Lifestyle factors such as diet, physical activity, sleep and
stress can play a large role in affecting blood glucose levels
(BGLs) for people living with type 2 diabetes.
These everyday influences may have a positive or negative
influence on your BGLs.
Checking your BGLs is one of the major strategies we recommend
for understanding and managing diabetes, if you're prepared to use
the results to recognise trends and use that knowledge to avoid
blood glucose peaks and troughs.
Using short term, intensive blood glucose checks can show how a
lifestyle change (either a positive or negative change) can affect
Checking your BGLs several times a day over the short term (eg
for three days) will give you blood glucose readings that can then
be used to assess how your blood glucose is responding to new
changes or checking on current lifestyle choices.
Maintaining a diary of the lifestyles changes that you're making
as well as your BGL results can help you and your healthcare team
assess whether the changes are appropriate for you. Identifying
improved BGLs can also motivate you to continue making positive
Food is the most common lifestyle choice that will affect blood
glucose levels. Choices that include high fibre and low glycaemic
index (GI) foods may help keep blood glucose levels
Low GI foods break down into glucose more slowly resulting in a
slow, sustained rise in BGLs.
Checking your BGLs before a meal and two hours after you start
eating will help you analyse your BGLs and understand how your body
has responded to what you have eaten. This may encourage you to
either look at your meal choice more carefully for the carbohydrate
content or reduce the portion size if your glucose level is above
Increasing physical activity in your day by walking the dog,
taking the stairs while at work or ramping up your gardening can
help with blood glucose management, stress, weight reduction and
Aiming for 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity each day
can help your body respond to the insulin it produces, therefore
lowering glucose levels.
Check your blood glucose before and after exercise to see how
your body responds.
Talk to your health professional about the right kind of
exercise for you. A half hour walk may reduce your glucose level
into your target range for the rest of the day.
Stress in our lives includes physical stress such as illness or
injury, and emotional stress such as family or financial
Regardless of the source, the body reacts to all types of
stress. It may result in elevated BGLS, or in some people stress
can cause BGLs to decrease. Checking your BGLs at a time of stress,
and looking closely at the impact on your BGLs, may help you
prioritise making time to reduce the impact of the stress.
Lack of sleep can affect our emotions and mood, our productivity
in life, and the ability to make decisions and cope with demands of
family and work.
Lack of sleep can also produce hormones that may cause BGLs to
rise. Having a good routine at bedtime and aiming to get between
seven and nine hours sleep each night can help you feel
revitalised, managing stress and your BGLs.
Keeping a close eye on your BGLs is only useful if you intend to
use the information to understand how your BGLs can fluctuate as a
result of your lifestyle choices.
Which lifestyle factors have the biggest impact on your BGLs?
Talk to your health professional today to work out whether BGL
checks could benefit you or call us on 1300 136 588.