As a diabetic patient, you might be curious about your normal blood sugar levels. Probably, your doctor, nurse, or physician assistant would have mentioned it at one time or the other. But since there are many things to think about, you might have forgotten about that vital information.
Most times, you’ll have to work from 9 am to 5 pm, pay the mortgage, take care of your children and more. So, keeping track of your blood glucose level might be the last thing to think about. Don’t beat yourself up about this. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing the normal blood sugar levels.
What is Blood Sugar?
It would be a wrong turn to dive into the topic of discussion without knowing what blood sugar means. At a point in time, you’ve probably heard blood sugar but don’t know what it implies. You are not alone. That’s why we are here to enlighten you about basic things to know about blood sugar.
In simple terms, blood glucose or sugar is the sugar content in your blood. That’s an easy answer to a seemingly difficult question, right? Let’s break this down a little bit.
Blood glucose is produced by carbohydrates from bread, rice, corn and even some fruits you consume. And since cells in our bodies need glucose for energy, the carbohydrates are converted to glucose. Note that every activity we perform requires the use of energy.
A few of the activities are breathing, walking, running, thinking, and many others. Most importantly, the brain makes use of half of all the energy from glucose in our body.
Why Does Diabetes Occur in the Body?
Have you ever wondered why the food we enjoy eating suddenly becomes a problem? Normally, carbohydrates are supposed to provide energy to enable you to perform several activities. Then what went wrong?
This is a common question diabetic patients sometimes ask. And we’ll be providing the answer.
There is an organ named the pancreas located between the stomach and the spine. When we eat, this organ releases enzymes that enable the body to break down food. It also releases certain hormones that help the body process the glucose released. Among these hormones is insulin that helps to control blood glucose levels. As useful as this hormone is, things can still go wrong.
In the case of diabetes 1, the pancreas doesn’t make sufficient insulin or has stopped producing it. As a result of this, the glucose level will arise inevitably.
For patients suffering from diabetes 2, their pancreas works perfectly by producing enough insulin. There is no problem in that area. Where the problem lies in the inability of the cells to maximize the insulin perfectly. An increase in blood sugar level will become unavoidable. Another name for this condition is insulin resistance.
High blood glucose levels can be devastating and frustrating. Fatigue, change in diet, weight loss, frequent visits to the hospital and fatigue can not be prevented. Also called hypoglycemia, high blood glucose an result in other serious illnesses like diabetic ketoacidosis. If not taken seriously on time, complications such as eye disease, kidney problems and nerve damage can occur. That’s why you shouldn’t wait until the situation gets worse before seeking help.
How to know your normal blood sugar levels
Unlike other illnesses, there is no precise way to feel your blood sugar levels. At times, you might not feel the symptoms of high or low blood glucose. Surprisingly, many people who have Type 2 diabetes didn’t experience any symptoms. That’s one major reason people live in this condition for several years without detecting it.
To determine what your blood glucose sugar is, simply check it with a glucose meter. All you need to do is to use a lancet to get blood and drop it on a test stripe. Next thing is to insert the strip into a meter for reading. As for the meter, your doctor can provide that, but I don’t think test strips and lancets are free.
CGM, also known as Continuous Glucose Meter, can be used to determine if your blood sugar is high. It reads sugar from the intestinal fluid every five minutes.
What Do Numbers Mean?
Usually, your doctor will advise you to come around regularly, based on your diabetes treatment plan. It might be once a day, a week, or several times a day. However, it might skip their mind to tell you, so just ask.
Let’s assume you see 100, 68, or 300 on your meter, what does that mean? What’s a normal blood sugar level anyway? Without knowing these seemingly simple details, it would be hard to determine if you have normal blood sugar levels or not.
Now when we use the word “Normal”, it means conforming to a regular pattern, the accurate range it is supposed to be.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), some goals must be attained by diabetic patients. However, this depends solely on when you are checking your blood glucose.
• Fasting (before eating the first meal of the day) and before meals: 80–130 mg/dl (4.4–7.2 mmol/L)
• Postprandial (one to two hours after a meal): Less than 180 mg/dl (10.0 mmol/L)
These guidelines should not be obeyed by pregnant women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Note that the goals of children, adolescents and pregnant women vary significantly.
If you are still young, you’ll have had diabetes for a shorter amount of time, or are not taking any medicine for your diabetes, your glucose goals might not be complex. But your blood glucose goals may be higher than what ADA recommends if you’re older, have diabetes complications, or don’t experience symptoms when your blood sugar low.
Experiencing diabetes can exhausting Psychologically and physically. But with adherence to your doctor’s instructions, there shouldn’t be complications. Don’t forget to ask questions like when to check your blood glucose, and how often you should check it.
Remember to keep a log of your glucose levels. Get a pencil and paper, a spreadsheet or a smartphone app to monitor your normal blood sugar level.
Most importantly, ask questions from your diabetes educator. Don’t assume they should tell you what you need to know if you aren’t interested in the necessary information. This is your health and you deserve to know if you have a normal blood sugar level or not. No information is unimportant when it comes to matters of your health.
Part of the Diet for Weight Loss Editorial Team 2021