What is Blood Sugar?
Blood sugar level basically refers to the amount of glucose present in human blood. The human body regulates glucose as a part of the body’s metabolic homeostasis. It is stored in the liver cells and skeletal muscles.
Glucose acts as the primary source of energy in the human body and is essential for the normal functioning of tissues, particularly the tissues present in the brain.
Blood sugar levels that lie outside the normal range may be an indicator of a severe medical condition. A persistently high blood sugar level is also known as hyperglycemia, while low levels are known as hypoglycemia.
What causes Hyperglycemia?
Sugar levels that are higher than average is considered to be unhealthy. These high levels can inhibit the ability of the cells present in the pancreas to produce insulin. The organ then overcompensates, and insulin levels remain high, causing permanent damage to the pancreas. They can also cause changes that can harden blood vessels.
There are many reasons as to why one’s blood sugar level might increase. These include the following:
- Skipping your insulin or oral glucose-lowering medication, or forgetting to take it
- Eating too many carbohydrates
- Having an infection
- Being ill
- Being overly stressed
- Insufficient physical exercise
- Taking part in demanding physical activities, especially if insulin levels are low
What causes Hypoglycemia?
Diabetic patients often suffer from low blood sugar levels when their bodies don’t have the right amount of sugar needed. When the amount of sugar in the bloodstream drops and becomes less than four mm/L, the person’s blood sugar level decreases. There are many different symptoms of this condition, and include the following:
- Skipping out on meals
- Not eating on time
- Working out more than usual
- Increasing your medications
- Drinking alcohol excessively
Signs and Symptoms of Hyperglycemia
While there are different signs of high blood sugar levels, the following are some common early symptoms that make it easy to identify the condition. These include:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent peeing
- Blurred vision
- Trouble concentrating
- Fatigue (weakness, feeling tired)
- Weight loss
- Blood sugar that is more than 180 mg/dL
Symptoms of ongoing blood sugar levels include:
- Slow-healing sores and cuts
- Worse vision
- Vaginal infections
- Skin infections
- Stomach and intestinal issues (chronic constipation, diarrhea)
- Damage to the eyes, kidneys and blood vessels
- Nerve damage (cold and insensitive feet, hair loss on the lower extremities, erectile dysfunction, etc.)
Signs and Symptoms of Hypoglycemia
There are different early signs of low blood sugar levels. The following are some common early symptoms that make it easy to identify the condition. These include:
- Hunger pangs
- Numbness of tongue and lips
Extreme Low Blood Sugar can cause
- Confusion and disorientation
- Loss of consciousness
High Blood Sugar Treatment
If you have diabetes and have noticed any of the above-mentioned early signs of high blood sugar levels, then you must seek proper treatment immediately. To keep your blood sugar levels regulated, the following high blood sugar treatment tips are recommended:
- Increase your water intake
- Workout more (unless you have type 1 or 2 diabetes and have ketones in your urine)
- Change your diet plan
- Your doctor may also change your dosage, as well as the time you take it, etc. (do not make any changes on your own)
Low Blood Sugar Treatment
Diabetic patients who also have hypoglycemia must get their blood sugar checked frequently.
People who experience a drop in their blood sugar levels after having a meal filled with sugar must make dietary changes. Avoid eating sugary foods and instead eat small meals throughout the day.
In cases where low levels blood sugar levels are occurring on an empty stomach, eating a snack with protein and / or a complex carbohydrate will often solve the problem.
Too much insulin can also cause a drop-in blood sugar levels. In such instances, it may be required to lower your insulin dosage or make changes to the time when you take your last dose for the day. Do not change your dosage unless your doctor has given you approval to do so.
As part of low blood sugar treatment, you must eat or drink at least 15 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate such as:
- 2 to 3 glucose tablets
- A tube of glucose gel
- 5 to 6 pieces of hard candy
- Half a cup of skim milk
- Half a cup of juice or soft drink
- One tablespoon of honey (put the honey under your tongue so that it’s absorbed into the bloodstream faster)
After you’ve eaten any one of the foods mentioned above, wait for 15minutes before rechecking your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is still lower than 70mg/dL, then have another serving of the food or beverage chosen from the list above. Repeat the following steps until your blood sugar levels become normal.
In instances where a person faints due to low blood sugar levels, they should be given a glucagon injection. This is a medication that helps to raise blood sugar in severe cases. However, do make sure that you know how to give the injection beforehand. Do not give any drink, food or insulin to an unconscious person, as they may choke.
What is a normal Blood Glucose Level?
The amount of sugar (glucose) present in the body is measured in mg/dL. This amount of sugar present in the bloodstream changes throughout the day and night. So, your blood sugar level entirely depends on when you eat, what you eat and how much you eat, among other factors. The number of hours you’ve exercised that day matters as well.
So, what is a healthy blood sugar level? Well, if you have not eaten anything for at least 8 hours, then your blood sugar level should be less than 100mg/dL. And two hours after you have eaten, your blood sugar level should be less than 140 mg/dL.
For people without diabetes, blood sugar levels before any meal are usually around 70-80 mg/dL.
- Local Kitchen Blog – data diva: sugar metabolism & homeostasis
- Medline Plus – Ketones in Urine