What do Patti LaBelle and Drew Carey have in common? They both have type 2 diabetes and have gotten their blood sugar under control by exercising, eating right and taking their diabetes medications as prescribed.
If you have type 2 diabetes and lower your blood sugar to near normal levels, the benefits are huge. You slash the risk of diabetes complications such as heart disease and nerve damage, and also protect yourself from an increased risk for brain dysfunction and even cancer. But going too low (that is, below 70mg/dL) is also risky; severe hypoglycemia (dizziness, nausea, fuzzy thinking, even coma) happens to around 10 percent of folks with type 2.
Insulin therapy is more often associated with the problem, but oral meds also can trigger it. Exercise without adjusting your meds or diet, not taking your medication properly or failing to eat regularly can also cause your blood sugar levels to fall. Both severe bouts of hypoglycemia and consistently having blood sugar levels that are just a bit low may double your risk for heart disease.
So how do you hit the right balance of blood sugar control? Frequent blood sugar monitoring lets you keep tabs on how your meds and food are affecting you. Following a low glycemic index diet (see sharecare.com) also helps, as does taking your medications as prescribed. Aim for glucose levels of 70-100, and check with your doctor regularly to make sure your A1Cs (an average of your blood sugar level over three months) are in a healthy range.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of The Dr. Oz Show, and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.