Sugar, in the form of glucose, is a blood component derived from food consumed that is essential for the cells of the body to use as fuel to sustain the many biochemical activities that keep the body alive.
Measurements of blood sugar levels in the human body are not normally of concern to healthy people unless they may suspect they are becoming diabetic or pre-diabetic or perhaps because an acquaintance or relative is diagnosed as being diabetic and they wish to understand the condition.
However, knowing personal blood sugar levels and how they compare to a normal healthy person's levels is of major importance to anyone who does have diabetes, including anyone who has recently been diagnosed as being diabetic. It is necessary for those individuals to frequently monitor their blood sugar levels.
Diabetes, the blood sugar disease
Diabetes is a serious disease in which the body's ability to process the sugars circulating in the blood becomes impaired for any of several possible reasons or a combination of reasons. There are several types of diabetes but probably more than 90% of all cases are Type-2 Diabetes, the subject of this article.
When to measure
For those who are concerned, there are several situations in which measurements of blood sugars need to be known and most typically those are:
â™¦ First thing in the morning after a night's sleep before eating or drinking anything, called the fasting blood sugar level.
â™¦ Two hours postprandial, meaning 2 hours after having eaten a meal.
â™¦ To determine what percentage of the blood's hemoglobin molecules have glucose attached to them. This is called the glycosylated hemoglobin measurement.
Levels for non-diabetic persons
In the United States, the amounts of sugar in the blood are conventionally measured and expressed in units of milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). In most other countries, the units used are millimoles per liter (mmol/L) The U.S. measurements can be converted to the other measurement system by dividing their numerical value by 18.
Using the recommended values published by the American Diabetes Association:
â™¦ A fasting blood sugar level for a healthy and non-diabetic person, shown in the units used in the United States, is a value less than 100 milligrams per deciliter.
â™¦ A 2-hour after eating level for a healthy and non-diabetic person is normally less than 140 milligrams per deciliter.
â™¦ The Glycosylated hemoglobin percentage for a non-diabetic person is less than 6%, meaning that no more than 6% of the molecules of hemoglobin in a blood sample have glucose attached to them.
Taking the measurements for the first 2 occasions listed above are usually a daily occurrence and can be self-admi9nistered with the aid of a small hand-held glucose measuring device. The third instance is most often measured about every 3 or 4 months and has to be done through a licensed clinic, hospital, or doctor's office followed by a laboratory analysis of a blood sample.
Target levels for the diabetic person
What causes the onset of diabetes is uncertain, there may be factors of heredity or perhaps lifestyle that contribute to its development but if it does occur it cannot be cured and at best it can only be managed and brought under control through the implementation of a number of possible procedures, often involving diet modification and exercise and sometimes medication.
â™¦ A fasting blood sugar level for a person with diabetes, shown in the units used in the United States, is between 70 and 130 milligrams per deciliter.
â™¦ A 2-hour after eating level for a person with diabetes is less than 180 milligrams per deciliter.
â™¦ The Glycosylated hemoglobin percentage for a person with diabetes is less than 7%, meaning that no more than 7% of the molecules of hemoglobin in a blood sample have glucose attached to them.
For countries other than the United States, the above values may differ slightly.
If you are overweight and over forty years of age and have not visited a doctor for a long time, it is recommended that you do so as soon as possible. Being overweight is associated with diabetes and pre-diabetes, if indications show that you are heading towards diabetes you still have time to avoid the health disaster that diabetes presents, but once diagnosed as having diabetes life changes for ever and the quality of life is diminished from that point on. Don't let it happen.