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How To Read Your Blood Sugar Level

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How Do I Prepare For The Plasma Glucose Level Test And How Are The Results Interpreted

Checking Your Blood Sugar Level

To get an accurate plasma glucose level, you must have fasted for at least 8 hours prior to the test. When you report to the clinic or laboratory, a small sample of blood will be taken from a vein in your arm. According to the practice recommendations of the American Diabetes Association, the results of the blood test are interpreted as follows:

Fasting blood glucose level

  • If your blood glucose level is 70 to 99* mg/dL . . .
  • What it means: Your glucose level is within the normal range
  • If your blood glucose level is 100 to 125 mg/dL . . .
  • What it means: You have an impaired fasting glucose level . . .
  • If your blood glucose level is 126 mg/dl or higher on more than one testing occasion
  • What it means: You have diabetes
  • *Values between 50 and 70 are often seen in healthy people

    **The condition of “prediabetes” puts you at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and blood lipid disorders

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/21/2018.

    References

    High Blood Sugar Level Causes

    Several types of diabetes and medical conditions are the primary cause of high blood sugar levels. Most of which are unpreventable issues but are the reason for a spike in high blood sugar. The causes for high blood sugar levels are as follows:

    Causes of low blood sugar levels are very different and are as important to be aware of, as they are in fact easier to control.

    How Can One Tell If I Have Diabetes By Examining My Blood

    Your body converts sugar, also called glucose, into energy so your body can function. The sugar comes from the foods you eat and is released from storage from your bodys own tissues.

    Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas. Its job is to move glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of tissues. After you eat, the level of glucose in the blood rises sharply. The pancreas responds by releasing enough insulin to handle the increased level of glucose moving the glucose out of the blood and into cells. This helps return the blood glucose level to its former, lower level.

    If a person has diabetes, two situations may cause the blood sugar to increase:

    • The pancreas does not make enough insulin
    • The insulin does not work properly

    As a result of either of these situations, the blood sugar level remains high, a condition called hyperglycemia or diabetes mellitus. If left undiagnosed and untreated, the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, blood vessels and other organs can be damaged. Measuring your blood glucose levels allows you and your doctor to know if you have, or are at risk for, developing diabetes.

    Much less commonly, the opposite can happen too. Too low a level of blood sugar, a condition called hypoglycemia, can be caused by the presence of too much insulin or by other hormone disorders or liver disease.

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    How Can I Check My Blood Sugar

    Use a blood sugar meter or a continuous glucose monitor to check your blood sugar. A blood sugar meter measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip. A CGM uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. If you use a CGM, youll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.

    Who Should Use A Glucometer

    What Is Low Blood Sugar Levels * Diabetes Treatment Dmska

    If you have type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, latent autoimmune diabetes in adults , or were diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy, a major part of your treatment plan should be regularly testing your blood glucose levels with a glucometer.

    Frequent glucometer use can help you:

    • Check how controlled your blood sugar is and whether it’s high or low
    • Recognize patterns when you’re more likely to have a spike or crash in glucose
    • See how your glucose levels respond after exercise or in times of stress
    • Monitor the effects of diabetes medications and other therapies
    • Assess how well you’re meeting specific treatment goals

    Read Also: How To Counter Low Blood Sugar

    How Do I Check

    People with diabetes check their blood sugar levels by poking their fingertips and using a blood glucose meter or a continuous glucose monitor to measure the blood glucose level at that moment. Read on to find out how to use a blood glucose meter. To find out more about CGMs, start by talking to your doctor.

    How To Do A Finger

    Your healthcare team will show you how to do it the first time, but these are the key steps:

    • Wash your hands with soap and warm water. Dont use wet wipes as the glycerine in them can affect the test result. Make sure your hands are warm so its easier to get blood and wont hurt as much.
    • Take a test strip and slot it into the meter to turn it on. Some meters will have tests strips built in.
    • Remove the cap from your finger prick device and put in a new lancet. Then put the cap back on and set the device by pulling or clicking the plunger.
    • Choose which finger to prick but avoid your thumb or index finger . And dont prick the middle, or too close to a nail. Place the device against the side of your finger and press the plunger. Use a different finger each time and a different area.
    • Take your meter with the test strip and hold it against the drop of blood. Itll tell you if the test strip is filled, usually by beeping.
    • Before you look at your reading, check your finger. Use a tissue to stop bleeding, then use it to take out the lancet and throw it away in your sharps bin.
    • You can use the same tissue to take out the test strip and throw that away too. Taking out the strip will usually turn the meter off.

