By: Nikki Nies
Blood glucose is the glucose, or sugar that is found in one’s bloodstream. One can monitor blood glucose levels with various monitoring tools. Check with your health care provider for specifics on what monitoring tool you should be using.
No matter what brand or product one’s using to monitor blood glucose levels, it’s an important “number” to know. The presence of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia are far too common and can be preventable.
Hypoglycemia is known as abnormally low blood glucose, less than 70 mg/dL. Although each person reacts to hypoglycemia differently, it’s good to know regular symptoms to be aware of.
Common causes of hypoglycemia include:
- missing meals
- too much alcohol consumption
- Excessive physical activity
- Intentional or unintentional overdose of diabetes medication
Common symptoms include: shakiness, nervousness or anxiety, weakness or fatigue, sleepiness, nausea, irritability or impatience, chills, clamminess, lack of coordination, seizures and/or tingling or numbness in lips or tongue.
Consulting health care provider is the best mode of treatment. However, some common suggestions of treatment include:
- Consume 15-20 grams of glucose or simple carbohydrates (i.e. glucose tablets, 4 oz. of juice or regular soda, 2 tablespoons of raisins, 8 oz. of 1% or nonfat milk or 1 tablespoon of honey, sugar or corn syrup)
- Recheck blood glucose after 15 minutes
- If hypoglycemia continues, repeat.
- Once blood glucose returns to normal, eat a small snack if your next planned meal or snack is more than an hour or two away.
If symptoms persists without proper care, seizures or unconsciousness can occur. Glucagon is a hormone that stimulates your liver to release stored glucose into your bloodstream when your blood glucose levels are too low. Injectable glucagon kits are used as a medication to treat someone with diabetes that has become unconscious from a severe insulin reaction.
On the other end of the spectrum, hyperglycemia is no small order as well. Hyperglycemia occurs when the body does not have enough insulin or can not properly use it.
Certain populations may benefits from constant monitoring, such as those that are pregnant, taking insulin, have ketones from high blood glucose levels, have low blood glucose levels without warning signs.
Common causes of hyperglycemia include:
- With type I diabetes, may not have given oneself enough insulin.
- With type II diabetes, body may have enough insulin, but it is not as effective as it should be.
- Ate more than planned or exercised less than planned.
- Stress from an illness, such as a cold or flu.
- You have other stress, such as family conflicts or school or dating problems.
- The dawn phenomenon, which is a surge of hormones that the body produces daily around 4AM
Common symptoms include: excessive thirst, blurred vision, coma, confusion, fatigue, headache, dry mouth, weakness, frequent urination and/or high levels of sugar in urine
- Incorporating exercise can lower blood glucose levels
- If above 240 mg/dL, may want to check urine for ketones
- Limit and revise sugar consumption. Consult with Registered Dietitian for a revised meal plan
- Monitor blood glucose regularly
- Adjust insulin dosages
- Review Consumer Reports’ evaluation of treatments and medications for type II diabetics to gauge and better understand what treatment option(s) are best for you
Leaving high blood glucose levels untreated can cause detrimental effects, leading to nerve damage, kidney or eye problems, heart disease or stroke.
Photo Credit: Pre-Diabetes