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Taking Control of Diabetes

Diabetes can be prevented or delay the progression of condition. Ways to control are

Keep blood sugar level within range

  • before breakfast: 4.0 - 8.0 mmol/l
  • 2 hours after meals: 6.0 - 10.0 mmol/l
  • randomly, at any time: below 10.0 mmol/l

Blood glucose level readings can be done at home with a blood glucose meter. (Watch: How to measure blood glucose). However, due to individual differences, do check your target blood glucose level with your doctor before you start. 

You can also do a glycosylated haemoglobin (HBA1c) test in every 3 to 6 months to measure your average blood sugar level over that period of time.

  • Excellent : less than 6%
  • Satisfactory : 6% to 8%
  • Poor : more than 8%

Keep cholesterol level within range

  • Total cholesterol: less than 200 milligrams/deciliter (or 5.2 mmol/l) and not exceeding 250 milligrams/deciliter (or 6.5 mmol/l).

Keep blood pressure within range

  • Young people: below 140/85 mm Hg
  • Older people: below 160/95 mmHg

Weight managment

Losing weight and maintaining the loss of weight is a challenge which requires commitment, discipline and all the support you can get from your family, friends, dietician and doctor. Here's a guideline,

  • Set realistic goals. Don't expect to lose weight overnight.
  • Take smaller servings. Go for high fibre foods.
  • Eat slowly
  • Substitute junk food or snacks with low calorie foods like fruits
  • Exercise regularly (at least 3 times a week)
  • Take your coffee or tea without sugar

Quit smoking

Smoking can contribute to insulin resistance and causes diseases of the heart and circulation, greatly increases the risk of a heart attack, stroke and foot gangrene.

Follow a healthy diet plan

It is important to limit the amount of calories intake each day so that it can help you to maintain your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

  • Cut sugar and carbohydrate (starch) foods
  • Cut alcohol
  • Cut salt intake

You are encouraged to develop a food plan. Talk to a dietician or dotor.

(Watch: Diabetes: Healthy Eating Guide, Guide to Fasting for Ramadan)

Keep lifestyle active

Regular exercise improves physical fitness and reduces the risk of heart disease, strokes and hypertension. It improves the efficiency of blood circulation an helps take off and keep off extra weight. 

For diabetics, exercise provides additional benefits. In the short term, it can lower blood glucose levels, and in the long term, it may reduce medication requirements. Regular exercise makes the body cells more responsive to insulin, therefore avoiding swings in blood glucose.

  • Consult with your doctor before you begin an exercise program
  • Do self blood glucose testing together with your exercise program. This is essential for insulin-dependant diabetes.
  • Always carry identification indicating you have diabetes and what to do in an emergency when you exercise away from home
  • Always carry some sweets or carbohydrate snacks with you in case of low blood sugar
  • Teach an exercise partner how to respond to a hypoglycaemic reaction
  • Stay within the exercise limits set by your doctor. Exercise can hurt you if you don't do it correctly.
  • Well fitting and comfortable exercise shoes to avoid foot injuries