know the best blood sugar levels by age, gender, and heredity
know the best blood sugar levels by age, gender, and heredity, The issue of managing blood sugar levels is one that thousands of people deal with every day. For some people, blood sugar imbalances cause only a temporary problem – requiring them to stop what they’re doing and adjust their actions accordingly. For others, however, significant changes in blood sugar can result in severe illness, hospitalization, or even death.
Fortunately, with the proper knowledge and the necessary determination, blood sugar levels can be managed, allowing for long and healthy lives. Everyday lifestyle changes, combined with medical intervention when necessary, can ensure that your blood sugar levels won’t hold you back.
As with many health issues, knowledge is the most important part of managing blood sugar and preventing dangerous highs and lows. If blood sugar imbalances are a concern in your life or the life of someone you love, start educating yourself today.
In the book, you’ll learn the basics of blood sugar, and how you can take control. What exactly is blood sugar, and when is a blood sugar level considered “high” or “low”? Why is blood sugar so important, and what effects do low and high blood sugar have on your body? And, what is the often-discussed link between obesity and diabetes?
If you or a loved one are dealing with blood sugar issues, this book can help. The information within, along with your doctor’s advice, will help you learn the basics of blood sugar management in a concise and easy-to-read way. FOR MORE ARTICLES CLICK HERE
The term “blood sugar” refers to the amount of glucose that is present in an individual’s blood at any given time. For this reason, blood sugar levels can also be referred to as your blood sugar concentration or blood glucose level.
Glucose in the body can come from a variety of sources. Your body can create glucose from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that you consume. Sugars that you consume directly can also impact your blood glucose levels.
Everyone has glucose in their bloodstream. It isn’t a bad thing at all; in fact, it is quite the opposite. As the main energy source for our bodies, glucose is vital to our survival. Transported from the liver or intestines to your body’s cells through the bloodstream, glucose powers the brain, nervous system, and tissues of the body.
If your blood sugar levels drop too far below normal levels, a condition called hypoglycemia results. Although low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, is usually considered less serious than high blood sugar, it can be a very serious medical condition.
Milder symptoms of hypoglycemia include fatigue and irritability. If left unchecked, hypoglycemia can become far more serious, resulting in impaired mental function, muscle weakness, and loss of consciousness. In some cases, brain damage and even death may result.
Hyperglycemia (High Blood Sugar levels)
The most well-known and best understood issue that people face concerning blood sugar is having a blood glucose concentration that is too high – also known as hyperglycemia.
On a short-term basis, the effects of moderately high blood sugar levels are not particularly serious, like a lack of appetite. But the long-term effects of sustained and frequent hyperglycemia are dire. These side effects can include vision loss, kidney problems, nerve damage, delayed healing, heart disease, and, eventually, death.
Once you understand the importance of glucose, and of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, it becomes clear that learning to manage your blood sugar can be one of the smartest decisions you ever make.
The Blood Sugar-Insulin Link
In news stories, magazine articles, and even conversations with your doctor, it seems you can’t hear the words “blood sugar” without “insulin” close behind. But what does it all mean? What is insulin, and what does it do? Why do diabetics have to take insulin, and what role does it play in helping them to manage their disease?
In healthy individuals, insulin is a hormone that is naturally produced by the pancreas. As glucose enters our bloodstream, insulin acts as a metabolic ambassador – allowing our muscles, organs, nervous system, and other tissues to gather and use the glucose as energy. Insulin can also affect cognition, improving memory.
When insulin is at low levels or is absent altogether, the glucose remains in our bloodstream. This causes blood sugar levels to gradually rise. If insulin levels remain insufficient, blood sugar levels will eventually rise so drastically that the excess of blood glucose will spill out of the bloodstream, entering the kidneys.
Without sufficient insulin levels, our body essentially loses its primary source of energy – glucose – and must search for other sources of energy to function. This insulin-blood sugar imbalance can cause individuals to become seriously unwell.
Blood Sugar Monitors
Although some people only have mild issues with blood sugar and can gauge their levels internally based on how they are feeling, other individuals, require a more definitive method of tracking their blood glucose levels. For those individuals, blood sugar monitors can be purchased and used to track your exact blood sugar on a day-to-day level.
