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How to Control Diabetes

What is “Good Diabetes Control”?


The goal in controlling diabetes is to keep your blood glucose level as close to normal as possible, as often as possible. That means maintaining a healthy glucose average - and also preventing glucose swings that are too high or too low. Properly “controlling” diabetes helps you feel better and reduces the risk of developing diabetes-related complications. “Poor control,” on the other hand, means falling far outside the healthy range for blood glucose. Poor diabetes control affects your health in the present, and puts you at higher risk for the long-term complications of diabetes, such as heart disease, eye, kidney and nerve diseases and even death.

The exact glucose target level can vary by person. A person without diabetes generally has an average blood glucose level of around 6 mmol/L. Good control for a person with diabetes before a meal is 4-7 mmol/L. 1 But a number of circumstances can affect your ability to hit that average. Your physician will give you guidance as to what average would define “good control” for you.

All people with Type 1 diabetes must inject insulin to survive. Most people with Type 2 diabetes need diabetes medications, and sometimes insulin injections, to help control their blood glucose level. All people with diabetes benefit from healthy eating and physical activity.

Tips to maintain good diabetes control2

  • Avoid foods that are high in sugar. These foods will cause blood sugar level spikes
  • Keep active. Be sure to speak to your doctor about the type of activity that is best suited to your needs2
  • Speak with your doctor regularly, test often and make smart choices to help keep your diabetes in check

Be sure to speak with your doctor to find an exercise balance that suits your needs, lifestyle and diabetes.



1 Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee. Canadian Diabetes Association 2013 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada. Can J Diabetes 2013;37(suppl 1):S1-S212. Accessed September 30, 2018.

2 WebMD. Available at: Accessed September 30, 2018.