Usually, when we eat foods rich in carbohydrates, our body breaks them down into smaller usable portions of energy. These energy portions are what we call glucose or sugars. So,
Blood sugars can simply be defined as the concentration of glucose in the blood of human beings.
As digestion continues in our body, the glucose is absorbed into our bloodstream. This necessitates the production of insulin hormone. The insulin hormone activates the body cells and muscles to take up the glucose within the bloodstream. Eventually, you will get the energy to do your daily tasks.
Generally, if there is too much glucose in your bloodstream, the production of insulin will increase in correspondence with the glucose concentration. This will help lower blood sugar. Also, when the blood sugar decreases, the amount of insulin produced will decrease proportionately.
Normal Blood Sugar Levels
According to the global health care organizations, there is a standard guideline that should be used to test blood sugar levels.
These include the following:
Fasting plasma glucose
Fasting plasma glucose requires that the blood test be tested under the following conditions:
- When one is fasting.
- 8 hours from the last time you ate.
- Very early in the morning before you take breakfast.
Normally, the ADA recommends the blood sugar to be below 100mg/dL.
After a meal/ 2 hours plasma glucose
Here, the blood sugar can be tested immediately after eating or 2 hours after eating any meal with sugar content.
Normally, the ADA recommends that the sugar level is below 140 mg/dl.
This method is designed to measure the sugar level stuck in the hemoglobin for up to a period of 3 months. Usually, it is used independently after you have eaten.
According to CDC, the recommendable blood sugar level should be less than 5.7%.
Monitoring Blood Glucose of Diabetic People
Monitoring glucose level among diabetic people requires keenness and accuracy. Otherwise, you risk putting the life of the patient in danger. Here are some guidelines on how to monitor people with diabetes.
Target blood sugar level
If you are diabetic, your body will have difficulty creating or using enough insulin. While people respond to this condition differently, it is difficult to create a universal blood sugar chart for every patient. However, your doctor will always tailor an individualized target that will work for your personal needs.
According to healthcare practitioners, there are various things that affect the blood sugar. These include:
- Year of diagnosis
- Other underlying health conditions
- Mental status
- Risk for developing severe low blood sugars
- Availability of economic resources.
Monitors and their types
As a diabetes patient, monitoring is always key in the management of the condition. Monitoring plans can always rely on either self-monitoring at home or doctor-ordered tests such as the A1C. Fortunately, there are a variety of self-monitoring devices you can use in the comfort of your home. These include the finger prick and testing strips. These monitors have the capability of reading your blood sugar in mg/dL.
However, due to the advancement of technology, there are modern monitors capable of reading plasma glucose counts. These monitors are more accurate and efficient.
If you happen to experience difficulty when using the blood sugar meters, you can still use special devices known as Continuous glucose monitors (CGM). These monitors are usually inserted into a patient’s skin to help them monitor their glucose levels at all times. If the devices detect extreme or unusual glucose levels, they will raise an alarm.
Additionally, the CGM devices can detect when the sugars are rising and relay this information to the user for prompt action. However, it’s important that the user to verify these monitors regularly rather than observing them after meals or after undertaking physical activity.
Monitoring for different people
According to experts, the frequency and types of blood sugar do vary with different individuals. Understanding this variance helps physicians to develop a specific treatment plan for every patient.
Here is a recommended guideline used by health experts when monitoring different people:
- Adults with Type 1: Adults with type 1 diabetes should have their blood sugar checked 2-10 times a day. These tests should be done before and after meals as well as after physical activity. Lastly, you need to check immediately before you sleep.
- Children with Type 1: Children with type 1 should have their sugars checked at least four times a day. The monitoring should be spread before and 2 hours after meals. Also, testing should be done after physical activity and before bedtime.
- People with Type 2: The frequency of testing type 2 depends on the insulin dosage. If you are under intensive insulin, you need to test when fasting, before meals, and at bedtime. Also, you are advised to test overnight.
If you are taking insulin alongside other additional medications, then you should take your tests when fasting and before resting to bed. Those under background insulin and premixed insulin injection should take the check when fasting, before and after meals, and before taking the injection. Sometimes, they are required to test overnight.
- Type 2 with low chances of hypoglycemia: When the chances of hypoglycemia are low, you don’t necessarily have to take daily tests. However, if you aren’t meeting the set A1C targets, then you will have to increase the frequency of testing until the sugar levels normalize.
- For gestational diabetes: Patients taking insulin should have their sugars tested at fasting, before meals and one hours after taking meal. However, if you are not under insulin, the test should be done at fasting, and one hour after meals. Also, these patients should do regular tests during and after physical and emotional stress to ensure they are within the recommended level.
