30 Days to a Diabetes-Free Life

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Live A Happy Life By Observing Your Blood Sugar Level

By Allan Meister

The main fuel that the body uses to produce energy is called blood sugar or blood glucose. Hence, among the most pivotal requirements for maintaining a healthy body is the maintenance of a balanced blood glucose level. To be able to do so, various factors should be understood about blood sugar. Among these factors are how it works, its normal ranges, the consequences of having low or high levels of it, as well as the various tools and tests that can be used to measure it.

First, let's learn how glucose functions in our body. Most of the food we eat contains carbohydrates, proteins, and fats which are the primary sources of glucose. When foods rich in these minerals are consumed, their starch and sugar components are broken down by the body to glucose, which in turn is directly absorbed into the bloodstream. Glucose is then pushed from the blood to the body cells-providing them with the energy necessary to carry out their specific functions-by insulin, a natural hormone produced by the pancreas. According to experts, blood sugar levels that range between 70 and 120 mg/dl are considered to be normal levels of blood sugar.

The most accurate and easy way of measuring blood sugar levels is through the use of blood sugar meters. To use these tools, a drop of blood is first taken from the patient. The blood is usually taken from the fingertip by using shooting a small lancet into the skin. The drop of blood is then placed on a special coated strip which in turn is inserted into the blood sugar tester. The level of blood sugar is then calculated by the tester using the electric impulses it receives from the reaction of blood to the chemicals on the strip. Results are then displayed usually on a small digital screen.

Using blood sugar meters, there are various tests available to check for glucose levels. These are the fasting blood sugar test, the 2 hour postprandial blood glucose test, the random blood sugar testing, and the glucose tolerance test. The fasting blood sugar test refers to blood glucose tests done after a fast-hence, blood sugar is not impacted by eating and drinking-which typically is 8 hours long. The "2 hour postprandial" blood glucose test, on the other hand, is performed two hours after eating while random blood glucose testing is performed at random hours throughout the day and is performed regardless of food consumption, activity, exercise or sleep. Finally is the glucose tolerance test which aims to see the blood's reaction immediately after a high amount of sugar is consumed and released in to the blood. It is performed by having the patient drink a liquid that is mostly made up of glucose.

Blood sugar meter readings of high or low levels of blood sugar may have significant effects on our daily living. Hypoglycemia results from low levels of blood sugar. This condition is triggered by consumption of too little or insufficient food, too much exercise, and/or inappropriate medication. People with this condition often feel sweaty, dizzy, hungry, and shaky. On the other hand, people with high levels of blood glucose often suffer from the condition called hyperglycemia. A high level of blood sugar is also the defining characteristic of diabetes. In the short-run, high levels of blood sugar may only result in fatigue, inability to concentrate, and blurred vision. However, if not properly addressed, long term consequences of high levels of blood glucose include heart and kidney disease, nerve and blood vessel damages, blindness, and gum diseases.

Debilitating effects in our daily lives may result from abnormal levels of blood sugar. As such, it is a must to regularly monitor our levels of blood sugar through the use of blood sugar meters and other blood sugar tests. This is also especially necessary in maintaining a balanced, healthy life.

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