Do I Need To Check If My Blood Sugar Level Is Normal
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, tracking your blood sugar regularly will help you understand how medication, food, and physical activity affect it. Checking your blood glucose level also gives you the chance to see when it’s rising and take action to correct it.
Others who may want to track their blood glucose regularly include people:
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.
- white grain products, such as pasta and rice
- cold processed cereals
Strategies To Control Blood Sugar
There are steps you can take to control blood sugar every day.
Educate yourself The more you know about type 2 diabetes, the more confident youll feel about diabetes management. That feeling of self-efficacy is linked with better blood sugar control, taking medication as prescribed, and making lifestyle changes such as improving your diet and exercising, researchers reported in the Summer 2014 issue of Ethnicity & Disease.
Test your blood sugar on schedule When researchers followed adults with type 2 diabetes over the course of a year, they found that those who used a structured blood sugar testing approach throughout the day had better blood sugar control than those who did not, according to an October 2013 study published in Diabetes Care. Common times to test your blood sugar include when you first wake up, before and after meals and exercise, and at bedtime. Talk to your doctor about when and how often you should test.
Exercise Physical activity increases insulin sensitivity, which can help control blood sugar. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days during the week. How to tell if your intensity level is moderate? You should be able to talk but not be out of breath or able to sing out loud, according to the ADA.
Because exercise can lower blood sugar, you should keep a source of fast-acting carbohydrate on hand in case you need to treat hypoglycemia. Test your blood sugar before and after exercise to make sure its in a safe range.
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Normal Blood Sugar Ranges In Healthy Non
For a person without any type of diabetes, blood sugar levels are generally between 70 to 130 mg/dL depending on the time of day and the last time they ate a meal.
Newer theories about non-diabetic blood sugar levels have included post-meal blood sugar levels as high as 140 mg/dL.
Here are the normal blood sugar ranges for a person without diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association:
- Fasting blood sugar : Less than 100 mg/dL
- 1-2 hours after a meal: Less than 140 mg/dL
- 2-3 hours after eating: Less than 100 mg/dL
Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome : When Hyperglycemia Becomes Severe For People With Type 2 Diabetes
Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome is very rare, but you should be aware of it and know how to handle it if it occurs.
HHNS is when your blood glucose level goes way too highyou become extremely hyperglycemic. HHNS affects people with type 2 diabetes.
HHNS is most likely to occur when you’re sick, and elderly people are most likely to develop it.
It starts when your blood glucose level starts to climb: when that happens, your body will try to get rid of all the excess glucose through frequent urination. That dehydrates your body, and you’ll become very thirsty.
Unfortunately, when you’re sick, it’s sometimes more difficult to rehydrate your body. For example, it might be difficult to keep fluids down.
When you don’t rehydrate your body, the blood glucose level continues to climb, and it can eventually go so high that it could send you into a coma.
To avoid hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome, you should keep close watch on your blood glucose level when you’re sick .
Talk to your health care professional about having a sick-day plan to follow that will help you avoid HHNS.
You should also be able to quickly recognize the signs and symptoms of HHNS, which include:
Extremely high blood glucose level
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What Is Normal Blood Sugar
Maintaining a healthy blood glucose range is important, but what is normal blood sugar?
Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main source of fuel for our bodies. It powers up our internal organs, muscles and nervous system. Keeping your blood sugar in check is essential to our physical health, wellbeing and energy levels. But what is considered a normal blood glucose level? And what happens when it rises above the normal threshold?
Our blood sugar levels are directly related to the food we eat. We obtain glucose mostly from carbohydrate-rich foods like bread, pasta, potatoes or fruit, but many different food groups play a role in regulating glucose metabolism. How we absorb, use and store this important sugar is dependent on multiple complex processes that take place in our digestive systems.
There is no single universal value that would describe a healthy blood sugar level. What constitutes normal blood glucose varies for an individual depending on a range of factors, including age, any underlying medical conditions, and the medications they take. It will also be heavily linked to when you consumed your last meal. Hence when we refer to ‘normal blood sugar levels’, we refer to a range of values that are considered healthy.
Here, we will discuss everything you need to know about a healthy blood sugar range.
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How To Measure Your Spikes
The American Diabetes Association recommends you check your blood sugar levels right before mealtime with a blood sample from a finger stick. Then do it again 1 to 2 hours after that first bite of food.
Keep this up for a week or so. Write down the time and the blood sugar number. Make a note about anything you think might affect your levels, like medicine or exercise. And don’t forget to log exactly what you ate, along with portion sizes and the amount of carbs.What levels are too high after a meal? Experts vary on what the number should be, but the ADA says a general goal is a blood sugar level under 180 mg/dL, 1 to 2 hours after a meal. Talk to your doctor about what you should aim for, and don’t adjust your medicine without speaking to them first.
Blood Sugar Levels After Eating
Blood sugar level simply means the concentration of a simple sugar in certain amount of blood. In the United States, it is measured in mg/dl or milligrams per deciliter. Glucose concentration in the body fluctuates the whole day. Actually, there can be significant variations from minute to minute. Blood sugar levels after eating normally skyrocket and exercising will normally drop the levels. Doctors are interested in fasting glucose, glucose levels after eating, which is at times tested.
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Why Your A1c Matters
In a nutshell: your A1c is one of the clearest indicators of your risk for developing diabetes complications like neuropathy , retinopathy , nephropathy , and severe infection in any part of your body that requires healing.