- For diabetic women: The target blood sugar levels for pregnant and non-pregnant women having diabetes vary with a great measure and are given as
Non pregnant diabetic women do have the following sets of reading:
|Before eating||70- 130 mg/dL||Less than 110 mg/dL|
|2 hours after eating||Less than 180 mg/dL||Less than 140 mg/dL|
|A1C (HbA1c)||Less than 7.0%||Less than 6.5%|
Pregnant women do have different glucose levels when compared to non-pregnant women. This difference comes due to the infant growing inside. Here is the recommended readings from ADA .
|Normal test||95- 140 mg/dL|
|Before meal||Below 89 mg/dL|
|After meal||Below 120 mg/dL|
Hyperglycemia-High Blood Sugar Level
According to the ADA guidelines, a person is having a high blood sugar level if the sugars exceed 180 mg/dL two hours after eating.
Usually, there is a myriad of factors that can predispose you to high blood sugar levels.
- Consuming more carb diets
- Taking less insulin or oral diabetes medications
- Increased dehydration
- Menstrual periods
- Side effects from using other medications, including steroids
- Illnesses, stress, and other forms of pain
- Inadequate physical activities
High blood sugar can pose both mild and severe effects on your body. At its onset, it can lead to mild effects such as excessive thirst, increased urination, blur vision, and loss of energy. However, when it progresses to a chronic condition, it can cause severe effects on your body.
These effects may include:
- Memory loss
- Severe vision problems such as blurriness and even blindness
- Gum diseases can make eating and chewing painful.
- Severe heart conditions such as heart attacks, stroke
- Kidney diseases can lead to dialysis or even transplant.
High blood sugar can also cause damages in the nerve ending. This can in turn cause other effects such as:
- Pain and tingling in the feet and hands
- Difficulty when emptying the bladder
- Increased problems during digestion or after eating.
HBS chart and action plan
High Blood Sugar (HBS) is sometimes known as hyperglycemia. This condition often presents when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin. In some cases, your body can be producing the needed insulin, only that there is some resistance; hence cannot be fully utilized. That’s said, here is an action plan doctors use to restore normalcy in your body:
|Blood Sugar Reading||Alert and Proposed Treatment|
|180- 250 mg/dL||Yellow flag: the blood sugar is above the normal If the blood sugar is above normal, its an indication that your body doesn’t have enough insulin or medication to lower it back to normal. Therefore, your health provider may provide guidance on how to lower it. However, if it persists or keep increasing past 250 mg/dL, further action will be taken.|
|Higher than 250 mg/dL||Red alert: this is an indication that you require immediate medical attention More than 2 readings above 250 requires treatment. Your doctor will test for ketones with type 1. For those with type 2, insulin levels will be examined. Thereafter, suitable treatment plan will be developed that matches your individuality.|
Hypoglycemia-Low Blood Sugar Level
A low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia, refers to a diabetic condition where the glucose levels in the blood fall below 70 mg/dL.
In many cases, low blood sugar levels can occur due to the following risk factors:
- Eating inadequate food or missing a meal
- Reducing the intake of carbohydrates in your meals
- Excessive intake of alcohol
- Taking too much insulin or oral diabetes medications
- Intense participation in physical activities
- Effects from steroids or other medications
Low blood sugar content does have various signs and symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include the following:
- Loss of energy
- Sweaty or clammy
- Recurrent confusion
- Severe feeling of hunger
- Faster heartbeat
- Drunkard feeling
- Coma or death, especially during night sleep
LBS Chart and action plan
During hypoglycemia, there occur an overproduction of insulin because of which the blood sugar level lowers to a risky level. For such conditions, this plan will help you to bring your body back to normal :
|Blood Sugar Reading||Alert and Treatment Plan|
|50 mg/dL||Red flag: blood sugar is extremely low and requires immediate medical attention. When the patient isn’t able to speak, the care attendant can immediately inject him/her using glucagon or nasal spray. However, when the patient can still talk, you can treat them with 15 grams of rapid acting carbs such as glucose gel, fruit juice or regular soda. Make sure you test blood sugar 15 minutes later.|
|51-70 mg/dL||Red flag: Blood sugar is below normal and hence need for urgent medical attention. Here, you can treat the patient with rapid acting carbs and retest aster 15 minutes. Repeat the process until the levels return to normalcy.|
|71-90 mg/dL||Yellow flag: blood sugar need close monitoring and treatment If the patient is showing any symptoms, you need to give urgent treatment with 15 grams of rapid acting carbs. Retest after 15 minutes. Again, recheck the levels 2 hours after eating and treat to return the level back to normal range.|
Download Free Charts
Every diabetes patient should have a way to monitor their blood sugar levels. If you are looking for a chart to help you through, you are in the right place. Download our free and easy-to-use charts.
Hypoglycemia can happen if the patient’s body isn’t able to produce enough insulin. In other cases, it presents when the patient’s body develops insulin resistance. This makes insulin incapable of converting blood sugar into energy.
Insulin resistance simply refers to the condition in which the body cells become less sensitive to the actions of insulin. It, therefore, becomes unable to absorb glucose from the bloodstream.
Diabetes is one of the common chronic illnesses in the world. Fortunately, it is often easy to maintain provided you keep your blood sugar in check. If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, don’t hesitate to visit a doctor. Your health matters a lot.