Blood sugar / Blood glucose

Glucose Measurement:  The Importance of Monitoring and Management

Usually blood glucose levels are checked in millimoles per liter (mmol/L) based on the international standard.  In some countries such as the US, it is measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).  If you need to convert, you’ll need to know that each sing mmol/L is equal to 18 mg/dL.

Measuring your glucose levels with various devices you can use is important for proper management of diabetes, regardless of whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Not similar to other illnesses, the person diagnosed with diabetes must participate by measuring levels constantly to manage the illness. The results are analyzed to decide the best treatment.

At the time you are first diagnosed, you may be given or told to purchase a glucose meter which is typically used to measure your blood sugar level. You’ll also be given instructions on how to use it, when to use it and how to analyze the results.  Everyone will receive different information based on their physical condition such as age, weight and health. There are also standard recommendations but you will still need a custom plan suitable for your specific needs.

Many people monitor their blood sugar levels before each meal and possibly again after a meal, depending on the instructions given by your attending physician. If you plan to monitor sugar levels after a meal, you should wait one or two hours after the fact.

Why Glucose Monitoring is Important

Glucose monitoring is important because it lets you take control of your sugar levels, health and your life instead of diabetes taking over you. It lets you see the progress your making or the lack of it with the efforts you make to control it.  You’ll know if exercising and eating a proper diet are controlling your diabetes or not. You can decide what changes need to be made or you can tell your doctor to revise your sugar level control routine.

By checking your glucose level, you make better choices without the fear of increasing or decreasing your levels too much or too little. By seeing your success, you’ll be motivated to do things right and even do better so it improves your health.

If you’re blood glucose level is higher than normal, it may be necessary to use a bolus for insulin to bring levels back down. For those who treat their diabetes with a good diet and exercising more, you can go out and be active or even exercise and be more active at home.

It’s important to check your sugar level to prevent hypoglycemia because it can cause complications if you don’t treat it right away. You’ll have a head start if it is caught early to prevent any other health problems from developing.

Normal Blood Glucose Levels in Humans

In a person who does not have diabetes, the sugar level should be at or below 100 mg/dL after a fast of 8 hours or more.  This is typically in the morning after you wake up.  After eating the level increases to 140 mg/dL after your first meal, assuming you have a healthy diet.

Levels are also at a low before you have a meal.  Normal levels are around seventy to eighty mg/dL but the normal range varies from one person to another.  One person may have a normal level of around 60 while another has a level of 80.

Those who have low blood sugar levels have a level that is below 60 even after fasting for a long period of time. In this case, the fat and your muscles are used by the liver to supply the necessary sugar.  Some people may also have levels that are even lower than this.

Blood Sugar Levels for Diabetes Diagnosis

Doctors have various different tests in which to diagnose diabetes.  The three tests are: Fasting plasma glucose test, Oral glucose tolerance test and a Random check.

Random check testing – If after a random check your sugar level are above 200 and you show symptoms of diabetes such as frequent urination, weight loss and excessive thirst, you may need to have an oral plasma glucose test.

Oral plasma glucose testing – In this type of test, the patient is asked to fast for 8 hours and then to consume a drink.  After this, the patient must wait 2 hours to check your sugar levels.  Sugar level testing occurs before and after this test. If the results are high, it is possible you have diabetes.

Fasting plasma glucose test – If after fasting your glucose level is 126 mg/dL after a random test, the physician may request another test.  This will help determine if you have diabetes or not.

A person who has a random glucose level below 200 mg/dL is normal.  If the glucose level is over 200 mg/dL, he or she has diabetes.

A person with a fasting glucose level below 108 mg/dL is not diabetic but a person with a glucose range that falls between 108 and 125 mg/dL is classified as having prediabetes.  Anyone who is diabetic will have a fasting sugar level of 126 mg/dL or higher.

Sugar levels exceeding normal levels are not healthy but have not reached full diabetic diagnosis stage qualify as prediabetes. Whether you are prediabetics or diabetic, you need to take control with diabetes management. Changes in your lifestyle are necessary such as eating foods that are healthy and low in sugar.  Also add an exercise routing to keep your glucose level lower than and as close to normal as possible.

High sugar levels can cause many complications such as the decrease of insulin production by the pancreas, tightening and hardening of your blood vessels, vision problems, kidney ailments and possibly even a stroke among other complications.  Treatment is important to prevent these issues.

Blood sugar abnormalities

When you measure your blood glucose levels, it is measured based on molar concentration.  The abbreviation for this is mmol/L which means millimoles in each liter.  In countries such as the United States, it is measured in milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL.

