Achieving a good blood glucose control? Find out in 3 ways….

Diabetes mellitus is a life-long illness, at least, for NOW. As part of the total diabetes care, blood glucose control is very important. It has been shown that good blood glucose control over a long time goes a long way to minimizing or preventing the chronic complications of diabetes mellitus.
Someone living with diabetes should strive to achieve good blood glucose control. How will that person know that he or she is achieving a good blood glucose control?

There are 3 ways to know that:

  1. Presence or absence of symptoms of high blood glucose such as excessive urination, excessive feeling of thirst and general body weakness. Someone living with diabetes who has a good blood glucose control will not have those symptoms. This is what the person will observe before results of tests confirm it. However, absence of symptoms is not enough to show that one’s blood glucose is well controlled….as some people may have poor blood glucose control and still don’t have symptoms of high blood glucose.

  2. Level of blood glucose and presence or absence of glucose in one’s urine. Blood glucose levels refer to the fasting values and the levels obtained 2 hours after the main meals. Therefore, blood glucose should, ideally, be checked (preferably by self) four times in a day; fasting and 2 hours after breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fasting blood glucose should be between 80 –
    130mg/dl while the post meal values should not be more than 180mg/dl. However, these target blood glucose values depends on patient’s age, life expectancy, duration of diabetes, presence of other illnesses in the patient and patient’s preference.
    Again absence of glucose in one’s urine sample suggest good control. Blood glucose checks are superior to checking glucose in urine.

And, finally…

  1. Check or measurements of one’s glycated haemoglobin (aka HBa1C). This should be checked at least, two times per year for all persons living with diabetes. For those persons who have had poor glucose control, HBa1C should be checked up to four times per year. It’s a good measure of blood glucose control in the prior 2 – 3 months and the level should not be more than 7%. Therefore, if your health care provider ask you to do your HBa1C, he is perfectly in order.

With what we know now, where do you or your loved one living with diabetes belong? Do you have a good blood glucose control? The choice is yours and the rip offs are there for you too.

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Top 10 actors (…and actresses) in the diabetes train

Life is a stage. All of us are actors and actresses. Living with diabetes is a journey. It’s not a destination. Today, someone living with diabetes is here but by tomorrow, the person is there.

In the diabetes journey, there are potholes, bumps, gullies, valleys and hilltops. To keep the diabetes train on course, several actors have been enlisted.

Not just two or three.

  1. The person living with diabetes is the main character and the chief actor. He or she is at the driver’s seat. He or she is the reason for the journey. He or she is at the centre of the stage always. Once the person living with diabetes quit the stage, kick the bucket, the diabetes train will come to a halt and the rest actors will go their ways.

  2. The caregivers to the persons living with diabetes are the train conductors. They assist the train driver, serving the same roles as bus conductors. They provide all the immediate needs of the train drivers on a daily basis and as long as the train is moving.

  3. First degree relatives of people living with diabetes and they include their spouses, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. Many a time, they provide money and other resources to fuel and maintain the train. They, also, play the roles of caregivers in some cases.

  4. People made motherless or fatherless by diabetes mellitus are important actors and actresses. They’re filled with a passion to deal with diabetes mellitus. Once beaten is twice shy! Yours sincerely was rendered fatherless by diabetes mellitus. That may, partly, explain why I am at the forefront of this journey.

  5. Health care providers are important actors in the diabetes drama. They are at the centre of the actions and are like coaches to the team.The more sophisticated and skillful they are, the smoother the journey may be.

  6. Pharmaceutical organisations producing, distributing, marketing and retailing drugs and products used in diabetes care are important stakeholders in the diabetes journey. Water, diesel, fuel etc are essential ingredients needed to keep the train in motion. They are provided by the pharmaceutical industry.

  7. Non governmental organisations (NGOs), civil society organisations and other diabetes support groups are key actors and change agents in the diabetes journey. They’re involved in diabetes self management education and support.

  8. People in government are not left behind in the diabetes journey. Policies, regulations and laws that shape the rail line of the diabetes train is provided by government and it’s agencies. Their actions or in-actions can make or mar any good intentions of the other actors.

  9. The media organisations are part of the team. They signal the arrivals and departures of the diabetes train. Information and education are critical to good diabetes care and advocacy.

And finally….

  1. The rest of us who are currently without diabetes mellitus. They are like the passengers in the train. They can make or mar the journey. When these actors play to instructions or act as directed by the health care providers, less of the citizens will be victims of the diabetes drama.

These top 10 actors and actresses constitute the team and the squad in the diabetes journey. A team has better chances of being victorious when she plays as a team. If we play well as a team, why must the International Diabetes Federation, IDF. projection of 700 million people in the world to live with diabetes by 2045 come true? What do you think?

3 quick steps to recognize and confirm that someone living with diabetes is currently having low blood glucose (hypoglycemia)

Hypoglycemia (aka low blood glucose) is potentially fatal if not recognized and treated promptly. Self care skills acquired from diabetes self management education is life saving to patients presenting with hypoglycemia. But,  it’s important that persons living with diabetes and or their caregivers should recognize and confirm hypoglycemia via these 3 steps:

  1. Recognize the symptoms and signs of hypoglycemia which are divided into two :

a. warning symptoms that are due to increase adrenaline and other chemicals release by the body. They include :

Excessive sweating

Feeling of hunger

Feeling of tremors

Palpitations (ie awareness of one’s heartbeat).

