Blood Sugar Levels And Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you may be wondering what your blood glucose should be. Hopefully your doctor, nurse practitioner, physicians assistant or whoever diagnosed you has given you answers to that question. Unfortunately, though, not everyone is given glucose goals. Or in some cases, it may have been a long time ago, and theyve since been forgotten. No worries well go over all that!
What Are Abnormal Glucose Levels And Why Do They Matter
Why is it unhealthy for glucose levels to be too high or too low ?
Hyperglycemia refers to elevated blood glucose levels. This usually occurs because the body does not appropriately remove glucose from the blood this can happen due to many complex reasons. Elevated glucose levels can damage blood vessels and nerves over time this can then lead to problems in the eyes, kidneys, and heart, as well as numbness in the hands and feet. Very high levels can lead to coma and even death in some cases. People with fasting glucose levels higher than 100 mg/dl have impaired glucose tolerance and should speak with their healthcare provider.
Some people may think that to avoid all these issues, they should just keep their blood glucose levels as low as possible. If too high is bad, then low must be good, right? Not exactly. When glucose gets too low, its called hypoglycemia. The threshold for hypoglycemia is typically thought to be when glucose falls below 70 mg/dl. When this happens, the body may release epinephrine , the fight or flight hormone, which can lead to a fast heart rate, sweating, anxiety, blurry vision, and confusion, but also helps the body mobilize glucose into the blood. If blood glucose levels stay too low for too long, it can cause seizures, coma, and in very rare instances, death.
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.
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Ways To Control Your Blood Sugar Levels
Ways individuals with diabetes can balance their blood sugar include keeping their weight in check, exercising regularly, following their medication and diet plans, and checking their blood sugar levels regularly. For some individuals, taking insulin shots may be necessary to keep glucose levels in check. Sticking to a schedule is important for individuals with diabetes. As it can help them regulate their blood sugar level.
However, just eating healthy and exercising regularly can help to a great extent. High fiber food, green vegetables, low GI fruits are all good food choices for people with diabetes. And exercises like Zumba, yoga, or just walking for 30 minutes every day can be very beneficial for bringing the blood sugar level back to normal.
Your Blood Sugar Isnt Just Because Of What You Eat
Mainstream media would have you believe that your blood sugar levels are impacted only by what you eat and how much you exercise, but people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who test their blood sugars frequently could tell you otherwise.
Its especially important to keep this in mind when looking at your own blood sugars and your goals because there are certain variables and challenges that impact blood sugar levels that you cant always control.
- Menstrual cycles: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- Adrenaline rushes from competitive sports, heated arguments, or rollercoaster rides: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- The common cold and other illnesses: usually raise blood sugar and insulin needs
- Hormonal changes due to puberty and healthy growth in young adults: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- An injury that raises overall inflammation levels: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- Glucogenesis during anaerobic exercise: raises blood sugar
While you cant necessarily prevent these factors that affect your blood sugar from occurring, you can work with your diabetes healthcare team to adjust your insulin, other diabetes medications, nutrition and activity levels to help compensate for them when they do occur.
For example, when engaging in anaerobic exercise like weightlifting many people with type 1 diabetes find it necessary to take a small bolus of insulin prior to or during their workout because anaerobic exercise can actually raise blood sugar.
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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
Things To Do If You Have Diabetes
Common things that people with diabetes should avoid include eating lots of simple sugars, eating too much food for the activity theyve performed recently, and not following medication or exercise plans.
Some things that can be harmful to people with diabetes are smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol in excess, and eating large portions of unhealthy foods.
The person should maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. The doctor may also recommend taking insulin or other medications to manage their blood sugar levels.
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Low Blood Sugar Levels Symptoms
Low blood sugar levels or also known as hypoglycemia can happen to anyone but is more common in people with diabetes. Low blood sugar levels can occur if you miss a meal, exercise too hard, or take too much insulin.
