Blood sugar: what you should know to prevent diabetes
In this day and age, there are more and more people with diabetes. Maybe it’s because our daily routines are much different from the ones we had in the past, both in terms of fatty foods and sugar that we eat all the time. If you want to know whether you are at risk of developing diabetes or not, one way to tell is to check your blood sugar level. Here we will tell you what’s a proper blood sugar level and how it can be examined.
What is blood sugar?
Blood sugar is the concentration of glucose in the blood. Glucose is a common sugar found in the blood of humans and other mammals and is the main source of energy for cells in the body. Furthermore, your body is normally able to maintain a balanced blood sugar level by itself.
How to check your blood sugar level?
There are two methods for checking your blood sugar level:
HbA1c (Hemoglobin A1c) test.
This is a test to determine the average number of red blood cells that have been coated with sugar within the last 4 months. This type of test must be examined in the hospital. To take the test, you must refrain from consuming food, beverages, snacks, and candies of all kinds for no less than 8 hours before the blood draw.
Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose Levels (SMBG)
This method is for self-checking blood sugar levels. This can be done by pricking your finger, then gently touching the blood obtained from said fingertip with a test strip. Thereafter, with a blood glucose monitor, you’ll be able to determine your glucose level. Most blood glucose monitors read and display in mg/dL. The latter is useful for self-monitoring, as you can use them by yourself several times a day.
What is the proper blood sugar level I should have?
The proper blood sugar level differs from people with and without diabetes, whether you have type 1 or 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes. Below are the standard blood sugar levels according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), Joslin Diabetes Center (JDC), and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE):
|Time table||Blood sugar level goal (Average)||Blood sugar levels goal (Diabetics)|
|After waking up, before breakfast (Fasting blood sugar)||Less than 100 mg/dL||Between 80-130 mg/dL (ADA)|
Between 70-130 mg/dL (JDC)
Less than 110 mg/dL (AACE)
|Before meal||Less than 110 mg/dL||Between 70-130 mg/dL (JDC)|
|1-2 hours after a meal||Less than 140 mg/dL||Less than 180 mg/dL (ADA & JDC)|
Less than 140 mg/dL (AACE)
|Before going to sleep||Less than 120 mg/dL||Between 90-150 mg/dL (JDC)|
|HbA1C value||Less than 5.7%||Less than 7%|
What happens when your blood sugar level is too low?
When your blood sugar level gets too low, you might enter a state of hypoglycemia. For healthy people, what’s considered too low is less than 54 mg/dL. For diabetics, it is less than 63 mg/dL.
Some symptoms of low blood sugar level are:
- Frequent thirst
- Faster heartbeat
- Abnormal sweating
- Uncontrollable tremors in hands, arms, and legs
- Lack of concentration
- Blurry vision
- Slurred speech
- Poor balance
What should you do when someone’s blood sugar level is low?
- Alleviate the symptoms of hypoglycemia by slowly eating or drinking something with sugar in it, such as sweets, candy, or sugar water.
- If the person who is showing these symptoms fell unconscious, they should be rushed to the hospital immediately.
What happens when your blood sugar level is too high?
Hyperglycemia happens when the blood sugar level is too high. These levels can gradually rise above normal values without your knowledge. And you might not realize that you have diabetes. There is usually no visible pain when you have high blood sugar. But, if left unchecked, the high blood sugar levels will cause your health to deteriorate which can lead to many complications such as blindness, amputation, kidney failure, paralysis, and dementia.
Some symptoms of high blood sugar level are:
- Abnormal thirst
- Excessive and frequent urination
- Feeling exhausted without cause
- Having poor vision
- Wounds heal much more slowly and can get worse instead of better
What should you do when someone’s blood sugar level is high?
- Limit the number of carbohydrates in each meal.
- Eat vegetables to increase the fiber intake.
- Drink some water to stay hydrated and dilute excess blood sugar.
- Increase physical activity to burn excess blood sugar.
- Avoid sweetened beverages and avoid processed food if possible.
- For those with very high blood sugar levels, as in, over 250 mg / dL, their breath might smell fruity. In that case, they should be sent to the hospital as soon as possible.
In conclusion, it is important to regularly monitor your blood sugar level and try to maintain it to stay within the normal range. Since diabetes still does not have a cure, you should try to avoid this condition at all costs.