Defining the Blood Sugar Levels
Blood sugar levels play a vital role in determining your overall health. To understand the importance of these levels, it is essential to know why this topic is discussed so often. Blood sugar levels are controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is produced in the pancreas. Sugarlevels shoot up when insulin production is disrupted. High levels of blood sugar can result in several complications in the long run. This is why you should monitor your blood sugar levels. People with diabetes usually carry a glucometer with them to monitor their blood sugar levels at regular intervals.
You may wonder what the normal sugar level is. For every individual, with or without diabetes, the normal range of blood sugar levels is 90-110 mg/dl. If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you may find it challenging to maintain blood sugar levels in the normal range for random blood sugar. You may experience very high levels of blood sugar or frequent low levels. People with diabetes usually get an overall three-monthly blood sugar test to determine their HbA1c levels. The HbA1c test measures the amount of glucose bound with the haemoglobin present in the red blood cells. If the HbA1c levels remain elevated for a long time, you may experience the detrimental effects of high blood sugar levels.
What Should Your Blood Glucose Levels Be?
While the normal sugar level in human body is when the value lies between 90-110 mg/ dl, the time of checking the blood sugar levels plays an important role. Timing your measurement of sugar levels is key because they vary at different times.
There are primarily two standards to measure blood glucose levels: fasting and postprandial. A sugar fasting level is calculated at least eight hours after a meal. The blood glucose level in the fasting state should be less than 100 mg/dl. Blood glucose levels can also be measured after meals. The expected value of postprandial blood glucose levels is below 140 mg/dl.
Sometimes an oral glucose tolerance test is also used to detect diabetes. This test is a two-step procedure. The first step is to collect a blood sample in the fasting state. Next, 75g of glucose is administered, and a blood sample is collected after two hours.
Achieving an average blood glucose level is a misnomer. It has been observed that normal sugar level usually refers to blood sugar levels if a person does not have diabetes. However, even if you do not have diabetes, you may experience spikes in blood sugar levels, especially after eating or consuming sugar. Although the body’s mechanism will bring back the sugar levels to normal, the blood sugar levels remain higher than normal for a brief time. A similar situation is seen when you perform intense exercise or are under stress.
What Causes Spikes in Blood Sugar Levels?
Through digestion, the body breaks down carbohydrates into simple compounds like glucose. Glucose is usually absorbed and enters the bloodstream. However, it can not enter cells without insulin. When the glucose is unable to enter the cells, blood glucose levels reach higher levels. There are certain conditions where the balance between insulin and blood glucose levels breaks down. Some of them are as follows:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Not using insulin or medicines if you have been diagnosed with diabetes
- Having an illness or infection
- Using certain medicines like steroids
- Undergoing a surgery
- Experiencing extreme emotional stress, such as family problems or workplace issues
Stress and illness can trigger high blood glucose levels. The trigger is because your body’s hormones to fight illness or stress can cause sugar levels to rise.
Complications of High Blood Sugar Levels
Sugar fasting levels should also be checked to maintain a sugar level chart. High levels of blood sugar can have long-term complications. These include cardiovascular diseases, nerve damage, kidney damage, damage to the retina’s blood vessels, and joint problems.
People with high blood sugar levels are susceptible to infections related to gum and teeth. Sometimes, the nerves and blood vessels supplying the limbs can get damaged, leading to severe skin problems and ulceration. People who suffer from high blood sugar levels and ulcers may have to undergo amputation.
How to control Blood Sugar Levels?
The following precautionary steps should be taken to maintain normal blood glucose levels:
- Regular exercise
It has been observed that daily exercise helps increase insulin sensitivity. Some of the recommended exercises are light walking or simple resistance exercises. Daily exercise also helps beat a sedentary lifestyle.
- Manage your intake of carbohydrate
Overeating carbohydrates can increase blood sugar levels to abnormally high levels. Therefore, you should be aware of your carbohydrate intake.
- Increase the fibre content in your food
Fibre helps decrease the rate of digestion of carbohydrates and absorption of sugar, thereby causing a gradual rise in blood sugar levels.
- Manage your stress levels
Stress can affect blood glucose levels. When stressed, the body secretes hormones like glucagon and cortisol, which cause blood sugar levels to rise. Hence, one must focus on exercise, meditation, and relaxation techniques to keep stress hormones under check.
- Monitor your blood sugar levels
You can calculate your blood sugar levels at home using a glucometer. Keeping track of the sugar fasting levels and post-prandial sugar levels helps to adjust the meals and medications. It also helps to understand how our body reacts to certain foods.
Keeping track of normal sugar levels is of utmost importance. Tracking is essential because unregulated blood sugar levels adversely affect health. Normal blood glucose levels are affected by several factors. People with diabetes may need continuous monitoring, medication, and other lifestyle modifications to manage high blood sugar levels.