Signs and symptoms that your blood sugar might be on the low side include:
- Anxiety or feeling of nervousness
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to check your blood sugar levels right away. You can use a home glucose meter to test your blood sugar levels. The ADA recommends that people with diabetes keep a fast-acting source of sugar like glucose tablets with them at all times in case they experience low blood sugar levels.
How Is Diabetes Diagnosed
A diagnosis of diabetes is usually made when fasting blood sugar is above 126 mg/dL or the A1Cc is above six percent.
If your fasting blood sugar levels are between 100 and 126 mg/dL you can be diagnosed with prediabetes.
Diabetes develops quite quickly and this can cause even higher blood sugar levels and range between 200 mg/dL and 400 mg/dL or above.
If you have any of the following symptoms, it’s important to speak to your doctor:
- Increased urination
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Slow-healing cuts and bruises
A diagnosis of diabetes is a serious matter, but it doesn’t mean your life has to change dramatically. There are many treatments available that can help you manage your condition and live a long, healthy life. Treatment usually involves a combination of medication, diet, and exercise. You’ll work with your healthcare team to create a treatment plan that’s right for you.
There are two types of diabetes, type one and type two. Type one diabetes is when the pancreas does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body to process glucose from food. Type two diabetes is when the body does not use insulin properly. People with either type of diabetes need to control their blood sugar levels through diet, exercise, and medication.
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When Should You Check Your Blood Sugar Levels
Its important that people who suspect they have diabetes or pre-diabetes monitor their glucose levels regularly, checking at least once daily and charting the results in order to know what is normal for themselves. If it seems like something isnt quite right with ones blood glucose. It may be time to talk to a doctor about getting a diabetes diagnosis. Its also important that parents make sure their children are well aware of any symptoms of high or low blood sugar. So they know when they need to alert an adult about what might be going on if their parents are not around.
Fasting Plasma Glucose Test
A fasting plasma glucose test is taken after at least eight hours of fasting and is therefore usually taken in the morning.
The NICE guidelines regard a fasting plasma glucose result of 5.5 to 6.9 mmol/l as putting someone at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, particularly when accompanied by other risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
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How Is Hypoglycemia Diagnosed In A Child
The healthcare provider will ask about your childs symptoms and health history. He or she may also ask about your familys health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam. Your child may also have blood tests to check blood sugar levels.
When a child with diabetes has symptoms of hypoglycemia, the cause is most often an insulin reaction.
For children with symptoms of hypoglycemia who dont have diabetes, the healthcare provider may:
Measure levels of blood sugar and different hormones while the child has symptoms
See if symptoms are relieved when the child eats food or sugar
Do tests to measure insulin action
Your child may need to do a supervised fasting study in the hospital. This lets healthcare providers test for hypoglycemia safely.
What Can I Do To Prevent Hypoglycemia In My Child
Not all episodes of hypoglycemia can be prevented. Most children with type 1 diabetes will have hypoglycemia. The chances of severe hypoglycemia go down as your child gets older. But you can help prevent severe episodes by:
Testing your childs blood glucose often, including at night
Checking that the glucose test strips are not outdated and match the glucose meter
Other ways to minimize or prevent hypoglycemia include making sure your child:
Takes medicines at the right time
Eats enough food
Doesnt skipping meals
Checks blood glucose before exercising
Eats a healthy snack if needed. The snack should include complex carbohydrates and some fat, if possible.
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How Should Blood Sugar Levels Be Before And After Eating
Ideally, before eating , your blood sugars should be between 80-130 mg/dL. One to two hours after eating , your blood sugars should be below 180 mg/dL.
Blood glucose levels can be affected by the type of food consumed, how much, and when but also many other different factors like physical activity, taking other medications, having other medical conditions, stress, age, an illness, and even menstrual periods.
Remedies For High Sugar Level
If the blood sugar level is between 180 to250 mg/dL, seek medical advice and take medicines. Cut off a fast-acting carb diet. Dont take processed food and sugary items.
