Diabetes Basics

July 9, 2024

First Stop Health

Learn about diabetes, blood glucose and more!


Type 2 Diabetes

A condition characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by either a lack of insulin or the body’s inability to use insulin efficiently. Type 2 diabetes develops most often in middle aged and older adults but can appear in young people.


A condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with prediabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and for heart disease and stroke. Other names for prediabetes are “impaired glucose tolerance” and “impaired fasting glucose.”


A1c Test

The A1C test measures your average blood glucose for the past 2 to 3 months. The advantages of being diagnosed this way are that you don’t have to fast or drink anything.


Blood Test Levels for Diagnosis of Diabetes and Prediabetes




Blood Glucose Control and Exercise

There are a couple ways that exercise lowers blood glucose:

  1. Insulin sensitivity is increased, so your cells are better able to use any available insulin to take up glucose during and after activity.
  2. When your muscles contract during activity, it stimulates another mechanism that is completely separate of insulin. This mechanism allows your cells to take up glucose and use it for energy whether insulin is available or not. Two types of physical activity are most important for managing diabetes: aerobic exercise and strength training.

Blood Glucose Control and Diet

Good nutrition is one of the most basic and important diabetes care tools. Eating right can help control blood sugar. And good control helps protect your long-term health. Here are some key facts you should know when considering food choices:

  1. Carbohydrates are foods that cause blood sugars to go up. These are found in sweets, fruit, milk, yogurt, bread, cereal, rice, pasta, and potatoes and other starchy vegetables (dried beans, peas, corn and potatoes). There are three main types of carbohydrate in food that can affect your blood sugar: starches, sugars and fiber. Starches are also known as complex carbohydrates. Sugars include naturally occurring sugars like those in milk or fruit as well as added sugars. Fiber comes from plant foods. It helps with digestion, blood sugar control, and lowering cholesterol levels. In people with diabetes, fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels.
  2. On the nutrition label, the term “total carbohydrate” includes all three types of carbs. This is the number you should pay attention to if you are carbohydrate counting. (1 carbohydrate serving = 15 g total carbohydrates on your label.)


Lifestyle Recommendations to Control Blood Sugars


  1. Avoid sugary drinks. These will cause blood sugars to rise quickly. This includes regular soda, sweet tea, fruit punch, and sports drinks. Instead, choose water or sugar free drinks.
  2. Increase fiber intake. Fiber can help better control blood sugars and speeds up feeling of fullness, helping to control portions. Everyone should aim for 20-35 grams of fiber per day. When reading a label, a product with 5g of dietary fiber or more would be considered a high fiber food source. When eating grains and starches, try to choose those that are less processed and more nutrient dense like: whole grain breads, whole wheat pasta, brown rice or wild rice, barley and sweet potatoes. Fruits and dried beans are also a wonderful source of soluble fiber.
  3. Make your plate colorful. Vegetables are low in carbohydrate and high in fiber. Try to fill 1/2 your plate with these at meals. The more color on your plate, the better!
  4. Eat routinely. Try to eat about every 4-5 hours. Don’t skip meals.
  5. Drink plenty of water.
  6. Increase your activity. The ADA recommends aiming for at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity 5 days/week or a total of 150 minutes/week. Exercise can help lower blood glucose in the short term. And when you are active on a regular basis, it can also lower your A1C



Care you will love.


SOURCES: http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/prediabetes, http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diagnosis, http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/get-started-safely/blood-glucose-control-and-exercise.html, http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/types-of-activity/what-we-recommend.html, http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/get-and-stay-fit, http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics

Originally published Jul 9, 2024 2:20:48 PM.