On the Road with Diabetes
If you’ve owned a car, you know to keep an eye on that windshield sticker for your next oil change. You know to put the right kind of fuel in your tank. You follow road signs to stay out of danger. And there’s a maintenance schedule in your glove box telling you when to see a mechanic for tests and maintenance.
Staying on course with diabetes is not that different from maintaining a car. It requires some discipline, but if you stay on course, you can enjoy a long road ahead.
What’s under your hood?
How diabetes works
The different forms of diabetes all involve something going wrong with your insulin production:
TYPE 1 DIABETES
The pancreas doesn’t produce insulin.
TYPE 2 DIABETES
Insulin is in short supply or doesn’t work as well (also called insulin resistance).
The body shows signs of insulin resistance, when your average blood sugar over three months (a test called the HbA1c) measures between 5.7-6.4%. This puts you at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.
Don’t ignore the signs
How diabetes works
You can stay on course and reverse prediabetes, but only if you pay attention to the signs:
When you see the signs of Prediabetes, it’s time to take your foot off the gas.
Ask your doctor whether you show signs of insulin resistance—when your body starts having trouble moving sugar from your blood into your cells, where it can be fuel to move you along.
Eating sweets is a slippery slope.
Your body produces insulin when you eat something sweet—even if you don’t have diabetes.
Spiking your insulin too frequently is like driving fast on a wet road. It can spin you out of control, especially if coupled with other risk factors.
Driving over the limit has consequences.
You may get away with speeding once, but make it a habit and you’re in for a ticket or an accident.
The A1c test tells your average blood sugar over the past 3 months. Check your level with a doctor. A test result of 5.7-6.4 says you have prediabetes—like getting a ticket. If your test shows a level of 6.5 or above, it indicates diabetes—and your license to eat freely is restricted.
You can drive your body hard for a while, but once you tip into diabetes, there’s no going back—you’ll have the disease for life.
Monitor your risk: Ask your doctor if it’s time to turn a corner.
Diabetes Maintenance Schedules
There are different maintenance schedules for people with diabetes, people with prediabetes, and healthy people who want to prevent diabetes.
If you want to stay in the driver’s seat around diabetes, follow the recommended maintenance schedule to know when to visit your doctor and what to ask for.
Keeping your vehicle well-maintained helps it stay running in top shape:
For patients with Diabetes: