Tired of trying to figure out how to lower blood sugar levels?
It’s okay. It’s normal. At some point in time everyone with diabetes needs more ideas, more hope and more help with how to lower glucose levels. I know. I’ve had diabetes for 33 years and am a seasoned diabetic educator and dietitian. And even this veteran sometimes needs help. (And yes, I too swear at my diabetes. See. You’re not alone.)
When my blood sugars change, how do I plod through the heaps of diabetic information to find the right method for how to lower blood sugars?
I use my diabetes blood tests strategically.
I target my efforts by using . . .
And I’ll explain these steps . . . right after this important paragraph!
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Now, onward and forward:
It is my genuine hope that this site offers you:
Dozens of solutions for how to lower blood sugar when fasting or at lunch, supper, bedtime. Or even high sugars after meals. These are specific strategies that diabetes educators suggest to help you use food, exercise and even sleep to fix specific problem blood sugars.
Reasons to explain diabetic glucose levels.
Guidelines for blood sugar levels and the A1c blood test.
More confidence and less frustration.
Tips for picking the perfect blood sugar monitor.
Info on life-changing gadgets like insulin pumps.
A heaping amount of professional expertise not just from me, but from the gifted professionals I work with, on how to lower blood sugars and glycosylated hemoglobin; a drop of inspiration from success stories and a dash of eye of newt … oops! Got carried away there. Relax. No magic or perfection required.
And without further ado …
The 4 steps for:
How to Lower Blood Sugar
As an educator and diabetic I’ve known for years that it’s not just my knowledge of diabetes treatments and diabetes blood tests that determines my metabolic control. It’s how I fit these things into and around my priorities, my likes, my dislikes – MY LIFE.
Below are the steps I use with myself and with patients to help them do just that. To help them learn how to lower blood sugars.
They are not “MY” steps – I work with a great team of educators who utilize these same strategies. But really, it is you – the person with diabetes – who should claim the success for anything that works. After all, you are responsible for over 90% of your diabetes care and management. My only spin on this is that I’ve turned the steps into the acronym “U-ACT”. Hmmm. . .
– Understand what you could lose – LOTS!
– Analyze your hard earned data – easily!
– Choose solutions to fit YOUR life!
– Think it over, talk it over; Tailor it and Try again- this is a critical step!!! (or you’re bound for frustration)
1. “U” – Understand . . . yourself, your role and what you’ve got to lose in life … lots!
Growing up I knew a lovely lady who lost her vision to high sugars. She told me when she was younger she just didn’t consider what high blood glucose levels could do to her because she “felt fine”. I’m sure if she could, she’d tell you, “Don’t let feeling fine fool you”. It pays to learn how to lower blood sugar levels.
The research is clear. People with lower blood glucose levels values suffer fewer complications.
A 1% drop in average blood sugar level (A1c) lowers your chance of vision loss, kidney failure and nerve damage by 35-40% or more!
If you drop your A1c from 8% to 7% or even from 9% to 8% you benefit! So Yes – you want to know how to lower blood sugar levels!
Understand you get better results if you choose solutions for how to lower blood sugars that accommodate your priorities in life, your likes, dislikes, home and work responsibilities.
Understand your role is to communicate with your health care team what works for you in your life, what doesn’t, why it doesn’t and what your fears are. Your role is not (I repeat with capitals: NOT) to be perfect. How to lower blood sugars? Accept and communicate your limitations. You are human.
Let’s push aside the medical statistics. The most important reasons to have controlled sugars are the ones dearest to your heart.
What do you cherish in life that you don’t want to lose?
What dream don’t you want poor health to get in the way of?
Who do you love that you want to keep on loving, keep on seeing, keep on holding?
These are your real reasons for wanting good blood glucose control!
For me, my reason is my daughter. Watching her grow more beautiful and witty; delighting in the dimples on her contagious grin; cuddling her each night as we share our thoughts at bedtime. I can’t bear thinking of her sorrow if I were gone… excuse me while I wipe the tears from my keyboard before the thing shorts circuits itself.
What’s your reason?
back to 4 Steps: U-ACT
2. “A” – Analyze your diabetes blood test results to get better, faster results. To reach any destination in life, including good blood glucose control, you must know where you are now, where you are going and how will you get there. Yes, a map! I remember as a kid how frustrating it was for Dad (and for us passengers) to drive around trying to find the right street. (I love you Dad, I really do. Thanks for agreeing to let Mom be the map reader!)
Answer these questions:
Where are you now? Good metabolic control means being in target with readings 80% or more of the time. To do this, you need to break your day into chunks. Where are your sugars 80% of the time for each of these “chunks” – before breakfast, lunch, supper, bedtime and after meals? (OK, let go of your hair and quit panicking. You don’t usually do all those diabetes blood tests in one day.)
Where are, you going? ANYTIME you look at ANY diabetes blood test result you need to know how to interpret it. What blood sugars are you aiming for before and after eating? You’ll suffer less frustration if you know the guidelines or targets for blood glucose levels.
