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What Does Your Glucose Number Mean?

Blood Sugar Level

Blood Sugar Level

The fluctuation of blood sugar (red) and the sugar-lowering hormone insulin (blue) in humans during the course of a day with three meals. One of the effects of a sugar-rich vs a starch-rich meal is highlighted.[1] The blood sugar level, blood sugar concentration, or blood glucose level is the amount of glucose present in the blood of humans and other animals. Glucose is a simple sugar and approximately 4 grams of glucose are present in the blood of humans at all times.[2] The body tightly regulates blood glucose levels as a part of metabolic homeostasis.[2] Glucose is stored in skeletal muscle and liver cells in the form of glycogen;[2] in fasted individuals, blood glucose is maintained at a constant level at the expense of glycogen stores in the liver and skeletal muscle.[2] In humans, glucose is the primary source of energy, and is critical for normal function, in a number of tissues,[2] particularly the human brain which consumes approximately 60% of blood glucose in fasted, sedentary individuals.[2] Glucose can be transported from the intestines or liver to other tissues in the body via the bloodstream.[2] Cellular glucose uptake is primarily regulated by insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas.[2] Glucose levels are usually lowest in the morning, before the first meal of the day, and rise after meals for an hour or two by a few millimoles. Blood sugar levels outside the normal range may be an indicator of a medical condition. A persistently high level is referred to as hyperglycemia; low levels are referred to as hypoglycemia. Diabetes mellitus is characterized by persistent hyperglycemia from any of several causes, and is the most prominent disease related to failure of blood sugar regulation. There are different methods of testing and measuring blood sugar le Continue reading >>

What Is A Normal Blood Sugar Level?

What Is A Normal Blood Sugar Level?

The aim of diabetes treatment is to bring blood sugar (“glucose”) as close to normal as possible. What is a normal blood sugar level? And how can you achieve normal blood sugar? First, what is the difference between “sugar” and “glucose”? Sugar is the general name for sweet carbohydrates that dissolve in water. “Carbohydrate” means a food made only of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. There are various different kinds of sugars. The one our body uses most is called “glucose.” Other sugars we eat, like fructose from fruit or lactose from milk, are converted into glucose in our bodies. Then we can use them for energy. Our bodies also break down starches, which are sugars stuck together, into glucose. When people talk about “blood sugar,” they mean “blood glucose.” The two terms mean the same thing. In the U.S., blood sugar is normally measured in milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood (mg/dl). A milligram is very little, about 0.00018 of a teaspoon. A deciliter is about 3 1/3 ounces. In Canada and the United Kingdom, blood sugar is reported in millimoles/liter (mmol/L). You can convert Canadian or British glucose levels to American numbers if you multiply them by 18. This is useful to know if you’re reading comments or studies from England or Canada. If someone reports that their fasting blood glucose was 7, you can multiply that by 18 and get their U.S. glucose level of 126 mg/dl. What are normal glucose numbers? They vary throughout the day. (Click here for a blood sugar chart.) For someone without diabetes, a fasting blood sugar on awakening should be under 100 mg/dl. Before-meal normal sugars are 70–99 mg/dl. “Postprandial” sugars taken two hours after meals should be less than 140 mg/dl. Those are the normal numbers for someone w Continue reading >>

Why Are Fasting Blood Glucose Numbers High?

Why Are Fasting Blood Glucose Numbers High?

Stumped by high fasting blood glucose results? Join the club. "It just doesn't compute. When I snack before bed, my fastings are lower than when I limit my night nibbles," says Pete Hyatt, 59, PWD type 2. "It's logical for people to point the finger for high fasting blood sugar numbers at what they eat between dinner and bed, but surprisingly food isn't the lead villain," says Robert Chilton, M.D., a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. The true culprit is compromised hormonal control of blood glucose levels. The Essential Hormones During the years (up to a decade) that type 2 diabetes develops, the hormonal control of blood glucose breaks down. Four hormones are involved in glucose control: Insulin, made in the beta cells of the pancreas, helps the body use glucose from food by enabling glucose to move into the body's cells for energy. People with type 2 diabetes have slowly dwindling insulin reserves. Amylin, secreted from the beta cells, slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream after eating by slowing stomach-emptying and increasing the feeling of fullness. People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are amylin-deficient. Incretins, a group of hormones secreted from the intestines that includes glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), enhance the body's release of insulin after eating. This in turn slows stomach-emptying, promotes fullness, delays the release of glucose into the bloodstream, and prevents the pancreas from releasing glucagon, putting less glucose into the blood. Glucagon, made in the alpha cells of the pancreas, breaks down glucose stored in the liver and muscles and releases it to provide energy when glucose from food isn't available. {C} How the Essential Hormones Work in the Body When d Continue reading >>

