Diabetes is one of the most prevalent chronic health problems that are resulting from changing lifestyle and food habits. The most important and highest concern in diabetics is how to keep their diabetes and blood glucose or blood sugar levels under constant control. But, before that, it is also necessary to understand what they are and how they affect health. Read on for more on diabetes and blood glucose.
What really is blood glucose?
Blood is the largest and the most important circulatory system in our body. It circulates almost everything in the body, from the carbohydrates you need for energy to the hormones your organs need to function, and from the body wastes and toxins to any substances present in excess that can be filtered into urine in kidneys. Glucose is a type of carbohydrate that the body needs to generate energy in cells. Almost all kinds of carbohydrates that you consume will be broken down into glucose before being absorbed into the blood stream. This glucose present in blood to be circulated to each and every cell in the body is called blood glucose or more commonly blood sugar.
What do blood glucose levels mean?
The body needs a continuous supply of glucose in order to have the energy need to carry on various activities required for sustenance. However, glucose levels that are either too high or too low can cause problems in the functioning. So, a process known as homeostasis is carried out in the body each and every moment to ensure balance of every fluid level and maintain the levels of every substance present in the body. This process to maintain Diabetes and blood glucose levels is carried out through two hormones: insulin and glucagon.
Insulin, secreted by beta cells in the pancreas, is responsible for making the body cells take glucose from the blood, and either utilize it or store it in a complex form (glycogen) for future use. This decreases the amount of glucose present in blood, in other words there will be a drop in blood glucose levels. The body then takes a compensatory action to prevent the levels from dropping too low by releasing the hormone glucagon. This hormone breaks down glycogen stored in liver into glucose bringing the glucose levels back to normal.
What are the normal levels of blood glucose?
The blood glucose levels vary depending on various reasons. In a normal healthy person, the usual blood glucose levels are in between 80 and 110 mg/dL. However, these levels can go high, around 140 mg/dL, after consuming food that is rich in carbohydrates, which is also normal.
Whereas in diabetics, the levels of blood glucose that are considered normal are slightly higher than those in healthy people. A blood glucose level in between 90 and 120 mg/dL before meal, and below 180 mg/dL two hours after meal are the levels that are usually prescribed as healthy for diabetics.
Why do diabetics have difficulty controlling blood sugar levels?
There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. People with type 1 diabetes have impaired pancreatic function caused due to autoimmune destruction of beta cells (the ones that secrete insulin). So, when their glucose levels are high, insulin cannot be released, resulting in insulin deficiency in the body. In people with type 2 diabetes, their body grows resistant to insulin due to high and frequent exposure to the hormone. This happens when people lead sedentary lifestyle or chronic overweight or obesity leading to decrease in active body movement. This is known as insulin resistance, and is one of the prevalent health problems. The insulin deficiency or insulin resistance in diabetics is the reason why the body finds it difficult to keep the blood glucose levels under control.
How can you keep the levels within the normal range?
There are many ways which can keep diabetics and blood glucose levels in normal range, whether they have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Most of these ways include changes in lifestyle and most importantly changes in the attitude towards life and health. Some of the things that you can do to keep glucose levels within normal range are,
- Complying with Medication – A good diabetic control requires complying with medication and treatment without fail. Taking medications on time and in right doses will prevent fluctuations in the blood glucose levels and related complications.
- Regular Physical Activity – A lifestyle without exercise is bad not just for diabetics, but everyone in general. The body is meant to move, and it needs regular exercise and activity to keep itself functioning properly. If you do not like the idea of a routine workout plan, you can try including a wide variety of activities such as dancing, trekking, hiking, or forming or joining an activity group that shares your interests. Apart from help you control blood glucose levels, physical activity will also help you keep focused and motivated, and will give the strength to go through the treatment with sportive spirit.
- Dietary Changes – Unless absolutely necessary, it”s best to avoid foods that are made from simple sugar, simple carbohydrates, white flours or any processed or refined flours, white rice or foods made from it. You should also take of the kind of fats that you eat. Decreasing the amount of saturated fats and increasing the amount of polyunsaturated fats will help prevent any heart related complications. Include foods with complex carbohydrates such as whole flours and whole grains, foods rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids in your diet.
- Improving Your Awareness – It is important to improve your awareness regarding diabetes and the information associated with it. Improving your awareness regarding the problem will help increase your understanding and will also give you a better idea on how to keep it in control.
When it comes to a chronic health problem, it can be quite difficult to keep yourself motivated to comply with the treatment. Considering all the ordeals, both financial and emotional, one has to go through to keep themselves healthy, it can be a very frustrating experiences. However, with a little sportive spirit you can always get your health back on track, and keep diabetes and blood glucose levels under constant control.