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How Does Diabetes Affect Blood Glucose Levels?

High Blood Sugar Symptoms: How High Blood Sugar Affects The Body - Health

High Blood Sugar Symptoms: How High Blood Sugar Affects The Body - Health

Glucose, or sugar, is the fuel that powers cells throughout the body. Blood levels of this energy source ebb and flow naturally, depending what you eat (and how much), as well as when you eat it. But when something goes wrongand cells aren't absorbing the glucosethe resulting high blood sugar damages nerves, blood vessels, and organs, setting the stage for dangerous complications. Normal blood-sugar readings typically fall between 60 mg/dl and 140 mg/dl. A blood test called a hemoglobin A1c measures average blood sugar levels over the previous three months. A normal reading is below 5.7% for people without diabetes . An excess of glucose in the bloodstream, or hyperglycemia, is a sign of diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes dont make insulin, the hormone needed to ferry sugar from the bloodstream into cells. Type 2 diabetes means your body doesnt use insulin properly and you can end up with too much or too little insulin. Either way, without proper treatment, toxic amounts of sugar can build up in the bloodstream, wreaking havoc head to toe. Thats why its so important to get your blood sugar levels in check. If you keep glucose levels near normal, you reduce the risk of diabetes complications, says Robert Ratner, MD, chief scientific and medical officer of the American Diabetes Association. Heres a rundown of the major complications and symptoms of high blood sugar. Often, high blood sugar causes no (obvious) symptoms at all, at least at first. About 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, but one in four has no idea. Another 86 million have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes . That's why its a good idea to get your blood sugar tested if you are at risk for diabetes. That includes people who are overwei Continue reading >>

Effects Of Diabetes On The Body And Organs

Effects Of Diabetes On The Body And Organs

Over time, the raised blood sugar levels that result from diabetes can cause a wide range of serious health issues. But what do these health issues involve, and how are the organs of the body affected? Can these effects be minimized? When people have diabetes, the body either does not make enough insulin or cannot use what it has effectively. As a result, the amount of sugar in the blood becomes higher than it should be. Glucose, or blood sugar, is the main power source for the human body. It comes from the food people eat. The hormone insulin helps the cells of the body convert glucose into fuel. Fortunately, taking a proactive approach to this chronic disease through medical care, lifestyle changes, and medication can help limit its effects. Effect on systems and organs The effects of diabetes can be seen on systems throughout the body, including: The circulatory system Diabetes can damage large blood vessels, causing macrovascular disease. It can also damage small blood vessels, causing what is called microvascular disease. Complications from macrovascular disease include heart attack and stroke. However, macrovascular disease can be prevented by: Microvascular disease can cause eye, kidney, and nerve problems, but good control of diabetes can help prevent these complications. The cardiovascular system Excess blood sugar decreases the elasticity of blood vessels and causes them to narrow, impeding blood flow. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute say diabetes is as big a risk factor for heart disease as smoking or high cholesterol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of stroke or dying of heart disease increases by 200-400 percent for adults with diabetes. The nervous system When people have diabetes, they can develop n Continue reading >>

Normal Regulation Of Blood Glucose

Normal Regulation Of Blood Glucose

The human body wants blood glucose (blood sugar) maintained in a very narrow range. Insulin and glucagon are the hormones which make this happen. Both insulin and glucagon are secreted from the pancreas, and thus are referred to as pancreatic endocrine hormones. The picture on the left shows the intimate relationship both insulin and glucagon have to each other. Note that the pancreas serves as the central player in this scheme. It is the production of insulin and glucagon by the pancreas which ultimately determines if a patient has diabetes, hypoglycemia, or some other sugar problem. In this Article Insulin Basics: How Insulin Helps Control Blood Glucose Levels Insulin and glucagon are hormones secreted by islet cells within the pancreas. They are both secreted in response to blood sugar levels, but in opposite fashion! Insulin is normally secreted by the beta cells (a type of islet cell) of the pancreas. The stimulus for insulin secretion is a HIGH blood glucose...it's as simple as that! Although there is always a low level of insulin secreted by the pancreas, the amount secreted into the blood increases as the blood glucose rises. Similarly, as blood glucose falls, the amount of insulin secreted by the pancreatic islets goes down. As can be seen in the picture, insulin has an effect on a number of cells, including muscle, red blood cells, and fat cells. In response to insulin, these cells absorb glucose out of the blood, having the net effect of lowering the high blood glucose levels into the normal range. Glucagon is secreted by the alpha cells of the pancreatic islets in much the same manner as insulin...except in the opposite direction. If blood glucose is high, then no glucagon is secreted. When blood glucose goes LOW, however, (such as between meals, and during Continue reading >>

