Consequences Of Blood Sugar Levels
Whilst most symptoms of low and high blood sugar levels are mild, they can worsen if left untreated and sometimes have long term consequences and/or complications. Overtime, a high blood sugar level is what can cause consequences. Lack of treatment can cause severe damage to the blood vessels and lead to complications such as:
- Heart attack
- Damage to the eyes and/or loss of vision
- Nerve problems in the feet leading to infections
To avoid long term consequences and complications, it is advised to take all precautionary measures and treat your blood sugar level so that it can be maintained at your ideal reading. So do so, follow all treatment methods, stay on track with checking your level daily and seeking help if symptoms persist.
If you have any more questions, here are a few of the most frequently asked questions which may answer your concerns:
How Can I Check My Blood Sugar Level Without A Meter
There are ways in which you can check blood sugar level without the traditional meter method, but do note that they are not as accurate. A device called the continuous glucose monitoring pump is like an insulin pump, which can help you find patterns and trends in your sugar levels. These non-prick methods use electromagnetic waves to read glucose in the body.
Living With Type 2 Diabetes
Having type 2 diabetes can bring up lots of questions about your lifestyle, but were here with the answers. From nutritional advice and recipes to help you know what to eat when you have type 2 diabetes, tips about diabetes and alcohol and keeping active and staying fit were here to support you.
Type 2 diabetes is also associated with other health conditions, such as thyroid disease and dental problems. Its important to be aware of these, so make sure to read our information about diabetes related conditions.
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What Is The A1c Test
The A1C test is a blood test that provides information about your average levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar, over the past 3 months. The A1C test can be used to diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.1 The A1C test is also the primary test used for diabetes management.
The A1C test is sometimes called the hemoglobin A1C, HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin, or glycohemoglobin test. Hemoglobin is the part of a red blood cell that carries oxygen to the cells. Glucose attaches to or binds with hemoglobin in your blood cells, and the A1C test is based on this attachment of glucose to hemoglobin.
The higher the glucose level in your bloodstream, the more glucose will attach to the hemoglobin. The A1C test measures the amount of hemoglobin with attached glucose and reflects your average blood glucose levels over the past 3 months.
The A1C test result is reported as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher your blood glucose levels have been. A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent.
How Do You Manage Blood Sugar
It’s not easy to manage your blood sugar, but it’s important to do so if you have diabetes. There are many things you can do to keep your blood sugar levels in the healthy range.
The first step is to understand what causes your blood sugar levels to go up and down. This will help you make choices that keep your blood sugar levels within your target range.
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What Is A Normal Blood Sugar Level For Diabetics
A normal blood sugar level for diabetics is more difficult to define because it can vary greatly from person to person and is measured differently per age.
What’s important is that you work with your doctor to set goals that are achievable for you and that you maintain good blood sugar control as much as possible.
Can The A1c Test Result In A Different Diagnosis Than The Blood Glucose Tests
Yes. In some people, a blood glucose test may show diabetes when an A1C test does not. The reverse can also occuran A1C test may indicate diabetes even though a blood glucose test does not. Because of these differences in test results, health care professionals repeat tests before making a diagnosis.
People with differing test results may be in an early stage of the disease, when blood glucose levels have not risen high enough to show up on every test. In this case, health care professionals may choose to follow the person closely and repeat the test in several months.
Measuring Your Average Blood Sugar With A1c
Your A1c is a good measure of your average blood glucose control over the past two to three months. The lower your A1c, the better your blood sugar control. An A1c of less than seven percent is normal for people without diabetes. For people with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends an A1c below eight percent.
The ADA provides is with a clear range of blood sugar levels next to the A1c percentages.
To Check Or Not To Check
Ultimately, while the researchers mentioned here found that blood sugar monitoring had no effect on the A1Cs of those with type 2 who did not take insulin, they hope that their findings will inspire both adults with diabetes and providers to regularly engage in conversations about the question.
If you currently monitor, you shouldnt stop doing so without first consulting your physician.
And while its the rare person who would choose to monitor if a doctor deemed it unnecessary, its ultimately very individual. In the end, patient-centric care matters most.
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What Blood Sugar Goals Should I Be Aiming For
The American Diabetes Association recommends that most people with diabetes aim for the following blood sugar goals:
- Preprandial : 80-130 mg/dL
- Postprandial : Less than 180 mg/dL
Your doctor will likely set different goals for you based on many factors including your age, how long you’ve had diabetes, other health problems you have.
