Why You Should Keep An Eye On It
When your blood sugar is high, you can get symptoms like a foggy-headed feeling that makes it hard to focus or think clearly. Your energy may also take a dive, and you may feel nervous or moody.
If your levels go too low, you could even pass out. In the long run, if your blood sugar stays up, you could be at risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, or other problems.
Whats My Target Range
You might be asking, what’s the normal range for blood sugar levels? The answer is, there is a healthy range that you should ideally be aiming for. The infographics above show the general guidelines, but your individual target range for your blood sugar levels may be different. Youll healthcare team will agree with you what it is.
Youll get different readings at different times of the day, depending on things like what youve eaten and how much you are moving around. Heres a guide to help you get started on finding your target range:
If youre a child with type 1 diabetes
- when you wake up and before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
- after meals: 5 to 9mmol/l
If youre an adult with type 1 diabetes
- when you wake up and before meals: 5 to 7mmol/l
- before meals at other times of the day: 4 to 7mmol/l
If you have type 2 diabetes
- before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
- two hours after meals: less than 8.5mmol/l
Why Is It Important To Reduce The Size And Duration Of These Spikes
Reducing these spikes may help you to increase the amount of time you spend in your target blood sugar range , which will have a positive impact on your future health. You should consult your healthcare team to understand the best target range for you, as this will differ from person to person. However, the International Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Diabetes recommends a target of 5.0-10.0 mmol/L .
Symptoms of a high blood sugar level also vary in individuals, but they may cause you to feel thirsty, tired, stressed and need to go to the toilet a lot. In the short term, by avoiding prolonged high blood sugar readings after eating, you should also reduce the occurrence of these symptoms and improve your energy, cognitive and athletic ability and overall mood.
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Inconsistent Highs & Lows
Sometimes you may get a lower or higher blood glucose reading than usual and you may not be able to figure out the reason. When you are sick with a virus or flu, your blood glucose levels will nearly always go up and you may need to contact your doctor. There are a number of other common causes for blood glucose levels to increase or decrease. These include:
- Food time eaten, type and amount of carbohydrate for example: bread, pasta, cereals, vegetables, fruit and milk
- Exercise or physical activity
- Other medications
- Blood glucose checking techniques.
Contact your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator if you notice that your blood glucose patters change or are consistently higher or lower than usual.
What If I Have Severe Low Blood Glucose And Cant Treat Myself
Glucagona hormone that raises blood glucose levelsis the best way to treat severely low blood glucose. Available as an injection or a nasal spray, glucagon will quickly raise your blood glucose level. Your doctor can prescribe you a glucagon kit for use in case of an emergency.
If your blood glucose level drops very low, you wont be able to treat it by yourself. Be prepared to address severely low blood glucose by
- talking with your doctor or health care team about when and how to use a glucagon emergency kit. If you have an emergency kit, regularly check the date on the package to make sure it hasnt expired.
- teaching your family, friends, and coworkers when and how to give you glucagon. Tell them to call 911 right away after giving you glucagon or if you dont have a glucagon emergency kit with you.
- wearing a medical alert identification bracelet or pendant. A medical alert ID tells other people that you have diabetes and need care right away. Getting prompt care can help prevent the serious problems that low blood glucose levels can cause.
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Is Diabetes Diagnosed The Same Way In Every Country
There are four methods of diagnosing diabetes, which are used around the world. They are:
Are There Different Recommendations For Blood Sugar Levels In Other Countries
The recommended blood sugar level ranges in countries around the world are very similar. However, there are two different units of measurement that are used when referring to blood sugars, depending on where you live: millimoles per litre and milligrams per decilitre .
The mmol/L measurement is used here in Canada, as well as England, Australia and China, while mg/dL is used in such countries as the United States, France, Japan, Israel and India.
To convert mmol/L to mg/dl, simply multiply by 18. For example, a blood sugar level of 5.0 mmol/L would mean a level of 90 mg/dL .
Here are blood sugar recommendations from some countries other than Canada:
|80 to 130 mg/dL||Less than 180 mg/dL|
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Before And After Meals And Snacks
If you eat first thing in the morning, your first blood sugar check of the day can also count as your pre-meal check, but if you dont, youll need to check again before breakfast.
This can inform you as to how much insulin youll need for your meal . If youre running a little high, youll need to bolus extra, but if your blood sugar is on the lower end, you can take a little less insulin for any carbohydrates eaten.
Checking before every meal and snack can help curb postprandial glucose excursions, otherwise known as the stubborn high blood sugars you sometimes can experience after eating a meal and not adequately bolusing for said meal.
Ideally, you should also be checking 2 hours after all meals as well, to determine if your meal bolus was adequate, if you took too much insulin, or if you need to adjust and take more insulin.
Two hours is the recommended time frame, because by then most carbohydrates have been absorbed into the body and most fast-acting insulin has already peaked.
When checking before snacks , make sure youre calculating any active insulin on board so you dont overtreat a high and end up going low.
