Do you suddenly feel that you have excessive thirst? Urinating more frequently than you are comfortable with? Or have you noticed your clothes are way looser than they should be? Feeling tired all the time? All these could be signs of aberrations in your blood glucose level.
If you are worried about high blood sugar and how to keep your blood sugar level normal, do get in touch with a healthcare professional.
What is the normal blood glucose level?
Here is a guide to understanding if your blood glucose level is in the normal range —
Normal blood sugar (fasting)
Blood glucose level normal: 70–99 mg/dl
The blood glucose level in someone with diabetes: 80–130 mg/dl
Normal blood glucose 2 hours after meals
Blood glucose level normal: Less than 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/L)
The blood glucose level in someone with diabetes: Less than 180 mg/dl (10.0 mmol/L)
Blood glucose level normal: Less than 5.7%
The blood glucose level in someone with diabetes: Less than 7.0%
Why you’ve got to keep blood glucose level normal
Keeping your blood glucose level within the target range can help prevent or delay health problems, such as heart disease, kidney ailments, and vision loss. That’s in the long term. On a day-to-day basis, having normal unfluctuating blood glucose levels will improve your energy and mood.
So, how does one check blood sugar?
There are several good quality glucometers and continuous glucose monitors available in the market that can help you measure and monitor if your blood glucose level is normal. A continuous glucose monitor uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure blood glucose every few minutes. But do contact your endocrinologist to see what measuring equipment you need.
When does one check blood sugar?
If you suspect or have type 2 diabetes, there are four times to check your blood glucose level:
· First thing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything
· Before a meal
· Two hours after a meal
· Just before you go to bed at night
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, your doctor may want to check more often than this.
How do you know you are at risk for type 2 diabetes?
Anyone can develop type 2 diabetes, but certain risk factors can increase your chances:
· Age over 45 years
· Sedentary lifestyle
· Being overweight or obese
· Unbalanced diet
· Family history of diabetes
· Polycystic ovary syndrome
· Medical history of gestational diabetes, heart disease, stroke
Could you explain the types of diabetes?
There are essentially two main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes: This used to be known as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes because it is commonly seen in children. But in fact, type 1 diabetes can occur at any age. It is significantly less common than type 2 diabetes. Moreover, only 5-10% of people with diabetes have type 1. The cause of Type 1 diabetes is that the pancreas doesn’t make insulin or makes very little of it. Without insulin, glucose can’t enter cells to give you energy and instead build up in the bloodstream.
No one knows how type 1 diabetes can be prevented, but it can be treated by keeping blood sugar levels normal through insulin and medication, getting regular health checkups, and following a healthy and balanced diet.
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Type 2 diabetes: This is a very common condition – according to the World Health Organisation, more than 422 million people worldwide have diabetes. This is a condition where the body cannot regulate and uses glucose, resulting in too much circulating in the bloodstream. A balanced diet, medication in some cases, exercise, and losing weight can help to manage type 2 diabetes.
What are some ways to manage blood sugar levels?
Here are some ways of keeping blood glucose levels normal:
· Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables
· Get regular physical exercise
· Reduce stress levels through walks, meditation, and breathing exercises
· Keep track of blood sugar level
· Eat at regular times
· Do not skip meals
· Choose foods lower in calories – boiled vegetables instead of deep-fried
· Track food, drink, and physical activity
· Swap for health – Water instead of sweetened soda
· Limit alcohol
· Control food portions – try filling half the plate with non-starchy vegetables, a quarter with lean protein, and a quarter with a grain
What is worrying about high blood sugar levels?
Type 2 diabetes affects major organs, including the heart, nerves, and kidneys. Here are some complications that can arise out of not keeping blood glucose levels normal:
Atherosclerosis: Diabetes is associated with an increased risk of heart and blood vessel disease, stroke, and hypertension.
Neuropathy: Diabetes can show up as tingling, numbness, burning, pain, or eventual loss of feeling in the limbs. This means that diabetes has damaged or destroyed nerves.
Renal failure: Diabetes may lead to chronic kidney disease. Patients may need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Eye damage: Cataracts and glaucoma are common in those with diabetes.
Skin conditions: Diabetes may lead to skin problems such as bacterial and fungal infections.
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What is diabetic ketoacidosis?
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a condition that occurs when the body breaks down fat for fuel rather than sugar because of a lack of insulin. As a result, acids called ketones accumulate in the bloodstream. Certain illnesses, pregnancy, and medications — including certain diabetes medications – can trigger this condition.
Although diabetic ketoacidosis is usually less severe in type 2 diabetes, the toxicity of the acids can be life-threatening. Signs of diabetic ketoacidosis include:
· Frequent urination
· Increased thirst
· Abdominal pain
· Shortness of breath
· Fruity-smelling breath
Conclusion: When it comes to diabetes management, the sooner the better
Recognising the early signs of type 2 diabetes is important because getting appropriate treatment at the right time, will improve your quality of life and reduce the risk of complications such as heart disease, stroke, renal disease, eye ailments, sexual problems, and so on.
Keeping blood glucose levels normal is crucial for preventing these complications. The longer you delay treatment, the higher the risk of health problems.