Monitoring your blood glucose during the holidays – part 1

Managing your diabetes during the holidays can be a challenge. Learn what you can do during and after the holidays.

The holidays are fast approaching. For a person with diabetes, this can be an anxious time. Controlling food intake and monitoring blood glucose will be a top priority for managing diabetes.

There are a few important steps for keeping diabetes managed during the holidays, including physical exercise, watching what you eat and monitoring your blood glucose. Testing your blood sugar on a regular basis will help you understand how the food you eat and the exercise you engage in affect your blood sugar levels.

Knowing when to test your blood sugar level is important. Your doctor should instruct you on the frequency of testing. Generally, if you have Type 1 diabetes, you are more likely to have to test your blood sugar more often than if you have Type 2 diabetes. Testing may occur before and after meals, before and after exercise, before bed, when you get up in the morning and occasionally during the night. If you manage your diabetes with non-insulin medications or with diet and exercise, you may not need to test your blood glucose every day.

According to the American Diabetes Association, general blood sugar levels should fall within the following ranges. Before meals, glucose levels should be between 70 and 130 milligrams/dl. One to two hours after you eat, the levels should be lower than 180 mg/dl. These are general recommendations, and you should always work with your physician in setting the appropriate testing times for yourself.

Testing your blood sugar is an important tool for controlling your blood sugar. Monitoring your blood sugar levels can help you understand how different factors such as food, overall diet, exercise, illness and stress affect your blood sugar levels. Remembering to take your blood sugar medications as prescribed is also important when managing your diabetes. By testing your blood glucose, you can see if your medications are making a positive difference on your blood glucose levels. It will also help you identify whether your levels are going too high or dangerously low.

Read Monitoring your blood glucose during the holidays – part 2. For more information on diabetes management and disease prevention programs, go to the Michigan State University Extension website.

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