For diabetics, especially, blood sugar monitors can be an important part of tracking, maintaining, and adjusting blood sugar levels to remain in a healthy range. Blood sugar monitors come in many different styles and designs, although all rely on a pinprick and subsequent blood drop for analysis.
Do I Need to Invest in One?
Blood sugar monitors can be expensive, and no one enjoys pricking themselves for the blood drop sample unless absolutely necessary. To find out if you need to invest in a blood sugar monitor, speak with your doctor.
Based on the severity of your blood sugar imbalances – and whether or not you suffer from diabetes – your doctor can help you determine if you need to start testing your blood sugar as part of your treatment.
How Do I Find the Right Monitor for Me?
There are many types of blood sugar monitors on the market today, and the prices can vary drastically based on the features of the testing device. As with most computerized devices, more convenient features equal a heftier price tag. But, if your health condition requires testing several times per day for several years, many people find it to be more than worth the additional cost.
The main costs associated with blood glucose monitoring are the monitor itself, and the test strips that will be used with each blood glucose analysis. When choosing the monitor that is right for you, it’s important to take into account the cost of the test strips, as well.
Below are some of the features to look for in a blood glucose monitor:
Size & Portability – while some monitors are larger and intended for use mostly at home, others are built to be sleek and portable for on-the-go testing.
Blood Sample Requirements – while some blood sugar monitors require a large drop of blood prior to proper analysis, others claim to be nearly pain-free. Also, many testing devices also allow you to easily test on a site other than your fingers, which can be a relief for those who work with their hands.
Special features – people of all ages, genders, races, and walks of life sometimes have to use blood sugar monitors, so they’re built with individual needs in mind. Certain models of blood glucose monitors offer data streaming to your computer for easy tracking, large screens for those with poor vision, or large test strips for those with arthritis. As we previously stated, make sure you get the monitor that is best for you.
Blood Sugar levels Chart: What Do the Numbers Mean?
Just as everyone is an individual, each person’s “normal” blood sugar range will be slightly different. For the most part, however, the following ranges are loosely adhered to.
When testing for medical purposes, a “fasting blood sugar” is normally used. This means that the individual will be tested six to eight hours after their last meal. The following numbers apply to that situation.
For patients who are tracking their blood sugar levels on a day-to-day basis, the following numbers would apply to a normal adult approximately two hours after a meal.
If your numbers come up within the “normal” range, then you can rest easy. If, however, your numbers fall within the “pre-diabetic” range, you should consider it to be your body giving you an important warning – one that could potentially save your life.
Many people who fall in the “pre-diabetic” range are on a health precipice, of sorts. If they are practicing less-than-healthy habits – like eating a diet high in fatty and sweet foods – then continuing with the same bad habits can easily lead to diabetes. Once an individual becomes an established diabetic, it is much harder to control the blood sugar and reverse the damage to your body.
For individuals who fall within the range of established diabetes, blood sugar monitor results are an important way to make sure your diet and medications are helping to effectively control your condition.
How Blood Sugar Levels Affect the Body
We all know that maintaining proper blood sugar levels is important to our health, but you may be wondering why. How do blood sugar levels actually affect our bodies, and in what way?
On a short-term basis, extreme hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can have far more serious effects than high blood sugar. This is due to the fact that blood glucose is necessary for the proper functioning of many-body systems. Hypoglycemia is considered severe if it falls below 40 mg/dL; if it falls below, 15 mg/dL, the results can be dire: loss of consciousness, seizures, brain damage, and even death.
Although the health impact of elevated blood sugar levels can be just as severe, it often sneaks upon those who do not control their blood sugar. Short-term effects of high blood sugar are irritating, but not permanent or overly severe: fatigue, excessive thirst, frequent urination, a weakened immune system, and blurry vision. For individuals who are used to lifestyles that exacerbate high blood sugar levels, these “irritating” symptoms are sometimes not enough to spur them to action.
Over the course of months and years, howe blood sugar levels, elevated blood sugar levels can have devastating and debilitating effects on patients. Retinopathy is one of the most feared health effects of sustained high – it is an eye disease that can gradually lead to blindness.
Nephropathy, or kidney disease, is a life-threatening condition that can lead to kidney failure. This can necessitate dialysis, with all of the costs and discomfort associated with it. In some cases, a kidney transplant becomes necessary.
