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Fasting Blood Sugar: Normal Levels And Testing

Fasting blood sugar: Normal levels and testing

Fasting blood sugar: Normal levels and testing

Fasting blood sugar provides vital clues about how the body is managing blood sugar levels. Blood sugar tends to peak about an hour after eating, and declines after that.
High fasting blood sugar levels point to insulin resistance or diabetes. Abnormally low fasting blood sugar could be due to diabetes medications.
Knowing when to test and what to look for can help keep people with, or at risk of, diabetes healthy.
What are fasting blood sugar levels?
Following a meal, blood sugar levels rise, usually peaking about an hour after eating.
How much blood sugar rises by and the precise timing of the peak depends on diet. Large meals tend to trigger larger blood sugar rises. High-sugar carbohydrates, such as bread and sweetened snacks, also cause more significant blood sugar swings.
Normally, as blood sugar rises, the pancreas releases insulin. Insulin lowers blood sugar, breaking it down so that the body can use it for energy or store it for later.
However, people who have diabetes have difficulties with insulin in the following ways:
People with type 1 diabetes do not produce enough insulin because the body attacks insulin-producing cells.
People with type 2 diabetes do not respond well to insulin and, later, may not make enough insulin.
In both cases, the result is the same: elevated blood sugar levels and difficulties using sugar.
This means that fasting blood sugar depends on three factors:
the contents of the last meal
the size of the last meal
the body's ability to produce and respond to insulin
Blood sugar levels in between meals offer a window into how the body manages Continue reading

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Diabetes and hypertension: What is the relationship?

Diabetes and hypertension: What is the relationship?

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, often affects people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association reports that from 2000 to 2012, 71 percent of adults with diabetes had a blood pressure of greater or equal to 140/90 or were taking medications to help normalize blood pressure.
What are hypertension and diabetes
Many people with diabetes also have hypertension, or high blood pressure. Having these conditions together can make them both worse.
What is hypertension?
Known the "silent killer," hypertension usually has no signs or symptoms and many people are not aware they have it.
High blood pressure increases a person's risk of stroke and heart attack. It often occurs with diabetes.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and can be assessed using a blood pressure monitor.
Two numbers will be produced. The first refers to the systolic blood pressure, or the highest level of the blood pressure during a heartbeat. The second, the diastolic blood pressure, points to the lowest level.
Any blood pressure reading of less than or equal to 119/79 is considered normal.
A reading between 120 and 139 for systolic pressure and between 80 and 89 for diastolic pressure is considered prehypertension. This is a sign of possible hypertension if a person does not take preventive steps.
A doctor will diagnose a reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher as high blood pressure.
People can control hypertension with healthy lifestyle habits. These can include exercise and a low-fat, low-sodium diet. If necessary, a person with hypertension may redu Continue reading

Strike the Spike II

Strike the Spike II

Dealing With High Blood Sugar After Meals
Eleven years ago, I wrote an article for Diabetes Self-Management about the management of high blood sugar after meals. It was called “Strike the Spike” and no article I’ve ever written has led to greater reader response. To this day, I still receive calls, letters, and e-mails thanking me for offering practical answers to this perplexing challenge. I’ve even been asked to speak on the topic at some major conferences. So when presented with the opportunity to readdress the issue, I jumped at the chance.
A lot has changed in the past eleven years: we know more than ever about the harmful effects of after-meal blood sugar spikes, but we also have a number of potent new tools and techniques for preventing them. Now that I know how important this topic is to so many people, I’ll do my absolute best to bring you up to date.
What’s a spike?
After-meal, or “postprandial,” spikes are temporary high blood glucose levels that occur soon after eating. It is normal for the level of glucose in the blood to rise a small amount after eating, even in people who do not have diabetes. However, if the rise is too high, it can affect your quality of life today and contribute to serious health problems down the road.
The reason blood glucose tends to spike after eating in many people with diabetes is a simple matter of timing. In a person who doesn’t have diabetes, eating foods containing carbohydrate causes two important reactions in the pancreas: the immediate release of insulin into the bloodstream, and the release of a hormone call Continue reading

Why does diabetes cause headaches?

Why does diabetes cause headaches?

Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot make enough of the hormone insulin, or cannot use it properly, causing glucose to build up in the blood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 29 million people in the United States have diabetes.
Diabetes does not usually cause headaches. But, while headaches are not dangerous, they may be an indication of poor blood sugar control in a person with diabetes.
Over time, periods of continuous high or low blood sugar can lead to serious and even life-threatening health complications, such as heart disease and kidney failure.
This article looks at the connection between diabetes and headaches and suggests ways to relieve diabetes-induced headaches.
Contents of this article:
Types of headache
According to the International Classification of Headache Disorders, published by the International Headache Society, there are over 150 types of headaches.
Broadly speaking, headaches can be classified as either primary or secondary:
Primary headaches are ones that are not linked to another medical condition. Examples of primary headaches include migraines and tension headaches.
Secondary headaches are caused by underlying medical conditions or health issues and include the type of headache often experienced by people with diabetes.
Other causes of secondary headaches include:
hormone fluctuations
infection
nerve disorders
overuse of medication
trauma
The pain associated with either primary or secondary headaches can vary in severity and duration. Some people may not experience headaches often, while others can Continue reading

Blood Sugar Monitoring: When to Check and Why

Blood Sugar Monitoring: When to Check and Why

Managing diabetes is one part investigation and two parts action. Unlike some other diseases that rely primarily on professional medical treatment, diabetes treatment requires active participation by the person who has it. Monitoring your blood sugar level on a regular basis and analyzing the results is believed by many to be a crucial part of the treatment equation.
When someone is first diagnosed with diabetes, he is usually given a blood sugar meter (or told to go buy one) and told how and when to use it, as well as what numbers to shoot for. However, the advice a person receives on when to monitor and what the results should be generally depend on his type of diabetes, age, and state of overall health. It can also depend on a health-care provider’s philosophy of care and which set of diabetes care guidelines he follows. At least three major health organizations have published slightly different recommendations regarding goals for blood sugar levels.
There is some common ground when it comes to blood sugar monitoring practices. For example, most people take a fasting reading before breakfast every morning. Some people also monitor before lunch, dinner, and bedtime; some monitor after each meal; and some monitor both before and after all meals. However, when monitoring after meals, some people do it two hours after the first bite of the meal, while others prefer to check one hour after the start of a meal.
To help sort out the whys and when of monitoring, three diabetes experts weigh in with their opinions. While they don’t agree on all the details, they do agree on o Continue reading

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