Are Your Blood Sugar Numbers in the Sweet Spot?
What are Glucose Levels?
And what do they tell you? Basically, they are an indication of how much sugar you have floating around in your bloodstream. It comes from carbohydrates (although if you eat too much protein, your body can convert that to glucose). Your body uses it for energy, which means it's vital to life! Too often people think of glucose, sugar, and insulin as bad things. This is because we hear about these terms in connection with diseases like diabetes. But it's important to keep in mind that your body absolutely cannot function without them!
Your glucose levels will naturally rise after a meal, because you have of course just eaten some carbohydrates. In normal, healthy people, however, they don't spike too high and don't stay elevated too long. If your blood glucose levels stay too high for too long, it can cause all sorts of damage. It can be especially damaging to your nerves and kidneys!
Insulin & Glucagon: How Do They Regulate Glucose Levels?
If your glucose levels are too high, insulin is the hormone that draws glucose into your cells. If your levels are too low, glucagon signals for your liver to release more into the bloodstream. The idea here is that you want glucose levels to remain steady. Basically insulin helps your body to actually use the glucose.
Diabetes: How Does It Factor Into the Mix?
Diabetes is caused by one of two things, insulin resistance or a lack of insulin. Chronically elevated high blood sugar levels can contribute to the development of diabetes over time!
What About Low Glucose Levels?
If you're a very fit, healthy person, especially one who doesn't eat much sugar or carbohydrates, low blood sugar probably isn't anything to worry about. However, if you're a diabetic, low blood sugar can be dangerous.
What Do They Test For?
There are several different kinds of glucose tests.
Fasting glucose levels. Don't eat or drink anything other than water for 8 hours prior to this test. It's typically the initial check they do for diabetes.
2-hour postprandial blood sugar. This test measures your levels 2 hours after a meal. Often they will give you a take-home test for this one.
Random blood sugar. Just how it sounds: this tests your levels at random times. In healthy people, blood sugar levels don't vary all that much. If you're diabetic or prediabetic, your levels will vary much more wildly throughout the day.
Oral glucose tolerance test. This test diagnoses diabetes during pregnancy. The doctors give you a sweet drink and measure your levels.
Glycohemoglobin A1C. This tests checks for glucose that gets stuck to your blood cells and can diagnose diabetes.
So What Are Good Levels?
If you get your fasting levels taken, ideally it will be under 110 mg/dL. Higher than that and you are considered at risk for diabetes.
For your postprandial glucose levels, you should ideally be under 140 mg/dL.
If you get the random test, your levels should vary between 80-140 mg/dL.
What If My Glucose is High?
Talk with your doctor. You might have diabetes, or be at increased risk for heart disease. But don't give up hope! Properly managing your diet, especially carbohydrates, can help keep you healthier and feeling better.
What If My Glucose is Low?
That's called hypoglycemia, and it can be caused by a variety of other conditions.
What Can Interfere with My Results?
Many things can interfere with your test results, including:
- Not fasting properly
- Many medications (ask your doctor)
So What Should I Do?
If your test results are abnormal, talk to your doctor. Medication can help. Whatever your results, you can improve your health by eating less sugar. Make sure to get plenty of vegetables, fruit, and natural fats from grass-fed beed and wild salmon. Treating diabetes is an option if you have it, but it's always preferable to avoid it in the first place. An ounce of prevention, as they say.
Thanks for reading!