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What Should Your Sugar Run

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Average From A Glucose Meter

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Although an A1C level gives you a sense of average glucose levels over the past few months, a person with type 1 or type 2 diabetes needs a blood glucose meter to check blood sugar and make treatment decisions on a day-to-day basis.

If you test often during the day like before and after meals and other times that your blood sugar can vary and use an accurate glucose meter, this can give you valuable information on daily variations in blood sugar levels. Many blood glucose meters are also equipped to provide 7, 14, 30, or 90-day averages. A 90-day average on your meter can be used in the calculator above to estimate how it may correlate to an A1C.

Glucose meter averages are based on the frequency that you have tested per day, so if you do not have many data points or are unable to test at certain times , it probably wont give you a full picture of your blood sugar levels and may skew lower than an A1C test result.

What Are Abnormal Glucose Levels And Why Do They Matter

Why is it unhealthy for glucose levels to be too high or too low ?

Hyperglycemia refers to elevated blood glucose levels. This usually occurs because the body does not appropriately remove glucose from the blood this can happen due to many complex reasons. Elevated glucose levels can damage blood vessels and nerves over time this can then lead to problems in the eyes, kidneys, and heart, as well as numbness in the hands and feet. Very high levels can lead to coma and even death in some cases. People with fasting glucose levels higher than 100 mg/dl have impaired glucose tolerance and should speak with their healthcare provider.

Some people may think that to avoid all these issues, they should just keep their blood glucose levels as low as possible. If too high is bad, then low must be good, right? Not exactly. When glucose gets too low, its called hypoglycemia. The threshold for hypoglycemia is typically thought to be when glucose falls below 70 mg/dl. When this happens, the body may release epinephrine , the fight or flight hormone, which can lead to a fast heart rate, sweating, anxiety, blurry vision, and confusion, but also helps the body mobilize glucose into the blood. If blood glucose levels stay too low for too long, it can cause seizures, coma, and in very rare instances, death.

Follow Your Diabetes Meal Plan

Make a diabetes meal plan with help from your health care team. Following a meal plan will help you manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

Choose fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, chicken or turkey without the skin, fish, lean meats, and nonfat or low-fat milk and cheese. Drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. Choose foods that are lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt. Learn more about eating, diet, and nutrition with diabetes.

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Understand Nutrition And Adjust Your Diet

What you choose to eat and drink can have a major impact on not only your waistline, mood, and well-being, but also on your blood sugar levels.

All macronutrients can affect the blood sugar to some degree so developing a good understanding of how they affect your blood sugar will enable you to be proactive and prevent blood sugar swings.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates have the greatest impact on your blood sugar, which is why many people with diabetes can benefit from following a low- to medium-carb diet . The fewer carbs you eat, the less insulin you need to take, which makes diabetes management easier.

However, you dont have to follow a low-carb diet if it doesnt work for you physically or mentally. As I wrote in my post about which diet is best for people with diabetes, it is very possible to have great blood sugar control on a medium carb diet, as long as you experiment, take notes, and learn to take the right amounts of insulin for the carbs you are eating.

It is very important to realize that we all react differently to carbs so you have to find the diet and foods that are right for you.

As an example, people react very differently to carbs like oats or sweet potato. Some people can eat oats with only a small increase in blood sugar while others see a quick spike. By simply knowing this, people struggling with a certain type of carb can choose to reduce their consumption or cut it out of their diet altogether.

Protein & fats

When To See A Healthcare Provider

Daily Intake of Sugar  How Much Sugar Should You Eat Per Day?

Getting professional medical advice from a healthcare provider like an endocrinologist is the best way to learn more about whether your blood sugar levels are where they should be. Not getting proper treatment for low or high blood sugar levels can be serious and lead to health complications, especially for those with diabetes. Diabetes complications include nerve damage, kidney disease, heart disease, or heart attacks.

If you see a healthcare provider about your blood sugar levels, be prepared to answer questions about risk factors like what you eat, how much you exercise, and about your family history. Some healthcare providers may want to take a blood sample to test your blood sugar levels. They may also order an A1C test, which is a blood test that measures blood sugar levels over several months. You may have to fast eight hours beforehand to get accurate test results, so its always a good idea to check before your appointment.

If your blood sugar level goes above 250 mg/dL, you should go to the ER for immediate medical attention, says Dr. Tarugu. Emergency rooms are equipped to handle high blood sugar levels and can administer treatments like insulin therapy and fluid or electrolyte replacement.

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What Are Normal Blood Glucose Levels

Your blood glucose, or blood sugar, is the main sugar found in your blood, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Blood glucose comes from food and provides your body with energy. Your levels may rise and fall throughout the day, depending on what and when you eat.