What Are Blood Glucose Tests Used To Diagnose
The amount of sugar in your blood is usually controlled by a hormone called insulin. But if you have diabetes, your body either doesnt make enough insulin or the insulin produced doesnt work properly. This causes sugar to build up in your blood.
In some cases, blood glucose testing may also be used to test for hypoglycemia. This condition occurs when the levels of glucose in your blood are too low, usually lower than 70 milligrams per deciliter .
Hypoglycemia can occur in people with diabetes if they take too much of their medication, like insulin, exercise more than usual, or skip a meal. Less commonly, hypoglycemia can be caused by other underlying conditions or medications.
Doctors consider very low blood sugar to be a medical emergency, as it can lead to seizures, coma, and even death.
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Diabetes Medications And Classes
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Medications And Blood Sugar Control
If you are affected by type 2 diabetes, medications may be used as an adjunct to manage your condition at a later stage. Factors such as diet, exercise and loss of weight are very important in managing blood sugars if you have tried to make changes in all these areas and are still not successful in gaining good control of your blood sugars, there are many types of medications that can help you manage your diabetes. These medications are usually taken orally, to help lower blood sugar levels. There are different classes of medications, which work on different parts of the body, to try and alter the levels of insulin and sugar in the body.
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People With Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes can occur during pregnancy. Often, it is a temporary condition, but it can lead to pregnancy complications.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with a diagnosis of gestational diabetes aim for blood sugar levels similar to those for people without diabetes, although individual targets may vary.
The ADA offers the following as a guideline:
|Blood sugar level|
- blood vessels
A wide range of complications can also result, such as slow wound healing and frequent infections. Other possible complications include:
How Much Does Blood Sugar Increase After Eating
At this time the blood sugar level can reach 7.8 mmol/L in a healthy individual.
After the half-hour mark, the blood glucose level starts to fall as the sugar is absorbed from the blood into the cells of the body.
Its important to check your normal blood sugar level 1 hour after eating. For example, if you find that your blood sugar is 160 mg/dL after the meal, this equates to 8.9 mmol/L which means your blood sugar is high. Its an indication that you may need to seek medical treatment to control your blood sugar level.
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When To Test Your Blood Sugar
Depending on your unique needs, they may suggest testing blood sugar at any of the following times:
1. Before breakfast
Testing before youve had anything to eat or drink in the morning, also known as a fasting blood sugar, can let you know how well your body manages blood sugar while you sleep. It also gives you a baseline to see changes in your blood sugar throughout the day.
2. Before each meal
Checking blood sugar before meals tells people who inject insulin if they need to take a correction dose of insulin in addition to taking their bolus insulin to cover the meal. When testing in pairs , a pre-meal reading can act as a reference for how the food you eat and any pre-meal medications affect your glucose levels.
3. After each meal
The food you consume has a large effect on your blood sugar levels. The American Diabetes Association recommends testing 1 to 2 hours after the start of a meal. To determine if your blood sugar level is where it should be, work with your healthcare professional to establish your target after-meal glucose range.
4. Before bedtime
A blood sugar reading taken before bedtime can tell you if your blood sugar is in a safe range, or if you need to have a snack before going to bed. It is also a point of reference for your morning blood sugar test, to compare and get a picture of how your blood sugar levels changed overnight.
5. In the middle of the night
6. Before, during, and after physical activity
8. When youre sick or stressed
Blood Sugar Level After 2 Hours:
Another crucial time to check blood glucose level is about an hour and a half after a meal. Generally, around this time the process of digestion and absorption is near its end. So, high blood sugar during this time generally means that the body cant process sugar properly.
In case of a normal individual, blood glucose level at this time is below 7.8 mmol/L. If the sugar level is 11.1 mmol/L or more, then the individual is considered to be diabetic.
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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.
When Should I Check My Blood Sugars In The Morning
Question: In the mornings, how soon after I wake up should I check my blood sugar? Answer: It is a good habit to check your blood glucose first thing when you get up in the morning. You want to always make sure that your sugar is not too low since most people would not have eaten anything since dinner the night before. If your sugar is too low you can drink juice or milk. but, if it is high, take your insulin right away and then eat breakfast within an hour. It’s important that you get in a habit of taking your sugar at the same time everyday. I always tell my patients that the more that you stick to a routine the more that your sugar becomes more controlled, especially if you eat your meals daily at a consistent time. Catherine Estipona, MSN APN provides family-centered care as a Family Nurse Practitioner. In addition to her day-to-day care of patients, she serves as a Diabetic Educator in the state of Nevada for Lilly USA, LLC, a pharmaceutical company. You will receive your first newsletter soon. Do you have Medicare as your primary insurance?Continue reading > >
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How To Control Blood Sugar Level:
Maintaining blood sugar is very important in order to live a healthy and disease-free life. For diabetes patients, the doctrine of the three Ds is the best possible method to keep blood glucose under check. These three Ds are Dose, Diet and Discipline.
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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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