So what is blood sugar level?
A person’s blood sugar level (otherwise known as serum glucose level or plasma glucose level) is really just the volume of glucose (sugar) present in their blood at any given time.
Exactly why is glucose vital?
Glucose (commonly known as dextrose) is a simple sugar that is produced by the human body from the carbohydrate food we take in. It is vital for a number of critical bodily processes. In particular, it’s critical because it gives energy to our cells, nervous system as well as the brain.
Glucose is transferred from the intestinal tract or liver to cells via the bloodstream, and is made available for cell absorption via the hormone insulin, manufactured by the pancreas.
Glucose which isn’t directly used as an energy source by brain cells, intestinal cells and red blood cells is sent to the liver, adipose tissue and muscle cells, where it is actually taken in and stored as glycogen. This glycogen can be converted back to glucose and returned to the bloodstream in the event that insulin is low or absent.
How is blood sugar level assessed?
Blood sugar is ordinarily measured in molecular count, the unit for which is mmol/L (millimoles per liter). It is also frequently measured as a weight in grams, the unit for which is mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter).
What exactly is a healthy or standard blood sugar level?
On average, your body sustains its blood glucose level at a reference range of between 3.6 and 5.8 mmol/L (or 64.8 and 104.4 mg/dL).
The mean standard blood glucose level in humans is around 4 mmol/L (or 72 mg/dL), although the level clearly fluctuates during the course of the day. As perhaps you may suspect, glucose levels are generally lowest early in the day, prior to the first meal of the day and increase just after eating for one to two hours by a few milliMolar. Having said that, when it comes to diabetes sufferers, blood sugar varies more widely – see further below.
How could blood sugar / glucose levels affect your health?
As outlined above, glucose offers a person’s body with the power that it needs to undertake very important bodily functions. Insufficient sugar / glucose (a low blood sugar level) or an over-abundance of sugar / glucose (a high blood sugar level) can bring about serious health problems and blood sugar levels outside of the standard range may perhaps be a warning sign of an underlying medical condition.
Hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia
A continually high blood sugar level is referred to as hyperglycemia, while low levels are called hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia is a potentially fatal condition. Warning signs include lethargy, reduced mental performance, becoming easily irritated, trembling, twitching, a weakness in arm and leg muscles, pale complexion, sweating, paranoid or aggressive mentality and loss of consciousness. In rare instances, brain damage is a possibility.
By comparison, hyperglycemia involves the appetite being suppressed in the short term, with long term health conditions including heart problems, diabetes and eye, kidney, and nerve damage.
Diabetes mellitus is characterised by consistent hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels) either because the body fails to make an adequate amount of insulin, or for the reason that cells fail to react to the insulin that’s produced. It is actually the most prevalent disease linked to malfunction in blood sugar regulation.
For anyone with diabetes, it is especially vital to keep blood sugar levels within normal ranges, or else severe health complications may arise. By way of example, nephropathy (kidney disease), neuropathy (nerve disease), retinopathy (eye disease) and cardiovascular diseases (heart diseases).
Insulin resistance (a manifestation of polycystic ovarian syndrome) is another example of a medical condition where blood sugar levels are very important. In this case, the body fails to recognise the consumption of sugars and carbohydrates and this means that it continues to pump out insulin which is not necessary. If this lasts for a protracted time period, the pancreas can shut down and cease to produce insulin completely. If proper care is not taken by individuals who have this illness to ensure a balanced diet and balanced blood sugar levels, it can ultimately lead to type 2 diabetes.
What else can have a bearing on blood sugar levels?
Countless factors can impact on someone’s blood sugar level. As an example, it can be briefly elevated as a result of acute stress (such as trauma, stroke, myocardial infarction, surgery or disease) or as a result of drug / medication use, which can cause glucose levels to go up or decline.
Alcohol intake additionally triggers an initial spike in blood sugar, but eventually tends to cause levels to fall.
Keeping your blood sugar level under control
Making positive and healthy lifestyle choices (and, if necessary, changes) is an excellent first step in keeping your blood sugar levels in check. For instance, taking regular exercise and (if needed) reducing your weight in a smart and healthy way.
Dietary adjustments, in particular, are often extremely useful in keeping blood sugar levels within normal ranges. For those with limited diets (such as diabetics), it can often be a challenge to ensure an optimum intake of vitamins and minerals daily. Lots of people find that top quality, nutrients-fortified meal replacement powders / shakes can help with this.
MEALtime is a liquid meal / meal replacement shake that is rich in quality protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, nutritious herbs and psyllium husks. Best of all, it is actually appropriate for diabetics and others trying to maintain healthy, stable blood sugar levels because the only sugars included are those found naturally in the ingredient fruits.
MEALtime is a fast and simple way to fuel up on the go. Not only does this meal replacement / protein shake contain an array of important vitamins and minerals, but it also has important amino acids, ginseng and aloe vera for energy!
*Before changing your diet, undertaking a new exercise regime or taking health supplements, always be sure to consult your doctor or qualified health practitioner (particularly if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or on medications).