This method was adopted in 1971 but some people believe that this is not the best measurement the way a meter or second is. There are several reasons for this. It is basically just a number which represents how many molecules are in something and this not a base unit. This measurement is also not chemistry related and may increase costs when economics is taken into consideration. Another point is that the unit of measure is not metric but parametric since the mass is simply a parametric quantity.

When You Have Abnormal Sugar Levels

Blood sugar levels can go either way, high or low.  There are complications that can arise from both.  Low blood pressure is known as hypoglycemia and high blood pressure is known as hyperglycemia. Both conditions much be treated and need to be given attention quickly.

Hyperglycemia: High Blood Sugar Levels

When you have glucose levels that are too high, your appetite will temporarily be suppressed.  If you have high blood pressure for a very long period, you may have serious health issues resulting from this such as heart problems, vision impairment, kidney problems and also damaged nerves. The main culprit behind this is diabetes.  You will need a prescription medication if you are diagnosed with this to control and treat it. The doctor will prescribe a medicine used for diabetics like Metformin.  This is a safe and effective treatment that is affordable and is not invasive like some diabetes control methods. You may also be told to exercise and change your diet to a healthier one to control this condition.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of High Glucose Levels?

If your bout with hyperglycemia is temporary, you may not see any symptoms.  Your sugar levels may rise without even noticing anything is wrong.  This is a reason why you must check sugar levels so you don’t let it slide and have negative issues from long-term lack of knowledge that you even have hyperglycemia.

People with high blood sugar levels often experience being hungry very often, extremely thirsty and urinate more but frequently. Related to your vision, you may not be able to see clearly because blurriness. Tiredness and the inability to heal quickly are also symptoms. You may also lose weight, feel dizzy and possibly even experience itching of your skin. High blood sugar levels may also be responsible for erectile dysfunction as well as ear infections. More serious effects include kidney damage and possibly even cardiac ailments.

There are many reasons why your blood sugar levels may be high.  More often than not, it is caused by diabetes.  Not having sufficient levels of insulin can also trigger this condition or the inability to efficiently use insulin. If the development of hyperglycemia is not diabetes related, other causes include pancreas inflammation and also hyperthyroidism. High levels of cortisol are also known causes as well as hormone containing tumors.

Treating High Blood Sugar

You can control your high blood sugar level by exercising, but this method is not recommended for individuals who have ketones.  This should be checked with a urine test if your sugar level is 240 mg/dl or higher. Exercise can raise your sugar levels if you have ketones in your system.

The best option is to get medical treatment from your medical provider. Another option is changing your diet.  You can cut down on your food intake, but more importantly, avoid sugary foods.  Speak to your doctor or nutritionist to get the best diet for this condition.

Hypoglycemia: Low Blood Sugar

Having low blood sugar is a medical condition called hypoglycemia.  Unfortunately, this condition also carries serious repercussions.  Again, this ailment must also be treated quickly and efficiently to help prevent serious problems that may be worse than having high blood sugar levels.

Low Blood Sugar Signs and Symptoms

Some of the symptoms of low blood sugar include dizziness, the inability to think properly, being irritable, shakiness, a feeling of weakness in various parts of the body and in severe cases, being unconscious. If your blood sugar levels fall below 40 mg/dl, urgently get treatment since this may possibly lead to seizure and feeling confused.

Causes of Hypoglycemia

Insulin may be one of the causes of hypoglycemia if your body doesn’t produce normal levels or if you’re body does not respond to insulin. Taking too much insulin can also decrease your blood sugar level causing hypoglycemia.  These conditions apply only to those who have diabetes. It may also be caused by diabetic prescriptions.

If you have not been diagnosed with diabetes, you can still suffer from low blood sugar levels.  Some common causes are medications consumed unintentionally, especially if they are for diabetics. Drinking too much liquor can have many negative effects and hypoglycemia is one of them.  Alcohol stops stored sugar from being released by your liver. Producing too much insulin is also another cause along with ailments such as hepatitis and nutritional disorders like not eating.

Treating Hypoglycemia: Low Blood Sugar

There are easy ways to treat this condition.  You should rest for a short period and then check glucose levels again.  Repeat this until levels normalize.  Eat smaller meals throughout the day and include a snack from the carbohydrate family to keep your levels up. If you have diabetes, make sure you carry your treatment with you everywhere. Though you need sugar, you can’t go overboard either.  Consume that have a form of sugar that can easily be tolerated and processed comfortably by your body. Another method is acupressure, which is an alternative method you can try if other methods don’t work.  You’ll need to visit a specialist for this. If nothing works, it’s time to see your doctor for a medical treatment that will suit your condition and your body.

