Check Your Blood Sugar Often
Checking your blood sugar levels often and writing down, or using an app to track the results will tell you how well you are managing your diabetes. Talk to your doctor and diabetes educator about how often you should check your blood sugar.
- Not everyone with diabetes needs to check their blood sugar every day. But some people may need to check it many times a day.
- If you have type 1 diabetes, check your blood sugar at least 4 times a day.
Usually, you will test your blood sugar before meals and at bedtime. You may also check your blood sugar:
- After you eat out, particularly if you have eaten foods you dont normally eat
- If you feel sick
- Before and after you exercise
- If you have a lot of stress
- If you eat too much
- If you are taking new medicines that can affect your blood sugar
Keep a record for yourself and your provider. This will be a big help if you are having problems managing your diabetes. It will also tell you what works and what doesnt work, to keep your blood sugar under control. Write down:
- The time of day
- The amount of carbohydrates or sugar you ate
- The type and dose of your diabetes medicines or insulin
- The type of exercise you do and for how long
- Any unusual events, such as feeling stressed, eating different foods, or being sick
Many glucose meters let you store this information.
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.
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Why Does Your Blood Sugar Rise
When you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks down the sugars they contain into glucose. Your body cant absorb most sugars without breaking them down first. Simple sugars such as refined sugar break down very quickly you absorb them rapidly into your bloodstream, which raises your blood sugar. In healthy people, the levels dont rise very high and they drop back to normal quickly. If you have diabetes, your levels after a meal will rise higher and stay high longer than levels in other people. This occurs because your pancreas either dont release enough insulin, the hormone that helps cells absorb glucose, or because the cells dont respond properly to insulin release.
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Low Blood Sugar Levels
‘Hypoglycemia,’ or low blood sugar, might suggest that a person is not eating enough or that they are taking too much diabetes medication or insulin. Additional causes of hypoglycemia include hypothyroidism, hypopituitarism and having taken certain kinds of medications. A blood sugar level below 60 mg/dL, or a drop of more than 100 mg/dL an hour at any time indicates hypoglycemia.
Correcting High Blood Sugar Levels With Insulin
If you take insulin, one way to reduce blood sugar is to inject insulin.
However, be careful as insulin can take 4 hours or longer to be fully absorbed, so you need to make sure you take into account how much insulin you may already have in your body that is yet to be absorbed by the blood. Insulin that is yet to be absorbed by the blood is called active insulin.
If you decide to correct with insulin, watch you dont over correct as this can lead to hypoglycemia and can be dangerous, particularly so before bed.
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Blood Sugar: When Its Too Low Or Too High
The hormone insulin takes sugar from food and uses it for energy. With type 2 diabetes, you dont have enough insulin or your body isnt effective at using insulin, and excess sugar continues to circulate in your bloodstream.
A target blood sugar range for most people with type 2 diabetes is 80 to 130 milligrams per deciliter before a meal and less than 180 mg/dl one to two hours after starting a meal, according to the American Diabetes Association.
A reading of 160 mg/dl or higher is typically considered high blood sugar . Over time, blood sugar in the range of 160 to 250 mg/dl can affect every organ in your body, Dr. Reddy says. It’s associated with heart disease, eye disease, kidney disease, neuropathy, stroke, and vascular disease. If blood sugar goes as high as 500 mg/dl, you may experience symptoms such as thirst, the urge to urinate more often, weight loss, low energy, and drowsiness, he says.
Low blood sugar occurs when levels fall to less than 70 mg/dl. This is a risk when you take insulin or other diabetes medications, have gone too long without a meal, have been active, or have been drinking alcohol.
If your blood sugar goes too low, youll probably feel shaky and sweaty and you may develop tremors, Reddy says. Other symptoms may include a racing heart, headache, weakness, confusion, hunger, irritability, lack of coordination, and pale skin. If your blood sugar continues to drop to 30 mg/dl and below, you could slip into a diabetic coma.
Tingling Numbness Or Pain In The Hands Or Feet
High blood sugar levels can affect blood circulation and damage the bodys nerves. In people with type 2 diabetes, this can lead to pain or a sensation of tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.
