Fall 2007
Diabetes: Managing the Numbers
Diabetes: Managing the Numbers

Q: I’ve been living with diabetes for two years. Managing and worrying about my blood sugar levels alone takes so much time and energy. Keeping track of all the other conditions that affect my health – my weight, blood pressure, etc. – stresses me out! What can I do to make this easier?.

Bridgeport Hospital Chief of Endocrinology John H. Machledt Jr., MD, responds:

A: If you have diabetes, it may seem like the numbers have taken over your life. You’re responsible for managing and monitoring all kinds of physical measurements you never really thought about before: blood glucose, weight, cholesterol, blood pressure. You’re reading labels, watching the clock and testing yourself. It’s common to feel overwhelmed, but managing the stress may be easier than you think.

The single best thing you can do to keep all of your numbers in check is to make healthy dietary choices every single day. As your weight decreases, even by as little as five to 10 pounds, the other numbers will often decrease and stabilize as well.

The good news is, you don’t have to check every measurement every day. Here’s a general guideline, but speak with your doctor about a schedule that’s right for your health:

  • Blood Glucose: Before meals and at bedtime and, occasionally, two hours after a meal.
  • Weight: Once a week.
  • Blood Pressure: When you see your doctor. People with diabetes should be below 130/80.
  • Hemoglobin A1C Test: About every three months; less frequently if levels are normal.
  • Cholesterol: Twice a year if controlled; more frequently if not.
  • Also, keep an eye on your feet. Watch for wounds that don’t heal, or sores, blisters or cuts on your toes, feet and legs.

    Could you have diabetes and not know it?
    According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 21 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes – and almost a third don’t even know it. Unlike some other diseases, Type 2 diabetes develops gradually and with few indications until it’s too late. To find out if you have diabetes, or to measure your risk for pre-diabetes, speak with your physician about taking a simple test.

    For a referral to an expert physician affiliated with Bridgeport Hospital, call us toll free, 24/7, at 1-888-357-2396.

    Living with diabetes means making serious lifestyle changes, and that’s not easy. The certified diabetes educators in Bridgeport Hospital’s Diabetes Education Center can help you. Our nurse and registered dietitian can create a meal plan, teach you how and when to take your medications and provide emotional support. You can choose from individual or group sessions. To learn more about the Center or to schedule an appointment, call 203-336-7305 and press extension 1.
    Caring for Your Life • www.bridgeporthospital.com