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Knowing My Numbers

... Diabetes Management Numbers Explained

When you’re trying to manage your diabetes, it’s all about the numbers. While you might immediately think about your daily blood sugar numbers, there are additional numbers to know. By keeping track of important numbers, you lower your risk of serious complications in the future.

What numbers do you need to know? What do they mean? What should your numbers be? Here’s a closer look at the most important diabetes management numbers you’ll want to track.

Daily Blood Sugar Numbers

Daily blood sugar checks help you see how well you’re managing your diabetes. And managing your diabetes means you have a lower risk of developing more serious health problems.

When you check your blood sugar, you can start seeing what makes those numbers go down or up. You may notice when you’re more active, your blood sugar numbers go down. When you eat certain foods or get stressed, you may notice those numbers go up.

A blood glucose meter lets you check your blood sugar. Target blood sugar levels generally should be1:

Fasting or before-meal blood sugar: This is your blood sugar number before a meal. It is usually your lowest number. It is best between 4.0 and 7.0 mmol/L.

After-meal blood sugar: This is your blood sugar number two hours after a meal. It is usually your highest number. It is best for your blood sugar readings to be lower than 10.0 mmol/L.

Remember, your healthcare team may also have target goals they want you to work to meet. Talk to your doctor about your personal target blood sugar level.

HbA1c Numbers

An HbA1C test lets you see your average blood sugar level over the past two or three months. Here are a few important things to know about your HbA1C:

  • You should test your HbA1c test every 3-6 months2
  • You may need to have your HbA1c checked more often if your treatment changes or your number is above your target goal

Learn more about What is HbA1c?

Blood Pressure Numbers

Blood pressure refers to the force of blood that is pumping through your arteries when the heartbeats. People with diabetes are twice as likely to have high blood pressure3. When left untreated, high blood pressure can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

In general, your target blood pressure range should be 120/80 mmHG or lower4.  It’s important to talk to your healthcare team about your unique blood pressure goals.

Cholesterol Numbers

If you have diabetes, high cholesterol is another risk factor for heart disease you need to watch. Diabetes can worsen your cholesterol levels5. Even if you’re managing your blood sugar, you may have decreased good cholesterol and higher bad cholesterol levels.

Desirable Cholesterol Levels for adults with Diabetes6

LDL Cholesterol:

< 2.6 mmol/L or 100 mg/dl

HDL Cholesterol:

> 1.0 mmol/L or 40 mg/dl

Total Cholesterol:

< 4.1 mmol/L or 160 mg/dl

Got Your Numbers? What's Next?

Following up on your numbers and following healthy routines can help you manage diabetes and your overall health. Once you know your numbers and why they are important, here are a few more tips to help you thrive:

  • Keep all those important diabetes numbers in one location. Great options include keeping them in an app on your phone or in a journal. Learn more about mySugr app, digital logbook.
  • Talk to your healthcare team about your target goals for these numbers and work together to meet them.
  • Build healthy habits that will make a difference in your numbers, such as following your treatment plan, eating healthy meals and snacks, and getting more active.
  • Have a good support team around you. Your family and friends want you to succeed, and they can give you the boost you need to keep motivated as you work towards your goals.

References:

1. Singhealth, HealthXchange.sg Diabetes Essential Guide https://www.healthxchange.sg/diabetes/essential-guide-diabetes/diabetes-... (Accessed Oct 2021)

2. Singapore General Hospital, Take Control of Diabetes https://www.sgh.com.sg/patient-care/specialties-services/Diabetes-and-Me... (Accessed Oct 2021)

3. Johns Hopkins Medicine, Diabetes and High Blood Pressure https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/diabetes/... (Accessed Oct 2021)

4. Singapore, Ministry of Health, HealthHub, High Blood Pressure: Understanding Blood Pressure (BP) Readings https://www.healthhub.sg/a-z/diseases-and-conditions/735/Understanding-B.... (Access Oct 2021)

5. Singapore, Ministry of Health, HealthHub, Diabetes and High BLood Cholesterol https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/1428/diabetes-and-high-blood-chole... (Accessed Oct 2021)

6. Singapore Heart Foundation, Prevention & Risk Factors, https://www.myheart.org.sg/my-heart/preventions-risks/risk-factors/ (Accessed Oct 2021)