Diabetes and Blood Sugar
So, how exactly can this be done?
Well, maintaining a healthy blood sugar level is a good way of getting started and this should be carried out by using a special blood glucose monitor.
Checking your glucose levels
Your doctor will say that it is essential to check your glucose level on a regular basis. This is something that can be done in privacy with a home testing kit.
The process is actually quite easy and all you will need to do is take one drop of blood ( this is usually done by pricking a finger with a needle), place it onto a special strip and slot it into your blood glucose meter (or BGM for short) and wait for the results.
Once you have carried out the test, the time has come to analyze the results and establish if the reading is low, normal or high.
How can I tell the difference?
That is a very good question as the results can be confusing but these should give you a better idea of what to expect:
- Before any meal, an ideal (and normal) reading should be 4 to 7 mmol/l
- A test carried out 2 hours after eating should be 9 mmol/l or lower
- It is recommended that you test your glucose levels before bed and the reading needs to be 8 mmol/l or less
The importance of regularly monitoring blood
A major benefit of monitoring your blood sugar levels a few times a day is that this is something which doesn’t take long to do. Perhaps more importantly, there are a few other reasons that you should use a blood glucose monitor as often as it may be required.
Having high blood sugar levels can lead to all sorts of health related complications and by making sure a glucose reading is within safe limits, it will greatly reduce the risk of the following:
- Nerve disease (also referred to as neuropathy)
- Cardiovascular disease – including heart attacks and heart failure. Situations like this can occur as a result of poor circulation, something that tends to happen when the valves of the heart narrow
- Kidney disease
If you need any help when it comes to monitoring your blood glucose levels then your doctor is going to be able to provide advice on how to do this, how many times in a day the test should be carried out and establishing what the results are.
Differences between a high and low blood sugar
When carrying out a glucose test, it can be equally dangerous to find that the reading is high or low. The question is what are the differences between the two?
In cases such as this, it is vital that you establish what the symptoms might be so that appropriate action can be taken to avoid any further issues. The two lists below are going to concentrate on symptoms that are common with anyone who has either a low or high blood sugar level.
Either way, these are serious situations which can easily be avoided by ensuring a regular check with a glucose monitor.
A low blood sugar level could lead to the following symptoms:
- Feeling tired or getting confused
- Experiencing nervousness or getting worried
- Having problems communicating effectively
- Feeling light-headed or dizzy
Should you start to experience any of the symptoms listed above then this is one of the times where you should look at doing a blood sugar test, to confirm whether or not the reading is low. If you find this to be the case then to rectify the problem, consume a product that has a certain amount of sugar.
Hint: When you have followed the process above then you should wait for a period of around 15 minutes and re-test again. If the reading is still low then it should be repeated again, until your glucose result reaches a normal level again.
It is recommended that if a scenario such as this happens several times in one week then you should seek relevant medical advice.
A high blood sugar level:
This is a scenario that can be just as serious and a high blood sugar level is evident when a reading of 600 mg/dl plus is recorded. Therefore, it is essential that you become familiar with the warning signs.
- Having problems with your eyesight
- Suffering from a high fever
- Getting confused
- You could have problems communicating
- Imagining things (this could be hearing or seeing things)
- Regularly feeling thirsty
As with a low blood sugar, it is essential that you go on to test your blood sugar level and this is a time when you should drink plenty of fluids. After these have been done then you should phone your doctor at the earliest convenience.
Fact: If you test your blood sugar level but aren’t getting enough insulin, a very serious condition known as ketoacidosis can occur as a direct result. This basically means that ketones (acids) build up in the body and at this stage are often discovered in the urine. A check for ketones should be carried out if a glucose reading of over 240 mg/dl is recorded. Never let a problem get to this stage as ketoacidosis can lead to sufferers going into a diabetic coma, or worse a person could die.