How Stress Affects Blood Glucose Levels

How Stress Affects Blood Glucose Levels

Stress can increase your blood glucose levels. Stress can also cause you to turn to unhealthful behaviors such as overeating, eating unhealthful foods or smoking. Managing your stress and relaxing more will help you and your baby stay as healthy as possible. Identify sources of stress Being pregnant, preparing for a new baby and learning to manage gestational diabetes are stressful things on their own. But you also lead a life in the real world, with all it stresses and tensions. Stress has many sources. Name some of your main sources of stress and see if you can identify an action to reduce or eliminate complications of gestational diabetes for you and your baby. You might find that simply learning as much as you can about gestational diabetes will relieve much of your worry. How to reduce your stress level Find opportunities to rest: sit, lie down, put your feet up. Talk to friends, family and your partner about your concerns and stresses. Lower your expectations of yourself. The house can be messy, the laundry can fall behind and you can be less than perfect. You're helping your baby grow and be healthy, and that's your first priority. Get enough sleep. Ask for help in getting tasks done. Ask a friend to drive, a sister to help set up the nursery, your partner to grocery shop. If possible, hire out tasks like yard work and house cleaning during your pregnancy. Know and accept your limits. Let friends and family know that for now, you have to take special care of yourself and your baby. When you need rest. excuse yourself and go rest. When you feel overwhelmed, take on less. Be physically active every day. It's a great stress reliever. Add relaxation to each day. Listen to your favorite music at work. Take a bubble bath. Close your eyes and do nothing except breathe d 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 >>

How Many Factors Actually Affect Blood Glucose?

How Many Factors Actually Affect Blood Glucose?

A printable, colorful PDF version of this article can be found here. twitter summary: Adam identifies at least 22 things that affect blood glucose, including food, medication, activity, biological, & environmental factors. short summary: As patients, we tend to blame ourselves for out of range blood sugars – after all, the equation to “good diabetes management” is supposedly simple (eating, exercise, medication). But have you ever done everything right and still had a glucose that was too high or too low? In this article, I look into the wide variety of things that can actually affect blood glucose - at least 22! – including food, medication, activity, and both biological and environmental factors. The bottom line is that diabetes is very complicated, and for even the most educated and diligent patients, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that affects blood glucose. So when you see an out-of-range glucose value, don’t judge yourself – use it as information to make better decisions. As a patient, I always fall into the trap of thinking I’m at fault for out of range blood sugars. By taking my medication, monitoring my blood glucose, watching what I eat, and exercising, I would like to have perfect in-range values all the time. But after 13 years of type 1 diabetes, I’ve learned it’s just not that simple. There are all kinds of factors that affect blood glucose, many of which are impossible to control, remember, or even account for. Based on personal experience, conversations with experts, and scientific research, here’s a non-exhaustive list of 22 factors that can affect blood glucose. They are separated into five areas – Food, Medication, Activity, Biological factors, and Environmental factors. I’ve provided arrows to show the ge Continue reading >>

