Health tracker FAQ’s
When making lifestyle changes it’s important to monitor your weight, especially if the changes you’re making are designed to change your weight. Whilst on the programme, please weigh yourself in time to share your readings with your diabetes practitioner at your sessions/calls.
You can measure your weight using a set of scales. If you do not have access to scales at home, you can often weigh yourself at your GP surgery, local pharmacy, and some leisure centres.
Tips for measuring your weight:
- Take your weight measurement at roughly the same time of day
- Wear similar clothing each time you measure your weight
- To see how your weight may be changing over time, use the same set of scales each time you weigh yourself (we suggest no more than once weekly)
- Place the scales on a hard surface before stepping on (i.e. avoid soft rugs and carpet)
High blood pressure (hypertension) or low blood pressure (hypotension), rarely have noticeable symptoms. If you are diagnosed with either of these conditions, it is important that steps are taken to manage them. The risk of heart attack and stoke increases if high blood pressure is left untreated.
If you are aged over 40, it is recommended that you have your blood pressure checked at least every 5 years. However, if you are at increased risk of high blood pressure, yearly checks are recommended.
You can do this by having a blood pressure test at your GP surgery, at some pharmacies, as part of your NHS health check, or in some workplaces. You can also check your blood pressure yourself with a home blood pressure monitor.
Whilst on your programme you may want to track your blood pressure more regularly.
If you have a diagnosis of high or low blood pressure and have been prescribed blood pressure medication by your GP, please measure your blood pressure in time to share your readings with your diabetes practitioner at your sessions/calls.
The ranges below will help you to understand your blood pressure reading. To get the most accurate result take 3 measures in one sitting and record the best one. If you are concerned about your results please speak to your GP and alert your diabetes practitioner.
- Readings between 90/60 mmHg and 159/99 mmHg: in healthy range
- Two or more consecutive readings (at different times) of 160/100 mmHg to 179/119 mmHg: raised blood pressure, please contact your GP
- One accurate reading of greater than or equal to 180/120 mmHg: raised blood pressure, please contact your GP
- One accurate reading of less than or equal to 89/59 mmHg: low blood pressure, please contact your GP
If you would like more information on tracking blood pressure, please discuss with your diabetes practitioner or GP.
Walking is a great way to boost your activity level; it is free and can fit around your schedule.
Tracking your step count can help you to understand how active you are during a day, week or month. A brisk 10-minute walk has lots of health benefits and counts towards your physical activity minutes for good health. Tracking steps can also support you to set and monitor goals to increase your activity if this is important to you and appropriate for the phase of your programme.
If you would like to become more active and you are in the food reintroduction or weight maintenance phase of the NHS Type 2 Diabetes Path to Remission programme, consider trying to increase your step count gradually. Plan in walks and find moments through your day where you could increase your steps. For example, walking rather than driving to the local shops or getting off the bus a stop early.
BMI or Body Mass Index is a measure of your weight in relation to your height and is measured in kg/m2. It can help to identify whether your weight puts you at risk of some health issues including diabetes and heart disease. You will learn more about BMI as part of your programme.
Tracking your BMI can be helpful when aiming to manage your weight. Taking small steps toward a healthier BMI will support your overall health.
Please note, BMI is one way to track weight in relation to health, but it should be considered as one of many health tracking measures including waist circumference and resting heart rate.
Blood glucose is a measure of how much glucose is circulating in your blood over a specific period. It is measured through a blood test typically organised by your GP or medical team. The two most common blood glucose tests include, capillary blood glucose and HbA1c.
Capillary blood glucose is taken using a finger prick. This is also known as a finger prick test. It may be measured before eating, to measure your ‘fasting blood glucose’, or at other time points in the day irrespective of whether you have eaten.
Capillary blood glucose tells you how much glucose is circulating in your blood at the moment the blood sample was taken, whereas HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin) is an average measure of blood glucose levels over the last 3 months.
Whilst on the programme it is important that you measure your capillary blood glucose in time to share your readings with your diabetes practitioner at your sessions/calls.
The ranges below will help you to understand your capillary blood glucose reading:
- Blood glucose less than 15 mmol/l: within healthy range
- Two or more consecutive readings (at different times) between 15 mmol/l and 19.9 mmol/l: raised blood glucose, please contact your GP
- One reading greater than or equal to 20.0 mmol/l: raised blood glucose, please contact your GP
- Please refer to your course resources (PAP/handbook) or the NHS website for advice should your blood glucose be under 4 mmol/l.
Please ensure your readings are accurate. If you would like advice on taking accurate capillary blood glucose readings, speak to your GP or diabetes practitioner. If you are at all concerned at your blood glucose readings, please seek advice from your GP and inform your diabetes practitioner.
The size of your waist is an indication of fat storage around your middle. A waist measurement higher than the recommendations indicates increased risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer and stroke.
It can be helpful to track the changes to your waist circumference whilst on your programme, as it can tell you how you are getting on outside of your weight on the scales. It can take a little while to see changes to your waist measurement, so try measuring and tracking monthly.
To measure your waist accurately, find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips, wrap a measuring tape around your middle between these two points. Breathe out naturally and take your measurement. Alternatively, you can take the measure from two fingers width above your belly button; choose the measurement approach that feels the most easily repeatable for you.
Your resting heart rate is measured by taking your pulse and counting the number of times your heart beats in one minute while you are at rest. This is an indication of your fitness; generally the fitter you are, the lower your resting heart rate.
Most adults have a resting heart rate between 60 and 100bpm (beats per minute). If you are concerned that your resting heart rate is regularly too high or too low, speak you your GP.
When making healthy behaviour changes you may want to track your resting heart rate to indicate if and by how much your fitness level is improving.
Tracking activity minutes involves measuring the length of time you are active through the day and logging the total daily duration. For example, a 10-minute walk and 30-minute swim, will accumulate to 40 active minutes in the day.
By tracking the length of time you spend being active, you can gain an understanding of how active you typically are. In the maintenance stage (stage 3) of your programme, you will learn how many minutes of activity are recommended for people of varying ages. This will allow you to assess whether you are meeting those recommendations. You will also then be able to set realistic and manageable activity goals to help you gradually increase your activity levels in a sustainable way.
There is strong evidence to show that setting goals is an effective step towards creating change. If you would like to improve on any of your health tracker items, set realistic goals and take small steps to create sustainable change. For example, if you would like to increase your step count, think about how many steps you would usually take in a day and then set a step goal which challenges you but feels achievable.