8 Numbers You Need To Know For Diabetes

8 Numbers You Need To Know For Diabetes

How to Manage Diabetes With Numbers Diabetes self-management is a numbers game. But it's not just about your blood sugar. There are at least eight different numbers you should be familiar with to lower your risk for complications from diabetes symptoms. "Diabetes self-management is absolutely essential," says Enrico Cagliero, MD, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an associate physician at the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center. "Although managing these numbers may not improve diabetes symptoms, it can help decrease the risk of serious complications such as blindness or kidney failure down the road." Continue reading >>

Why The A1c Test Is Important

Why The A1c Test Is Important

The A1c is a blood test, done in a lab, that shows what your average blood sugar has been for the past 3 months. Other names for this test are glycosylated hemoglobin, glycohemoglobin, hemoglobin A1c, and HbA1c. How the A1c Test Works The glucose that the body doesn't store or use for energy stays in the blood and attaches to red blood cells, which live in the bloodstream for about 4 months. The lab test measures the amount of glucose attached to the red blood cells. The amount is the A1c and is shown as a percentage. Your A1c number can give you and your health care team a good idea of how well you've controlled your blood sugar over the previous 2 to 3 months. When you get your A1c result from a Kaiser Permanente lab, you'll also see another number called the estimated Average Glucose, or eAG. Understanding the eAG Your estimated Average Glucose (eAG) number is calculated from the result of your A1c test. Like the A1c, the eAG shows what your average blood sugars have been over the previous 2 to 3 months. Instead of a percentage, the eAG is in the same units (mg/dl) as your blood glucose meter. The chart shows the relationship between the A1c percentage and the eAG. If A1c % is: Your eAG is: 6 126 6.5 140 7 154 7.5 169 8 183 8.5 197 9 212 9.5 226 10 240 10.5 255 11 269 11.5 283 12 298 What the Numbers Mean The A1c and eAG reflect your average blood sugar over a period of time. These numbers help you and your doctor see how well your treatment plan is working. The higher your A1c and eAG numbers are, the higher your chances for having long-term health problems caused by consistently high blood sugar levels. These problems include heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, vision problems, and numbness in your legs or feet. The lower your A1c and eAG numbers, the lower you Continue reading >>

How Blood Sugar Affects Your Body

How Blood Sugar Affects Your Body

When you have diabetes, your blood sugar (glucose) levels may be consistently high. Over time, this can damage your body and lead to many other problems. How much sugar in the blood is too much? And why is high glucose so bad for you? Here’s a look at how your levels affect your health. They're less than 100 mg/dL after not eating (fasting) for at least 8 hours. And they're less than 140 mg/dL 2 hours after eating. During the day, levels tend to be at their lowest just before meals. For most people without diabetes, blood sugar levels before meals hover around 70 to 80 mg/dL. For some people, 60 is normal; for others, 90. What's a low sugar level? It varies widely, too. Many people's glucose won't ever fall below 60, even with prolonged fasting. When you diet or fast, the liver keeps your levels normal by turning fat and muscle into sugar. A few people's levels may fall somewhat lower. Doctors use these tests to find out if you have diabetes: Fasting plasma glucose test. The doctor tests your blood sugar levels after fasting for 8 hours and it’s higher than 126 mg/dL. Oral glucose tolerance test. After fasting for 8 hours, you get a special sugary drink. Two hours later your sugar level is higher than 200. Random check. The doctor tests your blood sugar and it’s higher than 200, plus you’re peeing more, always thirsty, and you’ve gained or lost a significant amount of weight. He’ll then do a fasting sugar level test or an oral glucose tolerance test to confirm the diagnosis. Any sugar levels higher than normal are unhealthy. Levels that are higher than normal, but not reaching the point of full-blown diabetes, are called prediabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, 86 million people in the U.S. have this condition, which can lead to diabetes Continue reading >>

