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10 Facts on Blood Sugar Levels

blood sugar levels
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Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic medical disease and a major health problem worldwide with an estimated prevalence of about 2.3%.

By 2030, 4.4% of world’s population is expected to be affected by the disease.

Diabetes was responsible for 1.5 million deaths worldwide in 2012. It is one of the diseases that cannot be cured, but it can be controlled.

Tight control of blood sugar levels is the only way to avoid any serious consequences that could develop from diabetes like kidney damage (nephropathy), nerve damage (neuropathy) and heart disorders.

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Blood Sugar Levels

There are actually a lot of misconceptions about controlling sugar levels, choosing the correct diet, and the symptoms of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. Here are 10 facts about blood sugar levels

1. Normal Blood Sugar Levels

Normal fasting blood sugar level is around 5.6 mmol/l (100mg/dl) where levels between 5.6mmol/ to 6.9mmol/l is considered pre-diabetic requiring additional examination.

Normally, all simple and complex sugars taken in the diet are converted to monosaccharides (sucrose) in the body which then gets dissolved in the blood and is delivered to all the organs.

Pancreas secrete a hormone called insulin which regulates the sugar levels. Sugar molecules are the energy drivers of the body and required for effective functioning of the organs, especially the brain cells.

2. Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia

Hypoglycemia is more dangerous than hyperglycemia. You can afford to have increased blood sugar levels sometimes but hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can be life threatening.

The symptoms of hypoglycemia include sweating, dizziness, fainting and blackouts. Severe hypoglycemia can lead to coma. Diabetics are advised to keep sugar sachets nearby and use them in cases of these symptoms

3. Presence of infection

Infections anywhere in the body can raise sugar levels. All infections need to be actively treated with appropriate antibiotics and drainage of pus cavities if required.

4. Lifestyle changes

Stress, smoking, alcohol and anxiety increases blood sugar levels. Therefore, lifestyle modification has a very important role in controlling blood sugar levels. A 30 minute exercise routine everyday can work wonders for sugar control.

5. Artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are not 100% beneficial in controlling sugar levels. Many studies have shown that although there is some benefit as compared to natural sweeteners, it is significantly less than what the marketing agencies make it out to be.

6. Use of steroids

The use of steroids in conditions such as asthma, rheumatic joint pains can affect blood sugar levels. These drugs should only be taken under proper medical care.

7. Skin elasticity

High blood sugar levels affect the elasticity of the skin and induces early wrinkling. This is due to the process called glycation in which the proteins and lipids in the body makes covalent bonds with the sugar molecules. Fortunately, this is reversible with tight sugar control.

8. HbA1c levels

HbA1c levels are predictors of long term sugar control and are not influenced by occasional daily fluctuations. Levels more than 8.5% signify a very poor control and less than 6% suggest a good control.

9. Glucose Tolerance test (GTT)

Glucose Tolerance test (GTT) is a type of test to unmask “hidden diabetes”. It is commonly used in pregnancy to detect gestational diabetes and in adults suspected of progressing to type II diabetes.

10. Late Onset Diabetes Mellitus

Late Onset Diabetes Mellitus, after the age of 40-45 years, may be the 1st sign of a more sinister underlying disease of the pancreas. In chronic pancreatitis, the 1st presentation may be uncontrolled blood sugar in 10-15% of the patients.

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