Normal blood glucose levels, regardless of gender, are between 70 and 99 milligrams per deciliter if the test is taken fasted, according to Virginia Mason Medical Center. Two hours after eating, a normal blood sugar level is anything below 140 mg/dL.

What Is Blood Glucose Monitoring

People use blood glucose monitoring to regularly test glucose levels in the blood.

It is an essential part of effective diabetes control. Many people with diabetes must check several times each day to plan for activities and meals, as well as scheduling doses of medication or insulin.

A person can test their blood glucose levels with a glucometer. They usually come with lancets, or tiny needles, a logbook to record results, and test strips.

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Target Blood Sugar Levels For Pregnant Women With Diabetes

Its possible for diabetes to cause problems during pregnancy. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who have uncontrolled blood sugar levels could experience an increased risk of having a premature baby, needing a C-section and more.

Gestational diabetes a type of diabetes that occurs in a pregnant woman who has never been diagnosed with diabetes before can also cause complications. These include giving birth to a baby who is larger than average and an increased risk of needing a C-section. The ADA suggests that pregnant women shoot for a target fasting blood sugar level of 95 mg/dL or less before a meal.

Blood Sugar Levels: What’s Normal What’s Not And How To Measure

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What do blood glucose levels mean and what range is healthy? Here’s what you need to know.

Sugar can lead to high blood sugar and contributes to the development of diabetes.

We all want to keep track of our health in every way we can — you may weigh yourself, keep track of your blood pressure or monitor your resting heart rate. But how close of an eye do you keep on your blood sugar?

People with diabetes are all too familiar with their blood sugar levels, but the rest of us might not even think about it much. However, consistently high blood sugar levels can coexist with Type 2 diabetes and cause serious health conditions like kidney disease, nerve problems or stroke.

While that’s no reason to panic, when it comes to our health, it’s important to know exactly what’s going on inside of our bodies. Without further ado, let’s get into what blood sugar means, how to measure it and everything else you need to know.

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Determining The Right A1c Goal For You

Just because a normal blood sugar range of 70 to 130 mg/dL is considered the healthiest doesnt necessarily mean thats the appropriate goal range for you especially if you have type 1 diabetes, or take insulin as a person with type 2 diabetes.

The reason this may not be the right goal for you is that extremely tight blood sugar management in people taking insulin can potentially lead to frequent low blood sugars which can be dangerous.

Achieving extremely tight blood sugar management, like a range of 70 to 130 mg/dL, also often requires a strict nutrition plan, more frequent than usual blood sugar monitoring, precise medication management, and most importantly, years of experience studying your own blood sugar levels.

Can Prediabetes Be Reversed

For some, prediabetes is reversible if it is the simple result of weight gain and unhealthy habits. For many, however, prediabetes is the result of the bodys gradual destruction of beta-cells.

Beta-cells play a critical role in insulin production. More and more research today regarding type 2 diabetes demonstrates that approximately 60 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are experiencing a lack of insulin production through beta cell dysfunction and destruction.

It is now well recognized that 2 factors are involved: impaired function and insulin resistance, explains John E. Gerich, MD, in a study published by the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Prospective studies of high-risk populations have shown insulin-resistance and/or insulin-secretory defects before the onset of impaired glucose tolerance.

This means that while you should absolutely still pursue healthier habits around nutrition, exercise, weight-loss, sleep, quitting smoking, the gradual progression of your disease means your diagnosis is here to stay.

That being said, making any changes you can in your habits can play a tremendous role in whether or not you need to start taking diabetes medications or if you need to start insulin injections to help bring your blood sugars down to a healthy level.

Read more on reversing diabetes: Is Type 2 Diabetes Reversible?

Prediabetes is diabetes. The sooner you take action, the sooner you improve your health.

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Your Blood Sugar Isnt Just Because Of What You Eat

Mainstream media would have you believe that your blood sugar levels are impacted only by what you eat and how much you exercise, but people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who test their blood sugars frequently could tell you otherwise.

Its especially important to keep this mind when looking at your own blood sugars and your goals because there are certain variables and challenges that impact blood sugar levels that you cant always control.

For example:

  • Menstrual cycles: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
  • Adrenaline rushes from competitive sports, heated arguments, rollercoaster rides: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
  • The common cold and other illnesses: usually raises blood sugar and insulin needs
  • Hormonal changes due to puberty and healthy growth in young adults: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
  • An injury which raises overall inflammation levels: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
  • Glucogenesis during anaerobic exercise: raises blood sugar

While you cant necessarily prevent these factors that affect your blood sugar from occurring, you can work with your diabetes healthcare team to adjust your insulin, other diabetes medications, nutrition and activity levels to help compensate for them when they do occur.

