B lood sugar levels represents the amount of glucose which is present in the blood. It is a simple sugar and a small amount is always present in the bloodstream no matter the dietary and overall lifestyle choice of the person in discussion. Seeing how glucose is the primary source of energy for the human body and that it is critical for proper functioning, it is quintessential for your health to keep an eye on glucose levels and keep them in healthy parameters to avoid the repercussions which follow otherwise.
Blood glucose is an important parameter for an individual’s good health. It mainly comes from food which contains carbohydrates and, as aforementioned, the body uses it to upkeep energy levels. However, fluctuations on the low or high side when it comes to the level of glucose has repercussions on your health, so maintaining this stat in check is important for your body’s well-being and performance.
Signs of an imbalanced glucose level:
- Confusion and inability to concentrate;
- Increased heart rate.
What is the normal blood sugar level?
There are 3 situational measurements which indicate that your glucose levels are in the clear and that there is no need for you to worry. The 3 situations we are referring to are – fasting or when you have not eaten anything for at least 8 hours, when you have eaten 2 hours before taking the test, and HbA1c or the average level for the last 2-3 months.
|Level when fasting||Level 2 hours after eating||HbA1c|
|Person without diabetes:
70 – 99 mg/dl or 3.9 – 5.5 mmol/L
Person with diabetes:
80 – 130 mg/dl or 4.4 – 7.2 mmol/L
|Person without diabetes:
Less than 140 mg/dl or less than 7.8 mmol/L
Person with diabetes:
Less than 180 mg/dl or less than 10.0 mmol/L
|Person without diabetes:
Less than 5.7%
Person with diabetes:
Less than 7.0%
The most efficient way to monitor blood sugar levels is to do it in the comfort of your own home using a blood glucose meter. To make sure you are proceeding correctly when using the health device, you should first wash your hands thoroughly using warm water to help the blood flow increase so that the sample tanked is fuller. Then, proceed to squeeze the finger or use the lacing device it comes with if this is the case, puncture the fingertip for the blood to come out, and quickly catch it on the strip you introduce in the glucose meter.
You can do the A1C test to learn this health stat as well, a test that lets you know the average glucose levels over the last 3 months or so. It is capable of providing you with this result as A1C is a red blood cell protein which binds with glucose and collects it over a long term.
Morning blood sugar level chart:
As fasting is the most recommended method of monitoring glucose in the blood, and seeing how you need to be rested when taking the test for the results to be as accurate as possible, the best time of day to perform this check is in the morning.
While it might be alright to drink water during the fasting period before you take the test, you should completely avoid consumption of other types of beverages, especially caffeine based ones as they tamper with glucose levels.
|Adult without diabetes||Adult with diabetes||During pregnancy – 1-hour OGTT||During pregnancy – 2-hour OGTT|
|Less than 70 mg/dl||70 – 130 mg/dl||Less than 92 mg/dl||Less than 95 mg/dl|
Abnormalities refer to blood sugar levels that are either too high or too low. When levels are too high, you lose your appetite over the short term and hyperglycemia might appear. On the other hand, when levels drop too low, a more dangerous condition can appear, more precisely hypoglycemia.
Blood sugar danger levels chart:
|At risk||6 – 6.9||137 – 169||7.6 – 9.4|
|Danger zone||7 – 7.9||172 – 205||9.6 – 11.4|
|Complications can arise||8 – 8.9||208 – 240||11.6 – 13.4|
|Very dangerous||Over 9||Over 244||Over 13.6|
Hypoglycemia – Low blood sugar
Low levels of blood glucose occur, evidently, when the level of simple sugar or glucose in your blood drops below normal parameters. It usually afflicts individuals who are on a treatment for diabetes, but it can occur, in rare cases, in people who do not suffer from this condition. Hypoglycemia isn’t a disease itself, an important aspect to keep in mind, as it is rather an indicator of another health problem. When blood sugar levels go below 70 mg/dl or 3.9 mmol/L, this means that you are confronted with hypoglycemia and should seek immediate treatment.
Take a tablespoon of honey or sugar, or drink half a cup of soda or juice to bring glucose back to healthy levels.
|When levels are low within acceptable parameters||When the situation aggravates|
Contributing factors and causes:
- Not eating enough carbs;
- Skipping or delaying meals;
- Exacerbated physical activity;
- Quinine and other medications;
- Adrenal gland deficiency or other endocrine disorders;
- Excess insulin causing tumor.
- Check yourself regularly: Ideally, you should check glucose levels on a daily basis, each morning when you get up as you haven’t eaten anything that might alter the results of the test you perform with your glucose meter. If you tend to be forgetful, you can get a continuous glucose monitor or CGM, and the device will let you know through an alarm when you must consume something sweet to get back on track.
- Don’t skip meals: The key to hypoglycemia prevention is eating right, and if you ingest the ideal amount of carbohydrates to keep sugar levels right with each meal and snack, you will be in the clear.
- Be active safely: As you are exercising and for a few hours after you finish the workout routine, your glucose levels are bound to be low. Check your glucose levels before, during, and after a few workouts to see how much they drop depending on how big of an effort you put into the specific routine and adjust the level of effort accordingly to prevent complications.
Hyperglycemia – High blood sugar
Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar generally affects people who suffer from type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and pregnant women who suffer from gestational diabetes. However, it can affect individuals who do not suffer from diabetes as well, but usually only in cases where the people in cause have recently suffered from a stroke or a heart attack, or as afflicted by a severe infection. Mild episodes are no reason for worry, but if levels go absurdly high or the condition persists for a long time span, then serious implications come into discussion.
