Blood sugar is also referred to as blood glucose and it serves the cells as the main energy source. One common misconception is that only people with diabetes should measure their blood sugar levels.
However, everyone can stand to gain from testing their blood sugar levels. And here’s why...
1. Stabilizing blood sugar level
The main goal is to keep your blood sugar stable. Although a spike or decline in blood sugar levels is not a disorder in itself, it is often indicative of an underlying illness.
Blood sugar levels under 70mg/dL are called hypoglycemia. Some symptoms caused by low blood sugar include fatigue, pale skin, sweating, irritability, and an irregular heart rate. It is often a side effect caused by the medication diabetics have to take. But that's not the whole picture, as Medical News Today added that it can be related to kidney or liver disorders, pancreatic tumors, or certain types of cancer.
On the other hand, hyperglycemia is the state of increased blood sugar, or measurements over 130mg/dL. Similarly, treating diabetes can cause hyperglycemia, but it can also be caused by Cushing’s syndrome, pancreatitis, or pancreatic cancer. Hyperglycemia symptoms include nausea, dry mouth, fatigue, and abdominal pain.
2. Managing Diabetes
There are approximately 30.3 million Americans living with diabetes and it is the 7th leading cause of death in the country. Every year, the number of diabetics increases substantially. From 2012 to 2017, the cost of treating diabetics increased from $245 billion to $327 billion in the US, alone.
The need to address and improve this situation continues to contribute to the ongoing growth in the sector. Maryville University predicts that the healthcare industry will grow by 18% in the US between 2016 to 2026. A big part of this is because more people are developing diabetes and need to seek medical assistance, which in turn demands a bigger workforce in clinics and hospitals. In fact, national statistics show that 7.2 million hospital cases in 2014 involved diabetics, mainly due to complications with their illness. Aside from prescribed medication and lifestyle changes, monitoring glucose levels is essential to managing diabetes.
3. Preventing Heart Complications
Diabetes is not the only condition you have to worry about if you have high blood sugar. Researcher and doctor Richard Rainbow found that glucose also affects how blood vessels contract. Too much sugar circulating around the body causes blood vessels to tighten more than normal, which in turn increases blood pressure. In turn, high blood pressure can cause a heart attack or stroke.
The amount of glucose in the body comes from the food we eat. However, insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar, varies from person to person. Some people produce too much insulin while some don’t produce enough. Because of these variations, the best way to be certain is to regularly measure your blood sugar. It’s up to you to maintain a healthy diet that corresponds to your body’s internal processes in order to maintain optimal health.
HPHI clarifies that the type of food you eat affects your insulin production, and also when or how much is consumed. Carbohydrates are the best for increasing blood sugar, while fiber, fat, and protein cannot be converted to sugar as easily. If your blood sugar is low, eat high carb foods such as pasta, rice, and cereal.
Meanwhile, a diet rich in lean meat, fatty fish, olive oil, and beans is much better for people with hyperglycemia.
5. Adjusting Physical Activity
Exercise also causes blood sugar levels to fluctuate. Running, cycling, and other cardiovascular exercises cause a drop in glucose levels, while strength training increases it, according to a breakdown of the effects of exercise by Diabetes Daily. If you exercise often, checking your blood sugar level can help, especially in preparation or recovery. It can give you an idea of which food is best to eat before or after a workout in order to stabilize your glucose levels.
For diabetics, monitoring blood sugar can be a matter of life and death. For people who don’t suffer from diabetes, however, it is mostly a preventive measure and should not be underestimated for optimal health.