ABC’s of controlling blood sugar for diabetics

Dear Editor,

Diabetes, which is sometimes called high blood sugar, affects 25.8 million Americans and plays a part in close to 231,000 deaths a year (SCDHEC, 2012). In South Carolina, it is estimated that 421,549 adults have diabetes.

African-Americans are 42 percent more likely to have the disease than whites (SCDHEC, 2012). It is the seventh leading cause of death in South Carolina (SCDHEC, 2012). In 2012, 11.6 percent of adults in South Carolina reported they had diabetes. In the Barnwell area this number increased to 14.7 percent (SCDHEC, 2012). s

For people who have diabetes, controlling your blood sugar can be very stressful. It is important to try to keep your blood sugar from going too high or too low to prevent damage to your organs such as your heart, eyes, or kidneys. There are a few simple steps that you can take to help control your blood sugar level.

A: Avoid sweets

B: Be active

C: Check your blood sugar level daily or as your doctor recommends

Avoiding sweets sounds very hard to do, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t have sweets ever again. You should try to limit how much sugar you eat. Research shows that high sugar diets lead to an increase in body fat, high cholesterol (fats in the blood), and type 2 diabetes. In fact, there is more evidence that type 2 diabetes is a main cause for Alzheimer’s disease (Moreira, 2013).

Being active is also not as bad as it sounds. You don’t have to join a gym or run a marathon to be more active. A walk around your block or bicycle ride once a day will improve your health. Studies have shown that increasing activity and making small changes in your diet can help you lose weight and decrease your waist size (Islam et al., 2013).

Checking your blood sugar will help you and your doctor decide how well your treatment plan is working. It will also help you understand how sickness, exercise, and the food you eat affect your blood sugar levels. You should also check your blood sugar when you are feeling weak or dizzy. Your doctor will tell you how often you need to check your sugar, but this is an important step in deciding what works for you and what does not.

Diabetes is a very complex disease and can be very complicated to treat. Don’t let yourself get discouraged. Start with the simple ABC’s of controlling your blood sugar and follow your doctor’s orders. Be sure to follow up with your doctor as requested regularly and take your medications as directed.

Sincerely,

Melanie Brant, RN, BSN

Ulmer