What Do Your Fasting Blood Glucose And Hemoglobin A1c Levels Mean
Blood glucose serves as the primary energy source for our brain and body. Healthy blood glucose levels are therefore essential for maintaining overall health and longevity. Unfortunately, several factors including the Standard American Diet and a sedentary lifestyle can increase glucose beyond normal levels, and over time, result in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. If undetected, consistently high glucose can lead to long-term health complications, including nerve damage, cardiovascular disease, and kidney failure. This article explains the two most common blood tests used to detect abnormal glucose levels and ways to properly regulate them.
Who Should Do The Test
According to the American Diabetes Association, screening for diabetes is recommended in people over 45 , or at any age if you have certain risk factors, including :
- Being overweight, obese, or physically inactive
- Having a close relative with diabetes
- Belonging to a certain race/ethnic group
- Having signs of insulin resistance or conditions associated with insulin resistance, such as high blood pressure , low good cholesterol and/or high triglycerides , and polycystic ovary syndrome
- Having had diabetes in pregnancy
Upswing: Steroids And Water Pills
People take corticosteroids, such as prednisone, to treat rashes, arthritis, asthma, and many other conditions. But they can boost your blood sugar, and may even trigger diabetes in some people. Diuretics that help high blood pressure, also called water pills, can do the same. Some antidepressants also raise or lower blood sugar.
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Why Doctors Order It
A fasting blood glucose test is done to screen for prediabetes and diabetes. It also helps doctors monitor diabetes and determine if medications and dietary changes are having an effect .
Your fasting blood glucose level is the lowest your blood sugar can be because the influence of recent meals is minimized .
Fasting blood sugar is often checked alongside HbA1c , which is a measure of your blood sugar levels over the past three months. The more sugar there is in the blood, the more it will attach to hemoglobin, raising HbA1c .
Taken together, the two offer more information than each test alone. For example, even if your blood sugar levels are very high at one random point, they may have been mostly low over the past couple of months . On the other hand, HBA1c could be higher but your glucose levels at the moment lower.
Apart from diabetes, abnormal levels can point out issues such as insulin resistance, hormonal imbalances, and pancreatic, liver, or kidney disease.
Apple Cider Vinegar Or Lemon
The naturally occurring acids found in apple cider vinegar and citrus fruits, namely acetic and citric acids, are a cheap and powerful way to balance blood sugar . One of the most effective ways to use these is to simply add them to your food and water.
Vinegar and lemon juice go great in many different dishes as a marinade, a dressing, or simply drizzled over top. I will often sprinkle these over a good grass-fed steak or salad to help assist in digestion and absorption as well.
Putting lemon juice and a bit of stevia in your water is another great refreshment to have throughout the day to satisfy your sweet tooth and stabilize blood sugar at the same time.
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Are You At Risk For High Blood Sugar How To Know
- Eat too many processed or fast foods
- Dont exercise regularly
- Eat large meals, or engage in binge eating
- Are under a lot of stress on a regular basis, either from work, dating, or another factor
- Have recurring illnesses
Long Term Resolutions Doctor Might Suggest
Changing your diet is one of the best long-term resolutions to having high blood sugar levels. Your body actually wants to change and be healthy, and your cells cry out for help from you. Your body was made wonderfully and had the capability to reverse illnesses to a large degree but you have to help it do this.
Limiting your carbohydrate intake to one starchy food per meal such as ½ cup black beans or lentils, ½ cup yam, two small red potatoes , 1/3 cup chickpeas, or ½ acorn squash is a big key to keeping blood sugar levels lower, yet not too low.
Of course, this starchy food is not your only food for the meal. It’s balanced with 4-5 ounces of protein and a whole half plate of non-starchy vegetables with sugar-free dressing.
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Option To Discuss With Your Physician
Some doctors that are integrated care practitioners or functional medicine specialists may recommend Type 2 diabetics add 1/8 to ¼ cup of nopal at a meal. This is a recommendation that has been made at some First Nation hospitals for Native American Indians who are diabetic and have exceptionally high blood sugar levels. Cactus leaves are indigenous food for this population.
If you decide to do this, monitor your blood sugar levels more closely, as cactus is quite effective at lowering blood sugar level.
One study on the effect of nopal on blood sugar levels tested its effect on those with type 2 diabetes. The addition of the nopal to the meal lowered the need for insulin and also reduced the after-meal peaks of blood sugar at 30 and 45 minutes.
Korean scientists determined how cactus works in the body. Cactus inhibits glucose absorption from the intestine and enhances glucose uptake from insulin-sensitive muscle cells through the AMPK/p38 MAPK signaling pathway in the body.