But one of the most dangerous side effects of elevated long-term blood sugar is neuropathy or damage to the nerves. This can cause a severe lack of feeling, particularly in the extremities. Because individuals are sometimes unaware of injuries due to neuropathy, it commonly leads to amputations.
When high blood sugar remains unchecked, it can also contribute to common, dangerous health conditions like high cholesterol, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
The Link Between Obesity & Diabetes
Being overweight and having diabetes has long been considered to be linked, and new studies seem to confirm this idea. It’s important to note that there is no association between Type 1 diabetes and obesity, as Type 1 diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes, however, is another story and is increasingly believed to be directly related to obesity in many patients.
In Type 2 diabetes, the body produces insulin in a perfectly normal fashion; however, the body’s cell receptors don’t use that insulin effectively. This has to do with the IRS, or insulin receptor substrates. These proteins are present in our body’s cells and are related to insulin reception.
When insulin activates these receptors, they release chemicals to the insulin receptor substrates which in turn allows them to use glucose to facilitate cellular functions. The medical studies that have linked obesity and diabetes show that being overweight in some way impairs the function of these insulin receptor substrates, thereby interfering with the way glucose is processed by the body.
The hormone resistin is also believed to link obesity to diabetes. Resistin, a hormone that is produced by the body’s fat cells, can increase our bodies’ insulin resistance.
Resistin would seem to serve no useful purpose today – after all, why would one want to increase resistance to insulin, a chemical that our bodies produce for a reason? Surprisingly, it is believed that resistin is essentially an evolutionary “quirk”. Many prominent scientists who study endocrinology believe that our bodies first started creating resistin in times of extreme famine to conserve the body’s energy.
Since resistin is produced by fat cells in the body, the production of resistin is naturally higher in obese people. High levels of resistin substantially increase the risk of developing diabetes.
Another contributing factor to diabetes, and the link between obesity and diabetes, is overnutrition. What, you may ask, is a state of “overnutrition”? Isn’t nutrition a good thing? Yes – and no.
Proper nutrition is an important part of good health, getting enough calories and the nutrients your body needs. Overnutrition is a condition in which your body has more calories and fats in reserve than it can reasonably process. The state of “overnutrition” is, by definition, one that is often found in people who are obese.
Aside from encouraging an unhealthy body weight, why is overnutrition bad, and how does it contribute to the development of diabetes? The endoplasmic reticulum, or ER, is the cellular membrane that processes blood fats and proteins.
When your body is in a state of “overnutrition” it places undue stress on the ER of your body’s cells, which are trying to do their job and just can’t keep up because you are overeating. When the endoplasmic reticulum is under stress, they transmit signals that keep the insulin receptors from responding to insulin.
If this happens on a regular basis then, over time, your body can slowly lose its ability to respond to insulin appropriately. This can directly cause the development of type 2 diabetes.
What Is Diabesity?
Diabesity is a term that was first used in the 1970s by researchers who were studying the strong link between diabetes and obesity. It was made more popular in 1995 by Dr. Francine Kaufman in her ground-breaking book, Diabesity: The Obesity-Diabetes Epidemic That Threatens America. Diabesity is a term that weaves together the conditions of diabetes and obesity.
The word diabesity emphasizes the strong correlation between obesity and diabetes. Just how strong is that link, from a researcher’s point of view? Many scientists and doctors believe that more than half of all diabetes cases are caused by excess weight – with 64% being caused by excess weight for men, and 77% being caused by excess weight for women.
Controlling Your Blood Sugar levels
Now that you have a better understanding of blood sugar – what it is, what effects it can have, and what can cause fluctuations – it is important to understand how you can control and manage your blood sugar levels on a day-to-day basis.
Although many diabetics are forced to use insulin, no one enjoys being reliant on insulin or having to inject themselves every day. For people with a phobia of needles or who have difficulty seeing blood, it can be a daunting prospect. Fortunately, in many cases, there are other ways to help your body regulate its blood sugar levels, many of which are surprisingly effective.
Using Diet to Manage Blood Sugar Levels
The food and beverage you consume play an enormous role in your blood sugar, whether it is high, low, or well within normal. Obviously, overeating can result in obesity and subsequent overnutrition, which can have a damaging impact on your body and blood sugar levels.
