What are your diabetes goals?

Disclaimer:

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I’ve been described as a very “goal oriented” person, so since having diabetes, I’ve formulated my own personal goals based on my research and experience.

In this blog post, I’m mostly going to talk about what my goals are and why.  If you are looking for guidelines on things like A1C numbers, fasting blood glucose goals, time in range targets, and more, please scroll down to the Resources section.

My Goals

First and foremost, to stay safe and well.

I treat my diabetes with insulin, and this has to be done carefully, because getting the dose incorrect can cause dangerous hypoglycemia.  With that in mind, I dose my insulin carefully, always doing small amounts and keeping track.  (I am very sensitive to insulin.  I often use half unit doses using my humalog junior insulin pen for corrections.  I think that it is common to be sensitive to insulin if you have LADA diabetes and also some people have “brittle diabetes.”)

My goal is to not end up in the hospital because of my diabetes!   And also to do all I can so that I don’t have long term health issues because of my diabetes.

Become an expert at carb counting

When I count carbs, I do better controlling my blood glucose.  Sometimes I get relaxed and just guess.  I am planning to get an insulin pump, and I will have to enter in the number of carbs.  I bought the book “The Ultimate Guide to Accurate Carb counting” and now I just need to apply the guidelines there.

Counting carbs and keeping a log or diary of what I eat and how much insulin I dose is something that is totally within my control and will help my doctor to give me the best guidance on what I could do to improve.

Set SMART Goals

Diabetes can be super frustrating, as blood glucose can seem to have a mind of its own sometimes!   Obviously there are goals like specific A1C numbers, fasting blood glucose numbers, and time in target percentages, but are these SMART goals?   Identify a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.

REALISTIC is key here.  Setting a goal that is realistic means that you can achieve it and feel good about your success and then you can set another goal to achieve after that.  Achieving a series of specific goals will give you more positivity than trying to achieve a difficult goal that may not be realistic.  Aim for BETTER, not perfect.

I suggest that you may want to focus on other things that you have more direct and measurable control over, that may help you to improve your health over time.  Some suggestions:

  • Change your diet.  Specifically, eating a low carb diet can make managing diabetes easier.  Eat zucchini spirals instead of pasta.  Eat paleo pancakes instead of regular pancakes.  Eat cheese sticks, nuts and avocados as snacks instead of crackers or bread.  This can be a very specific and actionable goal.  Decide on what foods you are going to eat less of and identify food that you really enjoy that are lower in carbs.  Specific goals could even have to do with planning your grocery shopping list to set yourself up for success!
  • Exercise.  Exercise can improve blood glucose control for up to 24 hours afterwards!  Be aware that exercise can cause hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) and discuss with your doctor if this is an issue.
  • Educate yourself.   Having a goal to read a book about diabetes is a very good place to start.
  • Ask for what you need.  Do you have the tools that you need?  Do you have a doctor who understands your medical condition?
  • Be kind to yourself.  Diabetes can cause a lot of mental stress, and when stressed out, managing diabetes is harder.  What can you do to improve your mental health?  The mind-body connection is real!

Resources

Few Type 1s Meet A1C Goals Despite Treatment Innovations – A1C goals should be individualized to the person, but this article does list the goals from the American Diabetes Association (ADA).  It also presents stats that show that most people with type 1 diabetes aren’t meeting those goals.  I’ve been unable to find specific guidelines for people with LADA diabetes, but generally LADA is treated like Type 1.

Why I’m Motivated to Maintain a 6.0 A1C with Type 1 Diabetes – Ginger describes how her hard work is paying off and provides lots of helpful tips.

All About your A1C – For most people with diabetes, the goal is to have an A1C of 7%.  Learn more about what the A1C test is and what it means for you.

CGM and Time-in-Range: What Do Diabetes Experts Think About Goals?  If you have a Continuous Glucose Meter (CGM), it will provide information about the percentage of time that you are in target.  I’ve personally reached 80% time in target sometimes, and this article presents a goal of 70% in target. Of course, what that target range is exactly will have an effect on what this percentage is.  This article does reference the same range that I use: “The goal, of course, is to spend more “time-in-range” – 70-180 mg/dl (3.9-10 mmol/l) – each day.”

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