What Is Blood Sugar Level
Blood sugar concentration or blood glucose level is defined as the amount of glucose present in the blood of a human or animal. The body naturally tightly regulates blood glucose levels as a part of metabolic homeostasis. The international standard way of measuring blood glucose levels are in terms of a molar concentration, measured in mmol/L . In the United States, mass concentration is measured in mg/dL – See our mmol/L to mg/dl chart for blood sugar number conversions.
When a person eats carbohydrates, such as pasta, bread or fruit, their body converts the carbohydrates to sugar – also referred to as glucose. Glucose travels through the blood to supply energy to the cells, to include muscle and brain cells, as well as to organs. Blood sugar levels usually fluctuate depending upon what a person eats and how long it has been since they last ate. However consistent or extremely low levels of glucose in a person’s blood might cause symptoms such as:
Warning signs of dangerously high levels of blood sugar include sleepiness or confusion, dry mouth, extreme thirst, high fever, hallucinations, loss of vision, or skin that is warm and dry.
Fasting Blood Glucose Level Test Preparation
What should you do if your doctor orders a fasting blood sugar test? The preparation is the same as when you take a fasting test for cholesterol. First, be sure to find out if you need to schedule an appointment for your test . Ask your doctor what time is best to take it.
- Schedule your test if necessary
- Ask your doctor if you need to change any of the medications you take on the morning of the test
- If you normally drink coffee or have caffeine, ask your doctor if that is okay. It may not be, since it affects blood sugar levels
- Fast for at least 8 hours before your test. Usually, an overnight fast is most convenient
- You can drink water
Managing Diabetes Over Age 65
Low blood sugar is called hypoglycemia. It’s defined as a level lower than 70 mg/dL . Symptoms include:
- Shakiness, nervousness, or anxiety
Hypoglycemia is common in older adults with diabetes. This may be due to other health concerns, such as other chronic illnesses, malnutrition, or multiple medications. The risk of diabetes complications increases with age.
Hypoglycemia can also result from taking too much diabetes medication. Overtreatment is common in older adults.
Researchers say hypoglycemia is likely underreported in those over 65. That may be because they don’t always have symptoms. Also, cognitive impairment may cause difficulties communicating about symptoms with caregivers.
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Fasting Blood Sugar Test
This test can be done in the lab or the healthcare providers office with a simple finger stickor your doctor may prescribe a meter and have you test regularly at home.
A fasting blood sugar level indicates what your blood sugar is when you havent eaten for at least 8 hours. For adults without diabetes, a normal fasting blood sugar is less than 100 mg/dL. A fasting blood sugar level of 100-125 mg/dL indicates prediabetes, and 126 mg/dL or higher indicates diabetes.
What Is A Good Fasting Blood Sugar
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Normal Range Of Fasting Blood Sugar Found Among Men : 74
Ideal values of Fasting blood sugar depending on age :
|Age||Ideal Fasting blood sugar value|
|< 5 years|
|> 100 years||90.484|
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People With Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes can occur during pregnancy. Often, it is a temporary condition, but it can lead to pregnancy complications.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with a diagnosis of gestational diabetes aim for blood sugar levels similar to those for people without diabetes, although individual targets may vary.
The ADA offers the following as a guideline:
|Blood sugar level|
- blood vessels
A wide range of complications can also result, such as slow wound healing and frequent infections. Other possible complications include:
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Improving Fasting Blood Sugar Levels
If a person does not have perfect fasting blood sugar levels, yet the levels are not quite high enough to be considered diabetes, they should take it as an opportunity to improve their health and achieve average blood glucose levels prior to developing type 2 diabetes. Usually, high blood sugar levels have to do with a poor diet, but even more often they have to do with a person’s lack of exercise and physical activity.
A number of medical studies have shown a dramatic relationship between elevated blood sugar levels and insulin resistance in people who are not very active on a daily or regular basis. Many of the same studies have also shown that the most efficient way of improving insulin resistance is to increase the amount of physical activity. Doing so helps a person to achieve weight loss, increase blood flow and circulation, as well as lower blood sugar levels.
Exercise And Blood Sugar
Exercise can have a big effect on your blood sugar levels because blood sugar is used for energy. When you use your muscles, your cells absorb sugar from the blood for energy.
