Just been diagnosed?
There's a lot to take in following a diabetes diagnosis – don't panic, we're here to help
DIABETES 101 Getting your head around "diabetes lingo"? Read on...
• When should I test my blood
glucose levels (BGLs)? This varies depending on the type of diabetes and your medication, but possible times include before meals, two hours after eating, before bed, before you exercise and if you’re feeling unwell.
• What should my BGLs be?
As a guide, if you have type 1 diabetes, a healthy target to aim for is 4-6mmol/L before you eat, and 4-8mmol/L two hours after starting a meal. If you have type 2 diabetes, aim for 6-8mmol/L before meals, and 6-10mmol/L two hours after starting a meal. Ask your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator for more guidance.
• What’s mmol/L?
It stands for millimoles per litre of blood, and is how BGLs are measured.
What’s HbA1c? It’s your average BGLs over a period of 10-12 weeks and, used in conjunction with the blood glucose monitoring you do yourself, paints a picture of your blood glucose management. Your doctor will arrange a HbA1c test every three to six months.
What’s a hypo? It’s when BGLs drop below 4mmol/L. A hypo can make it hard to concentrate, so some activities (like driving) aren’t safe, and it needs to be treated quickly using specific foods. Only people who take insulin or some types of glucoselowering tablets are at risk of a hypo.
• Will I have to use insulin?
Yes, if you have type 1. But 50 per cent of people with type 2 will also need insulin six to 10 years after being diagnosed, because the pancreas produces less insulin over time.
What’s pre-diabetes? It’s when BGLs are higher than normal, but not high enough for a type 2 diagnosis. Lifestyle changes can delay or prevent pre-diabetes from becoming type 2.