glucose. This glucose, or blood sugar, is a form of energy that is carried to your cells by insulin.

Diabetes is a disorder in the way your body makes or uses insulin. With diabetes, the main goal is to control your blood sugars and prevent or delay the development of complications.

If your blood sugar levels stay high too long, damage can occur to your teeth, gums, eyes, kidneys, feet, nervous system, heart and blood vessels.  This can happen without you even knowing it. That’s why it’s so vital to keep your blood sugar levels under control.

So here are some healthy changes you can make to slow down the damage and control blood sugars:

1. Choose healthy foods. Eating three regular meals with the right foods each day can help you control your blood sugars and maintain a healthy weight. This is a vital part of handling diabetes and avoiding health problems.

Watch portion size and drink water instead of sweetened drinks. Your food plan should consist of different kinds of vegetables, whole grains, whole fruits, beans, lean meats like chicken or fish and low-fat dairy products.

2. Exercise. You should do some type of physical activity each day. Talk to your Primary Care Provider (PCP) before you start an exercise plan and follow their advice.

3. Check your blood sugars. Follow your PCP’s advice on how often you should check your blood sugars. This is the best way to know how well your diabetes is being managed.

4. Take your medicine. Make sure you follow the directions when taking your medicine. Do not skip a dose.

5. Get help if you feel sad. Low spirits and high blood sugars often go hand in hand. Getting help when you feel sad can make it easier to take care of yourself the right way.

These “simple” changes can be hard to do on your own. That’s why we’ve started the Basics of Diabetes class at the Health Center.

In just two sessions, you’ll get a new sense of what diabetes is and what’s occurring inside your body. You’ll learn about eating habits, activity and medicine. And, even more than that, you’ll have a team of nurses to answer your questions and help you.

Classes are held every three months with the next class being April 11 and 18. This class is free but you must sign up before it starts by calling the Health Center at 402-395-3156 and asking for Janet or Brenda.

March HCC - Diabetes - resized