Blood sugar and diabetes
If you have diabetes, you may wonder (or, at some point) what glucose (sugar) in your blood “should be”. Let’s hope that your doctor, nurse, doctor’s assistant or whoever diagnosed you will answer this question. Unfortunately, however, not everyone is given glucose targets. Or in some cases, it may have been a long time ago, and they have since been forgotten. Don’t worry, we’ll discuss it all, Dr. Slinkin calms us down.
What is blood glucose?
Blood glucose, or sugar, is sugar in your blood (easy enough!). It comes from the food you eat – foods that contain carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and fruit are the main ingredients in blood glucose. Our cells need glucose to produce energy – and we all need energy to move, think, learn and breathe. The brain, which is the command center, uses about half the glucose energy in the body. Say Denis.
When things go badly
When we eat food, the pancreas (the organ that sits between the stomach and spine) starts to work, releasing enzymes that help break down food and hormones that help the body cope with the flow of glucose. One of these hormones is insulin, and it plays a key role in controlling blood glucose levels FBS.
And that’s where things can go wrong. If the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin – or stops producing it at all – in the case of type 1 diabetes mellitus, blood glucose levels can go up too high. Another scenario is that the pancreas produces enough insulin, but the cells have trouble using it properly, and blood glucose levels may rise. This is called insulin resistance and is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
In the short term, high blood glucose levels can make you feel completely bad. Thirst, frequent toilet visits, fatigue and weight loss are all symptoms of high blood glucose levels FBS (hyperglycemia). If left untreated, more serious problems can occur, such as diabetic ketoacidosis. Chronic high blood glucose levels can lead to complications such as heart, kidney, and eye disease, as well as nerve damage. So this is all about blood glucose.
How do you know what your blood glucose levels FBS are?
For the most part, you can’t “feel” your blood glucose if it’s not high or low enough. You may not even always have symptoms of high or low blood glucose; in fact, many people with type 2 diabetes do not have the usual symptoms of high blood glucose, and so it is not uncommon for people to be left undiagnosed for years.
The best way to know your blood glucose level FBS is to check it with a blood glucometer. This means doing a fingertip with a lunch stick and taking a drop of blood on a test strip, then inserting a strip into the meter to read the blood glucose. Your doctor may be able to give you the counter for free, but you may have to pay for the test strip and the lancet. But check with your health plan, because there is probably one or two “preferred” counters that they want you to use.
Another way to know your glucose level is to use a continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, which reads glucose in an interstitial fluid (fluid between cells) about every 5 minutes. Continuous glucose monitoring is expensive and may or may not be covered by your health plan.