What Is Blood Glucose Anyway
Blood glucose, or sugar, is sugar that is in your blood . It comes from the food that you eat foods that contain carbohydrate, such as bread, pasta and fruit are the main contributors to blood glucose. The cells in our bodies need glucose for energy and we all need energy to move, think, learn and breathe. The brain, which is the command center, uses about half of all the energy from glucose in the body.
How Can I Pay For Tests And Diabetes Supplies
Medicareexternal icon, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans pay for the A1C test and fasting blood sugar test as well as some diabetes supplies. Check your plan or ask your health care team for help finding low-cost or free supplies, and see How to Save Money on Diabetes Care for more resources.
When Should I Check My Blood Sugar
How often you check your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes;you have and if you take any diabetes medicines.
Typical times to check your blood sugar include:
- When you first wake up, before you eat or drink anything.
- Before a meal.
- Two hours after a meal.
- At bedtime.
If you have type 1 diabetes, have type 2 diabetes;and take insulin, or often have low blood sugar, your doctor may want you to check your blood sugar more often, such as before and after youre physically active.
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Why Do I Need To Know My Blood Sugar Numbers
Your blood sugar numbers show how well your diabetes is managed. And managing your diabetes means that you have less chance of having serious health problems, such as kidney disease and vision loss.
As you check your blood sugar, you can see what makes your numbers go up and down. For example, you may see that when you are stressed or eat certain foods, your numbers go up. And, you may see that when you take your medicine and are active, your numbers go down. This information lets you know what is working for you and what needs to change.
The Blood Sugar Level Regulation Mechanism
When you eat rice, bread, or any other typical food high in carbohydrates, it is digested by the stomach and small intestine, where it is absorbed into the blood as glucose. Figure 1 shows how it is absorbed into the body.
Figure 1: Absorption of glucose
When glucose enters the bloodstream, insulin facilitates its uptake into the body’s cells. When an excess of glucose is ingested, insulin over secretion occurs. Insulin increases the biosynthesis of fat and suppresses its breakdown. Thus, it becomes easier for fat to accumulate in body tissues.
Blood sugar level will not drop if the sugar in the blood is not properly processed due to, for example, too little insulin being secreted, or resistance to the action of insulin. If blood sugar levels have not decreased several hours after eating on a regular basis, this indicates a susceptibility to diabetes. To avoid this and stay healthy, we should eat types of foods that will not cause a sudden, extreme rise in blood sugar levels.
What is BMI?
What is a healthy blood sugar level
- Fasting blood sugar level 99mg/dL
- Postprandial blood sugar level 7.8mmol/L
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How Do I Prepare For The Plasma Glucose Level Test And How Are The Results Interpreted
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
*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.
Normal Blood Sugar Levels In Children
Younger than 6 years old mg/dL
Adults who are 20 years or older will have blood sugar levels that range between less than 100-180 mg/dL over the course of a day. When you wake up in the morning, your fasting blood sugar should be at its lowest because you havent consumed food for about eight 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. 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. The highest blood sugar level thats considered safe will depend on the person and whether they have diabetes, but will typically be between 160 to 240 mg/dL.;
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How Should You Treat Hypoglycaemia
The symptoms of low blood glucose include: weakness, dizziness or feeling light-headed, nervousness, sweating, pounding heartbeat, hunger and thirst, and confusion.
To tackle hypoglycaemia, follow the 15-15 rule: Have 15 grams of carbohydrate or fast-acting sugar, such as half a cup of regular fruit juice or 4 glucose tablets, to raise your blood glucose. Check your level after 15 minutes. If its still below 70 mg/dL , repeat the above step until your blood sugar reaches normal levels. Once your blood glucose is at least 70 mg/dL , have a snack or a meal to ensure it doesnt lower again.
Severely low blood sugarIf your hypoglycaemia is left untreated, or if your blood sugar level remains abnormally low and does not increase, you may pass out. In such cases, you need to be given emergency glucagon and require immediate medical attention.
The people around you, such as your family members, friends, or co-workers, should be taught how to administer glucagon in case of an emergency. They should also remember: NOT to give you insulin, as it will lower your blood sugar even more NOT to give you anything to eat or drink if you are unconscious, as it could cause you to choke.
