Language Matters In Diabetes
Words make a difference when youre talking about diabetes. Thats especially true in the context of blood sugar levels and how someone manages their health.
Here are some suggestions on language choices when talking with someone about their blood sugars and glucose levels.
- Try to avoid using terms like good or bad for higher or lower blood sugars.
- Instead, try to not tie value judgments to these numbers. Think about them as just numbers, in range or not, and pieces of data to help make a decision in diabetes care. Sometimes glucose numbers are too low or too high, and its helpful for the person with diabetes to understand why those glucose fluctuations are happening.
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How Do I Check My Blood Glucose
Picture 1: Poke the side of the finger with the lancet
Blood Sugar Levels And Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you may be wondering what your blood glucose should be. Hopefully your doctor, nurse practitioner, physicians assistant or whoever diagnosed you has given you answers to that question. Unfortunately, though, not everyone is given glucose goals. Or in some cases, it may have been a long time ago, and theyve since been forgotten. No worries well go over all that!
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How To Lower Insulin Levels
Low insulin level can be mended by taking insulin injection. But cases of excessive insulin level are common and hard to deal with, so we will further talk about lowering and maintaining normal insulin levels.
1. Change Your Diet
To lower your levels of insulin, try eating more dark green vegetables and whole-grain foods rich in fiber. Avoid alcohol and anything containing refined sugar or trans-fats. Patients who followed these guidelines had decreased fasting insulin levels and female patients had lowered insulin resistance. For men, reducing the waist circumference may have a role in decreasing blood insulin levels and insulin resistance.
2. Lower Your Glycemic Index
Exercise can enhance insulin-mediated uptake of glucose into muscle tissue, and therefore reduce the bodys need for insulin. Physical activity is particularly effective when combined with a low glycemic index diet, which can also reduce the bodys insulin requirements. The glycemic index measures the effect of a particular food on blood glucose levels. One study showed that obese older adults with prediabetes lost weight and decreased their blood insulin after both exercising and eating low-GI food.
3. Take Some Medication
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Official Hba1c Ada Recommendation For Someone With Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association recommends an HbA1C of less than 7% for most nonpregnant adults with diabetes. A lower goal, such as less than 6.5%, may be appropriate for some people who have had diabetes for a shorter amount of time, for younger people, for those without heart disease, and/or for those with type 2 diabetes treated with lifestyle or metformin only. A higher HbA1C goal, such as less than 8%, may be appropriate for people with a history of severe hypoglycemia, a limited life expectancy, advanced diabetes complications, other illnesses, or for whom a lower HbA1C goal is difficult to achieve. Its important that people with diabetes discuss their target blood sugar goals with their health care provider.
HbA1C levels should be checked between two to four times per year in people who have diabetes.
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What Are The Blood Glucose Tests To Check The Levels
Every person, irrespective of being diabetic or not, should get routine blood glucose testing. Not only does it avert the risks of diabetes, but it also indicates possibilities of other underlying chronic illnesses that arent always diagnosed on time.
With blood glucose monitoring, several blood tests can assess the levels. Some of the most important ones include:
How To Use A Glucose Meter
Glucometers are easy to use. Take the following steps to successfully test blood glucose:
People with type 2 diabetes normally need to test blood sugar concentrations at least once each day.
Those who need to take insulin, which includes all people with type 1 diabetes and some with type 2, have to test their blood several times a day.
An accurate reading of the blood glucose level can help achieve good diabetes control.
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Blood Sugar Testing At Home
A person can test their blood sugar levels at home.
In most cases, doctors ask people to measure fasting blood sugar immediately upon waking and before they have anything to eat or drink. It may also be appropriate to test blood sugar before eating or 2 hours after a meal, which is when blood sugar returns to normal levels.
The right time to test depends on treatment goals and other factors. For example, most people with diabetes do not need to test between meals unless they are using a diabetes drug that can lower blood sugar. Other people may test between meals if they feel their sugar levels may be low.
Because people with type 1 diabetes do not make enough insulin, they need to test their blood sugar levels several times a day so they can adjust their insulin doses.