Diabetes Log: Monitoring Blood Glucose Levels

For proper management of diabetes, you must keep checking sugar levels.  The best method is to have a diabetes log to track your progress or lack of progress.  Why should you monitor glucose levels?  There are several reasons:

  1. Know what it is any time of day
  2. Know if it is low or high to fix the problem before complications are caused
  3. Determine the effect that your lifestyle and prescription have on your sugar levels
  4. Decide what changes you need to make to control your diabetes

Frequency of Checking Blood Sugar Levels – How to Check this

Your doctor will advise you how frequently you need to check your sugar levels and when you need to check as well. This process is known as Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose, aka SMBG. To check it, you’ll need to use a glucose meter that you can purchase at a drug store or at some department stores that have a pharmacy department. You’ll also need supplies to continue using it.  Your doctor will tell you how to use the glucose level checking device.

Your glucose level checking training should include information such as where to draw the testing blood, how much blood you need to test, which strips to use, cleaning your glucose meter, how to know the reading is accurate and coding your glucometer.

Staying within Normal Glucose Levels

Monitoring is easy but controlling levels is difficult to keep it as close to the normal and target range. This is important to keep you in good health without any serious complications. You need to ensure you have a healthy diet, be active and make sure you take your medication on time at the recommended frequency. Your target level will be determined by your doctor based on your age, overall medical history and other health factors. The range is different for children who are under the age of twelve and also for women who are pregnant.

Your doctor may also create a special routine for you to properly manage sugar levels. At this stage, it is important to have a diabetic log to track your sugar levels and discuss it with your doctor during subsequent visits.  Your routine may be changed based on how well your sugar levels are controlled.

Diabetes Log and Methods of Testing

There are two methods of testing your glucose levels related to your diabetes log. You can choose the simple method or the comprehensive method. The simple method will track your sugar levels several times but on different days of the week. This method is used when you have consistent sugar levels and no changes for management will occur or if you have low blood glucose levels.

If you select the comprehensive method, you’ll stick check several times a day and on different days of the week but you’ll have information in your diabetes log that includes statistics on your exercise amounts, detailed food intake and how much medicine you have taken plus when you took it. This will give you an overview of how your body sugar level responds to treatments.

Glucose Regulation: Avoid Complications

If you have Type 2 diabetes, you know how hard it is to stop your glucose levels from rising and falling.  These swings can take a toll on your health, putting you in danger of other illnesses and health problems. Changing your lifestyle can help you control your sugar levels to stay healthier.

Easy tips for Glucose Regulation

There are easy steps you can take to help keep your glucose levels close to normal.  Eating healthy and exercising are both important steps but we need to add some more details and so you know the specifics.

Keeping Your Blood Sugar Steady

Whole Grain Foods – Eat more foods that are made from bran, rye and barley since they are good suppliers of beta-glucan.  This is a type of fiber that helps your tummy empty out after you have a meal resulting in a decrease of sugar. You’ll still have some sugar in your body from these carbohydrates but the rates are lower than other types.  They don’t affect you as fast as some processed foods do.

Eat lots of Nuts – Consuming nuts such as pistachios, almonds and walnuts is a healthy option that helps your body absorb your sugar intake in a beneficial way.  Though this is a good option, don’t go overboard with it, especially all at one time.  Eat just a few at one time.

Cinnamon – This is not just a flavoring and can be used for medicinal purposes.  Studies conducted have shown that cinnamon has the ability to decrease a person’s sugar levels.  Results state that your fasting blood sugar level can be lower with cinnamon.

Vegetarian Diet Inclusion – Always include vegetables in your diet.  Foods like cucumber, carrots and broccoli can help stop an increase in your blood glucose levels in addition to giving you the nutrients you need. They’re also low in calories and not fatty.

Eat Meals on Time – Skipping a meal regardless of how little time you have or work to do is not recommended.  You need to balance your intake.  Eating more at a particular meal can increase your chances of having a high sugar surge that can cause complications.  You should divide your meals into 3 to 5 sessions with a healthy snack in between if necessary.

Carry Snacks with you – Carry healthy snacks with you if you suffer from low blood sugar.  Try something like a granola bar for snack or a drink that can help bring your levels back up, like orange juice.

Alcohol Consumption – Drinking an alcoholic beverage on an empty stomach can decrease sugar levels later on since the body must work more to eliminate it.  Before consuming an alcoholic beverage, you should check your sugar levels.  Have a meal before you have a drink or with your drink.

You should always check your sugar levels so you need to know whether you need to increase or decrease to stay at or near normal levels.  This is important to avoid further complications that can be caused by diabetes.

 

NOTICE: The material on this site for informational use only and should not be taken as medical advice. This email does not constitute any doctor-patient relationship, or any other type of relationship. The material has been thoroughly researched and believed to be the most up to date information at time of publishing. This material is offered as information only and the reader has the responsibility to verify any medical decisions or actions with his or her health care team.

Copyright © 2016. Diabetes is not a disease - it's a lifestyle!!

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