Is Diabetes More Common In Men Or Women
Studies show that type 1 diabetes is more common in men, and theyre more likely to pass it on to their offspring. However, although women previously showed more indication of type 2 diabetes, it is now equally prevalent between men and women.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that usually starts in childhood. With type 1 diabetes, your body attacks its own pancreas so it cannot produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is far more common in adults, and although often milder than type 1, can still cause major health implications, including kidney disease or damage, heart disease, or stroke. Unlike type 1, with type 2 diabetes some insulin can be produced, but the body is either resistant to it or there is not enough. This insulin resistance develops in fat, liver, and muscle cells, hence the extensively researched correlation between obesity and type 2 diabetes.
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How Accurate Are A1c Tests
A1C levels rise well before the clinical onset of diabetes, making early diagnosis possible according to the 2017 Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes by the American Diabetes Association . Sometimes, however, in the early stages of diabetes, blood sugar levels are not high enough to show up as problematic. Testing environments, such as temperature in the lab, equipment used, and handling of samples, can affect the results; however, this is more common in the fasting plasma glucose and the OGTT than in the A1C. Strict quality controls and advancements in testing have made the A1C test more precise than in the past, according to the NIDDK. Doctors should be aware of laboratories that use an NGSP-certified method of testing for A1C levels. The NIDDK warns that blood samples taken at home or analyzed in a healthcare providers office should not be used for diagnosis.;
There are some health conditions and situations that might skew the results of the test. These include:
- Blood loss or blood transfusions
Also, the test can be unreliable for people of African, Mediterranean, or Southeast Asian descent, people with a family member with sickle cell anemia, and those with thalassemia. For those who fall into these groups, a healthcare provider might suggest a different test or a specialized A1C.
Listen To Your Doctor
If you follow a meal plan or take medications that increase insulin to manage low blood sugar, its important to stick to the plan your doctor prescribed to help prevent drops in your blood sugar level.
Not eating the right foods or taking the right medications at the right times can cause your blood sugar to drop. Check in often with your doctor so they can adjust your treatment plan if and when necessary.
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How Is Hypoglycemia Treated
When your blood sugar levels are too low, eating something made of carbohydrates is key. If you have diabetes, try to keep high-carbohydrate snacks on hand.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that your snack have at least 15 grams of carbohydrates. Some good snacks to keep on hand include:
- glucose tablets
- honey or table sugar
- jelly beans or gum drops
You also can take glucose tablets to rapidly raise your blood sugar if its low. These are available without a prescription. Its important to check how many grams are in each tablet before taking them. Aim to get 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrates.
Wait 15 minutes after eating or taking a glucose tablet, and test your blood sugar again. If your blood sugar is not going up, eat another 15 grams of carbohydrates or take another dose of glucose tablets. Repeat this until your blood sugar level starts to rise.
If your regularly scheduled meal is not for a while, eat a small snack after the low blood sugar episode.
Be sure not to overeat! This could lead to blood sugar levels that are too high.
What Are Normal Blood Glucose Levels In Healthy Individuals
Blood sugar levels can either be normal, high, or low, depending on how much glucose someone has in their bloodstream. Glucose is a simple sugar thats present in the bloodstream at all times. Normal blood glucose levels can be measured when someone fasts, eats, or after theyve eaten. A normal blood glucose level for adults, without diabetes, who havent eaten for at least eight hours is less than 100 mg/dL. A normal blood glucose level for adults, without diabetes, two hours after eating is 90 to 110 mg/dL.;;;
Many factors affect blood sugar levels throughout the day:
- Type of food consumed, how much, and when
- Physical activity
- Menstrual periods;
An ideal blood sugar level for anyone without diabetes or prediabetes, regardless of age, in the morning should be less than 100 mg/dL. Remember, blood sugar levels can fluctuate throughout the day as a result of the factors previously mentioned.;;;
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How Much Does The Freestyle Libre Cost
You do need a prescription in order to purchase the Freestyle Libre 14 day systemand the sensors can often be pricey. The out-of-pocket price is around $129.99, but you can save with a SingleCare savings card. It can be used regardless of your insurance statuseven when youre on Medicare.;
You can search for your Libre Freestyle diabetes monitor on our site before you go to the pharmacy. To find the best price, we always recommend that you compare our price with the cash price and/or your copay.;
You can either choose to text, email, or print the coupon to yourself from the SingleCare website or request a physical card to be sent home to you, so you can easily pick up your Freestyle Libre sensors at one of our partner pharmacies, which include: CVS, Walmart, Kroger, Walgreens, Target, Longs Drugs, Frys, Kroger, Rite Aid, and Duane Reade. To check on savings, you simply have to type in your zip code to get the pharmacies near you and adjust for quantity .;
If you forget or dont have time to look up before, you could also ask your pharmacist to ring up all options at the counter.;
Join the millions savings billions on thousands of drugs with SingleCare. You will always get the most up to date prices on our site. Happy savings!;
A Low Blood Sugar Level And Driving
You may still be allowed to drive if you have diabetes or you’re at risk of a low blood sugar level for another reason, but you’ll need to do things to reduce the chance of this happening while you’re driving.