10 Surprising Causes Of Blood Sugar Swings You Probably Didn’t Know

10 Surprising Causes Of Blood Sugar Swings You Probably Didn’t Know

1 / 11 What Causes Blood Sugar to Rise and Fall? Whether you were recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or have been living with the disease for several years, you know how fickle blood sugar levels can be, and how important it is that they stay controlled. Proper blood sugar control is key for helping ward off potential diabetes complications, such as kidney disease, nerve damage, vision problems, stroke, and heart disease, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). If you keep your levels in check on a daily basis, it will help you stay energized, focused, and in a good mood. You’ll know if your diabetes is poorly controlled if you experience symptoms such as frequent urination, sores that won’t heal, blurred vision, and unexplained weight loss. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), proper medication, effective meal planning, regular exercise, and use of a blood glucose meter to track your numbers routinely can all help you keep your levels within a healthy range. The ADA recommends blood glucose be 80 to 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) before meals, and below 180 mg/dL two hours after the start of a meal. Furthermore, the organization recommends getting an A1C test, which measures your average blood glucose over the past two to three months, at least twice per year if your levels are stable and you are meeting treatment goals. Learning how different habits can cause your blood sugar to fluctuate can help you better predict how your levels will swing. You may be more likely to experience hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar if you have advanced-stage diabetes, according to the ADA. Meanwhile, high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, may be caused by factors such as not using enough insulin or other diabetes medication, not following a prop Continue reading >>

The Effects Of Diabetes On Your Body

The Effects Of Diabetes On Your Body

When you hear the word “diabetes,” your first thought is likely about high blood sugar. Blood sugar is an often-underestimated component of your health. When it’s out of whack over a long period of time, it could develop into diabetes. Diabetes affects your body’s ability to produce or use insulin, a hormone that allows your body to turn glucose (sugar) into energy. Here’s what symptoms may occur to your body when diabetes takes effect. Diabetes can be effectively managed when caught early. However, when left untreated, it can lead to potential complications that include heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and nerve damage. Normally after you eat or drink, your body will break down sugars from your food and use them for energy in your cells. To accomplish this, your pancreas needs to produce a hormone called insulin. Insulin is what facilitates the process of pulling sugar from the blood and putting it in the cells for use, or energy. If you have diabetes, your pancreas either produces too little insulin or none at all. The insulin can’t be used effectively. This allows blood glucose levels to rise while the rest of your cells are deprived of much-needed energy. This can lead to a wide variety of problems affecting nearly every major body system. The effects of diabetes on your body also depends on the type you have. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1, also called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is an immune system disorder. Your own immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, destroying your body’s ability to make insulin. With type 1 diabetes, you must take insulin to live. Most people are diagnosed as a child or young adult. Type 2 is related to insulin resistance. It used to occur i Continue reading >>

Video: How Diabetes Affects Your Blood Sugar

Video: How Diabetes Affects Your Blood Sugar

Your body uses glucose for energy. Glucose metabolism requires insulin, a hormone produced by your pancreas. Here's how normal glucose metabolism works, and what happens when you have diabetes — a disease where your body either can't produce enough insulin or it can't use insulin properly. The food you eat consists of three basic nutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat. During digestion, chemicals in your stomach break down carbohydrates into glucose, which is absorbed into your bloodstream. Your pancreas responds to the glucose by releasing insulin. Insulin is responsible for allowing glucose into your body's cells. When the glucose enters your cells, the amount of glucose in your bloodstream falls. If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn't secrete insulin — which causes a buildup of glucose in your bloodstream. Without insulin, the glucose can't get into your cells. If you have type 2 diabetes, your pancreas secretes less insulin than your body requires because your body is resistant to its effect. With both types of diabetes, glucose cannot be used for energy, and it builds up in your bloodstream — causing potentially serious health complications. Continue reading >>

