Diabetes – Glucose Basics

For those of us who have diabetes, we know all too well the importance of blood glucose in our body, and how we must keep track of it in order to stay healthy. But, if you’re newly diagnosed with diabetes, or you are caring for a loved one who has the disease, you may not understand what blood glucose is and why it’s so important.

What is blood glucose, or blood sugar?

Glucose, or blood sugar as it is also known as, comes from the carbohydrates we eat in our foods. It is the main source of energy for our body. You will find carbohydrates in many different types of common foods such as bread, pasta, cereals, soda, fast food, etc. The higher the amount of carbs a food has, the worse it is for your body.

When your body starts to run low on glucose you will notice a loss of energy. Your batteries need recharged so to speak. So, you eat a snack or meal and your body takes the carbs and turns them into glucose. Suddenly your body regains its lost energy.

To counteract the effects of the increase in blood glucose, our body releases insulin. Insulin is what will control the amount of glucose in our blood. It is produced in the pancreas and released into the blood stream when the body senses a rise in glucose levels.

Where the issue comes into play for those who have diabetes is the fact that their bodies either don’t produce insulin at all, or they don’t produce enough insulin to control the glucose levels. This goes on until your doctor can get it under control with medication.

If someone does not get diabetes under control, and lets it continue over the course of time it will lead to very serious health issues. It can cause blurred vision and eventual blindness, kidney problems and kidney failure, numbness in the hands and feet, as well as many other health problems. Left without treatment it can even lead to death. This is why it is so important for everyone to know what their blood sugar level is. Over 6 million people have diabetes and don’t even know it. For many of those it will be too late for treatment when they do find out. It doesn’t need to be that way.

What is the normal blood glucose level?

In every person it will vary slightly. It depends on what time of day it is and whether you have just eaten, etc. Health exerts will tell you that a reading of under 100-110mg/dL in the morning before eating is ideal. If it is 120-150mg/dL then you most likely have pre-diabetes and need to adjust your diet and be sure you are getting plenty of exercise. Continue to monitor it frequently. If you’re above 150mg/dL then you most likely are diabetic. Of course, only your doctor or health care provider can make that determination.

If you are not sure what your blood glucose level is I urge you to get it tested. It is so simple and easy to do, and it may very well keep you healthy for years to come.

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