Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, refers to the concentration of glucose (a type of sugar) in the bloodstream. Glucose is the primary source of energy for the body’s cells and is obtained from the food we eat. After we eat, our body breaks down carbohydrates in food into glucose and releases it into the bloodstream. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps to regulate the amount of glucose in the blood by allowing cells to absorb glucose for energy or storing it for later use. The level of glucose in the blood is usually measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L), and a normal fasting blood sugar level is between 70-100 mg/dL (3.9-5.6 mmol/L) for most people. High blood sugar levels over time can lead to complications such as diabetes, while low blood sugar levels can cause symptoms like dizziness, confusion, and fatigue.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects the way the body processes glucose (sugar). The two main types of diabetes are type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin injections or use an insulin pump to manage their blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body becomes resistant to insulin or does not produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. This type of diabetes is often linked to lifestyle factors such as obesity, physical inactivity, and poor diet. People with type 2 diabetes may be able to manage their blood sugar levels through diet and exercise, oral medications, or insulin therapy.
Symptoms of diabetes:
Symptoms of diabetes can include increased thirst and urination, unexplained weight loss, blurry vision, fatigue, and slow-healing sores or infections. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health complications such as heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, kidney damage, and blindness.
When and how should I check my diabetes?
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or are at high risk of developing the condition, it is important to check your blood sugar levels regularly to help manage your condition and prevent complications.
The frequency and timing of blood sugar checks will depend on the type of diabetes you have, the medications you are taking, and your overall health status. Your doctor or diabetes educator can provide specific guidance on how often you should check your blood sugar levels.
In general, people with type 1 diabetes need to check their blood sugar levels multiple times a day, typically before meals and at bedtime. People with type 2 diabetes may need to check their blood sugar levels less frequently, depending on their treatment plan.
Blood sugar can be measured using a glucose meter, which uses a small drop of blood obtained by pricking the finger with a lancet. Some glucose meters are also equipped with continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems, which use a small sensor inserted under the skin to provide real-time glucose readings.
It is important to keep a record of your blood sugar readings and share them with your healthcare team to help them adjust your treatment plan as needed. Additionally, if you experience symptoms of low blood sugar (such as sweating, shakiness, or confusion) or high blood sugar (such as increased thirst, frequent urination, or fatigue), it is important to check your blood sugar levels immediately and take appropriate action.
What happens if my blood glucose becomes too high?
Your body may not be able to effectively digest the additional glucose if your blood glucose level becomes too high (a condition known as hyperglycemia), which can cause several symptoms and potentially life-threatening problems. High blood sugar levels can cause several symptoms, such as increased thirst, frequent urination, weariness, impaired vision, and sluggish wound or sore healing. High blood sugar levels can cause more severe symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, dehydration, fast breathing, confusion, and unconsciousness if they are not treated. Your blood vessels, nerves, and organs may become damaged over time as a result of high blood sugar levels, raising your risk of long-term consequences like heart attack and stroke are two examples of cardiovascular disease kidney failure caused by kidney injury (nephropathy) Nerve injury (neuropathy), which can affect other parts of the body as well as the hands and feet, is a source of pain, tingling, and numbness. Retinopathy is an eye disorder that can cause blindness and foot injuries that could result in amputation. Working closely with your healthcare team is essential if you have diabetes or high blood sugar symptoms to regulate your blood sugar levels and avoid problems. This could entail making adjustments to your food, exercise routine, and medication schedule in addition to routinely checking your blood sugar levels.
What happens if my blood glucose level becomes low?
Having hypoglycemia, or having blood glucose levels that are too low, can result in a variety of symptoms as well as potentially life-threatening complications.
Sweating, shakiness, dizziness, hunger, headache, irritability, confusion, and blurred vision are a few typical signs of low blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar levels can result in more severe symptoms like seizures, unconsciousness, and even coma if left untreated.
Numerous things, such as taking excessive amounts of insulin or diabetic medicine, skipping or postponing meals, exercising more than usual, or consuming alcohol without food, might result in low blood sugar levels.
