Monday, September 10, 2007

Benefits of Glucose Control in Diabetes

The federal government conducted a landmark study from 1983 to 1993 that profoundly changed the management of diabetes. The study involved 1,441 volunteers with Type 1 diabetes at 29 medical centers in the United States and Canada. The United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study in 1998 produced similar results for people with Type 2 diabetes.

The results from both studies proved that the level of blood sugar control predicts the onset and severity of diabetes-related complications for both types of diabetes. This means that if you have diabetes, if you can keep your blood sugar levels as close as possible to normal, you can live a normal life span with few or even no complications at all.

If you can control your blood sugar level, in the short run, you will:

Feel better.
Stay healthy.
Have more energy.
Prevent the signs and symptoms of high blood sugar such as feeling very thirsty and tired, urinating often, losing a lot of weight, having blurred vision, and having cuts and bruises that are slow to heal.
In the long run, you will:

Lower your chances of having eye disease, kidney disease, nerve damage and heart disease.
Enjoy a better quality of life.

How to reach tight control?

Test your blood sugar levels several times each day. It is valuable to test blood sugar levels as often as you feel it is giving you meaningful information.

Adjust medication doses according to food intake and exercise.
Follow a diet and exercise plan. For people with Type 2 diabetes, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight may forestall the use of medication.
Stay in close contact with a health care provider skilled in helping patients manage diabetes.
Who shouldn't strive for tight control?

Tight control isn't recommended for everyone because of age or other health factors, and can increase the risk of low blood sugar episodes. Your doctor can help you decide if tight control is for you, but it isn't recommended for the following people:

Children under 13
People with heart disease or advanced complications
People with a history of frequent, severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar episodes)
Older adults
Know your blood sugar numbers

Everyone has some sugar in his or her blood. The normal amount of sugar in the blood ranges from about 70 to about 120 in people who don't have diabetes. Blood sugar goes up after eating, but returns to normal range within one to two hours.

A good blood sugar range for most people with diabetes is from about 70 to 120. This is before a meal -- like before breakfast -- or four to five hours after your last meal. Your blood sugar should be less than 200 about two hours after your last meal. However, these goals vary depending on the person. For an elderly person, it might be better to have higher blood sugar and not worry so much about complications than risk having low blood sugar. You'll need to work out your personal goal with your health care team.

Remember, the fact that you feel fine doesn't mean you can skip testing your blood sugar. You can feel fine and still have high blood sugar.