If the blood sugar level is> 250 mg/dL, you need immediate medical attention. If left untreated, it can lead to coma and high ketones in the blood. So test for ketones and get insulin therapy as soon as possible.
If you experience high sugar levels on regular basis, you are advised to do the following:
Many diabetic patients are aware of the changes they need to make in their diet or daily routine but are not able to follow them due to various reasons. Lack of motivation and proper knowledge is the most common reasons. A constant push from a diabetes reversal coach along with the guidance of a Diabetologist can help regulate blood sugar levels.
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How Is Blood Glucose Monitored
If youre diagnosed with diabetes, youll be asked to monitor your blood glucose levels daily to determine the amount of glucose in your blood. Your diabetes health care team will work with you to determine the best times during the day to test your blood glucose and to find the monitoring device that best suits your needs. There are many accurate blood glucose meters available, and theyre simple to operate. You prick your finger with a lancet and apply a drop of blood to a treated strip. A glucose meter then reads the strip and displays the value.
Monitoring blood glucose and making appropriate changes offers a more independent, self-sufficient approach to diabetes management. Research indicates that complications associated with diabetes may be reduced if blood glucose levels are kept near normal. Blood glucose monitoring can help you:
- Make changes in your daily diet, medications or activity
- Identify low blood glucose levels
- Control blood glucose during illness
Continuous glucose monitoring technology uses a wearable or implantable sensor to monitor blood sugar levels and communicate data via a phone app or receiver-style device. Personal CGM devices are considered the standard of care for patients with Type 1 diabetes and are increasingly common for those with Type 2 diabetes. CGM technology allows patients to view their results in real time and for those results to be shared with their doctor.
Measuring Your Average Blood Sugar With A1c
Your A1c is a good measure of your average blood glucose control over the past two to three months. The lower your A1c, the better your blood sugar control. An A1c of less than seven percent is normal for people without diabetes. For people with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends an A1c below eight percent.
The ADA provides is with a clear range of blood sugar levels next to the A1c percentages.
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Why Should I Use Fitbits Blood Glucose Tracking Feature
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Random Blood Sugar Test
This measures your blood sugar at the time youre tested. You can take this test at any time and dont need to fast first. A blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or higher indicates you have diabetes.
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*Results for gestational diabetes can differ. Ask your health care provider what your results mean if youre being tested for gestational diabetes.Source: American Diabetes Association
If your doctor thinks you have type 1 diabetes, your blood may also tested for autoantibodies that are often present in type 1 diabetes but not in type 2 diabetes. You may have your urine tested for ketones , which also indicate type 1 diabetes instead of type 2 diabetes.
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Blood Sugar Levels During Pregnancy
The NIDDK states that gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that occurs during pregnancy if you were not diabetic before getting pregnant. Healthy blood sugar during pregnancy can help lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes later. It can also lower the risk of your baby being born prematurely, at a high birth weight, and having respiratory problems.
Blood sugar and insulin levels during the first trimester of pregnancy tend to be lower than usual, but they rise during the late second and early third trimesters. You can be diagnosed with an oral glucose tolerance test .
These are the steps for the 2-step strategy.
- Drink a solution with 50 grams of glucose about the amount in 1 16-oz. bottle of a soft drink
- Get your blood drawn after 1 hour. Ig the value is high, retest
- Drink a solution with 100 grams of glucose about the amount in 12 peanut butter cups
- Get your blood drawn immediately and after 1, 2, and 3 hours
Or, your doctor might use the 1-step strategy with a 2-hour OGTT:
- Drink a solution with 75 grams of glucose
- Get your blood drawn immediately and after 1 and 2 hours
These are some values to know from NIDKK related to gestational diabetes and healthy blood sugar in pregnancy.
Blood sugar can vary greatly depending on when you take it. For example, after 1 hour, a reading of at least 180mg/dl can indicate signs of gestational diabetes, while a blood sugar reading after 3 hours would need to be 140 mg/dl would be cause for concern.