- Dry mouth;
- Increased thirst;
- Blurred vision;
- Unintentional weight loss;
- Stomach pain;
- Recurrent infections;
- Fruity smell of the breath;
- Frequent urination.
- Over-treating hypoglycemia;
- Lack of exercise;
- Binge eating;
- Skipping on diabetes medicine or incorrect dosage.
- Be more active: Walking and other types of gentle exercises can keep you active without repercussions while helping lower glucose levels. For those who are on the heavy side, it is even recommended to be active as it encourages weight loss, one of the important factors in fighting diabetes.
- Adjust the insulin dose better: If you suffer from diabetes and have to take insulin shots, you might want to reconsider the dosage you are using at the moment as it could be causing hyperglycemia to appear.
- Hydrate sugar-free: Dehydration has dire consequences, and in individuals who don’t have stable glucose levels at all times, it is all the more important. However, if hyperglycemia is the issue you are confronted with, it’s best for you to hydrate by drinking sugar-free beverages, preferably pure, filtered water that doesn’t have the potential of causing you any health implications as it is free of impurities.
- Follow the right diet plan: To avoid high simple sugar levels in your blood, you evidently must pay attention to what you eat. Thus, a more strict diet where you eliminate completely or at least cut your consumption of sugary foods and drinks is a requirement.
All the diseases which imply problems with the hormone insulin in the body are categorized as diabetes. This health condition appears when the pancreas is incapable of producing sufficient insulin or any at all for that matter, or when your body is seemingly incapable of responding to insulin as it should. While there is no cure for diabetes yet, there are lifestyle choices that you can make to prevent it from ever affecting you, and for those who already suffer from it, there are treatments and methods to keep it in check for life quality to not be altered to a severe point.
There are two types of diabetes – type 1, and type 2. Type 2 diabetes is a lot more common than type 1, and according to statistics reports, among the 30.3 million U.S. citizens living with diabetes, approximately 95% of them suffer from type 2 diabetes.
The risk for the affliction affecting an individual increases with age, and reports show this is true as, while only less than 10% of the general population suffers from diabetes, a staggering 25.2% of individuals over the age of 65 suffer from it, while only 0.18% of people under the age of 18 are affected.
While there are no actual misbalances between genders, statistics show that the prevalence of diabetes among certain ethnicities and races is higher. For example, the highest risk among men and women is seen in American Indians and Alaskan Natives, while Hispanics have higher incident rates when compared to non-Hispanics.
Differences between type 1 and 2
Differences in symptoms:
Symptoms for both types of diabetes seem common at first glance, but what people with type 1 experience differently is an unintentional loss of weight, sudden and unexplainable irritability, and frequent mood changes. There’s the fact that type 1 symptoms develop fast, generally over the course of a few weeks, while type 2 can present no significant symptoms for years on end, individuals usually realizing they are suffering from this health issue when serious complications develop.
Differences in causes:
Type 1 occurs because the immune system, instead of protecting insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, it mistakes them for foreign invaders and destroys them. On the other hand, type 2 develops as a result of insulin resistance. Yes, the body is still capable of producing the hormone, but it won’t be able to use it properly, usually inactivity, poor lifestyle choices, and excess weight encouraging this unusual reaction of the body when confronted with handling insulin.
|Type 1 diabetes||Type 2 diabetes|
Tips to lead the right lifestyle
- Count and portion carbohydrate portions properly;
- Try to prepare meals which have the right mix of fats, starches, proteins, and vegetables;
- Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets – obviously;
- Make sure proportions between meal sizes and diabetes medications and coordinated as indicated by your doctor.
- Together with your doctor, come up with a 30-60 minute daily exercise routine that you follow faithfully;
- While exercising, stay properly hydrated to not affect glucose levels;
- When you feel off while exercising, grab a small snack or a glucose tablet to get back on your feet quick;
- Monitor glucose levels, if possible, before, during, and even after the workout session to make sure you won’t accidentally lower them too much and let hypoglycemia settle in.
- When you feel stressed or overwhelmed, quickly check glucose levels to see how your mental health affects it, and try to avoid the specific situation that has led to increased stress;
- If you cannot seem to handle stress well enough on your own, don’t shy from seeking help at a psychologists’ office as these are trained professionals who know tips and tricks that will help you overcome any situation that might emerge;
- Take up relaxing activities as often as you can – yoga and meditation are the best options for reducing stress levels.
Blood sugar levels during pregnancy
Approximately 2% to 4% of pregnant women are at risk of developing a temporary form of diabetes, which is known as gestational diabetes. As aforementioned, women who do suffer from it are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the passing of time, and should evidently take preventive methods to keep the affliction at bay. The inability of the body to produce enough insulin to overcome resistance levels is what leads to the condition, and it’s important for women who are expecting to keep glucose under control for their health, as well as the health of the life growing inside of them.
Only proper control can prevent complications from developing for the mother and the baby. Usually, doctors first recommend diet changes and light exercise to be introduced in the expecting woman’s lifestyle, but if changes do not occur and HbA1c levels don’t go below 6.1%, then professionals are likely to prescribe oral hypoglycemics or insulin injections.
Effects on the baby
Multiple reports have shown that improperly managed gestational diabetes has led to birth defects of a wide variety, and, most commonly, babies that are abnormally large in size. As the baby’s body is likely to often produce excess insulin in response to high glucose levels while he/she was in the womb, misbalances regarding glucose will appear as the child grows.