Depending on the intensity or duration of exercise, physical activity can help lower your blood sugar for many hours after you stop moving.
If you exercise regularly, the cells in your body may be more sensitive to insulin. This will help keep blood sugar levels within normal ranges.
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Blood Sugar Level Chart By Age
Blood sugar levels tend to rise with age due to an increase in insulin resistance and decrease in insulin sensitivity. In one study by the National Health Institute , each extra decade of age was linked to a 2.7 mg/dl increase in fasting glucose, and a 4.5 mg/dl increase in 2-hour post-prandial glucose levels.
Blood Sugar Level Chart And Information
Synopsis:Information and printable chart showing diabetic blood sugar levels for persons with diabetes or pre-diabetes. The results of blood sugar tests vary by testing method and lab but generally doctors consider a fasting blood sugar of up to 100 mg/dL to be within the average range. A number of medical studies have shown a dramatic relationship between elevated blood sugar levels and insulin resistance in people who are not very active on a daily or regular basis.
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What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels After Eating
Your blood sugar, or glucose, level is found in your blood and serves as your main source of energy. During digestion, carbohydrates, which are sugars, starches, and fiber, are changed into glucose. Your body then uses this as energy, or stores whatever isn’t used in your cells for later use.
Your blood sugar is influenced by the food you eat, your age, stress, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol use. It is also impacted by heart issues or diabetes, a group of conditions where too much glucose builds up in the bloodstream.
Danie Drankwalter / Verywell
This article explores the range of glucose levels an individual may experience after eating. It will also cover how different types of food impact blood sugar, as well as how to manage glucose levels.
Low Blood Sugar Symptoms
Low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia, is what happens when blood glucose levels drop too low. People who take insulin may have low blood sugar if they take too much insulin or mistime the insulin dose in relation to food, or if they exercise more than usual when there is fast-acting insulin on board .
Your healthcare provider will tell you when and how to check blood sugar, and when and how to treat low blood sugar. A low blood sugar is generally considered to be less than 70 mg/dL. A dangerously low blood sugar is below 54 mg/dL.
Low blood sugar can also be caused by many things including certain medications or combinations of medications, alcohol, endocrine disorders, eating disorders, and disorders of the liver, kidneys, or heart.
Here are some of the most common symptoms that someone with low blood sugar might experience:
- Tingling lips
If your blood sugar is low you might start to feel some of the first signs of hypoglycemia like dizziness, lightheadedness, or sweating. The only way to know for sure if your blood sugar is low is to test it with a glucose meter or monitor it with a continuous glucose monitor such as the Dexcom G6.
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What Is Blood Sugar
Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, comes from the food you eat. Your body creates blood sugar by digesting some food into a sugar that circulates in your bloodstream.
Blood sugar is used for energy. The sugar that isnt needed to fuel your body right away gets stored in cells for later use.
Too much sugar in your blood can be harmful. Type 2 diabetes is a disease thats characterized by having higher levels of blood sugar than whats considered within normal limits.
Unmanaged diabetes can lead to problems with your heart, kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels.
The more you know about how eating affects blood sugar, the better you can protect yourself against diabetes. If you already have diabetes, its important to know how eating affects blood sugar.
Your body breaks down everything you eat and absorbs the food in its different parts. These parts include:
- vitamins and other nutrients
The carbohydrates you consume turn into blood sugar. The more carbohydrates you eat, the higher the levels of sugar youll have released as you digest and absorb your food.
Carbohydrates in liquid form consumed by themselves are absorbed more quickly than those in solid food. So having a soda will cause a faster rise in your blood sugar levels than eating a slice of pizza.
Fiber is one component of carbohydrates that isnt converted into sugar. This is because it cant be digested. Fiber is important for health, though.
Different Levels And What They Mean
The ranges of safe levels of blood glucose depend on factors such as what time of day it is and when you last ate. Safe levels of blood sugar are high enough to supply your organs with the sugar they need, but low enough to prevent symptoms of hyperglycemia or complications of diabetes which follow the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases guides. Dangerous levels of blood glucose are outside of this range.
