Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main sugar found in your blood. It comes from the food you eat, and is your body’s main source of energy. Your blood carries glucose to all of your body’s cells to use for energy. If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin.
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to control their blood sugar levels. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood.
However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. Gestational diabetes develops in some women when they are pregnant. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born. If you’ve had gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Sometimes diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type 2 diabetes.
- High blood sugar can damage your heart. High blood sugar level damages the cells lining the blood vessels which impair blood flow. When the coronary arteries are affected, it may cause heart attack.
- Diabetes could be the major risk factor for kidney failure.
- High levels of blood sugar damage the kidney’s filtering units. Periodic checkups are very important to prevent kidney failure.
- Diabetes and eye complications
Increased blood sugar level changes the shape of the lens which impairs the ability to see. High sugar can lead to blurred vision.
- Diabetic patients should get regular eye examinations which can prevent complications.
- Healthy lifestyle can knock out diabetes.
- Poor diet with little physical activity can lead to excessive weight gain. Increased calorie intake will increase diabetes risk whereas consumption of fiber and polyunsaturated fats will decrease the risk.
- Overweight and obesity are the main reasons for insulin resistance so; losing weight could be a helpful measure in bringing down the increased levels of blood sugar.
Why It Is Important to Check Your Blood Glucose Regularly
Checking your blood glucose levels regularly is one of the most important things you can do if you have diabetes. Knowing your blood glucose levels throughout the day allows you to make the best possible decisions for managing your diabetes. These are the times when you should test:
Before a Meal
Testing your blood glucose before a meal tells you how much insulin you might need in order to treat a high blood sugar, or to bring your glucose levels up. If you do not use insulin, this information will help you better understand how effective your current dosage is, or if you need to adjust your diabetes management plan.
After a Meal
Testing your blood sugar a couple of hours after eating tells you if your insulin calculations were correct, or if you need to treat your blood glucose levels. For example, if your blood glucose levels are still high 2-3 hours after a meal, you might need to correct your insulin. This information can also help your healthcare team decide whether or not to increase or decrease your medication levels.
Before and After Exercising
Test your blood glucose levels before you exercise, because if your levels are low at the start, you might need a small snack before you begin. Testing afterwards tells you how your body reacts to certain types of exercise. Does cardio lower your blood sugar, but weight training raises it? Or is it the other way around? You should know how each form of exercise effects your body.
Testing your blood glucose levels before bedtime can help you feel calm and relaxed knowing that your blood glucose is in a comfortable range. Or it might tell you that you need a snack before bed.
3 AM Check
You might be asked by your healthcare professional to check your blood glucose levels at 3:00 AM. This is to know how your blood sugar is reacting throughout the night, especially if it tends to go higher or lower.