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Published On: Mon, Aug 24th, 2020

How to Know My Blood Glucose Level

Knowing your blood glucose level might seem like a really arduous task – and it can be at first. However, it’s important to think about how blood glucose and insulin affect your body and how it functions. So even though monitoring your blood glucose levels consistently might seem like a drag – it’s worth it because it is literally keeping you awake. The finger pricks might be annoying at first but you will adapt and adjust to this and go to live a long and fulfilled life nonetheless!

What Does Blood Glucose Mean?

Blood glucose is the level of sugar (glucose) in your blood. After you eat, sugar and carbohydrates from your food enter your bloodstream where they can then be used by cells as energy to power your entire body. A key part of the energy conversion process is a hormone called insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas and its job is to help direct cells to absorb glucose and convert it into energy. After your cells are energized enough, insulin also directs the remaining glucose in the bloodstream for storage in other areas so that it can then be utilized when your blood sugar lowers again and you haven’t eaten for a while. This ensures that you consistently have enough energy to function properly.

This photograph depicts a young diabetic girl who was in the process of carrying out a self-monitored blood glucose test/CDC

How to Know Your Blood Glucose Level?

If you frequently experience hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia caused by things like diabetes, PCOS, or even as a result of prescription medication, then you will need to regularly monitor your blood glucose levels to make sure that they stay within a healthy range. One tool that you can use to know your blood glucose level is a device called a blood glucose meter or a glucometer. This handy little device is able to test your blood on the spot and tell you exactly what your blood glucose level is. That way, you can tell instantly if your levels are too high or too low and then take the appropriate actions to address any concerns.

A blood glucose meter utilizes blood glucose test strips upon which you place a drop of blood after pricking your finger. This might seem painful at first, but over time, you will get used to it and it will just become another part of your daily routine. Based on your blood glucose reading, you can then inject insulin to help balance it out through a syringe or even a convenient insulin pen.

What Is an Ideal Blood Glucose Level?

For people without diabetes, an ideal blood glucose level is less than 100 mg/dL after fasting for eight hours or less than 140 mg/dL two hours after eating a meal. Obviously, people with diabetes constantly struggle with their blood glucose levels so the ideal range for people with diabetes is a bit different. If you have diabetes, you should try to stay within a blood glucose range of 70 and 130 mg/dL before eating and address any highs or lows based on the guidance of your doctor.

What Are the Effects of Extreme Blood Glucose Levels?

In an ideal world, you would have healthy blood glucose levels all the time – but this isn’t always the case. Blood glucose levels that are too low or too high can cause major problems for your body. Hyperglycemia occurs when your blood sugar levels are too high. Some signs of hyperglycemia include dry mouth, increased thirst, frequent urination, nausea, headache, and lightheadedness. Sustained hyperglycemia can negatively affect your body over time causing things like vision loss, nerve damage, and kidney problems. On the other hand, hypoglycemia occurs when your blood sugar levels are too low. Some signs of hypoglycemia include dizziness, tremors, paleness, sweating, and heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat. Consistent hypoglycemia can cause negative effects on your body like fainting and seizures.

How to Balance Blood Glucose Levels?

In addition to treatment with insulin, people with diabetes should make some lifestyle changes to better balance their blood glucose levels. This includes eating a healthy diet, exercising, losing weight, and eating regular meals. It’s also important to avoid a lot of sugary foods and drinks that may cause your blood sugar to spike up. Here are some healthy snack ideas that are ideal for people with diabetes:

  • Apples with peanut butter
  • Almonds
  • Hummus with veggies
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Avocado toast

Knowing your blood glucose level is essential to proper management of diseases like diabetes – but it goes beyond that. Not only do you need to know your blood glucose level, but you also have to make life choices that will positively affect your blood sugar levels instead of causing them to spike. Whether this means drinking water instead of soda for lunch, or snacking on fruits and veggies instead of sugary treats – these are all important factors in the proper management of diabetes that will help you lead a happy and healthy life.  

Author: Jacob Maslow

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