Diabetes By The Numbers

Diabetes By The Numbers

When you have type 2 diabetes, you’ve got to know your numbers. It’s not just about blood sugar. To successfully manage diabetes, there are several measurements that you should take, or have taken, on a regular basis. Keeping track of the following numbers can help you live well with type 2 diabetes and lower your risk of complications. Blood sugar levels. This is probably the type 2 diabetes measure you’re most familiar with. Testing your blood sugar regularly allows you to see how certain foods, exercise, and other activities affect your blood sugar levels on a day-to-day basis. Many people with type 2 diabetes need to test once or twice a day to make sure blood sugar levels are in target range. If your blood sugar is very well controlled, you may only need to check a few times a week, according to the National Institutes of Health. The American Diabetes Association recommends aiming for a blood sugar level between 70 to 130 mg/dl before meals and less than 180 mg/dl one to two hours after a meal. To keep your blood sugar within this range, follow a healthy, well-rounded diet and eat meals and snacks on a consistent schedule. If your blood sugar is not well controlled, talk to your doctor about adjusting your diabetes management plan. A1C level. This is a blood test, typically given at doctor's appointments, that measures your average blood sugar levels over a longer period. “It gives you a picture of what’s been going on over the past two to three months,” says Dawn Sherr, RD, a certified diabetes educator and spokesperson for the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Essentially, your A1C result shows how well your diabetes treatment plan is working. Depending on your results, you may need to have the test from two to four times a year. For most pe Continue reading >>

What Are The Ideal Levels Of Blood Sugar?

What Are The Ideal Levels Of Blood Sugar?

A blood sugar or blood glucose chart identifies ideal blood sugar levels throughout the day, including before and after meals. Doctors use blood sugar charts to set target goals and monitor diabetes treatment plans. Blood sugar charts also help those with diabetes assess and self-monitor blood sugar test results. What is a blood sugar chart? Blood sugar charts act as a reference guide for blood sugar test results. As such, blood sugar charts are important tools for diabetes management. Most diabetes treatment plans involve keeping blood sugar levels as close to normal or target goals as possible. This requires frequent at-home and doctor-ordered testing, along with an understanding of how results compare to target levels. To help interpret and assess blood sugar results, the charts outline normal and abnormal blood sugar levels for those with and without diabetes. In the United States, blood sugar charts typically report sugar levels in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). In the United Kingdom and many other countries, blood sugar is reported in millimoles per liter (mmol/L). A1C blood sugar recommendations are frequently included in blood sugar charts. A1C results are often described as both a percentage and an average blood sugar level in mg/dL. An A1C test measures the average sugar levels over a 3-month period, which gives a wider insight into a person's overall management of their blood sugar levels. Blood sugar chart guidelines Appropriate blood sugar levels vary throughout the day and from person to person. Blood sugars are often lowest before breakfast and in the lead up to meals. Blood sugars are often highest in the hours following meals. People with diabetes will often have higher blood sugar targets or acceptable ranges than those without the condition. These Continue reading >>

Blood Glucose Readings: What They Mean

Blood Glucose Readings: What They Mean

Source: Web exclusive: June 2011 When you have diabetes, perhaps the most important thing you need to know is the level of your blood glucose, also known as your blood sugar. Since many factors can raise or lower your blood glucose, you may have to check it several times a day. But once you obtain a blood glucose reading, what exactly does it mean? Crunch those numbers When you test a drop of your blood with a glucose meter, the big number that pops onto the screen refers to the number of millimoles (mmol) of glucose per litre (L) of your blood. A millimole (mmol) is one-thousandth of a mole, which is a standard unit for measuring the mass of molecules. And if that’s not already confusing enough, the United States uses a completely different system than Canadians for measuring blood glucose. South of the border, blood glucose is measured in milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL). This can sometimes be rather bewildering, especially if you’re brand new to diabetes and researching your disease on the Internet. “I tell people to go to a Canadian site first,” says Tabitha Palmer, a certified diabetes educator at the Centre for Clinical Research in Halifax. Know your targets So what numbers should you be looking for? Your target reading before meals should be between 4 and 7. Your blood sugar normally spikes two hours after a meal, so between 5 and 10 is a good range after you eat. Besides food, other factors that can cause your blood sugar to go up or down include exercise, illness, medications and stress. Your blood glucose readings are hands-down the best way to monitor whether or not your diabetes is generally well managed. "They really help the physicians and educators if we’re trying to look at whether you need to have your medication, insulin or mealtime adjusted, Continue reading >>

Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them To Manage Your Diabetes

Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them To Manage Your Diabetes