You also need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and your car insurance company about your condition.
For more information, see:
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How To Save On The Freestyle Libre With Singlecare
If you dont have it yourself, you probably know at least one person living with diabetes. More than 30 million people in the U.S. alone have the condition. Which means youre likely familiar with the hassle of having to monitor glucose levels at all times. The process involves pricking your finger tip with a needle to test a drop of bloodouch!;
When you have diabetes, its crucial to make sure its under control by testing your glucose levels often, based on your doctors recommendation. Luckily, for those who are sensitive to it or just tired of the repetition, there is an easier way: the Freestyle Libre, an FDA-approved glucose monitoring system that works as an alternative to the finger stick.;
How Food Affects Blood Sugar
When you eat food, your body breaks it down into essential parts:
- Vitamins and minerals
All parts are necessary in a healthy diet, but the three types of carbohydrates are particularly important when it comes to your blood glucose level. While the general rule is that the more carbohydrates you eat, the higher your blood sugar level, not all three types of carbohydrates convert to blood sugar at the same rate.;
The foods that fit into each carb category include:
- Starches, or complex carbohydrates: Starchy vegetables, dried beans, and grains
- Sugars: Fruits, baked goods, beverages, and processed food items like cereals or granola bars
- Fiber: Whole wheat products, chickpeas, lentils, berries, pears, and brussels sprouts
The glycemic index helps you find out which foods can increase or help decrease blood sugar levels. Based on a scale ranging from 0 to 100, high-indexed foods are rapidly digested, absorbed, and metabolized, resulting in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels, while low-indexed foods produce smaller fluctuations in your blood glucose.;
The American Diabetes Association advises adding lean sources of protein and heart-healthy fats to help reduce the overall glycemic impact of a meal or snack.
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Low Blood Sugar Level Causes
Most low blood sugar level causes are preventable and are caused due to a persons lifestyle and diet habits. Low blood sugar is common among diabetic patients who take medications to increase insulin levels.
All of the above causes are risk factors that may or may not be able to be inhibited. They are important to be aware of and act accordingly to keep yourself from getting a too high or too low blood sugar level.;
If a person has medical, lifestyle or diet habits that cause irregular blood sugar levels, symptoms will begin to develop along with the drop or spike in blood sugar, and are as follows:
Complications From Spells Of Hypoglycemia
Mildly low blood sugar levels are somewhat common for people with diabetes; however, severely low blood sugar levels can be life threatening. They may lead to seizures and nervous system damage if left untreated long enough. Immediate treatment is critical.
Its important to learn to recognize your symptoms and treat them fast. For people at risk for low blood sugar, having a glucagon kit a medication that raises blood sugar levels is important. Talk with your doctor for more information.
You may also want to talk with friends, family members, exercise partners, and co-workers about how to care for you if your blood sugar drops too low.
Its important for them to learn to recognize low blood sugar symptoms and know how to use the glucagon kit, as well as understand the importance of calling 911 if you lose consciousness.
Wearing a medical identification bracelet is a good idea. It can help emergency responders care for you properly if you need emergency attention.
Treat low blood sugar as soon as possible. Avoid driving if you are experiencing low blood sugar, as it can increase your risk for having an accident.
There are several ways that you can prevent low blood sugar.
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