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    What Should I Do If My Glucose Levels Are Too High

    You should establish a treatment plan with your doctor. You may be able to manage your glucose levels through diet and other lifestyle changes, like weight loss. Exercise can also help lower your glucose levels.

    Medications may be added to your treatment if needed. Most people with type 2 diabetes will start on metformin as their first medication. There are many different types of diabetes medications that act in different ways.

    Injecting insulin is one way to quickly reduce your glucose levels. Your doctor may prescribe insulin if you need help managing your glucose levels. Your doctor will determine your dosage and go over with you how to inject it, and when.

    Let your doctor know if your glucose levels are consistently high. This could mean you need to take regular medication or make other changes to your diabetes treatment plan. Working with your doctor to get your glucose levels under control is important. Consistently high levels can lead to serious complications, like diabetic neuropathy or kidney failure.

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    What Are Considered Normal Blood Sugar Levels

    You might not have diabetes now, but do you know the risk factors?

    In 2015, 22% of Canadian adults were pre-diabetic and the number of Canadians suffering from diabetes has increased by 44% in the last 10 years. As the leading cause of blindness, kidney problems, and non-trauma amputations, it is important to protect ourselves against diabetes.

    But its not all bad news, diabetes is often a preventable disease. Knowing whether you have normal blood sugar levels is one of the best indicators of risk. If your blood sugar levels are high, mindful eating and lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

    Read on for all the hottest tips on how to manage your blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes.

    Different Levels And What They Mean

    The ranges of safe levels of blood glucose depend on factors such as what time of day it is and when you last ate. Safe levels of blood sugar are high enough to supply your organs with the sugar they need, but low enough to prevent symptoms of hyperglycemia or complications of diabetes which follow the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases guides. Dangerous levels of blood glucose are outside of this range.

    The target levels can also vary if you have diabetes. For example, if you are diabetic and are monitoring your blood sugar, you might get a reading of 65 mg/dl. That is considered to be mild hypoglycemia, and you would be wise to eat 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates and retest your blood sugar in 15 minutes.

    If you were not diabetic, you probably would not know that your sugar was low because you would not test and because you would not symptoms, and you would not act.

    That is fine because your body is capable, under normal circumstances, of raising your blood glucose to healthy levels when needed, even if you have not eaten. It is important to keep them in control to help prevent issues like heart disease or nerve damage.

    Looking for the best prediabetes diet? Learn what foods are best to help you manage your prediabetes.

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    How Can I Treat High Blood Sugar

    Talk to your doctor about how to keep your blood sugar levels within your target range. Your doctor may suggest the following:

    • Be more active. Regular exercise can help keep your blood sugar levels on track. Important: dont exercise if ketones are present in your urine. This can make your blood sugar go even higher.
    • Take medicine as instructed. If your blood sugar is often high, your doctor may change how much medicine you take or when you take it.
    • Follow your diabetes meal plan. Ask your doctor or dietitian for help if youre having trouble sticking to it.
    • Check your blood sugar as directed by your doctor. Check more often if youre sick or if youre concerned about high or low blood sugar.
    • Talk to your doctor about adjusting how much insulin you take and what types of insulin to use.

    Low Blood Sugar Symptoms

    Avoiding imbalance of sugar levels

    Hypoglycemia happens when blood glucose levels drop too low. Low blood sugar can be caused by many things including the two different types of diabetes, certain medications, alcohol, endocrine disorders, eating disorders, pregnancy , and disorders of the liver, kidneys, or heart.

    Here are some of the most common symptoms that someone with low blood sugar might experience:

    • Lightheadedness
    • Fainting
    • Tingling lips

    If your blood sugar is low you might start to feel some of the first signs of hypoglycemia like dizziness, lightheadedness, or sweating. The only way to know for sure if your blood sugar is low is to test it with a glucose meter or other glucose monitoring device.

    If you dont have access to these tools and start to feel the symptoms of low blood sugar, consume 15 grams of carbs or take a quick dissolve glucose tablet to raise your blood sugar levels and avoid further symptoms, according to the American Diabetes Association . Once your blood sugar is back in its target range, you can have a snack or meal to make sure it doesnt drop again.