Checking your blood sugar, also called blood glucose, is an important part of diabetes care. This tip sheet tells you: why it helps you to know your blood sugar numbers how to check your blood sugar levels what are target blood sugar levels what to do if your levels are too low or too high how to pay for these tests Why do I need to know my blood sugar numbers? Your blood sugar numbers show how well your diabetes is managed. And managing your diabetes means that you have less chance of having serious health problems, such as kidney disease and vision loss. As you check your blood sugar, you can see what makes your numbers go up and down. For example, you may see that when you are stressed or eat certain foods, your numbers go up. And, you may see that when you take your medicine and are active, your numbers go down. This information lets you know what is working for you and what needs to change. How is blood sugar measured? There are two ways to measure blood sugar. Blood sugar checks that you do yourself. These tell you what your blood sugar level is at the time you test. The A1C (A-one-C) is a test done in a lab or at your provider’s office. This test tells you your average blood sugar level over the past 2 to 3 months. How do I check my blood sugar? You use a blood glucose meter to check your blood sugar. This device uses a small drop of blood from your finger to measure your blood sugar level. You can get the meter and supplies in a drug store or by mail. Read the directions that come with your meter to learn how to check your blood sugar. Your health care team also can show you how to use your meter. Write the date, time, and result of the test in your blood sugar record. Take your blood sugar record and meter to each visit and talk about your results with your h Continue reading >>

Hyperglycemia: When Your Blood Glucose Level Goes Too High

Hyperglycemia: When Your Blood Glucose Level Goes Too High

Hyperglycemia means high (hyper) glucose (gly) in the blood (emia). Your body needs glucose to properly function. Your cells rely on glucose for energy. Hyperglycemia is a defining characteristic of diabetes—when the blood glucose level is too high because the body isn't properly using or doesn't make the hormone insulin. You get glucose from the foods you eat. Carbohydrates, such as fruit, milk, potatoes, bread, and rice, are the biggest source of glucose in a typical diet. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, and then transports the glucose to the cells via the bloodstream. Body Needs Insulin However, in order to use the glucose, your body needs insulin. This is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin helps transport glucose into the cells, particularly the muscle cells. People with type 1 diabetes no longer make insulin to help their bodies use glucose, so they have to take insulin, which is injected under the skin. People with type 2 diabetes may have enough insulin, but their body doesn't use it well; they're insulin resistant. Some people with type 2 diabetes may not produce enough insulin. People with diabetes may become hyperglycemic if they don't keep their blood glucose level under control (by using insulin, medications, and appropriate meal planning). For example, if someone with type 1 diabetes doesn't take enough insulin before eating, the glucose their body makes from that food can build up in their blood and lead to hyperglycemia. Your endocrinologist will tell you what your target blood glucose levels are. Your levels may be different from what is usually considered as normal because of age, pregnancy, and/or other factors. Fasting hyperglycemia is defined as when you don't eat for at least eight hours. Recommended range without diabet Continue reading >>

What The Numbers Mean?

What The Numbers Mean?

Your Blood Glucose Readings How do you find out what your blood glucose level is? There are two ways to track blood glucose levels: one is through a blood test taken by your GP or a pathology laboratory; the other is through monitoring yourself with a blood glucose meter. In this section we look at pathology blood glucose results, but for more information about self monitoring your blood glucose levels you can refer to our blood glucose monitoring fact sheet. You may be asked to fast for a pathology blood glucose test or it could be taken without fasting. The diagnosis of diabetes or pre-diabetes, also known as Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG) or Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT), must always be made on a laboratory blood glucose test. The laboratory test is based on a blood sample taken from the vein. A finger prick test is not adequate for the diagnosis of these conditions. Did your blood glucose test require fasting? Fasting results: If your blood glucose result was less than 5.5mmol/L, diabetes is unlikely. It is recommended that you have your blood glucose retested in three years. If your blood glucose result was between 5.5mmol/L – 6.9mmol/L, the result requires further investigation. It is recommended that you have an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). If your blood glucose result was over 7.0mmol/L, another fasting test is required. If this test shows a blood glucose of 7.0mmol/L and over, then you have diabetes. Random results: If your blood glucose result was less than 5.5mmol/L, diabetes is unlikely. It is recommended that you have your blood glucose retested in three years. If your blood glucose result was between 5.5mmol/L – 11.0mmol/L, an OGTT is required. If your blood glucose result was 11.0mmol/L and over, a fasting blood glucose test is required. An Continue reading >>

