The term "diabetes" is most often used to describe people with the disease diabetes mellitus, a disease that causes us to have a lot more sugar in our blood than normal. It is usually a big shock for us when we are first diagnosed with diabetes, whatever type it is. It is not the end of the world however and this forum is home to a multitude of people with the disease proving that. One problem some people find with diabetes health care is that it can leave out advice on the little things in life, the kinds of things that people with diabetes can help each other with. This is where the Diabetes Community Forum can help out, by bringing people with the disease together to give advice, tips, and support. Carbohydrates and diabetes Carbohydrates (sometimes called "carbs" for short) are a part of food that breaks down into sugar, which is then transferred into the blood. Insulin is a hormone in the body that moves the sugar into the cells where it can be used as fuel. People with type 1 diabetes usually can't produce their own insulin, and those with type 2 diabetes have a high level of resistance to the insulin that they create, so the amount of sugar in the blood goes up. The bad news Having a high level of sugar in the blood doesn't sound so bad, but further down the line it can cause huge issues for us. Sugar, also known as glucose, damages the body when it is in high concentrations. It can lead to organ failure, blindness and even cause the need for an amputations. These effects are usually referred to simply as diabetic complications. The good news Don't worry though. As bad as this sounds, people can, and do, manage the disease and stop these complications from forming. It is a daily task, keeping blood sugar levels down, but there are people on this forum who prove that it is possible, and well worth the effort. Controlling your carbohydrates Pretty much every type of diabetes can be aided by controlling carbohydrate intake. People with diabetes can: · Reduce their carbohydrate intake · Choose different carbohydrates which have a less dramatic effect on blood sugar levels. Replacing 'white' carbohydrates, like white bread and white rice with whole grain varieties is a really effective yet basic way of swapping out some of the most detrimental carbs, and is just one example of the many positive changes you can make to your diet. Instead of substituting however, a lot of people with diabetes instead cut out a lot of carbs from their diet altogether, as this has an even bigger impact on lowering blood glucose levels. The foods which have the biggest effect on sugar levels tend to be breads, rice and pasta, some fruits, flour based foods like cakes, as well as some starchy vegetables like potatoes. Avoiding these foods will help to bring blood sugar levels down. Finding out what works for you However, each person is different and the best way to learn how carbohydrates affect you is by testing your blood sugar with a blood glucose meter. This will show you how much and how drastically certain foods will increase blood sugar levels, so that you know what to avoid. You should always discuss with your doctor before radically altering meals however, and he or she should be able to give you advice on how best to manage your diet. What you should be aiming for Each diabetic case is different and your clinician will talk to you about personal goals and how to reach them. Long term diabetes management is measured with an A1C or an eAG reading. These are both blood glucose readings that give an average blood glucose level for the past 2-3 months. Getting these readings down to target levels is the main goal for a lot of diabetes treatment plans. The American Diabetes Association suggests that adults with diabetes should be aiming for: · An A1C reading of 7% · An eAG reading of 154 mg/dL · A pre-prandial (before a meal) plasma glucose reading of 70-130 mg/dL · A postprandial (1-2- hours after beginning a meal) plasma glucose reading of less than 180 mg/dL Where to go for more information DiabetesCommunity.com is an information site that aims to help and support people with diabetes by supplying them with relevant information. However, for a more personal touch, you can look round this forum where someone will be happy to help you out. Of course, for your individual case, you should always talk to your clinician or doctor for specialised medical advice.