Duct Tape

A long term plan for keeping blood sugars in range

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Are you a duct tape aficionado? When you have a leaky hose or loose window screen at home do you pull out your handy roll of silver tape and give it a quick fix? That may work for household problems, but a "duct tape repair" isn't the way to go when it comes to your diabetes.

If you constantly "duct tape" your blood sugar highs with additional insulin and your lows with sugary treats, you are providing quick fixes to problems that require preventative care.

Here are some ways to help your blood sugar level stay where it needs to be – within a healthy range.

  • Check your sugar level frequently.
Fasting and pre-meal tests help you and your health care team members identify trouble spots in your care plan. A change in medication or dosing can make a huge difference. A 2-hour post meal test helps you evaluate your food choices. If your blood sugar level is above 180 mg/dl (10.00 mmol/l) at that time or above the reference goal set by your health care provider, you either consumed too generous a portion of carbohydrate-containing food, did not take an adequate amount of medication, or need to become more physically active.
  • Follow or update your meal plan.
Do you skip meals or overindulge in carbohydrate snacks? These behaviors can send your blood sugar level on a roller coaster ride of highs and lows. If your meal plan is too restrictive, change it. Meet with a registered dietitian who can tailor your food choices to fit your personal health goals and lifestyle better.
  • Help prevent nighttime lows.
If your blood sugar level drops while you are asleep, be proactive. Eat an Extend Bar, Solo, or Nite Bite snack bar before heading to bed. These contain a slow-digesting form of carbohydrate that can help keep your blood sugar level from dropping during the night. An insulin pump can help keep your sugar level regulated throughout the night and a continuous glucose monitor can inform you if a low is imminent.
  • Reduce your stress level.
Most of us run around like chickens without heads throughout the day. We are aggravated at work and frustrated in traffic. Stress can cause blood sugar levels to climb. Eliminate or limit stressful activities. Schedule at least 15 minutes of daily down time to relax, read, take a brief bubble bath, stretch, meditate, or participate in a quiet activity that you enjoy.
  • Become more physically active.
Exercise has a powerful blood sugar-controlling effect. If you can't find time to add movement to your day, wear a pedometer and monitor the steps that you take. Wear it for a single week, note your average daily total, and increase that number by 1000 steps per day. You should be able to meet your goal by adding a few steps to each task that you do.

Don't "duct tape" your blood sugar swings. Plan ahead and reap the benefits of good control with less worry.

Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N
 

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

 

Last Modified Date: June 20, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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by Lindsey Guerin
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