A person will test blood sugar levels by:
- preparing the testing strip and glucose monitor to be ready for the blood sample
- using an alcohol swab to clean the testing area, which is usually the side of a fingertip
- lancing the testing area and bracing against a firm surface to help resist the impulse to pull away
- squeezing the testing area around the wound to maximize blood flow
- squeezing a drop of blood onto the test strip
- putting the strip into the monitor
- recording the time, blood sugar reading, and recent food intake in a log
Urgent Advice: Call Your Care Team Immediately Or Get Help From Nhs 111 If:
You think you have high blood sugar and:
- youre feeling sick, being sick or have stomach pain
- youre breathing more quickly than usual or your heart is beating faster than usual
- you feel drowsy or are struggling to stay awake
- your breath has a fruity smell
- you feel confused or have difficulty concentrating
- you have a high level of ketones in your blood or pee
These could be signs youre becoming seriously unwell.
You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.
Page last reviewed: 26 May 2022 Next review due: 26 May 2025
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Normal Blood Sugar Levels
It is important to work with your doctor to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. The following is a list of healthy blood sugar levels.
If an individual has type 1 diabetes the blood sugar should be the following:
- Before meals: From 90 to 130 mg/dL for adults
- After meals : Less than 180 mg/dL for adults
- At bedtime: From 90 to 150 mg/dL for adults
If an individual has type 2 diabetes, levels should be the following:
- Before meals: From 70 to 130 mg/dL for adults
- After meals : Less than 180 mg/dL for adults
What Is Gestational Diabetes
It has been reported that on average 2% to 4% of women develop temporary diabetes also known as gestational diabetes
This happens because they are unable to produce an increased amount of insulin to overcome the resistance levels.
In gestational diabetes there is not normally any show of external symptoms normally recognised as characteristic of the disease for example excessive thirst, tiredness and increased urination.
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What Is Blood Glucose
Blood glucose comes from food. When an individual eats, the food is broken down into sugar and sent to the blood. The insulin is what helps the sugar go into the cells. Once this happens, the sugar that has moved from the blood into the cells is used for energy or is stored.
Glucose is known as the bodys main energy source. Too much glucose in the blood, or if it is not absorbed properly, can create health issues both long and short term. To keep a healthy blood sugar level, it is important to:
- Check blood glucose levels
- Keep in contact with your healthcare provider
It is important to keep in contact with a healthcare professional, eat properly, check your blood glucose, and exercise regularly to keep a healthy blood sugar level.
Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
In contrast, hypoglycemic refers to when your blood sugar is too low. Common symptoms include irregular or fast heartbeat, shakiness, anxiety, pale skin, fatigue, hunger, sweating, irritability, and tingling/numbness in cheek, lips, or tongue. As it gets worse, you may also experience confusion, blurred vision, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
If you have diabetes, low blood sugar can happen if youre not taking enough medicine. Hypoglycemia is less common in people who dont have diabetes but it can happen. Things like certain medicines, excessive alcohol drinking, critical illness, and hormone deficiency can cause low blood sugar in individuals without diabetes.
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What Is Normal Blood Sugar For Seniors
Knowing your blood sugar levels is extremely important, as this can indicate whether you are at risk for or have diabetes. Seniors, in particular, are more at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes. Although numbers may vary slightly depending on the type of test you take, here is a basic guide for assessing if your blood sugar is normal:
- Non-Diabetics When Fasting: 70-99 mg/dL
- Non-Diabetics 1-2 Hours Post-Meal: < 140 mg/dL
- Non-Diabetics During the A1C Test: < 5.7%
- Diabetics When Fasting: 80-130 mg/dL
- Diabetics 1-2 Hours Post-Meal: < 180 mg/dL
- Diabetics During the A1C Test: < 7%
Diet and lifestyle can also impact your blood sugar levels, so make sure youre doing what you can to stay well these days. Check out the rest of Senior Strong today for more advice on how seniors can stay as healthy as can be!
