How to Control Diabetes
Learning how to control diabetes is the aim for all of us with diabetes.
This can be done for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes with food, diet and regular blood testing.
Being armed with information will help you to control your diabetes and this guide includes specific information for controlling type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Blood glucose testing
A blood glucose monitor is an excellent tool for managing diabetes.
Some of us will be very familiar with using a blood glucose meter but for others it will be something new.
Testing before and after meals can be a useful technique for measuring how different meals affect our sugar levels and help to improve our diet and dosage decisions.
- Read about pre meal and post meal blood glucose testing
What blood sugar levels should I aim for?
The NICE recommendations vary a little depending on the type of diabetes and whether you are a child or adult.
Broadly speaking, we should aim to get our blood sugar levels into a range similar to someone without diabetes - i.e. between 4 and 6 mmol/L before meals and under 7.8 mmol/L after meals.
- View the current blood glucose level ranges (as set by NICE)
Record your blood glucose levels
Recording your blood glucose levels comes highly recommended. By recording your levels you can start to build up a history of results and draw conclusions from results.
- Download a free blood glucose diary
Recording your blood sugar levels can help you:
- Improve dosage decisions (for people on insulin)
- Identify which foods are best for your levels – and which aren’t so good
- Learn from periods of high sugar levels – such as during illness
- See how your sugar levels are affected by exercise
Keep your motivation up
Controlling blood sugar levels requires a lot of dedication. Don’t get too upset if your blood sugar levels appear to be beating you. Take any set backs as a lesson to learn and you’ll soon be back to winning the fight over your blood sugar control.
If your sugar levels run consistently high or low, contact your health team who can help to set you on the right track.
Control type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes requires close monitoring as blood sugar levels can be quite erratic through the day if left unchecked.
People with type 1 diabetes will usually take a combination of long acting (basal) and short acting (bolus) insulin.
- Read more on controlling type 1 diabetes
- Read our guide on adjusting basal and bolus insulin doses
- Diet advice for type 1 diabetes
Control type 2 diabetes
With type 2 diabetes, one of the best ways to achieve greater control of your diabetes is through diet.
Some foods affect our blood sugar significantly more than others and so picking the diet for type 2 diabetes that works for you can make a big difference to your numbers and your health.
We recommend using blood glucose testing to help you to test which foods are blood glucose level friendly.
- Read more on controlling type 2 diabetes
Support from others
Controlling blood sugar levels is not an easy task and we all need a bit of help from time to time. The diabetes forum is an excellent source of support, providing a wealth of experience.