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Goals of diabetes management

It is important to take good care of your diabetes, not only for your daily well-being but also for your future health.

International care recommendations and the Finnish Current Care Guidelines describe the general recommendations and methods pertaining to diabetes care. Together with your doctor, you can plan your individual diabetes care targets and methods, which are recorded in your care plan.

In general the aim in managing blood sugar is to achieve as close to normal blood sugar levels as possible without blood sugar going too low, daily well-being, symptom-free status, and the ability to cope with treatment.

High blood pressure and fat metabolism disorders are common, especially in type 2 diabetes, and it is also important to treat them well in all forms of diabetes. If you are overweight, the goal is also individual and realistic weight loss. For most people, it means losing 5–15 per cent of your body weight.

In the long run, the goal of treatment is to prevent complications related to the inadequate treatment of diabetes.

As a rule, the target range for blood sugar in diabetes treatment is 4–7 mmol/l (millimoles per litre) in the morning after a fast and at daytime before meals. The objective in self-measurement of blood sugar is also that the post-meal levels would primarily remain below 10 mmol/l, regardless of the time of day of the measurement. If you are over the age of 75, blood sugar of 5–8 mmol/l before meals and below 10–12 mmol/l after meals may be considered satisfactory with consideration of your individual situation.

In practice – even if you take immaculate care of yourself – every result will not be within the target range as many of things affect how the blood sugar behaves. It is important to remember that as long as your glycated haemoglobin HbA1c is within the target range, you should not be overly worried if your blood sugar level is temporarily high.

The HbA1c test makes it possible to monitor the long-term blood sugar level. The general goal is below 53 mmol/mol (millimoles per mole). For some people, the targeted level can be individually lower, below 48 mmol/mol. For others, especially the elderly, below 58 mmol/mol may suffice. If blood sugar levels are significantly high, it is important to investigate the possible underlying causes of the abnormal level, such as fear of hypoglycemia or treatment fatigue, and progress calmly with achievable intermediate goals towards the recommended level.

For the self-monitoring of insulin-dependent diabetes, a subcutaneous glucose sensor is now commonly used to measure the sugar level in tissue fluid. A general objective is for the sugar level to be within the 3.9–10 mmol/l range for 70% of the sensing time.

For a person with diabetes, the general blood pressure target is below 140/80 mmHg. Depending on the person, the target level may be slightly higher or lower.

For most elderly people (75 or older), the targeted blood pressure is similar to that of younger people. For people of a very high age, or if variations in blood pressure are linked to dizziness, a slightly lower level of 150/90 mmHg may suffice.

When you check your blood pressure at home, calculate the average of your morning and afternoon results for at least four days. General target level at home measurements is below 135/80 mmHg.

Harmful or LDL cholesterol general target is below 2,5 mmol/l. However, on a case-by-case basis, the individual aim may be lower ie below 1,4–1,8 mmol/l.

Beneficial or HDL cholesterol general target is above 1,1 mmol/l for men and above 1,3 mmol/l for women.

The general target for the blood fat, ie triglyceride, level is below 1,7 mmol/l.

Updated 30.9.2023