Diabetes - Long-term Effects

Diabetes - Long-term Effects

On this page: Diabetes is a condition in which there is too much glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood. Over time, high blood glucose levels can damage the body's organs. Possible complications include damage to large (macrovascular) and small (microvascular) blood vessels, which can lead to heart attack, stroke, and problems with the kidneys, eyes, gums, feet and nerves. Reducing risk of diabetes complications The good news is that the risk of most diabetes-related complications can be reduced by keeping blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels within recommended range. Also, being a healthy weight, eating healthily, reducing alcohol intake, and not smoking will help reduce your risk. Regular check-ups and screening are important to pick up any problems early Diabetes and healthy eating If you have diabetes it’s important to include a wide variety of nutritious and healthy foods in your diet, and to avoid snacking on sugary foods. Eating healthy foods can help control your blood glucose and cholesterol levels, and your blood pressure. Enjoy a variety of foods from each food group – be sure to include foods high in fibre and low in fat, and reduce your salt intake. It’s helpful to consult with a dietitian to review your current eating plan and provide a guide about food choices and food quantities. Alcohol intake and diabetes Limit alcohol intake. If you drink alcohol, have no more than two standard drinks per day. If you are pregnant or considering pregnancy or are breastfeeding, then zero alcohol intake is recommended. Diabetes and healthy weight If you are overweight, even losing a small amount of weight, especially round the abdomen, helps lower your blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels. It can be daunting trying to lose weight, so Continue reading >>

High Blood Sugar Levels After Surgery

High Blood Sugar Levels After Surgery

How Diabetes and Blood Glucose Levels Can Affect Your Surgery Outcome Talk to Your Doctor About Your Diabetes.Hero Images/Getty Images If you're diabetic, you may be concerned about your blood sugar levels during surgery and later during your recovery. It's reasonable to be concerned, and it's appropriate to take steps to prepare to control glucose levels before, during, and after surgery. Even non-diabetics can experience issues with blood sugar levels after a procedure. The physical and emotional stress of a surgical procedure, along with what can be significant changes in lifestyle, diet, and exercise before and after surgery, can dramatically change an individual's glucose levels.Though all patients are at risk for high blood sugar levels after surgery due to stress, diabetics face even greater risks of complications after a procedure . Uncontrolled blood glucose can create complications for surgery patients, diabetic or not. Blood sugar that's even slightly elevated can lead to delayed healing and can increase your chances of getting a wound infection from less than 2 percent to over 10 percent. In general, the higher the blood sugar, the higher these risks. Make sure your doctor has your blood sugar checked before meals and at bedtime while you're in the hospital if you're diabetic. Learn which foods to enjoy and avoidand start feeling great! Checking your glucose during surgery is reasonable if the surgery is a lengthy one or if your glucose levels have been unpredictable. Even diabetics who are normally well controlled with diet and exercise can experience high levels of blood glucose during the hours and days following surgery. If your glucose is fluctuating widely between checks, you may even need to have it checked during the night if you're having symptoms Continue reading >>

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age. It is most often diagnosed in children, adolescents, or young adults. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas by special cells, called beta cells. The pancreas is below and behind the stomach. Insulin is needed to move blood sugar (glucose) into cells. Inside the cells, glucose is stored and later used for energy. With type 1 diabetes, beta cells produce little or no insulin. Without enough insulin, glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead of going into the cells. This buildup of glucose in the blood is called hyperglycemia. The body is unable to use the glucose for energy. This leads to the symptoms of type 1 diabetes. The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. Most likely, it is an autoimmune disorder. This is a condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. With type 1 diabetes, an infection or another trigger causes the body to mistakenly attack the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. The tendency to develop autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, can be passed down through families. Continue reading >>