A Warning Of Developing Type 2 Diabetes
Impaired fasting glycaemia is sometimes called pre-diabetes. This is when blood glucose levels in the body are raised, but are not high enough to mean that the person has diabetes. IFG means that the body isnt able to use glucose as efficiently as it should. This is because a layer of fat around the cells of the body, prevents insulin doing its job and taking the glucose into the cells of the body where its needed for energy. This situation is reversible by losing weight and hence the fat around the cells disappears. If you dont lose weight however, is it unlikely that you wont eventually develop Type 2 Diabetes.
IFG has no symptoms and can often go undiagnosed for years. Although there are no symptoms, many people diagnosed with IFG are overweight. Nine out of 10 people with IFG have high blood pressure, raised cholesterol levels or a family history of the condition.
IFG can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. People with IFG are five to 15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people with normal glucose levels. However, this isnt inevitable. You can take steps to reduce the chances of this happening. People with IFG also have a slightly increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
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Normal Blood Sugar Levels For Nondiabetic Adults
A preprandial blood sugar measurement is one taken before meal. It is measured after fasting for at least 8 hours , hence also referred to as fasting blood sugar.
According to the American Diabetes Association , a normal fasting blood sugar for a non-pregnant adult is from 70 to100 mg/dL . If we assume a normal fasting blood sugar of an average healthy adult without diabetes is around 80 mg/dL , that gives us less than one teaspoonful of sugar in the whole blood volume of an average person.
How Do I Check My Blood Glucose Levels
Refer to your blood glucose meters instructions on how to monitor your blood glucose levels.
Your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator will help you decide how many checks are needed and the levels to aim for. When and how often you should check your blood glucose levels varies depending on each individual, the type of diabetes and the tablets and/or insulin being used. Blood glucose levels are measured in millimoles per litre of blood .
Keeping a record of your blood glucose levels can be very helpful for you and your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator. You can keep a diary or use a mobile phone app or website to record your levels.
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How Do I Take Care Of My Blood Glucose Meter
- Set the date and time when you get a new meter.
- Make sure the date and time are right each time you use your meter.
- Use the control solution as needed. This will let you know the meter and test strips are working right. Use it:
- When you get a new meter.
- When you get new test strips.
- When you think that the meter is not giving you the right blood glucose number.
If You Have An Acute Illness
Acute illnesses such as infections can affect your ability to control diabetes and can lead to serious diabetic complications, such as ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar coma and severe dehydration. Your health care provider will give you instructions about how to care for diabetes during acute illnesses, and you can learn to avoid acute complications through patient education.
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How Is Blood Glucose Monitored
If youre diagnosed with diabetes, youll be asked to monitor your blood glucose levels daily to determine the amount of glucose in your blood. Your diabetes health care team will work with you to determine the best times during the day to test your blood glucose and to find the monitoring device that best suits your needs. There are many accurate blood glucose meters available, and theyre simple to operate. You prick your finger with a lancet and apply a drop of blood to a treated strip. A glucose meter then reads the strip and displays the value.
Monitoring blood glucose and making appropriate changes offers a more independent, self-sufficient approach to diabetes management. Research indicates that complications associated with diabetes may be reduced if blood glucose levels are kept near normal. Blood glucose monitoring can help you:
- Make changes in your daily diet, medications or activity
- Identify low blood glucose levels
- Control blood glucose during illness
Continuous glucose monitoring technology uses a wearable or implantable sensor to monitor blood sugar levels and communicate data via a phone app or receiver-style device. Personal CGM devices are considered the standard of care for patients with Type 1 diabetes and are increasingly common for those with Type 2 diabetes. CGM technology allows patients to view their results in real time and for those results to be shared with their doctor.
What Do The Results Of The Blood Glucose Test Mean
Normal fasting blood glucose — or blood sugar — is between 70 and 100 milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL for people who do not have diabetes. The standard diagnosis of diabetes is made when two separate blood tests show that your fasting blood glucose level is greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL.
However, if you have normal fasting blood sugar, but you have risk factors for diabetes or symptoms of diabetes, your doctor may decide to do a glucose tolerance test to be sure that you do not have diabetes.
Some people have a normal fasting blood sugar reading, but their blood sugar rapidly rises as they eat. These people may have impaired glucose tolerance. If their blood sugar levels are high enough, they may be diagnosed with diabetes.
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