This condition is known as neuropathy, and it can worsen over time and lead to more serious complications if a person does not get treatment for their diabetes.
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Signs That Blood Sugar Levels Are High
People with high blood sugar may:
- pee a lot. When blood sugar levels get too high, the kidneys flush out the extra glucose into your urine , which is why people who have high blood sugar levels need to pee more often and in larger amounts.
- drink a lot. Because you’re losing so much fluid from peeing so much, you can get very thirsty.
- lose weight. If there isn’t enough insulin to help the body use glucose, the body starts to break down your muscle and fat for energy and you lose weight.
- feel tired. Because the body can’t use glucose for energy properly, you may feel really tired.
High blood sugar levels don’t always cause these symptoms. Sometimes you can have high blood sugar levels without even knowing it. But if left untreated, they can cause serious health problems. That’s why it’s important to work with your parents and diabetes team to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range. This can mean checking your blood sugar levels a few times a day, even when you feel fine.
Target Blood Sugar Levels For Children And Adolescents With Diabetes
Age 6-12 Bedtime 100-180
Kids aged 6 to 12 should have blood sugar levels that range between 80 to 180 mg/dL over the course of a day. Blood sugar levels go up after eating a meal because the body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which is then distributed throughout the bloodstream. Other macronutrientsprotein and fatturn into glucose as well, but at a slower rate. Many people learn how to use these factors to their advantage. For example, if a childs sugar is trending low, a bedtime snack that includes something with protein and fat, like chocolate milk or peanut butter, will help raise blood sugar levels and help keep blood sugar levels steady through the night.
When you wake up in the morning, your fasting blood sugar is generally at its lowest because you havent consumed food for about eight hours. However, many people experience an increase in blood sugar levels in the early morning hours. If youre an adult and struggling with glucose control, your healthcare provider can help you develop a treatment plan to manage your blood sugar better.
Blood glucose levels outside the ranges listed above are categorized as either high or low blood sugar. For example, according to this chart, blood sugar levels are considered high if theyre over 130 mg/dL before a meal or 180 mg/dL within one to two hours after a meal. Many people wont start to experience symptoms from high blood sugar until their levels are at 250 mg/dL or higher. .
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How To Calculate Your Blood Sugar Level: The Complete Guide
To get an accurate reading of your blood sugar level, the best and most effective method is using a glucose meter. This will involve a small prick in your finger so receive a blood sample. The strip is then inserted into the meter and tested.
You may be wondering what your reading should be. There is no normal reading, an ideal reading differs from person to person. Everyone will get different readings at different times of the day. However, there is a rough range to determining a low, normal and high blood sugar level. Blood sugar level is read in mmol/L, which stands for millimoles per liter. Here is a guide as to what an ideal reading is for each diabetic type and non-diabetic patients:
|4 5.9 mmol/L< 7.8 mmol/L||4 5.9 mmol/L< 7.8 mmol/L|
It is advised to check it regularly if you are concerned, show regular symptoms or have diabetes. You should check before meals, exercise, before bedtime and after driving. Everyone is different so it is best to ask your doctor if you are unsure how many times and when you should check your blood sugar levels.
Research shows that over 50% who try to estimate their blood sugar level reading are incorrect. This may be due to over underlying medical conditions that did not know they had or poor lack of judgement. Therefore, this suggests it is very important to test at home to check in on your levels regularly to avoid any unnecessary future complications.
When To Seek Medical Care For High Blood Sugar
If hyperglycemia persists for at least two or three days, or if ketones appear in the urine, call a doctor.
Generally, people with diabetes should test their blood sugar levels at least four times a day: before meals and at bedtime . The urine should be checked for ketones any time the blood sugar level is over 250 mg/dL.
When blood sugar stays high despite following a diabetic diet and plan of care, call the nurse, diabetes health educator, or physician for adjustments in the diet.
If blood sugars are high because of illness, check for ketones and contact a health professional.
