Know Your Numbers – A Guide for Those Living With Type 2 Diabetes

Keeping your diabetes under control requires you to understand your blood test results and what they mean. Understanding these will help you get healthier.

April, 2021

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Have you recently been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes? If so you’ll want to prepare yourself to make some lifestyle changes.

Around 7% of the United Kingdom’s population live with Type 2 diabetes, and around 1 million people do not know that they already have Type 2 diabetes.

Living with diabetes will require you to make adjustments to your lifestyle to help prevent your health issues getting worse. Let’s start with your Type 2 diabetes test numbers.

If you don’t know what these numbers mean, then read on and check out our comprehensive guide to understanding your diabetes numbers.

Type 2 Diabetes Test Results Numbers: The Need to Understand Them

Why do you need to understand your Type 2 diabetes test results? The main reason is these numbers serve as your guide to managing your condition.

The numbers help to understand your Type 2 Diabetes. They will point you in the right direction as far as your treatments go.

Understanding Type 2 diabetes results and numbers doesn’t only involve monitoring your blood sugar. It may be the main part of what you need to monitor, but it is not the only one.

Effectively monitoring your numbers can help prevent you from further complications such as vision problems and kidney disease.

Your Blood Sugar Levels

Monitoring your blood sugar is essential in managing Type 2 diabetes. This is your primary tool in determining the efficacy of the medications you’re taking. It also indicates if your sugar levels are high or low.

You and your healthcare team can use these numbers to create your overall treatment goals. You may be asked to start to test your blood sugar levels. They will probably ask you to test your blood sugar levels every day. This will enable you to know your numbers, ensuring you are within the target range.

The frequency of the testing also depends on if you’re already taking insulin. If you are, your doctor may recommend testing multiple times a day. Ideally, you should perform the testing before eating and before going to bed at night.

If you have Type 2 diabetes, an ideal HbA1c level is 48mmol/ml (6.5%) or below. If ever your blood sugar gets too high, take a brisk walk and drink a large glass of water.

Your Blood Pressure

Your healthcare team will also want to monitor your blood pressure. People with Type 2 diabetes are at risk of developing heart disease.

An ideal blood pressure reading for people with diabetes is below 140/80mmHg. To help to keep your numbers below this it is good to stay active and exercise regularly.

Try and work up to getting 30 minutes of exercise a day. Do some brisk walking, even just around the house. Also, check your diet, particularly your salt intake. You want to cut down on salt to avoid raising your blood pressure.

When your healthcare team get your blood pressure results they will look at the numbers and may recommend you take some tablets to lower your blood pressure.

The HbA1c Test

Your healthcare team will also test your HbA1c or A1c test. It is a blood test that determines your average blood sugar over the past three months. The HbA1c test looks at how much sugar is in your haemoglobin.

Haemoglobin is the protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen. The goal of the HbA1c test is to determine the percentage of glucose in your blood.

Your healthcare team may recommend taking the HbA1c test two to four times a year. This will help them keep track of how effective your treatment is.

These test results will be used to determine if there is a need to tweak your current treatment plan.

Your BMI Numbers

An important part of Type 2 diabetes management is weight management. It’s really important to keep an eye on your body mass index or BMI numbers. BMI is a method for measuring the body fat you have through your height and weight.

You can use this BMI calculator to calculate your BMI.

A healthy BMI range is anywhere between 18.5 and 24.9. If you find you are over 30, then you fall into the category of obese. Unfortunately, over 60% of adults in the U.K. are obese.

FPG Levels 

Some more numbers you may see are the results from your Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) test. This is a test that requires you to not eat anything for 8 – 14 hours before you go for the test.

The FPG test is a blood test that is carried out by your healthcare team. It will check the glucose (sugar) levels in your blood, in a similar way to the HbA1c test mentioned above. This test can provide additional data to your healthcare team together with the HbA1c test.

Your Cholesterol Levels

Knowing what the numbers associated with your cholesterol test mean, will help you and your healthcare team to understand this risk.

There are two types of cholesterol; good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). Good cholesterol protects your arteries, however, bad cholesterol can block them.

When you get your numbers from your cholesterol test, you want your LDL levels to be under 116mg/dl. Your HDL cholesterol should be above 1mmol/L in men and above 1.2mmol/L in women, ideally around 1.4mmol/L.

Let Us Help in Your Type 2 Diabetes Management

Knowing your numbers will help you understand your Type 2 diabetes better. It will help you with the lifestyle choices you make and help you to make good decisions about your health.

If you have been recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and find yourself struggling to understand what it means. Take a look at some of the below articles and sign up for our monthly newsletter where we help you to take control of your Type 2 diabetes.