A Guide to Blood Sugar Levels For Every Age
Keeping track of your blood sugar levels is important for everyone, not just those with diagnosed with things like diabetes or hypoglycemia. The more you know about your body, the better you can care for it.
- Blood sugar is mainly influenced by diet, but many factors play a role
- Regulating blood sugar levels is important even if you do not have diabetes
- Even though diabetes is associated with obesity, it can affect anyone
The varying amount of glucose in your blood is referred to as your blood sugar levels. Foods high in glucose include starchy vegetables, fruit, deserts, grains, and other carbs. Insulin and glucagon, two pancreatic hormones, control glucose in the endocrine system. Insulin allows cells to utilize glucose for energy, whereas glucagon encourages the liver to break down glycogen into glucose.
When you eat, your blood glucose levels rise, signaling your pancreas to start producing insulin. Glucose subsequently enters your cells and is used for energy. Any extra glucose is converted to glycogen, which is then stored in the liver and muscles for later use as energy. Any excess glucose left over after the body has filled its limited glycogen stores will then be stored as fat. Insulin is balanced by glucagon.
After eating, your glucose levels drop for around 4-5 hours, triggering the production of glucagon. This cycle instructs your cells to release glycogen stored in your cells for energy until the next meal. Throughout the day, this cycle repeats again.
Monitoring Your Blood Sugar Levels
Biomarkers such as fasting insulin and glucose, as well as hemoglobin A1c, can be used by your doctor to assess your blood sugar and diabetes risk. Testing your blood sugar levels in the morning is ideal because it will not be influenced by your last meal, these levels are also referred to as fasting blood sugar levels.
Fasting insulin is an often-overlooked early indicator of insulin resistance. HbA1c is a test that calculates the average of your blood sugar levels over the previous three months. This test uses fasting glucose levels and determines how your body reacts to your current diet while fasting. Over a two-week period, continuous glucose monitoring can be used to see how your food intake affects your pancreas and insulin production.
Blood sugar levels after meals are one of the most reliable indicators of diabetes and heart disease risk. A single marker is insufficient which is why testing regularly is important to indicate if a person's blood sugar levels are in a healthy range.
Lower than 60 is considered hazardous, and most individuals will have symptoms including inability to concentrate, dizziness, sweating, headache, and blurred vision. Having regular low blood sugar levels is known as hypoglycemia. Pre-diabetes is defined as a blood sugar level of 100 to 125. Diabetes is diagnosed at a level of 126 or above.
High blood sugar can be accompanied by frequent urination, increased thirst, fatigue, nausea/vomiting, fruity breath odor, dry mouth, dizziness/lightheadedness and is known as hyperglycemia. It has been inferred that in the long term, hyperglycemia causes a variety of health problems, such as heart disease, kidney, eyes, and nerve damage, whereas the symptoms for hypoglycemia will induce pale complexion, sweating, irritability, lethargy, paranoid, or aggressive mentality, impaired mental functioning, and loss of consciousness.
While diabetes is commonly associated with obesity, it can also affect those who are slim and healthy. Inflammatory cytokines are released when blood sugar fluctuations are extreme, and these cytokines can activate other autoimmune diseases in the body. Blood sugar dysregulation can have an impact on brain health and raise the risk of dementia, commonly known as type 3 diabetes. There are many factors that contribute to blood sugar levels including:
- Physical activity
- Medical conditions
- Menstrual periods
Keeping Healthy Levels
While each of these factors can have huge impacts on your blood sugar levels, diet is the most direct link. You might also feel the harmful consequences of consuming too much sugar or carbohydrates right away. Hyperglycemia can make you feel tired, achy in your joints, bloated, and gassy. Here are some changes you can make to your diet to help you maintain regular blood sugar levels:
1. Avoid artificial sugar - Because they are promoted as being calorie-free or low-calorie, fake sugars may appear to be a healthier alternative. However, the promises made for these food additives might be deceptive, causing your taste buds to desire more and leading to overeating. They have the same effect on your blood sugar levels as sugar! These sugar replacements also cause an increase in the release of hormones like leptin and insulin, which can contribute to undesired weight gain, particularly around the belly.
2. Eat more protein - The insulin release from the carbs on your plate will be reduced if you eat protein with every meal. Insulin is needed to transform protein amino acids into energy that your body can utilize. Protein also tells your brain when you're full, preventing you from overeating.
3. Add some bitter foods - Bitter meals can help you avoid sugar cravings and maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Celery, broccoli, dandelion greens, dark chocolate, and pomegranate seeds are examples of these foods.
4. Add some fiber - Insoluble fiber, which is found in whole grains, and soluble fiber, which is found in beans, dried peas, oats, and fruits, are the two types of fiber. Soluble fiber, in particular, appears to reduce blood sugar levels through increasing insulin sensitivity, potentially reducing the need for diabetic medication. A number of studies also show that consuming a high-fiber diet lowers the risk of heart disease.
Everyone's blood sugar levels are important and play a huge role in energy level and overall health. By including healthy foods while implementing a holistic healing approach, it is thought that we can mitigate many current physical illnesses.
Written by Kiana St. Onge