But even those who are of normal weight can have significant changes in blood sugar based on what they do – or do not – eat throughout the day. By understanding the role of food and beverage on your blood sugar, you can learn to better control your blood sugar levels through diet.
Many individuals, authors, and doctors refer to a specific eating plan as a “diabetes diet”. While there is no concrete diet prescribed for controlling blood sugar, there are some basic guidelines that can give you more power over your blood sugar levels.
In medical terms, eating the right to control your blood sugar is known as MNT or medical nutrition therapy. It sounds scary – and like something your taste buds won’t appreciate! In reality, medical nutrition therapy is just a fancy term for eating a wide variety of healthy foods moderately, at eating regular meals (as opposed to irregular meals with random snacking).
A healthy diet for people with blood sugar imbalances is essentially the same diet that is considered healthy for everyone – lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. There’s an emphasis on foods that are nutrient-rich and have a low-fat content.
Below is an example of some of the recommendations that are common for a “diabetic diet”.
You don’t just get sugar from consuming candy bars and soft drinks – your body converts complex carbohydrates into blood glucose, as well! Thus, when you eat carbs, you need to make them count by focusing on the healthiest, most nutrient-dense carbohydrates available. Fruits, whole grains, and healthy dairy products are great examples.
Foods Rich in Fiber
Eating a diet rich in fiber is important for everyone, but it is especially important for those who are trying to control blood sugar. Not only does fiber decrease the risk of heart disease, but it can help your body to moderate its levels of blood sugar.
Foods that are high in fiber include fruits and veggies, beans, whole wheat bread and cereals, and nuts.
It is recommended that people who are battling blood sugar imbalances eat fish at least twice a week. Why? Not only is fish good for your heart, it is also a great alternative to unhealthy, high-fat meat choices. As a general rule, fish are lower in overall fat, cholesterol, and saturated fat than other meats. And fish like salmon and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can actually help to lower your cholesterol.
Of course, not all fish are healthy. You’ll want to stay away from fried and battered fish which have additional, unhealthy fats. It’s also wise to avoid fish that are known to have higher levels of mercury, like swordfish and albacore.
It’s fine to include fats in your diet, as long as you use common sense and eat foods that contain fats in moderation. Another way to eat smart? When you do eat fats, choose ‘good’ fats like polyunsaturated fats or monounsaturated fats.
These ‘good’ fats can actually help you lower your cholesterol levels. Foods that contain good fats include olive, peanut, and canola oils; avocados, almonds, and pecans. Even though these fats are considered ‘good’ ones, they still have to be eaten in moderation. After all, even good fats are high in calories!
While most foods can be eaten in moderation, even if you are a diabetic, there are some foods that are best avoided altogether, or minimized as much as possible. These are foods that can exacerbate health problems that are associated with diabetes, like high blood pressure or heart disease.
Sodium can have a negative impact on blood pressure, so keep it to a minimum. Most recommendations for diabetics suggest 2,000 mg or less per day.
We’ve already talked about ‘good’ fats – what about the bad ones? It isn’t reasonable to try to cut bad fats completely from your diet, but you can pay attention to and minimize the amount of ‘bad fat that is included in your diet. Saturated fats are found in many animal products, like hot dogs, bacon, and high-fat dairy products. Experts recommend that you try to limit saturated fats to 7% of your daily caloric intake.
Cholesterol is clearly not helpful when you’re trying to improve your health. It can be found in many dairy products and meats, much like saturated fats. Eat reasonably, and try to limit your cholesterol intake to a maximum of 200 milligrams each day.
While even most ‘bad’ fats can be eaten in moderation, there is one exception: trans fats. These extremely unhealthy fats are found in processed snacks, margarine, and shortening. These types of fats are best avoided completely; instead, choose foods that have either ‘good’ fats or reasonable amounts of other fats.
Blood sugar levels are an important part of living a long, healthy, and productive life. Although we can’t always control blood sugar imbalances, we can educate ourselves and do everything within our power to make sure hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia does not control our lives.
In the end, controlling your blood sugar long-term is the result of a series of smaller decisions and common-sense choices. Eat a healthier diet. If you’re overweight, talk to your doctor about losing some weight to give your body an advantage.
Your health is important to you and the people who love you, so don’t let blood sugar stand in your way. Take control, track your blood sugar if necessary and take the steps needed to keep it in check.