Nausea (ie feeling like to vomit),



b. Symptoms due to effects on the brain which include:



General body weakness


Lack of concentration



Drowsiness and


The warning symptoms are important and should be recognized to prevent effects on the brain. Then, the next step is to:

  1. Check the person’s blood glucose as soon as the symptoms of hypoglycemia (listed above) are recognized in the patient. If the person’s blood glucose then is less than 2.5mmol/l or 45mg/dl, he/she is strongly suspected to have hypoglycemia which is confirmed by the last step which is:

  2. Resolution of the symptoms of hypoglycemia noted in the  person after taking a glucose -rich food or beverage or intravenous infusion. This,  finally, confirms the diagnosis of hypoglycemia in the person.

It’s important that one should act fast as soon as the warning symptoms are observed or complained of by the patients. It’s, also,  important that all persons living with diabetes who are on insulin injections should always have some cubes of sugar or sugar rich sodas /beverages in their homes.  This is a precautionary measure against  hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia experience is a nightmare to most patients who have had it.


5 tips on how to live with diabetes mellitus and suffer minimal or no chronic complications

Mrs Bukky,  a 65 year old grandma,  has lived with diabetes for more than 22 years but  she is relatively free from most of the chronic complications of diabetes mellitus. She looked like any other woman of her age; going about her daily activities with grace and is fully involved in her petty trading, social and church activities.

What’s the secret, one may ask?

Or is she just lucky?

Has she paid some prices to be enjoying her present state of health?

Can one eat his cake and have it?

Opportunities and luck favor the prepared mind! Five tips to increasing one’s chances of preventing  the chronic complications of diabetes mellitus are discussed below:

1. Good control of blood glucose – good control of one’s blood glucose within the normal range over a long time goes a long way to minimizing development of the  chronic complications of diabetes. Most of the chronic complications of diabetes mellitus have been  associated with chronic hyperglycemia (ie raised blood glucose). Target blood glucose for each person living with diabetes is personalized now based on age of patient, life expectancy, presence of other illnesses, motivation and support. But,  it has been shown from landmark studies /researches that good blood glucose control over a long time helps a lot to prevent the chronic complications. With a  certain disciplined lifestyle (diet and exercise) and medications, one  can achieve a persistent  good blood glucose level.

There is  the concept of legacy effects with regards to diabetes control in which it is known that good glucose control or otherwise from the time of diagnosis of diabetes mellitus affects the complications the patients  may or may not develop several years later. Bearing this in mind, every person living with diabetes should strive to achieve good glucose control from the onset of diagnosis. One reaps what he/she sows!

2. Chronic complications of diabetes mellitus can be minimized by addressing adequately the other illnesses that are oftentimes associated with diabetes. For example,  people living with diabetes often, also, are afflicted by hypertension and disorders of lipids. These associated illnesses must be treated at the same time that glucose control is taking place. Good diabetes care is not only about blood glucose control.

3. To prevent the chronic complications of diabetes mellitus, a diabetic patient who is overweight or obese must strive to lose weight and those that engage in tobacco smoking should stop such.  This is because tobacco smoking and obesity are strong risk factors for  cardiovascular diseases which have been shown to be the major causes of death in diabetic patients.

4. Good foot care practices, regular diabetes clinic visits and patient’s participation in diabetes self management education are important measures to prevent chronic complications of diabetes. Diabetic foot ulcer and lower limb amputations are preventable and are very expensive to treat. Self care is an important component of diabetes care and the skills for self care are imparted via diabetes self management education.

5. Finally, people diagnosed with diabetes mellitus should register and attend specialized diabetes clinics run by most tertiary hospitals. If one has access to a diabetologist/endocrinologist to take care of him or her, the better for the person. There are several practictioners out there with questionable competencies promising people living with diabetes are cure for  diabetes. Most of them are quacks and will end up causing more harm than good.

When these tips are implemented,  persons living with diabetes will reap the benefits in form of diabetes  free of chronic complications. From the above,  person’s living with diabetes are not at the  mercy of diabetes per se. They can do something to help themselves minimize or prevent the chronic complications of diabetes.

How to live with diabetes mellitus and subsequently make your children wealthy

The statistics are not heart-warming. According to the latest (8th) IDF Diabetes Atlas, 425 million people are living with diabetes currently and the projection is that by 2045, 700 million people will have diabetes mellitus. The question is: what can and should we do to ensure the 2045 projection does not become a reality?

All of us have one role or the other to play. If we do our bits,  then as a team,  the results can be amazing.  It’s a popular saying in my community that it is only a tree that just stays where it is when a man is coming to cut it down. Most other beings will  run away or attack the predator.

Diabetes mellitus is on our trail. We’re not trees and should not stand still like a tree. Lifestyle changes (diet and exercise) have a lot to do with type 2 diabetes.

Someone living with diabetes can make his/her kids wealthy. He/she does this by influencing the lifestyles of their children such that they do not develop obesity and type 2 diabetes. Childhood and youth obesity is on the increase globally. Many of such children with obesity are the children of those  who are currently living with type 2 diabetes. Be a mentor to  our children so they don’t make the same mistakes you made. Diabetes mellitus is a strong pauperizing disease….. Enrich your kids and facilitate their being wealthy by helping them live without type 2 diabetes. Yes,  if you mentor your kids well while living with diabetes such that they do not develop type  2 diabetes, you  have  effectively removed a strong poverty – inducer in their lives. Catch them young; tell them what is afflicting you and the place of diets,  physical  exercise,  tobacco smoking, alcohol, obesity etc in the  big picture. Health care professionals are already overwhelmed by the  enormity of the diabetes assignments. But,  together we can make the necessary impact.

In conclusion,  the choice is ours….to make the day brighter. We can make it!