If you add cactus to your meal, don’t be overzealous about it.
Lopez-Romero, P., et al. The effect of nopal on postprandial blood glucose, incretins, and antioxidant activity in Mexican patients with type 2 diabetes after consumption of two different composition breakfasts. J Acad Nutr Diet 2014 Nov 114:1811-8.
Try Pip Lancets for yourself. Were pretty sure youll never go back to traditional lancets!
Long Acting Insulin Not Working For The Entire 24 Hours
THIS WAS THE CULPRIT FOR ME! I would normally go to sleep with a blood sugar of between 6.5 mmol/L and 7.5 mmol/L. Between 3:00 a.m and 4:00 a.m I would have a reading of between 12 mmol/L and 16 mmol/L. I normally took my basal insulin in the morning around 7:00 a.m. Lantus is supposed to be active for 24 hours controlling your blood sugar levels when you are not eating. However, in some individuals like myself, it only lasts about 18 to 20 hours. During long periods of time when we are not eating , the liver releases glucose to fuel the body. In my case, there was no long acting insulin in my body to handle this glucose, resulting in my high fasting blood sugars.
Also note that not eating will not help the issue. One may tend to not want to eat if they have a high fasting blood sugar. Eating and taking insulin will signal to the body that the fasting period is over and there is no need for the liver to release glucose into the bloodstream.
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Can Stress Affect Why Is My Fasting Blood Sugar High Normal Range Of Blood Sugar Blood Sugar
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Roller Coaster: Female Hormones
When a woman’s hormones change, so does their blood sugar. Keep a monthly record of your levels to get a better idea of how your menstrual cycle affects you. Hormone changes during menopause may make blood sugar even harder to control. Talk to your doctor about whether hormone replacement therapy is a good idea.
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Only Diabetics Get High Glucose Values
While a high glucose value can indicate diabetes, nondiabetics can also have higher values than normal. When researchers studied people wearing a continuous glucose monitor who did not have a diabetes diagnosis, they found 93% of individuals reached glucose levels that are considered dangerous, with 10% spending over 2 hours per day in these dangerous levels. Traditional glucose measurements, like a single point in time blood glucose value, are unable to capture these abnormalities.
There are actually several causes of high blood sugar unrelated to diabetes that the CDC recognizes. These include certain foods, like artificial sweeteners and coffee. Other factors like stress can do it, too. If you live with an endocrine or pancreatic condition, had surgery recently, or are experiencing intense physical stress , you may also see your glucose value rise.
Staying Well While Fasting
If you decide to fast, it is important to test your blood glucose levels more often as your blood sugar levels after fasting eight hours may drop too low . This is more likely to happen if you are unwell, treat your diabetes with insulin or some diabetes medications, or both. Speak to your diabetes team about this.
If you experience the symptoms of a hypo, such as feeling shaky, sweaty and disorientated, you must break the fast immediately and treat it with your usual hypo treatment, like glucose tablets, a sugary drink or GlucoGel, followed by a snack such as a sandwich or a bowl of cereal.
If you have to break your fast for any reason, continue your meals as normal for that day. You may be able to make up the fast at a later date or provide meals to the needy.
If you have type 1 diabetes, there is also a danger that your blood glucose levels may run too high and result in a build-up of ‘ketones’. This could potentially result in a serious condition known as ketoacidosis. The symptoms of high blood glucose levels might include feeling very thirsty, passing a lot of urine or extreme tiredness. If your blood glucose levels stay high and you experience these symptoms, speak to your healthcare team.
If My A1c Is Normal My Glucose Is Good
An A1C result thatâs below 5.7% is normal âs standards, but having a result below that number isnât the end of the story. Pregnancy, hemoglobin variants, anemia, liver disease, and certain medications can cause inaccurate A1C results.
Additionally, the A1C test is measuring your average glucose value over the past 3 months, but averages inherently do not capture highs and lows. So, you could have a normal average while also having abnormal glucose spikes. The A1C test should only supplement your regular blood sugar testing, not replace it completely.
The Impact Of Hormones
Hormones can have an impact on your fasting glucose levels. Hormones like cortisol and growth hormone are released in the morning to get your body ready for the day ahead. These also increase glucose levels.
Usually your body counteracts these by releasing some insulin to help keep your glucose levels within a tight bandwidth. In type 2 diabetes, insulin is being released but its not working very well. This leaves your glucose levels susceptible to rising above normal levels.