Prediabetes

Prediabetes

Print Overview Prediabetes means that your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not yet high enough to be type 2 diabetes. Without lifestyle changes, people with prediabetes are very likely to progress to type 2 diabetes. If you have prediabetes, the long-term damage of diabetes — especially to your heart, blood vessels and kidneys — may already be starting. There's good news, however. Progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes isn't inevitable. Eating healthy foods, incorporating physical activity in your daily routine and maintaining a healthy weight can help bring your blood sugar level back to normal. Prediabetes affects adults and children. The same lifestyle changes that can help prevent progression to diabetes in adults might also help bring children's blood sugar levels back to normal. Symptoms Prediabetes generally has no signs or symptoms. One possible sign that you may be at risk of type 2 diabetes is darkened skin on certain parts of the body. Affected areas can include the neck, armpits, elbows, knees and knuckles. Classic signs and symptoms that suggest you've moved from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes include: Increased thirst Frequent urination Fatigue Blurred vision When to see a doctor See your doctor if you're concerned about diabetes or if you notice any type 2 diabetes signs or symptoms. Ask your doctor about blood glucose screening if you have any risk factors for prediabetes. Causes The exact cause of prediabetes is unknown. But family history and genetics appear to play an important role. Inactivity and excess fat — especially abdominal fat — also seem to be important factors. What is clear is that people with prediabetes don't process sugar (glucose) properly anymore. As a result, sugar accumulates in the bloodstream instead o Continue reading >>

Understand Your Blood Glucose Test Results

Understand Your Blood Glucose Test Results

Get the most out of your blood glucose test results – know what they mean, when to test, and how to respond. Daily glucose tests, routine A1C lab tests – that’s a lot of numbers to make sense of, which can be intimidating. Try to see them as your body talking to you. It’s telling you if there are things that throw your blood glucose levels off, when this is happening, and if you need to do something about it. Knowing what your numbers mean can help you take control of your diabetes and have more days feeling at your best. What Is A Normal Glucose Level The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) recommends an A1C of less than 7 per cent.1 For blood glucose, the recommended target ranges are 4-7 mmol/L before meals and 5-10 mmol/L two hours after a meal. It’s a good idea to sit down with your healthcare professional and discuss what target ranges are right for you. Things like your age, medications and time of day can impact your levels. If you start the day with a fasting test A fasting blood glucose test sets a “benchmark” for the day. It tells you how you did through the night, and also reveals how well your liver is working – which is responsible for releasing glucose as you sleep. If you test 2 hours after meals This is an immediate way to know how your meal plan might be affecting your blood glucose levels. The CDA recommends an after-meal target of 5-10 mmol/L.1 Your results will tell you if you need to adjust what you eat or by how much. If your glucose is low, take action right away It’s normal for glucose levels to go up and down over the course of a day. But know when they’re too low. Hypoglycemia happens when your blood glucose (measured with your meter) goes below 4 mmol/L. Learn how to recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia and ways to manag Continue reading >>

What Your Blood Glucose Numbers Mean

What Your Blood Glucose Numbers Mean

In order to get a complete picture of your blood glucose throughout the day, it is useful to test at different times. Your doctor will help you set your blood glucose targets. Here is what the numbers can mean. These examples are based upon the American Diabetes Association guidelines. Fasting blood glucose before breakfast. This reading on an empty stomach shows how well you use the long-acting insulin that you take. The number should be between 4 and 7 mmol/L. Pre-meal blood glucose before lunch and dinner. This reading shows the effectiveness of your breakfast and lunch insulin doses. The number should be between 4 and 7. Two hours after eating. Your blood glucose peaks a few hours after you eat. This reading shows if the insulin you took was enough to cover the carbs you ate. The reading should be less than 10 mmol/L. Just before bedtime. A target range for someone with diabetes is 6 to 8 mmol/L. You don't want to go to bed with blood glucose that is too low, because that puts you at risk of having a severe low blood sugar episode during the night. Blood Glucose Level Ask Your Doctor If your blood glucose before breakfast is lower than 4 mmol/L, that may be too low. Ask your doctor if you should eat a small snack before you go to bed or reduce your bedtime dose of long-acting insulin. You might want to do a 3:00 am blood glucose check. If the reading before breakfast is over 7 mmol/L, and several 3:00 am readings are in your target range, you may be experiencing "Dawn Phenomenon". This happens when levels of growth hormone begin to rise in the early morning hours, stimulating the liver to release glucose into the bloodstream. Ask your doctor if your supper or bedtime NPH insulin dose needs to be increased, or if you would do better using a different type of insulin. Continue reading >>

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