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Taking Control of Diabetes

Optimal management of diabetes goes beyond just your glucose levels. Optimizing your cholesterol, blood pressure, weight and lifestyle goes a long way in minimising your risk of future complications.

Keep blood sugar level within range

  • Before breakfast: 4.0 - 8.0 mmol/l
  • Two 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. However, due to individual differences, do check your target blood glucose level with your doctor before you start.

How to measure blood glucose?


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.

An HbA1c of <7% without significant hypoglycemia is considered optimal for most non-pregnant adults.

However, a different personalised HbA1c target may be recommended by your doctor after considering your medical history.

Keep cholesterol level within range

People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). People with existing CVD or high risk of developing CVD benefit from a greater lowering to their cholesterol levels.

Your doctor will assess your risk of CVD and suggest the targets for your cholesterol levels.

Keep blood pressure within range

Blood pressure (BP) lowering medications should be considered when BP is persistently elevated ≥130/80 mmHg, for adults with diabetes. However, your doctor may recommend an individualised target after taking into account your medical history.

Weight management

Losing excess body weight and maintaining optimal weight can be challenging. Support from your family, friends, dietitian and doctor can help you in your weight loss journey. Here are some suggestions.    

  • 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
  • Exercise regularly (at least 3 times a week)
  • Minimise intake of high sugar beverages.

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 have a balanced diet to keep your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels optimal.

  • Minimise high sugar beverages
  • Drink alcohol in moderation. Alcohol intake adds to your daily calories.
  • Avoid excessive salt intake

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

Diabetes: Healthy Eating Guide

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Keep an active lifestyle

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

For people with diabetes, 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 before starting, during and after your exercise program. This is essential for people on multiple daily insulin injections to modify your insulin doses and limit hypoglycemia. Talk to your doctor or nurse about how to modify insulin doses for exercise.
  • Always carry identification indicating that 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
  • If you are comfortable, inform your exercise buddy about your diabetes and how to help you in the event of hypoglycemia.
  • Stay within the exercise limits set by your doctor. Exercise can hurt you if you don't do it correctly. Consult a physiotherapist to find out the best exercises for you.
  • Well-fitting and comfortable exercise shoes to avoid foot injuries are important. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to callouses, ulcers and infections. A Podiatrist can guide you in choosing the right footwear