Seek immediate medical care for these conditions:
- Blood sugar levels that stay above 160 mg/dL for longer than a week
- Glucose readings higher than 300 mg/dL
- The presence of ketones in the urine
Ketoacidosis or diabetic coma is a medical emergency. Call 911 for emergency transport to a hospital or similar emergency center.
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Normal Blood Sugar Before And After Meals
Normal blood sugar levels vary from person to person. That’s why when we talk about ‘normal’ blood glucose levels, we refer to a range of values that are considered healthy for most individuals. According to the World Health Organization ), a normal range for fasting blood sugar is between 70 and 100 milligrams per deciliter .
For most people, eating a meal or drinking a sugary drink will lead to a temporary increase in the blood glucose levels. As stated by the American Diabetes Association , the blood sugar two hours after eating should not exceed 140 milligrams per deciliter. However, people with certain metabolic conditions, such as prediabetes or diabetes, typically have lower blood sugar than those guidelines suggest. Researchers from the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology continuously measured people’s blood glucose and found that most individuals averaged around 82 mg/DL during the night and around 93 mg/DL during the day, and spiked to a maximum of 132 mg/DL an hour after a meal.
What Is Considered A High Blood Sugar Level
If you just received a diabetes diagnosis, you may be wondering what blood sugar levels mean and how you should be creating goals based off of your blood glucose tracking. One of the most important things for you to know is what blood sugar levels are and when theyre considered to be high. Learning what steps to take if you find your levels are too high will help you stay safe.
Because diabetes is such an individual condition, the best first step is to consult your doctor about what is a healthy range for your blood sugar. Once youve gotten advice from your medical expert, you can begin to modify your lifestyle and continue to do additional research to improve your health and benefit your diabetes management journey. Before researching online, its important to remember that blood sugar levels are an individual, personal reaction to many factors, and can vary while still being within an acceptable range. Generalized numbers are often not a 100% accurate measure of personal health and there may be other factors that are affecting your blood sugar, resulting in confusing numbers when you check.
Make sure that you carefully follow the instructions your doctor has created for you. Diabetes can have negative effects if not managed properly. By understanding healthy blood sugar ranges, you can take steps to reduce or avoid added diabetes complications, and better understand what changes in blood sugar may be reflecting about your bodys health.
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What Do The Results Mean
Doctors measure the amount of glucose in a persons blood in milligrams per deciliter .
For a random glucose test, a result of 200 mg/dl or above indicates that a person may have diabetes. However, the doctor will usually repeat the test on another day for a more reliable diagnosis.
To help confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may also order a different type of test, such as a fasting glucose test or an OGTT.
Results of a fasting glucose test indicate the following:
- Normal: less than 100 mg/dl
- Prediabetes: 100125 mg/dl
- Diabetes: 126 mg/dl or above
Results of an OGTT
- Diabetes: 200 mg/dl or above
Prediabetes means that a persons blood glucose levels are higher than usual, but doctors do not yet consider that they have diabetes. Doctors sometimes call this impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose .
People with prediabetes are at increased risk of developing diabetes. Lifestyle modifications, such as weight loss and exercise, and certain medications can help reduce this risk.
What Is Normal Blood Sugar
Maintaining a healthy blood glucose range is important, but what is normal blood sugar?
Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main source of fuel for our bodies. It powers up our internal organs, muscles and nervous system. Keeping your blood sugar in check is essential to our physical health, wellbeing and energy levels. But what is considered a normal blood glucose level? And what happens when it rises above the normal threshold?
Our blood sugar levels are directly related to the food we eat. We obtain glucose mostly from carbohydrate-rich foods like bread, pasta, potatoes or fruit, but many different food groups play a role in regulating glucose metabolism. How we absorb, use and store this important sugar is dependent on multiple complex processes that take place in our digestive systems.
There is no single universal value that would describe a healthy blood sugar level. What constitutes normal blood glucose varies for an individual depending on a range of factors, including age, any underlying medical conditions, and the medications they take. It will also be heavily linked to when you consumed your last meal. Hence when we refer to ‘normal blood sugar levels’, we refer to a range of values that are considered healthy.
Here, we will discuss everything you need to know about a healthy blood sugar range.
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