Glucose, or blood sugar, is essential in several body functions. If your glucose level is well managed, you’ll not experience any symptoms. However, extremely low or high glucose levels can affect your body’s function.
Glucose is one of the simplest carbohydrates, also called a monosaccharide, meaning one sugar. Other monosaccharides include ribose, fructose and galactose. These forms of monosaccharide and dietary glucose are converted into blood glucose in the body. Glucose, protein, and fat are the body’s primary fuel source.
You can get glucose from both simple and complex carbohydrate sources. This classification depends on how fast your body digests the sugar. Examples of each of these carbohydrate sources include
|Table sugar||Whole grains|
|White bread, pasta and rice||Oats|
The body digests complex carbohydrates slowly, which makes them a more steady energy source and a healthier option. Unmanaged blood glucose levels can cause severe and permanent health effects.
The body uses glucose several times daily. When you eat, your body starts processing glucose and other carbohydrates, and then enzymes, with the help of your pancreas, will break them down.
The pancreas produces hormones like insulin, which is essential in glucose metabolism. Eating signals your pancreas to release insulin to manage excess blood sugar. The muscle and other cells use glucose for energy or store it as fat for future use.
Diabetes may occur when the pancreas does not produce insulin as it should. This may require you to get insulin to process and regulate glucose levels in your body.
A review in 2018 suggests that diabetes may result from insulin resistance. In this case, the cells in the body do not recognise insulin, causing excess sugar to remain in the blood.
When your body doesn’t respond to insulin as it should, glucose cannot enter your cells for use as energy. The cells respond by signalling ketone production, usually at night, during dieting or fasting.
Over time, people with insulin resistance will experience low insulin levels. The body may also release fat stored in fat cells, and the liver continues to release more ketones which lovers your blood pH.
When the body can’t use glucose as it needs, ketone accumulation and a change in the blood pH occur, which is dangerous. Ketoacidosis develops – a severe, life-threatening complication resulting from diabetes that requires immediate medical attention.
Healthcare professionals advise that monitoring glucose levels is necessary for people with diabetes. Each person with diabetes has different gaols and needs, which will determine the ideal time and frequency for checking blood sugar.
You should consult your doctor to manage your glucose levels and know when you should check your levels. Depending on your case, the doctor may suggest checking your glucose levels:
Consulting your doctor helps you determine your glucose level goals since your goal depends on your condition and other factors like health history and age.
A simple blood test is a common option to test your glucose levels at home if you have diabetes. The following steps can help you use a blood glucose meter.
When managing diabetes, you may want to speak to your doctor about using a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system. This device automatically keeps track of your blood sugar levels 24 hours daily.
The system uses a small sensor inserted under your skin, usually on your arm or stomach, to transmit readings to a monitor. A CGM continuously checks and records your glucose levels and signals if the glucose levels become too low or high.
The benefits of CGM include:
Studies show that most people using CGM have type 1 diabetes, but experts are working to ensure it can help others, like people with type 2 diabetes.
Maintaining your glucose levels to be within the normal range is important for the optimal functioning of your body. People with diabetes need to be more diligent in managing their glucose levels.
A review in 2021 suggests that glucose levels below 100 mg/dL on an empty stomach are ideal for people without diabetes and less than 140 mg/dL 2 hours after a meal.
However, target glucose levels are different for those with diabetes and based on the individual’s situation. You will work with your doctor to determine your treatment goals.
Different things can cause a rise in glucose levels. These triggers include:
Coffee, including black coffee, may make you overly sensitive to caffeine increasing blood glucose.
Pain resulting from sunburn causes stress, which may elevate your blood sugar levels.
Skipping meals in the morning may increase your blood sugar levels after lunch and dinner.
Nose sprays and some medications can prevent insulin production or make your liver produce more glucose.
During the day, the body’s ability to manage glucose levels becomes more difficult. In the morning, the increase of hormones can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar, known as the dawn phenomenon.
Pressure and worrying a lot can increase your glucose levels.
The above are only a few blood glucose triggers. Certain activities and illnesses can also affect your blood sugar. If you think your blood glucose level isn’t well managed, consider speaking with your doctor.
A low blood sugar level is also called hypoglycaemia, and a high blood sugar level is called hyperglycemia.
Your blood glucose level will be too low if it dips below 70 mg/dL, a condition called hypoglycaemia, which can result in serious health issues.
Signs of hypoglycaemia include:
Hypoglycemia may occur when you take more than the prescribed dose of some diabetes medications. It may also occur when you eat fewer calories than your need or engage in more intense exercise or exercise for longer than usual.
Hypoglycemia may also occur in people who don’t have diabetes. Drinking juice or eating a meal may increase your glucose levels. Your doctor can help you develop a plan if your glucose levels dip. This may include having glucose supplements on hand.
Untreated hypoglycaemia may be fatal and require emergency treatment.
High blood sugar – hyperglycemia may occur when your body lacks sufficient insulin or cannot use the available insulin properly.
Blood sugar above 130 mg/dL before a mean is high, and the normal range 1 – 2 hours after a meal is 180 mg/dL or less. Your doctor will inform you of the specific range for your situation.
Symptoms of hyperglycemia include
Your regular range for blood glucose depends on several factors. Besides unmanaged diabetes, other factors can cause hyperglycemia. Anxiety and stress can result in inconsistent diabetes management, leading to more blood glucose.
Diet and physical activity are options to manage your blood sugar, but in some cases, exercise isn’t appropriate, and insulin is necessary. Your doctor will recommend the most suitable option to manage your blood sugar.
Over time, unmanaged or poorly managed glucose can negatively affect your body. Consistently high blood glucose levels may cause the following.
Other severe complications are
Hypoglycemia unawareness may occur due to several episodes of low blood glucose. This prevents you from noticing the signs of low blood sugar until glucose drops to a very low level.
When your glucose level is too low, you may experience the following.
If you think you have diabetes, consult your healthcare professionals. You should also get a blood sugar test at Health Screening Clinic to check your glucose levels.
Visit Health Screening Clinic today or call 02071830244 to book your glucose test.