8 Ways to Live Longer and Better with Diabetes

by David Mendosa Patient Advocate

Whether you have prediabetes or diabetes you can look forward to as long and as happy a life as anyone. But that’s true only as long as you keep your blood glucose level down to normal. (All images credit: Thinkstock)

Forget the myth that “diabetes is progressive”

Some people will tell you that your diabetes will inevitably get progressively worse. Not true! But it certainly will get progressively worse if your blood glucose level stays above normal. Well managed diabetes doesn’t cause complications.

Know what a normal blood glucose level is

Normal blood glucose levels are those between 4.6 and 6.0 as measured by A1C tests. Your goal needs to be complete remission of your disease, which means an A1C level of 5.6 or less for a year or more without having to take any diabetes drugs or other treatment.

Know what makes your blood glucose too high

Ever since 1981, when the glycemic index was formulated, we have known which foods spike our blood glucose the most. These are the foods that have the most carbohydrates in them, particularly one type of carbohydrate, starch. Of the common foods tested for their glycemic index, baked potatoes cause the biggest spikes. Wheat -- and anything made from it -- and rice are also really dangerous.

Test which foods make your level rise

Use your blood glucose meter, test strips, a lancing device, and lancets to check your blood glucose after you eat. Test exactly 2 hours after the first bite of your meal. If your level is above 120 mg/dl, it’s too high. That can teach you need to avoid or minimize those foods from then on.

Take immediate action

If your test shows you that you ate too much high glycemic food, you need to bring your blood glucose level back to normal as soon as possible. For most people the best way to do this is to take a brisk walk. But if you happen to have a prescription from your doctor for a bolus insulin, taking the right amount of it can help too.

Know the other big benefits of eating few carbs

When you accept the challenge of managing your diabetes with the very low-carb lifestyle, you can also more easily lose the weight that most people need to do. When you succeed, you will also be generally healthier and happier than before.

Act now

The sooner you take action to make sure that your blood glucose level is normal the better your life will be. Why wait?

David Mendosa
Meet Our Writer
David Mendosa

David Mendosa was a journalist who learned in 1994 that he had type 2 diabetes, which he wrote about exclusively. He died in May 2017 after a short illness unrelated to diabetes. He wrote thousands of diabetes articles, two books about it, created one of the first diabetes websites, and published a monthly newsletter, “Diabetes Update.” His very low-carbohydrate diet, A1C level of 5.3, and BMI of 19.8 kept his diabetes in remission without any drugs until his death.