It’s critical to take immediate action to raise your blood sugar levels if you encounter low blood sugar symptoms. A fast-acting carbohydrate, such as fruit juice, candies, or glucose pills, can be used to achieve this. The next step is to have a snack or meal that combines carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to help control your blood sugar.
It’s crucial to discuss changing your medication schedule or other aspects of your diabetes management strategy with your healthcare provider if you frequently encounter low blood sugar episodes or have trouble identifying the symptoms.
Will smoking and diabetes ever rule the world?
Smoking can affect diabetes negatively and raise the likelihood of getting the disease and its consequences. Smoking has been linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, according to research. Additionally, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, and eye disease are all heightened risks for those with diabetes who smoke. Smoking can raise the chance of developing diabetic problems and make it harder to control blood sugar levels. The addictive substance in tobacco, nicotine, can increase insulin resistance, which can result in elevated blood sugar levels. Additionally, smoking can harm blood vessels and create inflammation, which raises the risk of complications from diabetes.
Whether you have diabetes or not, quitting smoking is one of the most crucial things you can do to enhance your general health. Quitting smoking if you have diabetes can lower your risk of complications and improve blood sugar control. You can get advice and support from your medical team to stop smoking.
Best natural sugar for diabetics
While there isn’t a single natural sweetener that is “best” for diabetics, some natural sweeteners may be preferable to refined sugar or other artificial sweeteners. Listed below are some natural sweeteners that diabetics may find beneficial:
Stevia: The leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant are used to make stevia, a natural sweetener. It is a wonderful choice for those with diabetes because it has no calories and does not cause blood sugar levels to rise.
Monk Fruit: The fruit of the monk fruit plant is used as a natural sweetener. It has no calories and doesn’t make you feel sugary.
The sugar alcohol erythritol is naturally present in several fruits and vegetables. It does not cause blood sugar levels to rise and has fewer calories than sugar.
Another sugar alcohol that is naturally present in various fruits and vegetables is xylitol. Compared to sugar, it has a lower glycemic index and is less likely to cause blood sugar to surge.
List of foods that raise blood sugar levels
Numerous foods can increase blood sugar levels, particularly in diabetics. Here are a few typical instances:
Sweetened tea, soda, fruit juice, and sports drinks are examples of sugary beverages. These drinks frequently contain a lot of sugar and can quickly raise blood sugar levels.
Refined carbohydrates: This category includes products prepared with refined flour, such as white bread, white rice, and pasta. These foods break down quickly and can raise blood sugar levels quickly.
Desserts like cakes, cookies, and candies as well as sweetened yogurt and ice cream are all considered sweet snacks. These foods can quickly raise blood sugar levels since they frequently have high sugar content.
Starchy vegetables: This includes potatoes, corn, and peas. These vegetables are high in carbohydrates and can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels.
Processed snacks: This includes chips, crackers, and pretzels. These snacks are often high in carbohydrates and can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels.
Fruit: While fruit is generally a healthy choice, some types of fruit are higher in sugar than others and can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. Examples include bananas, grapes, and mangoes. Read more
Foods to avoid with gestational blood sugar
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that commonly appears in the second or third trimester of pregnancy. High blood sugar levels result from it when the body is unable to manufacture or utilize insulin appropriately.
A glucose tolerance test, which involves drinking a sugary solution and having your blood sugar levels monitored over time, is typically used to detect gestational diabetes. If a woman has specific risk factors, such as being overweight or coming from a family with diabetes, she might also have her blood sugar levels checked earlier in her pregnancy.
Instead, it’s a good idea to focus on foods that are low in carbohydrates and have a low glycemic index (GI). Examples include:
Non-starchy vegetables: This includes leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, and peppers.
Whole grains: This includes foods like quinoa, brown rice, and whole-grain bread.
Lean protein: This includes foods like chicken, fish, and tofu.
Healthy fats: This includes foods like nuts, seeds, and avocado.
Well, these are the reasons for blood sugar, diabetes and how we should we treat it.