Blood Glucose Levels Move Up And Down
Your results can vary because of natural changes in your blood glucose level. For example, your blood glucose level moves up and down when you eat or exercise. Sickness and stress also can affect your blood glucose test results. A1C tests are less likely to be affected by short-term changes than FPG or OGTT tests.
The following chart shows how multiple blood glucose measurements over 4 days compare with an A1C measurement.
Blood Glucose Measurements Compared with A1C Measurements over 4 Days
The straight black line shows an A1C measurement of 7.0 percent. The blue line shows an example of how blood glucose test results might look from self-monitoring four times a day over a 4-day period.
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Symptoms In Older Adults
Around 29.2% of people aged 65 and above have type 2 diabetes in the United States. They may have some or all the classic symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
They may also experience one or more of the following:
- flu-like fatigue, which includes feeling lethargic and chronically weak
- acanthosis nigricans, areas of darker, velvety skin, especially on the neck, elbows, knees, and knuckles
- necrobiosis lipoidica, raised patches that may be yellow, red, brown, or darker than the surrounding skin and that may become swollen and hard
- digital sclerosis, when hard, thickening, or swollen skin appears on the hands, possibly spreading to the arms and elsewhere
- painless blisters that suddenly appear
- wounds that take longer to heal
What Do The Results Of The Blood Glucose Test Mean
Normal fasting blood glucose — or blood sugar — is between 70 and 100 milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL for people who do not have diabetes. The standard diagnosis of diabetes is made when two separate blood tests show that your fasting blood glucose level is greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL.
However, if you have normal fasting blood sugar, but you have risk factors for diabetes or symptoms of diabetes, your doctor may decide to do a glucose tolerance test to be sure that you do not have diabetes.
Some people have a normal fasting blood sugar reading, but their blood sugar rapidly rises as they eat. These people may have impaired glucose tolerance. If their blood sugar levels are high enough, they may be diagnosed with diabetes.
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High Blood Sugar: Diet And Exercise Advice
People with high blood sugar may be able to lower their levels through exercise and eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet with smaller portions.
If a personâs blood sugar level is higher than 240 mg/dl, it may not be safe for them to exercise because ketones may be present in the urine. Ketones are waste products that the body creates when it uses fats as fuel instead of glucose.
Exercising with ketones in the urine may cause blood sugar levels to increase even further. A buildup of ketones can also lead to a life threatening condition called ketoacidosis.
A doctor can offer advice on a safe treatment plan for lowering blood sugar.
When Should I Go To The Hospital For Blood Sugar
Certain symptoms of blood sugar levels signal when you should seek medical help. Typically, if you feel extremely fatigued, notice increased thirst and urination, or weight loss, you should seek help right away. These symptoms can signify an abnormal blood sugar level and/or other health conditions.
A routine health check is also advised, even if you do not show any symptoms.
Blood Glucose And A1c Targets For Frail Elderly People
The Diabetes Canada clinical practice guidelines were recently updated to recommend different blood glucose targets in the frail elderly. These are seniors who have three or more of the following conditions:
- Unintended weight loss of more than 4.5 kilograms during the past year
- Constant fatigue or exhaustion
- Weakness in their arms and legs
- A slow walking speed
- Low levels of physical activity
In these people, the A1C target is 8.5% , and pre-meal blood sugar levels should be 5.0 to 12.0 mmol/L .
One of the main reasons why blood sugar and A1C targets are higher for frail elderly people is that studies have shown that tighter blood sugar control is associated with mortality in this population. The Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes study a very large trial of more than 10,000 adults with type 2 diabetes found that very tight glycemic control in older patients was associated with an increased risk of death.
As well, frail elderly adults are more inclined to suffer from moderate to severe hypoglycemia. This is because they may not be eating a nutritionally balanced diet they are also more likely to have other ailments for which they take medications that may contribute to episodes of hypoglycemia.
How Type 2 Diabetes Is Diagnosed
Diagnosing type 2 diabetes requires a series of lab tests looking for markers of elevated glucose, or blood sugar. Such tests are necessary, as type 2 diabetes may or may not have noticeable symptoms, or symptoms may crossover with other conditions.
The diagnosis often is made during an annual physical or checkup. Your healthcare provider may order a hemoglobin A1C test, a fasting blood sugar test, or an oral glucose tolerance test as part of regular screening to check blood sugar levels and to help determine if you have diabetes.