How will you get there? How to lower blood sugar levels? You thought I’d never ask. First pick a destination. Which “chunk” of your day will you focus on fixing? Then read below and click on the corresponding list of solutions for that “chunk” of the day.
back to 4 Steps: U-ACT
3. “C” – Choose a solution for how to lower blood sugar!
First off, I’ve got to say this: Everyone has the right to healthy glucose levels. Never think that because you don’t eat or exercise perfectly that you are not entitled to good diabetic control until you are perfect. This is not fair to you and nor is it true. There is no perfect. (My apologies to Cindy Crawford.)
I know people who are saints with their diet and exercise but have wretched sugars and those who are far from sainthood, but have excellent sugars. (Don’t you just hate them?) Blood glucose control depends on numerous things, not all of which you have control over.
Having said that, there is a ton diabetes treatments you do have control over. I’ve seen people drop their A1c from 8-9% down to 5-6% with targeted lifestyle changes alone – no medications. YES! Some of the strategies below can help you lower blood sugar fast. But remember, everybody’s body responds differently.
DIABETES TREATMENT SOLUTIONS FOR:
How to lower fasting blood glucose levels:
One of the trickiest times of the day, but one of the most crucial times. This list contains an incredibly effective and under-used method to lower fasting sugars, along with 12 other possible solutions.
How to lower blood sugar at lunch:
Do you know if the numerous hours between breakfast and lunch are putting you at risk for complications? This is one of the two least tested times of the day that can impact your health. Visit this page for solutions if you are high at lunch.
How to lower blood glucose levels at supper:
17 possible diabetes treatments. And highs at supper that aren’t really highs. No—this is not a typo.
How to lower blood sugar at bedtime:
The “goof” that even doctors and diabetic educators sometimes make when looking at bedtime sugars. Why testing and acting on sugars now can affect over 1/3 of the sugar values for your day. And of course, the list of solutions to lower bedtime sugars.
How to lower glucose levels after meals.
Of course, solutions are listed here but also answers to the questions: Should I be testing after meals? Medications to lower sugars after eating (and possibly help prevent diabetes).
back to 4 Steps: U-ACT
4. “T”- Think it over; Talk it over; Tailor it and Try again. If you don’t read this, you might be heading for frustration.
Think it over: Did the solution work? If not, did you try the strategy long enough? Some solutions can work in 1 day to a few weeks, but some pills like Avandia or Actos can take up to 2-3 months! Don’t wait longer than 3 months at the most before you STOP, analyze, and move on to another strategy if necessary.
Don’t agonize over the few outrageous highs. Focus on the majority of your tests.
Look at actual numbers – not averages on your meter! Highs and lows can average out to something nice but this isn’t what you are looking for. You want to avoid the highs and avoid the lows. You want MOST blood glucose numbers in target.
Check your A1c (3 month average sugar) to see if moving in the right direction.
Did you have enough blood glucose tests to make an accurate analysis? What is keeping you from doing more testing? Is it pain, cost, time, frustration? These are barriers. Can your pharmacist, physician, diabetic educator or counselor help you with any of these? Getting past barriers is one of the ways you learn how to lower blood sugars.
Have you focused or targeted your efforts to specific problem times of the day? Remember that high sugars at breakfast might need different solutions than high sugars elsewhere in your day.
Is your meter accurate? Are the strips properly coded? Are the test strips outdated?
Tailor it: Make solutions fit your life. Determine what barriers are getting in the way of you doing your chosen strategy.
I knew a fellow who ate large suppers and got high sugars at bedtime which then carried through to the morning. He tried smaller portions (it worked but he hated it); then tried the gym after supper. It worked. He enjoyed it but . . .he missed spending time with his young family in the evenings. In the end he and his wife got a bike trailer to carry the kids while they cycled after supper as a family. The days he didn’t cycle, he took a diabetes pill at supper to keep his sugars in target. He found solutions for how to lower blood sugar in his life!
Talk it over: with family, friends, doctors, diabetic educators for their expertise and input. There is always new stuff and new ideas surfacing for how to lower blood sugar levels. Bookmark this site to check for new pages and content.
Try again: If I gave up driving the first time I hit a curb I’d never have my license. I guess I’d be driving myself to. . . well, to no-where. The point? “Trying again” is normal. The functioning of your pancreas changes – so will your strategies for how to lower blood sugars. Just as it’s normal that a car needs maintenance, it’s normal that your blood sugars will change and you’ll have to “try again”. When something won’t work on your car you keep trying to find solutions because, heck, you want your car. Well, heck. You want your life, your future, your dreams too. So go ahead. Try again. You’re worth it!
back to 4 Steps: U-ACT
Consider this site a driver’s manual for how to lower blood sugar levels using your diabetes blood tests. Now hop in, and grab the wheel because as the driver, you make the decisions about how to lower blood sugar levels and which diabetes treatments to use to get you there. I guess you’ll set the radio station too. (ps. I like country).
Good luck; Good health!