Simply put blood glucose level is the concentration of glucose or sugar in the blood of any mammal. The blood glucose level in the body changes with the intake of food, exercises, and medication. Normal blood glucose levels are important for a healthy body. High or low blood glucose levels may give rise to conditions like hyperglycemia, diabetes, hypoglycemia, nerve or brain damage etc. You can take different tests to find whether your blood glucose readings are in a normal range. The relevance of each test is that it enables understanding of the effects of factors like food, drinks, medication etc on the glucose levels. It helps you to find out if you are pre-diabetic, diabetic or suffer from any other condition related to blood glucose levels.
Blood glucose level management
The glucose level in the human body is regulated as part of the metabolic homeostasis. Glucose is the primary source of energy for the functioning of body’s cells. It is transported via the bloodstream from intestines or liver to body cells. Insulin is the hormone which regulates the glucose levels and ensures that it stays within the normal range. If the insulin is insufficient or the body is unable to utilize it properly the glucose levels may become higher. Levels higher than normal range may lead to complications like neuropathy, retinopathy, cerebrovascular disease, nephropathy and cardiovascular diseases.
Blood glucose readings – normal range
You can check the blood glucose levels with different tests. One of the most reliable and easy test is the fasting glucose test which is done after an 8 hour fasting period. The normal readings for this test are in the range of 70-99 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or 3.8 to 5.5mmol/L. The postprandial test which done after 2 hours after you eat anything requires a normal reading of 70-145 mg/dL or 3.8 to 7.9mmol/L. The random blood glucose test which is done irrespective of the meal time has a normal range of less than 200mg/dL or 11.1mmol/L. The oral glucose tolerance test helps measure your body’s response to sugar. You first measure the fasting blood sugar and then drink a sugary solution. Again the glucose level is measured after two hours. The level for this test too should be less than 140mg/dL or 7.8mmol/L.
Glucose readings beyond these levels for each test are considered as high glucose levels. They may not always be diabetes but could be in the pre-diabetes stage or occasionally be hyperglycemia. The higher levels may be symptoms of diabetes or may sometimes be the result of severe stress, stroke, heart attack or excess production of growth hormone. Similarly fasting levels below 40mg/dL in women and 50mg/dL among men are considered as low values and may be caused due Addison’s disease, hypothyroidism, liver diseases, kidney failure or malnutrition.
There is another test called as the HbA1c test which shows the average blood glucose level of the previous 3 months. HbA1c is the result of chemical reaction between hemoglobin and glucose. This is called as glycated hemoglobin. HbA1c levels rise if there is consistent high blood sugar level. It is 6% of total hemoglobin for non-diabetes and 7.5% with only a fair control of diabetes. If HbA1c is above 8.5% it shows that you have a very poor control of diabetes.
It is important that your blood glucose readings remain in the normal range. You should consult the doctors if you feel that the levels have gone above or below normal. Timely medication can help prolong the ill effects and complications arising out of such conditions.
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