Blood Sugar Mistakes You Should Never Make
High blood sugar—known as hyperglycemia—is a potentially dangerous health condition commonly linked to diabetes. "If you have high blood sugar levels for a long time, you're going to be prone to infections — eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves — in all of those things," says endocrinologist and obesity specialist Marcio Griebeler, MD. "If you have well-controlled diabetes, you decrease the risk of having complications from COVID-19. So yes, if you have diabetes, you are at an increased risk. But if you have well-controlled diabetes, you are in a much better position." Here are five blood sugar mistakes you should never make. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Regular exercise plays a huge part in helping manage blood sugar. "For people who have diabetes—or almost any other disease, for that matter—the benefits of exercise can't be overstated," says Harvard Health. "Exercise helps control weight, lower blood pressure, lower harmful LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, raise healthy HDL cholesterol, strengthen muscles and bones, reduce anxiety, and improve your general well-being. There are added benefits for people with diabetes: exercise lowers blood glucose levels and boosts your body's sensitivity to insulin, countering insulin resistance."
Don't Ignore Dangerous Belly Fat
People who carry extra weight around the abdomen are at higher risk of experiencing blood sugar issues. "A person who has a highly inflammatory diet and carries excess adiposity around their central organs is more likely to get type 2 diabetes," says diabetes and metabolism expert Elena Christofides, MD. "Excess weight and obesity are risk factors for type 2 diabetes, but how your body stores and manages weight can also be an early indicator of risk."
You Don't Test Your Blood
If you're not regularly testing your blood sugar, it can be difficult to know when you veer off track. "Your healthcare professional will tell you how and when to check your blood glucose level," says Amy Hess-Fischl, MS, RD, LDN, BC-ADM, CDCES. "In general, people taking insulin, those who are having a hard time controlling blood glucose levels, or have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) need to monitor their blood glucose levels regularly. Older people with diabetes are at higher risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when taking diabetes medications, making it especially important to check your glucose levels. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include confusion, dizziness, hunger, and sweating."
You Forget To Take Medication
Staying on top of prescription medication is crucial in managing your blood sugar. "It is easy to forget if you have taken your diabetes medication," says Hess-Fischl. "Luckily, there are a variety of ways to organize your medicines (such as a pill box) and alarms that you can use on your phone, computer, watch, clock, as a reminder to take your medication. You can also use a chart to check off when you take your medicine each day. In addition, if you have a smart phone or tablet computer, mobile prescription therapy products are available to help you manage diabetes. If your blood glucose level is too low, for example, the program will tell you how to treat the problem and will prompt you to recheck your blood glucose levels shortly after to make sure your blood glucose is at a safe level."
You're Not Focusing On Diet
"The best way to keep blood sugar levels balanced is to adjust your macronutrient ratio in each meal," says Beatriz Mendez del Rio, FDN-P and health coach, who recommends speaking to a health professional to devise a meal plan. "Everyone's different," Mendez del Rio says. "So, one person's capacity for metabolizing a sweet potato, for example, might differ from another's — and might cause you a sugar spike while it won't do anything to the person next to you."