This can be difficult to control but it still represents an inability of your body to control its own glucose levels. Without diabetes, your fasting glucose levels would not go high at any time throughout the day. Therefore, this too represents a progression of the disease.
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Managing Blood Sugar When Youre Ill
When you get sick, your blood sugar levels may fluctuate and become unpredictable.
If you’re sick, it’s very important that you:
- drink plenty of water or sugar-free fluids
- check your blood sugar levels more often than usual
- take 15 grams of carbohydrate every hour if you are not able to follow your usual meal plan
- replace food with fluids that contain sugar if you can’t eat solid food
- continue to take your insulin or other diabetes medication
If you have a cold or flu and want to use a cold remedy or cough syrup, ask your pharmacist to help you make a good choice. Many cold remedies and cough syrups contain sugar, so try to pick sugar-free products.
As an extra precaution, you should always check with your health-care team about guidelines for insulin adjustment or medication changes during an illness.
Expired Or Defective Insulin
There are specific requirements for storing and using insulin. Two things that render insulin ineffective are temperature and expiration. I once had an insulin pen that was exposed to way too much heat and it resulted in my blood sugar levels being high. As soon as started dosing with the new pen my blood sugar went back to normal.
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Reasons For A High Fasting Blood Sugar With Type 2 Diabetes And What To Do About It
10/10/2019 by Michèle Theißen
Do you have Type 2 Diabetes and struggle with high fasting blood glucose values? Have you often been annoyed about your high blood sugar in the morning?Sometimes high fasting sugar levels are just trickier than going to bed with high values and your sugar level just staying high all night.
Do you start the night with a pretty good starting value and overnight, the blood sugar rises even though youre unaware of having emptied your entire fridge throughout the night?
So, how do these high fasting values come about?
If you have Type 2 Diabetes, you probably have a bit of extra fat around mid section. Physicians call it abdominal fat. If that fat accumulates in our liver cells, they become less sensitive to the hormone insulin. And this is exactly where the problem lies.
Know Your Blood Sugar
Blood sugar is the amount of sugar in your blood at a given time. It’s important to check your blood sugar level, because it will:
- determine if you have a high or low blood sugar level at a given time
- show you how your lifestyle and medication affect your blood sugar levels
- help you and your diabetes health-care team make lifestyle and medication changes to improve your blood sugar levels
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The Blood Sugar Level Regulation Mechanism
When you eat rice, bread, or any other typical food high in carbohydrates, it is digested by the stomach and small intestine, where it is absorbed into the blood as glucose. Figure 1 shows how it is absorbed into the body.
Figure 1: Absorption of glucose
When glucose enters the bloodstream, insulin facilitates its uptake into the body’s cells. When an excess of glucose is ingested, insulin over secretion occurs. Insulin increases the biosynthesis of fat and suppresses its breakdown. Thus, it becomes easier for fat to accumulate in body tissues.
Blood sugar level will not drop if the sugar in the blood is not properly processed due to, for example, too little insulin being secreted, or resistance to the action of insulin. If blood sugar levels have not decreased several hours after eating on a regular basis, this indicates a susceptibility to diabetes. To avoid this and stay healthy, we should eat types of foods that will not cause a sudden, extreme rise in blood sugar levels.
What is BMI?
What is a healthy blood sugar level
- Fasting blood sugar level 99mg/dL
- Postprandial blood sugar level 7.8mmol/L
How Do I Check My Blood Sugar
You use a blood glucose meter to check your blood sugar. This device uses a small drop of blood from your finger to measure your blood sugar level. You can get the meter and supplies in a drug store or by mail.
Read the directions that come with your meter to learn how to check your blood sugar. Your health care team also can show you how to use your meter. Write the date, time, and result of the test in your blood sugar record. Take your blood sugar record and meter to each visit and talk about your results with your health care team.
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How To Prevent Hyperglycaemia
There are simple ways to reduce your risk of severe or prolonged hyperglycaemia:
- Be careful what you eat be particularly aware of how snacking and eating sugary foods or carbohydrates can affect your blood sugar level.
- Stick to your treatment plan remember to take your insulin or other diabetes medications as recommended by your care team.
- Be as active as possible getting regular exercise can help stop your blood sugar level rising, but you should check with your doctor first if you’re taking diabetes medication, as some medicines can lead to hypoglycaemia if you exercise too much.
- Take extra care when you’re ill your care team can provide you with some “sick day rules” that outline what you can do to keep your blood sugar level under control during an illness.
- Monitor your blood sugar level your care team may suggest using a device to check your level at home so you can spot an increase early and take steps to stop it.
Page last reviewed: 08 August 2018 Next review due: 08 August 2021