The target levels can also vary if you have diabetes. For example, if you are diabetic and are monitoring your blood sugar, you might get a reading of 65 mg/dl. That is considered to be mild hypoglycemia, and you would be wise to eat 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates and retest your blood sugar in 15 minutes.
If you were not diabetic, you probably would not know that your sugar was low because you would not test and because you would not symptoms, and you would not act.
That is fine because your body is capable, under normal circumstances, of raising your blood glucose to healthy levels when needed, even if you have not eaten. It is important to keep them in control to help prevent issues like heart disease or nerve damage.
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Blood Sugar Basics: What Is Blood Sugar
The term blood sugar refers to the sugar, or glucose, that is floating around in your bloodstream at any given time. Blood sugar, or blood glucose is the main source of sugar found in your blood, and comes from the food you eat.
If you are monitoring your blood sugar, it is important to keep these numbers in check according to the American Diabetes Association .
Your blood sugar needs to be in the right range for you to be healthy. At least some glucose is necessary for your muscle, liver, and some other cells to use as fuel so they can function.
At least some sugar is necessary for your cells and organs to function properly. When our blood sugar levels get too low, it is called hypoglycemia. Without enough glucose as fuel, we lose the ability to function normally. This can make us feel weak, dizzy, and sweaty. And it can even lead to loss of consciousness.
On the other hand, blood sugar levels that get too high are also harmful, this is called hyperglycemia. Our blood sugar levels can get too high when we dont have enough insulin, or when our insulin isnt working well. This is the case for people who have prediabetes or diabetes. If it isnt treated, high blood sugar can lead to serious problems that can be deadly
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that keeping blood sugar levels in the target range is vital. It can help us prevent serious health concerns like heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease, for example.
Target Blood Sugar Levels In Children With Diabetes
Children younger than 6 years old Blood sugar in mg/dL Bedtime 110-200
Children under 6 years of age should have blood glucose levels that range from about 80 to 200 mg/dL each day. This range is considered healthy, and the amount of glucose in a childs body will fluctuate from the time they wake up to after theyve eaten meals and again before bedtime. For this reason, kids with diabetes or hypoglycemic episodes may have to have their blood sugar levels tested in the middle of the night by their parents. Many children with type 1 diabetes wear a continuous glucose monitor , which displays glucose levels all the time and mostly eliminates the need for finger sticks.
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Insulin And Blood Sugar
Insulin is an important hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar levels. The pancreas makes insulin. It helps control your blood sugar levels by assisting the cells that absorb sugar from the bloodstream.
If you have type 1 diabetes, your body doesnt make insulin. This means you have to inject insulin every day.
If diet and exercise arent enough to manage blood sugar, those with type 2 diabetes may be prescribed medications to help keep blood sugar levels within target ranges.
If you have type 2 diabetes, your body produces insulin, but may not use it properly or produce enough of it. Your cells dont respond to insulin, so more sugar keeps circulating in the blood.
Exercise can help the cells respond better and be more sensitive to insulin. The proper diet can also help you avoid spikes in blood sugar. This can help keep your pancreas functioning well since high blood sugar levels decrease pancreatic function.
A High Sugar Level After A Meal
It’s normal for your blood sugar level to rise after you eat, especially if you eat a meal high in refined carbohydrates. But if your blood sugar rises more than most people’s, you might have diabetes or pre-diabetes, a condition that indicates a strong risk for developing diabetes in the future. If you already have diabetes, you doctor will recommend keeping your blood sugar within a prescribed range. A glucose tolerance test, done one to three hours after you eat a high-carbohydrate meal, can check your blood sugar levels.
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Theres More To This Than Preventing Full
Dr. Doyle says, Even a prediabetic can begin, over time, to develop diabetes complications, like more vascular disease and high blood pressure, so it is important to change your diet and lose weight if necessary.
Prediabetes is a fasting glucose value of between 100 and 125.
So even if your value consistently hovers at around 119, you could be looking at the development of heart disease, the beginnings of chronic heart failure, and changes in the retina of your eye that foreshadow eventual blindness from diabetes.
FoodTherapyMD is the brainchild of Dr. Mitchell Doyle and recognizes that phytonutrients, the substances that make plant food so amazing, can be tailored to fight specific disease states.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. Shes also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.