What is blood sugar? Something which surely fills our hearts with dread. Its mere mention is potent enough to spark off discussions ranging from obesity to heart disease and diabetes. But what is blood sugar?
Let’s get down to the basics. The food we consume contains various nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Out of these, let us veer our discussion to carbohydrates. When we consume carbohydrates, our body breaks them down in such a way that they can be of use to the body. Both the simple and complex carbohydrates are broken down into various substances during the process of metabolism, which includes glucose. When we talk about a normal blood sugar range, we are actually referring to the amount of glucose present in the blood at a point of time. This glucose is transported to the individual cells in the body by the blood, and is used by the cells to fuel their daily activities.
So we see that glucose isn’t all bad. It is one of the most important food nutrients which fuels the body. And now, to the bad part.
The problem with glucose levels is that, whether high or low, they are both very troublesome. High glucose levels, known as hyperglycemia may lead to complications like eye problems and kidney failure. Hyperglycemia is also said to lead to expulsion of amino acids and proteins from the body. A lower than normal glucose range is known as hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is associated with lack of energy in the body, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Thus you can see that if your glucose levels are lower or higher than the normal glucose levels, they can cause problems to the body. Hence, when we talk about abnormal sugar levels, we need to look at both low blood sugar levels and elevated blood sugar levels.
There are three main types of tests to measure the amount of sugar in the blood. The first is known as the fasting blood glucose test, where the person undergoing the test is not supposed to eat anything for 8 hours before the test. Hence, the actual and ideal sugar levels for this type of test are understandably lower. The second type of test is known as the 2-hour postprandial test. In this test, blood glucose is measured exactly 2 hours after a meal. Hence the actual and ideal blood sugar levels for this test are understandably higher, as the sugar is still present in the blood. This test is usually not used to diagnose diabetes. It helps judge whether a diabetic person is taking the right amount of insulin with meals. The third type of test is known as the random blood glucose test which can be taken at any time of the day. So here are two tables which show the normal as well as the abnormal blood sugar levels in these tests.
|Blood Sugar Level (mg/dl)
|Less than 70
|Low Blood Sugar Levels
|70 – 100
|Normal Blood Sugar Level
|101 – 125
|Pre-diabetes/Impaired Glucose Tolerance
|126 and Higher
|Diabetic Blood Sugar Level
|Blood Sugar Levels (mg/dl)
|Less than 100
|Low Blood Glucose Level
|100 – 140
|Normal Blood Glucose Level
|140 – 200
|High Blood Sugar Level
|More than 200
|Diabetic Blood Sugar Level
➺ Regardless of when you last ate, a random blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or higher often means you have diabetes.
➺ In case of a diabetic person, an abnormal random blood glucose level may mean that the diabetes is not well controlled.
So this was all about normal and abnormal blood sugar levels. If you have high blood sugar levels, you ought to follow the diabetic diet. A hypoglycemia diet is recommended for those with lower blood sugar.