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Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors
Certain things make it more likely that youâll get type 2 diabetes. The more of these that apply to you, the higher your chances of getting it are. Some things are related to who you are:
- Age. 45 or older
- Family. A parent, sister, or brother with diabetes
- Ethnicity. African American, Alaska Native, Native American, Asian American, Hispanic or Latino, or Pacific Islander American
Risk factors related to your health and medical history include:
- Sleeping too little or too much
What Is The Normal Blood Sugar Level For Adults
As we age, our bodies become less able to regulate blood sugar levels as well as they used to. That’s why the ADA recommends that older adults aim for a fasting blood sugar level of less than 100 mg/dL. After eating, it’s ideal that your blood sugar level is below 180 mg/dL.
The ADA recommends that most adults with diabetes aim for the following blood sugar goals:
- Fasting: Less than 100 mg/dL
- Preprandial : 70-130 mg/dL
- Postprandial : Less than 180 mg/dL
- Bedtime: 100-140 mg/dL
If you experience high blood sugar levels or low blood glucose levels compared to this range you should speak to your doctor.
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Are Some Canadians At Higher Risk For Elevated Blood Sugar Levels Than Others
You may have a higher risk for elevated blood sugars and type 2 diabetes if you:
- Are 40 or years of age or older
- Have a close relative with diabetes
- Are of African, Arab, Asian, Hispanic, Indigenous or South Asian descent
- Are overweight
- Have been diagnosed with prediabetes
Some medical conditions can also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, such as:
- High blood pressure or cholesterol levels
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Psychiatric disorders
- Sleep apnea
Normal Blood Sugar Levels After Eating For Diabetics
The American Diabetes Association recommends that the blood sugar 1 to 2 hours after the beginning of a meal be less than 180 mg/dl for most nonpregnant adults with diabetes. This is typically the peak, or highest, blood sugar level in someone with diabetes. Again, this target may need to be individualized for certain people based on such factors as duration of diabetes, age and life expectancy, cognitive status, other health conditions, cardiovascular complications, and hypoglycemia unawareness. Its important that people with diabetes discuss their target blood sugar goals with their health care provider.
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Can Other Blood Glucose Tests Be Used To Diagnose Type 2 Diabetes And Prediabetes
Yes. Health care professionals also use the fasting plasma glucose test and the OGTT to diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. For these blood glucose tests used to diagnose diabetes, you must fast at least 8 hours before you have your blood drawn. If you have symptoms of diabetes, your doctor may use the random plasma glucose test, which doesnt require fasting. In some cases, health care professionals use the A1C test to help confirm the results of another blood glucose test.
Why The Test Is Performed
Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of diabetes . More than likely, the doctor will order a fasting blood sugar test.
The blood glucose test is also used to monitor people who already have diabetes.
The test may also be done if you have:
- An increase in how often you need to urinate
- Recently gained a lot of weight
- Blurred vision
SCREENING FOR DIABETES
This test may also be used to screen a person for diabetes.
High blood sugar and diabetes may not cause symptoms in the early stages. A fasting blood sugar test is almost always done to screen for diabetes.
If you are over age 45, you should be tested every 3 years.
If you’re overweight and have any of the risk factors below, ask your health care provider about getting tested at an earlier age and more often:
- High blood sugar level on a previous test
- Blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or higher, or unhealthy cholesterol levels
- History of heart disease
- Member of a high-risk ethnic group
- Woman who has been diagnosed with gestational diabetes
- Polycystic ovary disease
- Close relative with diabetes
- Not physically active
Children age 10 and older who are overweight and have at least two of the risk factors listed above should be tested for type 2 diabetes every 3 years, even if they have no symptoms.
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Know Your Numbers: Blood Pressure
People with diabetes are much more likely to develop heart disease, so monitoring heart disease risk factors is a vital part of diabetes self-management. People with diabetes should keep their blood pressure below 140/80 mmHg. Taking blood pressure medications as directed, reaching or maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding foods high in sodium can help keep blood pressure under control.
When To Call A Professional
If you have diabetes, see your doctor regularly.
People with high blood sugar levels have a higher risk of dehydration. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop vomiting or diarrhea and are not able to drink enough fluids.
Monitor your blood sugar as advised by your health care team. Report any significant deviations in blood sugar levels.
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Is There Anything Else I Should Know About A Blood Glucose Test
If you have diabetes, you may need to do blood sugar testing at home every day to help manage your blood glucose levels. There are two ways to do this:
- Blood glucose meters require you to prick your finger with a small device called a lancet. You apply a drop of blood to a test strip and insert it into a small, electronic glucose meter, which measures the glucose is in your blood.
- Continuous glucose monitors use a tiny sensor that you insert under your skin. Every few minutes, the sensor measures glucose levels in fluids between your cells. If your glucose is too high or too low, you use a blood glucose meter to check your blood levels before making changes to raise or lower your glucose level.