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Tips to Manage Diabetes Before Surgery

If you have diabetes or prediabetes, it is important to get your blood sugar under control before surgery. High blood sugar can increase your risk of complications like infections, poor wound healing, and slow recovery time.

Where to Start to Manage Your Diabetes Before Surgery

Here are a few ways you can start managing your diabetes:

  • Test your blood sugar. Knowing your blood sugar levels can help you and your diabetes care team track your progress and adjust your treatment plan to help you better manage your diabetes.
  • Know your A1c. A1c goals may vary depending on a person’s circumstance. For example, the Endocrine Society’s clinical practice guidelines for elective surgical patients is an A1c below 8.0%. Whereas the American Diabetes Association’s A1c goal for most adults is 7.0%. For your safety, your surgical team will individualize your A1c goal. Be sure to know your surgeon’s A1c requirement (typically below 7.5% prior to surgery) because a high A1c can cause your surgery to be delayed. If your A1c does not meet your surgeon’s requirement and you are not able to get in for a timely visit with your primary care provider, Sauk Prairie Healthcare can help.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Follow a balanced nutritional meal plan which provides you with energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates. A balanced diet will help improve your short- and long-term energy, while also supporting muscle development. Eat a variety of high-fiber foods to slow digestion and improve blood sugar management. Avoid consumption of concentrated sweets and large portions of carbohydrate foods that can elevate your blood sugar levels. If you would like to have a consultation with our dietitians, request an appointment here.
  • Get moving. Exercising regularly can help lower your blood sugar levels. It is also important to be as fit as possible before surgery to prepare your body for the stress of the procedure and recovery.

Other health conditions, like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, can also impact your diabetes. You may also need to:

  • Lose weight. Your doctor may recommend meeting an appropriate weight before surgery. If you need to lose weight, it can help to improve your blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of complications from surgery.
  • Quit nicotine. Smoking or using nicotine products damages your blood vessels, making it harder to manage your blood sugar levels.

How to Reach Your Diabetes Goals Before Surgery

It can be overwhelming to know where to start when it comes to managing your blood sugar levels. These tips can help you reach your goals:

  • Set realistic goals. Start by making a small change to your diet and exercise routine. Once you feel confident in that change, you can start on other goals.
  • Find a support system. Your family and friends can provide encouragement to help you stay motivated and on track to meet your goals.
  • Learn more about diabetes and surgery. The more you know, the better prepared you will be.
  • Your diabetes care team is your biggest asset. They can help you develop a plan to control your blood sugar levels, answer your questions about diabetes, and help you overcome any challenges.
  • Ask your provider about continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). This device helps you track your blood sugar levels throughout the day. Knowing your levels can be helpful for managing your diabetes before, during, and after surgery.

Diabetes Management Help at Sauk Prairie Healthcare

It takes time to get your blood sugar under control, so now is the time to work with your diabetes provider so that it is well-managed in time for surgery. If you don’t have a diabetes provider or cannot get in for a timely visit, help is available at Sauk Prairie Healthcare. To participate in our Diabetes Self-Management Education program, ask your physician for a referral or schedule an appointment with our nurse practitioner with specialty in Diabetes Management.