For instance, a small cut on your toe could become infected due to high blood sugars, struggle to heal, and become severe enough that the infection could lead to an amputation.
The general guidelines from the American Diabetes Association recommend an A1c at or below 7.0 percent for the best prevention of diabetes complications. Your risk of developing a diabetes complication continues to drop as your A1c drops closer to 6 percent.
Some people with diabetes aim for A1c levels in the 5s and lower especially those who follow strict low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet and the Bernstein diet. However, this hasnt been proven in research as especially necessary, nor is it reasonably achievable for the larger population of people with diabetes.
Its also important to remember that your blood sugar levels and your A1c are just information that tells you whether your body needs more or less of factors like insulin, other diabetes medications like Metformin, changes in your nutrition, and changes in your exercise.
If you dont like the number youre seeing on your glucose meter or your A1c results, use that number as motivation to make changes in how you safely manage your diabetes in order to get different results.
Check Your Blood Sugar Level
Regular blood sugar checks are a big part of managing your diabetes. You may already be checking your blood sugar at different times of the day, including in the morning before eating, before all meals in general, and 1 to 2 hours after a meal.
Bedtime is another good time to test. Its a good idea to keep our blood sugar goal at bedtime in the range of 80 to 180 milligrams per deciliter .
Its natural for blood sugar to be on the higher end of that range if youve eaten a meal in the last 2 hours. If its on the lower end of that range, you may consider having a snack to prevent blood sugar from going too low.
Testing at bedtime for at least 1 or 2 weeks can allow you to see some patterns.
If your blood sugar level is high before bed, its more likely to stay high overnight and be above target in the morning. Having the occasional high blood sugar before bed can happen to anyone with diabetes.
If you start to notice that your blood sugar is often above target before bed, there are things you can do. Talk with your doctor about managing blood sugar at this time of the day.
Here are some steps that may help lower blood sugar in the evening:
- Change the type, timing, or dose of medications or insulin.
- Eat supper earlier.
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How To Manage Blood Sugar Spikes After Meals
If you’re trying to manage diabetes, you already know it’s important to keep track of your blood sugar levels. But how do you handle a spike that comes after you eat? It’s called “postprandial” blood glucose, and if you take some simple steps, you can get it under control and help avoid health problems.
Why You Should Keep An Eye On It
When your blood sugar is high, you can get symptoms like a foggy-headed feeling that makes it hard to focus or think clearly. Your energy may also take a dive, and you may feel nervous or moody.
If your levels go too low, you could even pass out. In the long run, if your blood sugar stays up, you could be at risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, or other problems.
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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.
When Should I Check My Blood Sugar
How often you check your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes you have and if you take any diabetes medicines.
Typical times to check your blood sugar include:
- When you first wake up, before you eat or drink anything.
- Two hours after a meal.
If you have type 1 diabetes, have type 2 diabetes and take insulin, or often have low blood sugar, your doctor may want you to check your blood sugar more often, such as before and after youre physically active.
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How To Control Blood Sugar Levels In The Morning
Treatment options will vary depending on the data the CGM or individual glucose checks provide. By tracking when the highs and lows occur, a doctor will be able to recommend suitable strategies.
If the data shows that a person has high blood sugar at bedtime, then it is likely that food and medication are responsible. If a person has hyperglycemia before they sleep, it can persist until morning. Either a large meal close to bedtime or using too little insulin may be the cause. A person can adjust this by changing what and when they eat and slightly increasing their insulin dosage.
If a person is within their target range at bedtime but wakes with high blood sugar, they may be using too little basal medication or using it too early. Changing the timing of the long-acting dose, switching to a twice-daily basal insulin, or using an ultra-long-acting basal insulin may be beneficial.
Data demonstrating that a person has high blood sugar between roughly 38 a.m. suggests the dawn phenomenon. In this case, a doctor may recommend that a person does not increase their long-acting insulin, as this could cause hypoglycemia during the night. It may be advisable to consider an insulin pump, as a person can program it to automatically deliver more insulin in the early morning hours.
Some research that the following lifestyle changes may help control morning glucose levels.
What Causes Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar has many causes, including missing a meal, taking too much insulin, taking other diabetes medicines, exercising more than normal, and drinking alcohol. Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low.
Signs of low blood sugar are different for everyone. Common symptoms include:
Know what your individual symptoms are so you can catch low blood sugar early and treat it. If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms. Low blood sugar can be dangerous and should be treated as soon as possible.
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Postprandial Or Reactive Hyperglycemia
This type of hyperglycemia occurs after eating .
During this type of hyperglycemia, your liver doesn’t stop sugar production, as it normally would directly after a meal, and stores glucose as glycogen.
If your blood glucose level 1-2 hours after eating is above 180mg/dL, that signals postprandial or reactive hyperglycemia.
However, it’s not just people with diabetes who can develop hyperglycemia. Certain medications and illnesses can cause it, including beta blockers, steroids, and bulimia. This article will focus on hyperglycemia caused by diabetes.
What Does Undiagnosed Diabetes Feel Like
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Due to their detrimental effect, it may be questionable whether insulin is the correct choice in the treatment of patients with hyperglycemic stroke.
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If you have diabetes, be sure to talk to your health care provider about the best ways to manage your disease.
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