If you have risk factors for developing diabetes, you need to know as much as possible about good blood sugar levels. By keeping those levels within the normal range through lifestyle changes, you will not develop this chronic disease nor will you have to be concerned about its complications, including blindness and permanent nerve damage. Below you’ll find valuable information that can help you ward off this serious disorder.
Understanding Blood Sugar
When you eat food, your body takes the sugars from the food. Those sugars (known as glucose) travel through your bloodstream so they can reach all of the cells in your body. Each cell needs that glucose to keep working well. However, the glucose can’t just go into the cells without some assistance. The pancreas makes insulin, which essentially opens up the cells so the glucose can enter. After you eat a meal, your blood sugar levels are going to be higher because those sugars have not had a chance to be absorbed by the cells yet. If you are diabetic, however, your body may not produce enough insulin, so large amounts of those sugars may have nowhere to go and may remain in the bloodstream.
Good Glucose Levels
Of course, if you don’t know what good blood sugar levels should be, you’ll have a hard time keeping yours under control. As mentioned above, these levels will change throughout the day. For example, when you wake up in the morning or before you eat a meal, your levels should be between 80 to 120 mg/dL. Two hours after you eat a meal, your blood sugar levels will be higher, but should not be above 160 mg/dL. If you check your blood sugar before going to bed, the numbers will be slightly higher than in the morning: 100 to 140 mg/dL is the good range.
Lifestyle Changes to Maintain Good Levels
If you’re concerned because your blood sugar levels have been elevated repeatedly, you can begin making some lifestyle changes that will help keep those numbers in the appropriate range. First, consider reducing the amount of carbohydrates you eat during the day. Limiting your number of calories and avoiding snacking can also be beneficial. Most of the snacks and high-calorie foods we eat contain large quantities of sugar. If your body is having trouble producing enough insulin to manage your sugar intake, you need to eat less sugar and starches. Exercising regularly is also good because your body will need to use up more of the sugar to replace the energy you are using up.
Preventing Low Blood Sugar
When we think of blood sugar problems, we may have a tendency to think of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). However, low blood sugar can also be a serious problem. If you are diabetic, sometimes the medication and/or insulin you take can cause your blood sugar to drop too low (hypoglycemia). If you skip a meal, are not eating enough, or are exercising without eating beforehand, you could end up suffering from hypoglycemia. Symptoms of hypoglycemia can begin when your blood sugar reaches the 75 mg/dL or lower. If you do not raise your sugar levels, they will continue to drop. If they fall below 40 mg/dL, you could lose consciousness because the brain is not getting the glucose it needs to function fully.
Normalizing Blood Sugar Levels
The best way to normalize your blood sugar levels is through frequent monitoring. Your physician can recommend a device to use for testing and can suggest times for you to check your levels. To check your numbers, you’ll have to draw blood from your finger or forearm (only a tiny bit is needed) and insert the blood into the machine. In seconds, it will report your current blood sugar level. As long as you know your blood sugar levels, you can make adjustments in your diet and routine as necessary.