Diabetes is one of the most common diseases of our generation and it is characterized by high blood sugar levels. In women the condition is particularly prevalent because many women do not recognize the signs and symptoms of the disease early on. Of course millions of men have the condition as well but because women as a collective tend to be slightly less physically active it is sometimes a bit more commonly found.
Above all factors that are completely within your control smoking is one risk factor for diabetes which can be completely eliminated. Being overweight is another risk factor that is well within your control but on a more specific basis physical activity is something everyone can add to their lives which would make a dramatic difference in the ability to manage and prevent diabetes from developing.
The Biggest Influence On Insulin Sensitivity & Pre-Diabetes
Researchers have noted for many years that staying physically active and exercising more frequently can make the biggest difference in your body’s sensitivity to insulin. This is important because insulin is the primary mechanism for turning glucose in the blood into energy the cells of the body can use. If the insulin doesn’t do its job efficiently then blood sugar levels remain too high for too long and diabetes can set it or worsen.
As a woman the first thing you should do is to check your blood sugar levels to see if your levels are high in the first place. Ideally you want your fasting blood sugar levels to be below 100 mg/Dl but getting them below 120 is a decent first step. The reason for this is because levels above this range are classified as diabetic and below are classified as pre-diabetic or normal. If you do indeed have high blood sugar levels then you need to take steps to lower blood glucose levels to prevent further damage to your body and a worsening of your condition.
What Is A High Blood Sugar Range
As previously noted an excellent range for fasting blood sugar levels in women of all ages is between 90 and 100 but for those people with prediabetes you may be doing pretty good if your fasting levels are below 120. Generally fasting levels over 120 indicates the presence of diabetes. If you have not eaten anything in 8 to 12 hours this is a range that you should strive for and making changes to your dietary patterns and the levels of exercise you participate in can help you get into this range more often.
In the short term however most people, even those without diabetes, tend to experience short-term spikes in glucose levels much higher than 120 mg/Dl. In very healthy individuals it is common to eat big unhealthy meals from time to time which result in short term spikes in blood sugar to the 140 range. This isn’t too bad if it only happens on occasion and especially if your levels return to a safe range in an acceptable period of time.
In those with diabetes or pre-diabetes short term spikes in glucose is much more serious because spikes are usually much higher and take much more time to return to normal. In those people with diabetes it is very important to eat foods which are low on the glycemic index. These foods cause slow and gradual increases in glucose which do not spike as high and do not cause as much damage to the body. The body’s natural response with insulin production is usually enough to regulate the consumptions of complex carbs.
It’s not unusual for diabetics to eat meals full of simple carbs, high calories, and low nutritional value and experience spikes in blood sugar levels in excess of 200 mg/Dl. This is not safe but it is common and it’s why you need to learn how your body responds to carbs. You always want to do what you can to keep your body in a safe and normal blood sugar range.
Lowering High Blood Sugar Levels In Women
Woemn in particular have an additional cause for high blood sugar and diabetes. Gestational diabetes effects many women only during pregnancy. Occuring usually in the 20th week or later many women start to experience all the signs and symptoms of prediabetes. Their fasting blood sugar gets higher and higher and they start to develop diabetes.
In these women and women experiencing normal pre-diabetes, in the absence of pregnancy, it is important to take steps early and often to lower high blood sugar levels throughout the day as well as in the morning after a long fast. The best way to do this is to eat fewer empty calories and to get plenty of physical exercise.
Fasting blood sugar levels for men should be no different than they are for women. Although statistically more women than men have high blood sugar you shouldn’t be satisfied until you are in a normal range. Researchers have identified physical activity and exercise as the body’s number one influence on insulin sensitivity so if you stay active your body should metabolize glucose into energy as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Eat plenty of food low on the glycemic index in conjunction with getting more exercise. Foods in the vegetable category are almost always lower than foods in the grain category. One simple way to keep on the low side on the index is to substitute rice for quinoa. Rice, white or brown, is much higher on the index than quinoa and because it is often used as a calorie and “stomach filler” in many homes it can be empty calories that only work against your condition.
Exercise, weight loss, and physical activity come first however. Luckily for women these same activities and choices make a huge positive dent in other goals so they should be more palatable. The take home piece however is the significance and importance of getting your fasting blood sugar levels lower. Diabetes is a nasty condition that is irreversible once it advances to far, it feeds on itself. Stop it in its tracks and you’ll have a much healthier life in the long run.