For example, when engaging in anaerobic exercise like weightlifting many people with type 1 diabetes find it necessary to take a small bolus of insulin prior to or during their workout because anaerobic exercise can actually raise blood sugar.

Levels In The Morning

Should Be

The best time to check blood sugar levels in the morning is right when you wake up and before you eat anything. This gives you a glimpse of what may be happening overnight, and it gives you a baseline for the day.

These are goal levels, according to The Joslin Diabetes Center:

  • Under 70 mg/dl if you do not have diabetes.
  • 70 to 130 mg/dl if you have diabetes.

The dawn effect can often lead to a high morning measurement in diabetes. This is your bodys tendency to get ready for the day by raising blood sugar by increasing levels of counter-regulatory hormones the ones that counteract insulin as in normal blood sugar. For people with diabetes, you do not have the capacity to counterbalance this rise in blood sugar, so levels can be dangerously high.

Ways to lower your morning blood sugar value include:

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Avoid Alcohol Before Nighttime

Another good habit is to avoid alcohol before going to bed. This can cause your blood sugar to increase quickly but leave you with low levels overnight. Avoiding alcohol for a few hours before bedtime will help keep the glucose in balance and prevent fluctuations.

If you do drink alcoholic beverages before going to bed try to eat a healthy snack with some carbohydrates to catch that low blood sugar after drinking alcohol.

How Long After Eating Does Blood Sugar Return To Normal

The blood sugar level falls back to a normal level around 1-2 hours after taking food. During this time digestion slows down and the sugar is absorbed by the tissue.

In diabetics, there can be a sudden spike in blood sugar after eating causing headache, dizziness and discomfort. This is called a post-prandial reaction. Normally, taking prescribed insulin medication can help mediate this problem.

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Factors That Can Affect Blood Sugar Levels

If you have prediabetes or diabetes, you may have insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin. This means your body has difficulty regulating blood sugar levels on its own.

Its a delicate balance to maintain, so the following list can help you familiarize yourself with factors that can cause your blood glucose levels to go up or down.

When To See A Doctor

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Dietary changes can help you manage and prevent sugar crashes. However, if youve had surgery or are managing ulcers, you may need to see your doctor for additional treatments.

You should also see your doctor if you continue to have sugar crashes despite dietary changes. Your doctor may check for diabetes or other underlying health conditions.

When blood glucose isnt controlled, it can lead to complications, including:

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Who Should Do The Test

According to the American Diabetes Association, screening for diabetes is recommended in people over 45 , or at any age if you have certain risk factors, including :

  • Being overweight, obese, or physically inactive
  • Having a close relative with diabetes
  • Belonging to a certain race/ethnic group
  • Having signs of insulin resistance or conditions associated with insulin resistance, such as high blood pressure , low good cholesterol and/or high triglycerides , and polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Having had diabetes in pregnancy

Kick Your Sugar Addiction In 9 Steps

Sugar cravings are fine in moderation but take these steps to keep them in check.

No matter how health conscious you are, youre bound to crave sweet things from time to time. But overloading on sugar can lead to lots of unwanted pounds and a wide range of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

In addition to sending your energy levels on a roller coaster ride, overdosing on sugar sends your hunger hormones into overdrive. The satiety hormones that tell your brain Im full! arent properly triggered, which means you end up eating more than you need to. Not only that, but sugar triggers a rush of endorphins, the feel-good hormone. Nice as it feels in the short term, if you overdo the sugar too often, youre likely to develop a craving for that sugar rush, which will lead to more extra calories, and more disappointment when you step on the scale.

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So its no wonder that experts recommend limiting sugar intake. If youre a woman, limit your intake of added sugars to 25 grams per day. Most men should limit added sugars to 38 grams per day, which is about 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons.

Heres how you can shake the sugar habit:

  • brown sugar
  • raw sugar
  • turbinado sugar

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How Can You Find Out If You Have Normal Blood Sugar Levels

There are a few different ways that you can test or keep track of your average blood sugar level. Some popular glucose monitoring methods include a continuous glucose monitor , an A1C test, a glucose meter, doing a fasting blood glucose test, or an oral glucose tolerance test. You can also get your ketones tested, which usually appear in the urine of Type 1 diabetes patients.

Your healthcare provider will analyze your test results, and let you know the best course of action if theyĆ¢re not in the normal range. This may include diabetes medications like metformin or lifestyle changes.

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