Blood Sugar Monitoring
What Do the Numbers Tell You?
“I must admit that I stopped checking my blood sugar,” Dave said. “I used to stick myself and write the numbers in a book, but I had no idea what they meant. I’d eat the same thing and get different numbers. Finally, I just gave up.”
Sound familiar? Many people dutifully check their blood glucose levels but have no idea what the numbers mean. Part of the problem is that blood glucose levels constantly fluctuate and are influenced by many factors. The other part of the problem is that no two people are alike. A blood glucose reading of 158 mg/dl in two different people might have two different explanations.
Most people know that their bodies need glucose to fuel their activities and that certain foods or large quantities of almost any food will raise blood glucose. That’s the easy part. But just as cars require a complicated system of fuel pumps, ignition timing, batteries, pistons, and a zillion other things to convert gasoline into motion, our bodies rely on an intricate system to convert glucose into energy.
Back to basics
Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that helps regulate the way the body uses glucose. Its main job is to allow glucose in the blood to enter cells of the body where it can be used for energy. In people who don’t have diabetes, the pancreas changes how much insulin it releases depending on blood glucose levels. Eating a chocolate bar? The pancreas releases more insulin. Sleeping? The pancreas releases less insulin until the wee hours of the morning when the hormones secreted in the early morning natu Continue reading