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Blood Glucose

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What is a blood glucose test for? First let's talk about what job blood sugar has in the body. The bloodstream carries glucose—a type of sugar produced from the digestion of carbohydrates and other foods—to provide energy to cells throughout the body. Unused glucose is stored mainly in the liver as glycogen. Insulin, glucagon, and other hormone levels rise and fall to keep blood sugar in a normal range. Too little or too much of these hormones can cause blood sugar levels to fall too low (hypoglycemia) or rise too high (hyperglycemia).

Normally, blood glucose levels increase after you eat a meal. When blood sugar rises, cells in the pancreas release insulin, causing the body to absorb glucose from the blood and lowering the blood sugar level to normal. When blood sugar drops too low, the level of insulin declines and other cells in the pancreas release glucagon, which causes the liver to turn stored glycogen back into glucose and release it into the blood. This brings blood sugar levels back up to normal.

You may have briefly felt the effects of low blood sugar when you've gotten really hungry or exercised hard without eating enough. This happens to nearly everyone from time to time. It's easy to correct and usually nothing to worry about.

 ...rule out health problems that could be affecting your blood sugar levels

Hypoglycemia:-

Consistent low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can also be an ongoing problem. It occurs when the level of sugar in your blood drops too low to give your body energy. Treat a sudden episode of low blood sugar by eating or drinking something with sugar in it like fruit juice, soda, milk, raisins, and candy as well as glucose tablets. This gets your blood sugar back up in the short term only. Someone with an illness such as Diabetes needs insulin medication and a whole lifestyle change to monitor the disease. What causes hypoglycemia in people who don't have diabetes? 

  • Medicines. 
  • Diseases of the liver, kidneys, or pancreas. 
  • Metabolic problems.
  • Alcohol use.
  • Stomach surgery.

Symptoms can be different depending on how low your blood sugar level drops: 

  1. Mild hypoglycemia can make you feel hungry or like you want to vomit. You could also feel jittery or nervous. Your heart may beat fast. You may sweat. Or your skin might turn cold and clammy. 
  2. Moderate hypoglycemia often makes people feel short-tempered, nervous, afraid, or confused. Your vision may blur. You could also feel unsteady or have trouble walking.
  3.  Severe hypoglycemia can cause you to pass out. You could have seizures. It could even cause a coma or death. If you've had hypoglycemia during the night, you may wake up tired or with a headache. And you may have nightmares. Or you may sweat so much during the night that your pajamas or sheets are damp when you wake up.

Hyperglycemia:-

When you have hyperglycemia it means your blood sugar levels are too high and very often indicates a form of diabetes or the precursor to diabetes called prediabetes. The different symptoms of Hyperglycemia are:-

  • Weight loss
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent peeing
  • Increased thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Blood sugar more than 180 mg/dL

Continuingly high blood sugar may cause:

  • Intestinal problems including diarrhea and constipation 
  • Skin or vaginal infections (Candida)
  • Slow-healing cuts and sores
  • Vision loss
  • Nerve damage (leading to erectile dysfunction, pain and sensitive extremities, hair loss on lower body)
  • Damage to your blood vessels, eyes and kidneys

The Blood Glucose test at home:-

To perform a blood glucose test, you prick your finger with a lancet and then add a small drop of blood on a testing strip. This strip is inserted into a meter, which reads your blood sample and then shows the number/level of your blood glucose. The best times to test your blood glucose level are:-

  • Before breakfast (fasting). This one is especially important if you are testing for diabetes for the first time.
  • Before lunch/dinner
  • Before bed
  • Before rigorous exercise
  • When you are feeling unwell
  • Two hours after a meal

 Your readings for blood glucose levels will correlate with and have the meanings for the following:-

Blood Glucose monitoring levels table

 

Blood Glucose

If you’re concerned about your blood glucose levels, a simple test can put your mind at ease. A blood glucose test simply measures the amount of sugar, in other words glucose, in your blood. It’s the main energy source used by your body, so if you’re not feeling too good or lethargic, then maybe it’s time to have a test. The results will give you a good estimate to see if you need treatment.

When it comes to blood glucose testing, there are many products available to buy online. Read on to find out more about home test kits along with resources to give you more info and support concerning blood glucose levels. Products With so many blood glucose kits to buy online, it can be quite difficult choosing the right one for you. To put your mind at ease here’s a list of items using different platforms in order to monitor your blood glucose levels.

Home Tests – if you think there is something wrong with your blood sugar, there’s an easy way to find out. Blood glucose tests can be done in the comfort of your own home. You can find out the results in less than 15 seconds to see whether you have normal or impaired blood glucose levels. More information here

Physician Tests – doctors and health professionals can also test your blood glucose levels at a clinic or health center. They can carry out random blood glucose tests, fasting blood tests or oral glucose tolerance tests. Check here for more information.

Resources and Links:

Diabetes Personal Care Plans and Information: Diabetes America www.diabetesamerica.com

All about diabetes: American Diabetes Association  www.diabetes.org

Conversion Table for Blood Sugar: Joslin Diabetes Center www.joslin.org