Fiber & Blood Glucose | Joslin Diabetes Center

Fiber & Blood Glucose | Joslin Diabetes Center

How Does Fiber Affect Blood Glucose Levels? Fiber is a type of carbohydrate (just like sugars and starches) but since it is not broken down by the human body, it does not contribute any calories. Yet, on a food label, fiber is listed under total carbohydrate. So this gets kind of confusing for people who have diabetes. Carbohydrate is the one nutrient that has the biggest impact on blood glucose. So, does fiber have any effect on your blood glucose? The answer is that fiber does not raise blood glucose levels. Because it is not broken down by the body, the fiber in an apple or a slice of whole grain bread has no effect on blood glucose levels because it isn't digested. The grams of fiber can actually be subtracted from the total grams of carb you are eating if you are using carbohydrate counting for meal planning. So, fiber is a good thing for people with diabetes. Of course, most of the foods that contain fiber (fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas) also contain other types of non-fiber carbohydrate (sugar, starch) that must be accounted for in your meal plan. The average person should eat between 20-35 grams of fiber each day. Most Americans eat about half that amount. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that people with diabetes who ate 50 grams of fiber a day particularly soluble fiber were able to control their blood glucose better than those who ate far less. So if fiber does not give us any calories, why exactly should you eat it? There are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber keeps your digestive tract working well. Whole wheat bran is an example of this type of fiber. Soluble fiber can help lower your cholesterol level and improve blood glucose control if eaten in large amounts. Oatmeal is an examp Continue reading >>

How Does Diabetes Affect The Body?

How Does Diabetes Affect The Body?

Tweet Knowing how diabetes affects your body can help you look after your body and prevent diabetic complications from developing. Many of the effects of diabetes stem from the same guilty parties; namely high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and a lack of blood glucose control. Signs of diabetes When undiagnosed or uncontrolled, the effects of diabetes on the body can be noticed by the classic symptoms of diabetes, namely: Increased thirst Frequent need to urinate Fatigue Blurred vision and Tingling or pain in the hands, feet and/or legs Long term effects of diabetes on the body In addition to the symptoms, diabetes can cause long term damage to our body. The long term damage is commonly referred to as diabetic complications. Diabetes affects our blood vessels and nerves and therefore can affect any part of the body. However, certain parts of our body are affected more than other parts. Diabetic complications will usually take a number of years of poorly controlled diabetes to develop. Complications are not a certainty and can be kept at bay and prevented by maintaining a strong level of control on your diabetes, your blood pressure and cholesterol. These can all be helped by keeping to a healthy diet, avoiding cigarettes and alcohol, and incorporating regular activity into your daily regime in order to keep blood sugar levels within recommended blood glucose level guidelines. The effect of diabetes on the heart Diabetes and coronary heart disease are closely related. Diabetes contributes to high blood pressure and is linked with high cholesterol which significantly increases the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. Diabetes and strokes Similar to how diabetes affects the heart, high blood pressure and cholesterol raises the risk of strokes. How dia Continue reading >>

Hyperglycemia (high Blood Sugar)

Hyperglycemia (high Blood Sugar)

Hyperglycemia is a hallmark sign of diabetes (both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes) and prediabetes. Other conditions that can cause hyperglycemia are pancreatitis, Cushing's syndrome, unusual hormone-secreting tumors, pancreatic cancer, certain medications, and severe illnesses. The main symptoms of hyperglycemia are increased thirst and a frequent need to urinate. Severely elevated glucose levels can result in a medical emergency like diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) or hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS, also referred to as hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state). Insulin is the treatment of choice for people with type 1 diabetes and for life-threatening increases in glucose levels. People with type 2 diabetes may be managed with a combination of different oral and injectable medications. Hyperglycemia due to medical conditions other than diabetes is generally treated by treating the underlying condition responsible for the elevated glucose. Blood Sugar Swings: Tips for Managing Diabetes & Glucose Levels A number of medical conditions can cause hyperglycemia, but the most common by far is diabetes mellitus. Diabetes affects over 8% of the total U.S. population. In diabetes, blood glucose levels rise either because there is an insufficient amount of insulin in the body or the body cannot use insulin well. Normally, the pancreas releases insulin after a meal so that the cells of the body can utilize glucose for fuel. This keeps blood glucose levels in the normal range. Type 1 diabetes is responsible for about 5% of all cases of diabetes and results from damage to the insulin-secreting cells of the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes is far more common and is related to the body's inability to effectively use insulin. In addition to type 1 and type 2, gestational diabe Continue reading >>

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