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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I control my blood sugar levels?

    I’m wondering what the best way is to keep my blood sugar levels under control. Will changing my diet or exercise help more?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2

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    Lisa Renn

    Dietitian

    Lisa is an APD with 12 years experience, specialising in helping people identify and change habits that impact negatively on their health. Inspiring change, Lisa … View Profile

    The answer will depend on how high your blood sugar levels are currently. If your levels are above 15mmol then it is not advisable to exercise as this could actually increase your levels.
    The best answer is to reconnect with your diabetes management team  as Type 1 is often about insulin doses rather than diet or exercise alone. Seeing an endocrinilogist, dietitian & diabetes educator will get you back on track.
    If you are using insulin pens there is a course called DAFNE (Dose Adjsutment for Normal Eating) run through Diabetes Australia -Victoria that has been called “pumping with pens.” It involves counting carbohydrates and working out your specific insulin sensitivity to get better control of blood sugar levels, like an insulin pump but it using the insulin pens. The DAFNE course also has some guidelines for managing exercise with Type 1 diabetes and is a great way to reignite your motivation toward the better managment of your diabetes.
    Good Luck!

  • Peter Grey

    Exercise Physiologist

    I have an interest in holistic patient care. With many chronic disorders, there are often many lifestyle factors that can be shaped or adjusted to … View Profile

    I agree with Lisa, and would also advise to get in touch with your diabetes management team / GP to discuss this further. 
    Without knowing more details ("levels under control" can be interpreted many ways) a bit of information regarding exercise. Aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, cycling etc) is great at reducing blood sugar levels quickly (I have seen up to 2mmol/l decrease in 30-45 minutes of moderate exercise) if you have any complications from diabetes (e.g., peripheral neuropathy), something that is low impact. 
    Resistance training is great at lowering your blood sugar levels over a longer time period, this may also help build muscle, which may increase insulin sensitivity. 

    As you are well aware, T1DM is a life long condition, so education is key in long term management. If you would like to learn more, head to your GP, exercise physiologist, diabetes educator or dietician! 

  • Clare Wolski

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    I'm Clare and I'm a passionate Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD). I love empowering people with good nutrition information so they can make the best decisions … View Profile

    Hi there, 

    This is a really good question and something that all individuals with Type 1 struggle with. As Lisa and Peter suggested, there is no simple answer and it depends on your individual circumstances. 

    A good place to start may be getting a good idea of what your BGLs are doing at the moment. It's a fun task but it does help all health professionals to understand what's going on in your body. Keep track of what your BGLs are first thing in the morning, just before you eat and then 2 hours after a meal. If your also able to track what your eating and the exercise your doing this information is really helpful.

    There are lots of apps and online tools to help you track these things but a simple peice of paper does the trick as well. If you keep a record for about a week this give your GP, diabetes educator, EP or dietitian a really good idea of how they can help you!!

    Best of luck! 

    Clare Wolski 

  • Kirsty Woods

    Exercise Physiologist

    Hi I’m Kirsty Woods,I would like to use my experience, expertise and passion to help you reach your weight, energy and health goalsI have been … View Profile

    Great question,

    There has been some new research conducted by the CSIRO that dispalyed better glycaemic control with very low in carbohydrates and higher in protein and unsaturated fats which may be of interest...

    http://www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2016/Improved-diabetes-control-with-new-diet

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