What Are Blood Sugar Levels?
Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is a carbohydrate stored in the body's cells. When we eat food, our bodies break down the carbs and turn them into glucose, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream.
Glucose is what gives us energy and is necessary for many bodily processes. Our body uses glucose as its primary fuel for cellular activity, including brain function. Blood sugar levels or glucose levels tell us how much sugar (glucose) is in the bloodstream.
Glucose levels affect many bodily processes, including breathing, digestion, brain function, and hormone production.
● During low blood sugar levels, the body does not produce enough insulin to move glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cells. Symptoms include sweating, shakiness, headache, confusion, and rapid heartbeat.
● During high blood sugar levels, the glucose levels in the blood become abnormally high. Symptoms include thirst, dry mouth, blurred vision, frequent urination, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and excessive thirst.
Blood Sugar and Diabetes
A diabetic person does not produce enough insulin- a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels in the body. Insulin is produced in the pancreas, a gland located behind the stomach. In people without diabetes, blood glucose (blood sugar) enters the bloodstream after eating and goes directly into cells, fueling the body's activities. It is also passed on to the liver, muscles, fat cells, and brain.
There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body stops producing insulin entirely. People with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin naturally. They must inject themselves with insulin regularly, usually several times daily. Type 2 diabetes is caused by problems with how well the body uses insulin. Over time, the body may lose its ability to use insulin properly. This condition is called insulin resistance.
5 Tips to Manage Blood Sugar Levels
Now that we know about the impact of high blood sugar levels on our health, let's look at five tips we can follow to reduce blood sugar levels efficiently.
1. Keep a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet doesn't always have to mean cutting out sweets entirely. However, ensure you eat enough whole foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes) and do not rely on processed food. Whole foods provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals that help keep blood sugar levels steady, while refined carbs spike them.
Maintaining a healthy journal is a wise thing to do. You can track your progress and identify patterns and food items that spike your blood sugar levels. So, be vigilant about what you eat. Try to avoid sugary foods and carbs as much as possible. These items tend to raise your blood sugar levels instantly.
2. Exercise Regularly
Exercise helps regulate blood sugar, especially if you exercise regularly. If you don't already, try adding cardio workouts to your routine. Cardio exercises burn calories and increase your heart rate, helping to lower your blood sugar. Try running, biking, swimming, dancing, or even walking. It will help your body to use insulin more effectively.
3. Drink Water
Drink plenty of Water throughout the day, and drink more before meals. Your kidneys filter excess glucose from your bloodstream, but they only work well when you're well-hydrated. Drinking lots of Water also keeps your digestive system functioning correctly, which means less sugar gets absorbed into your bloodstream.
4. Watch Your Portion Sizes
It's easy to overeat if you're not careful. That's why keeping an eye on the portion size is essential. Eat small meals and monitor your blood sugar levels regularly. Eating three small snacks throughout the day instead of two big ones will make you feel fuller longer. This way, you'll be able to tweak your diet and exercise routine as needed.
5. Don't Stress Too Much
Stress and blood glucose are correlated. If you are stressed too much, it can increase your blood sugar levels. In fact, too much pressure can put you at a higher risk of diabetes. Stress also impacts your mental well-being. It can take your focus away from your health. The best way to manage stress is to practice yoga and meditation. You can start right away by following yoga practices for beginners on Youtube.
Last but not least, consult a health expert if your blood sugar levels are consistently high. More often than not, higher blood sugar levels may indicate other underlying health concerns. Follow the instructions and medications prescribed by your doctor. Stay positive, and don't be hesitant to seek help or expert advice when you need it.
When it comes to reducing blood sugar levels, the benefits are clear. You reduce your risk of developing diabetes, maintain a healthy weight, and have more energy. Not to mention, controlling blood sugar levels can help reduce heart disease and stroke risk.
That's a lot of good reasons to make a few changes in your diet and lifestyle. And we're not just talking about avoiding sugar-filled foods. Here's a brief overview of the steps you can take to control blood sugar:
1. Eat regular small meals and snacks throughout the day. It will help keep your blood sugar levels stable.
2. Avoid processed foods as much as possible. These are high in sugar and carbs and spike your blood sugar levels.
3. Eat plenty of fiber-rich foods. Fibrous foods slow down the absorption of carbs. This helps regulate blood sugar levels in the body.
4. Exercise regularly. Exercise helps burn off excess sugar and improves insulin sensitivity.
5. Stay hydrated. Drink as much water as possible and avoid sugary drinks, which can cause blood sugar spikes.
So what are you waiting for? Start using these tips today!
Blood Sugar Levels: FAQs
1. How do you test your glucose level?
You can test your blood sugar level at home by using a meter. Several monitoring options are available, including strips, lancets, and handheld devices. To use a strip meter, prick your finger and place a drop of blood onto the test strip. Place the strip into the meter, press start, and read the results. If you have diabetes, you should test your blood sugar regularly.
2. Why should i monitor my blood sugar level?
Monitoring your blood sugar level helps keep you aware of changes in your body's functioning. In addition, monitoring your blood sugar level can help you identify potential problems before they become serious. Monitoring blood sugar levels can also help you manage your condition if you need to adjust your diet or medication regimen.
3. Can high blood sugar cause diabetes?
Yes, it can. If you ignore high blood sugar levels, it can, over time, damage the pancreas. In the worst cases, it can eventually evolve into insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
4. What causes high blood sugar?
High blood sugar is when glucose in the blood becomes abnormally high. Symptoms include thirst, dry mouth, blurred vision, frequent urination, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and excessive thirst.