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EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Blood Sugar And Diabetes

Everything You Need To Know About Blood Sugar and Diabetes

Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main sugar found in your blood. It comes from the food you eat, and is your body's main source of energy. Your blood carries glucose to all of your body's cells to use for energy.

Diabetes is a disease in which your blood sugar levels are too high. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause serious problems. Even if you don't have diabetes, sometimes you may have problems with blood sugar that is too low or too high. Keeping a regular schedule of eating, activity, and taking any medicines you need can help.

If you do have diabetes, it is very important to keep your blood sugar numbers in your target range. You may need to check your blood sugar several times each day. Your health care provider will also do a blood test called an A1C. It checks your average blood sugar level over the past three months. If your blood sugar is too high, you may need to take medicines and/or follow a special diet.

Keeping your blood glucose (sugar) in your target range can prevent or delay the health problems caused by diabetes. Most of the steps needed to take care of diabetes are things you do yourself.

• Use a meal plan.

• Be physically active.

• Take your medicines.

• Try to reach your blood glucose targets most of the time.

• Keep track of your blood glucose numbers using the results from your daily blood glucose testing and your A1C check.

What makes my blood glucose levels rise or fall?

Blood glucose levels rise and fall throughout the day. One key to taking care of your diabetes is understanding why it rises and falls. If you know the reasons, you can take steps to help keep your blood glucose on target.

What can make blood glucose rise?

• a meal or snack with more food or more carbohydrates (carbs) than usual

• physical inactivity

• not enough diabetes medicine

• side effects of other medicines

• infection or other illness

• changes in hormone levels, such as during menstrual periods

• stress What can make blood glucose fall?

• missing a meal or snack, or having a meal or snack with less food or fewer carbs than planned

• alcoholic drinks, especially on an empty stomach

• more activity than planned

• too much diabetes medicine

• side effects of other medicines

What if my blood glucose is often too high?

See your health care provider soon if your blood glucose numbers are often higher than your goals. Talk with your health care team about changes in your meal plan, your physical activity, or your diabetes medicines.

What if my blood glucose is too low?

Low blood glucose, also called hypoglycemia, occurs when your blood glucose level drops below 70 mg/dl. Low blood glucose can make you feel hungry, shaky, nervous, sweaty, light-headed, sleepy, anxious, or confused. If you think your blood glucose is too low, use your meter to check it. If the result is below 70 mg/dl, follow these guidelines to bring it back up to a safer range.

Have one of the carb choices in this list (which each have about 15 grams carbohydrate) right away to raise your blood glucose:

• 3 or 4 glucose tablets

• ½ cup (4 ounces) of fruit juice

• ½ cup (4 ounces) of a regular (not diet) soft drink • 8 ounces of milk

• 5 to 7 pieces of hard candy

• 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey

After 15 minutes, check your blood glucose again. If it’s still below 70 mg/dl, eat another carb choice. Repeat these steps until your blood glucose is at least 70 mg/dl. What should I do about frequent low blood glucose? If your blood glucose is often low, you may need a change in your meal plan, physical activity, or diabetes medicines. Keep track of when you’ve had low blood glucose events. Note possible causes, such as unplanned physical activity. Then talk it over with your health care team

All About Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough—or any—insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells.

Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy.

Sometimes people call diabetes “a touch of sugar” or “borderline diabetes.” These terms suggest that someone doesn’t really have diabetes or has a less serious case, but every case of diabetes is serious.

What are the different types of diabetes?

The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.

Type 2 diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops in some women when they are pregnant. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, if you’ve had gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Sometimes diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type 2 diabetes.

Other types of diabetes

Less common types include monogenic diabetes, which is an inherited form of diabetes, and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes .

How common is diabetes?

As of 2015, 30.3 million people in the United States, or 9.4 percent of the population, had diabetes. More than 1 in 4 of them didn’t know they had the disease. Diabetes affects 1 in 4 people over the age of 65. About 90-95 percent of cases in adults are type 2 diabetes.1

Who is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes?

You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight. Physical inactivity, race, and certain health problems such as high blood pressure also affect your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant. Learn more about risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

What health problems can people with diabetes develop?

Over time, high blood glucose leads to problems such as

heart disease

stroke

kidney disease

eye problems

dental disease

nerve damage

foot problems

You can take steps to lower your chances of developing these diabetes-related health problems.

Susana Cook