    Here are some other lifestyle and medicinal treatments that can help treat hypoglycemia:

    • Eat a healthy diet full of whole foods that are minimally processed.
    • Take prediabetes or diabetes medications as recommended by your healthcare provider.
    • Use a glucagon kit in emergencies. Glucagon is a hormone that raises blood sugar levels quickly.

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    When Blood Sugar Is Too Low

    Glucose is a sugar that comes from the foods we eat, and it’s also formed and stored inside the body. It’s the main source of energy for the cells of our body, and is carried to each cell through the bloodstream. Our brains depend on glucose to function, even when we’re sleeping.

    The is the amount of glucose in the blood. When these levels drop too low, it’s called hypoglycemia . Very low blood sugar levels can cause serious symptoms that need to be treated right away.

    Levels After Youve Eaten

    Many foods have types of carbohydrates called starches and sugars. When you eat foods with these types of carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is a type of simple sugar, and releases the glucose into your bloodstream. Aside from glucose produced by your liver, food is the main source of plasma glucose.

    Two hours after eating, your blood sugar levels rise. They rise more when you eat more carbohydrates, when you do not eat fiber, fat, or protein with your carbs, and when you eat certain types of carbohydrates, such as refined sugars and starches.

    These are target values from The Joslin Diabetes Center, which include levels for people with diabetes:

    When Measured

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    Blood Sugar Level Chart By Age

    Blood sugar levels tend to rise with age due to an increase in insulin resistance and decrease in insulin sensitivity. In one study by the National Health Institute , each extra decade of age was linked to a 2.7 mg/dl increase in fasting glucose, and a 4.5 mg/dl increase in 2-hour post-prandial glucose levels.

    Who Is Most At Risk For Developing Diabetes

    How to test your blood glucose (sugar) levels

    The following categories of people are considered “high-risk” candidates for developing diabetes:

    • Individuals who are overweight or obese
    • Individuals who are 45 years of age or older
    • Individuals with first-degree relatives with diabetes
    • Individuals who are African-American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asia American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islanders,
    • Women who developed diabetes while they were pregnant or gave birth to large babies
    • Individuals with high blood pressure
    • Individuals with high-density lipoprotein below 25 mg/dl or triglyceride levels at or above 250 mg/dl
    • Individuals who have impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance
    • Individuals who are physically inactive engaging in exercise less than three times a week
    • Individuals who have polycystic ovary syndrome, also called PCOS
    • Individuals who have acanthosis nigricans — dark, thick and velvety skin around your neck or armpits

    In addition to testing the above individuals at high risk, the American Diabetes Association also recommends screening all individuals age 45 and older.

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    When Should I Test My Blood Sugar

    You may need to check your blood sugar several times a day, such as before meals or exercise, at bedtime, before driving, and when you think your blood sugar levels are low.

    Everyone is different, so ask your doctor when and how often you should check your blood sugar. If you’re sick, you’ll probably need to test your blood sugar more often.

    What Is Your Blood Sugar

    Your blood sugar, or glucose , is the sugar content found in your blood. Its a vital source of energy for your organs and muscles.

    Think of it like the fuel in your gas tank. Without gas pumping through your cars system, youre going to slow down and eventually come to a halt. Same with blood sugar, which is why people with low blood sugar often feel tired.

    You get it from the foods that you eat, and then a complex system involving the pancreas, liver, and small intestine regulates its distribution throughout your body. Your body is SUPER picky and only likes this stuff up to a certain level.

    Well get to glucose levels in a minute, but lets cover what glucose is first.

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    What Are The Target Ranges

    Blood glucose targets are individualized based on:

    • duration of diabetes
    • conditions a person may have
    • cardiovascular disease or diabetes complications
    • hypoglycemia unawareness
    • individual patient considerations

    The American Diabetes Association suggests the following targets for most nonpregnant adults with diabetes. A1C targets differ based on age and health. Also, more or less stringent glycemic goals may be appropriate for each individual.

    • A1C: Less than 7%A1C may also be reported as eAG: Less than 154 mg/dL
    • Before a meal : 80130 mg/dL
    • 1-2 hours after beginning of the meal *: Less than 180 mg/dL

    How To Read Blood Test Results

    Life

    It does matter if you are a marathon maven or a CrossFit champion, you should never overlook the importance of getting a regular checkup. While many people understand the importance of getting a regular checkup, they still have little information about how to read blood test results. By getting information about how to read these tests, you will get an idea about how well your organs are working. Keep reading to discover more.

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