University of Illinois Extension

Managing your diabetes

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How does someone with diabetes make sure they get the right amount of glucose, carbohydrate, or energy without their blood glucose getting too high? Remember that the food you eat is the energy that has to be balanced with exercise, which uses energy. The food that is best for someone who has diabetes isn’t magic or tasteless or unusual. It is regular food in the right amounts. Managing your diabetes will reduce your risk for complications of diabetes and help you feel better on a daily basis. The management of diabetes has three parts:

  • Making healthy food choices
  • Participating in physical activity
  • Taking your prescribed medications

One way to see if you are managing your diabetes effectively is to monitor your blood glucose daily. Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) allows you to check your blood glucose level with a glucose meter and glucose testing strip and see if you are at, above, or below the normal blood glucose range. SMBG makes it easy for you to check your blood glucose wherever you are and whenever it is convenient for you. It is important to check your blood glucose level daily, but ask your doctor how many times a day you should check your blood glucose level for best monitoring.

Another way to measure how effectively you are managing your diabetes is with the glycosylated hemoglobin or HbA1c test. Unlike SMBG, the HbA1c test is performed by your doctor or health care provider. This test gives you an approximate average of your blood glucose levels over the last 2-3 months. This average is given as a percentage. The American Association of Endocrinologists recommends that the goal for most people with diabetes should be a HbA1c result of less than 6.5 percent. The risk for diabetes complications increases when HbA1c results are consistently 6.5 percent or above.

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Back to: General Overview of Diabetes and Food

This document is a source of information only, and is not medical advice.