You need to learn how to take charge of your health every day to live well with type 2 diabetes. The good news is, there are many safe ways to care for your condition at home. They help you to manage your disease just like you manage other parts of your life, like work, household chores, and the family budget. And they can help you feel in control of your health.
Sherri Buffington knows right away when she's stressed out.
"I'll start to feel hot," she says. Once the warmth floods her body, she tests her blood sugar. It's almost always high.
Buffington isn't imagining the connection. Stress is known to spike blood sugar, also called glucose. "It's a very common occurrence," says Kevin Pantalone, DO, staff endocrinologist at Cleveland Clinic. "Stress can increase levels of hormones in the body, particularly cortisol, which can make blood sugar rise."
Knowledge is power when it comes to your blood sugar. If you find your levels aren’t where they should be, you can take steps to get them back on track. So be sure to check regularly. Some basic tips:
Pick your spot for testing. Most meters need you to prick your fingertip to test your blood. But some newer machines can get a sample from other places on your body, like your upper arm or thigh.
Ask your doctor when you should check your blood sugar -- like before meals, after a workout, at bedtime, or when you think they’re low.
Make a plan with your doctor for what you need to do when your levels are too high or too low. Also, ask your doc when you should call him if they’re too far off-target.
Keep a record of your readings. You can write them down in a notebook, track them in an app, or rely on the memory feature of your glucose monitor. They’ll help you see trends and spot any problems. And they’ll help your doctor, too, so bring them with you to your next appointment.
Watch Your Weight
Carrying some extra pounds? If you're overweight, no matter how heavy you are, you can dramatically lower your blood sugar if you slim down. Even losing 10 or 15 pounds has health perks, the American Diabetes Association says.
Weight loss can:
Lower blood sugar
Reduce blood pressure
Improve cholesterol levels
Lighten the stress on your hips, knees, ankles, and feet
Give you more energy and let you breathe easier
Check with your doctor before you start a weight loss plan. Then, talk with a diabetes educator or nutritionist to figure out some healthy changes that you can stick with for a lifetime. A better diet and exercise routine can be a big help. But if those habits haven’t worked for you, ask your doctor if weight loss medications or surgery might be a good option.