When you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels (also known as blood glucose levels) may be consistently high.
Over time, this can damage your body and lead to many other health problems.
What is the normal blood sugar level?
How much sugar in the blood is too much? How do you lower blood sugar levels?
Discover the answers to these questions and more.
Normal Blood Sugar Levels: What is a Healthy Blood Sugar Level?
Health experts consider a normal fasting blood sugar level to be below 99 mg/dL.
In individuals with diabetes, blood sugar levels will change more. Instead of targeting a specific level, the goal of managing blood sugar levels is to keep the levels within a healthy range.
For a person with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association suggests target levels of 70 to 130 mg/dL before meals. Within 2 hours of eating a meal, blood sugar levels should be less than 180 mg/dL.
Low Blood Sugar Levels
Low blood sugar levels, also known as hypoglycemia, occur when blood sugar levels fall below the normal range.
Hypoglycemia can be caused by diabetes, taking too much insulin, drinking alcohol without eating, anorexia, some medications (i.e. quinine), or certain illnesses (i.e. kidney disorders).
Early signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia include:
- Pale Face
- Tingling Lips
- Dizziness or Lightheadedness
- Trembling in the Hands (and other parts of the body)
The human brain needs a steady supply of glucose. Severely low blood sugar levels can cause:
- Concentration Difficulties
- Disorientation and Confusion
- Aggressive or a Paranoid Mentality
For people with diabetes, severe hypoglycemia can be fatal.
High Blood Sugar Levels
Hyperglycemia refers to high levels of sugar in the blood. It occurs when there is not enough insulin in the body, or when the cells become less sensitive to insulin. Without insulin, glucose cannot enter the cells, and it builds up in the bloodstream instead.
People with poorly controlled diabetes and some other diseases often experience hyperglycemia. People who take oral steroids may also experience hyperglycemia while taking this medication.
If you have hyperglycemia, it means that your blood sugar level is higher than your target level. If this continues over time, it can lead to serious, long-term health problems.
Common signs and symptoms hyperglycemia include:
- Dry Mouth
- Frequent Urination
- Increased Thirst
- Blurred Vision
Persistent hyperglycemia may also lead to insulin resistance, which reduces insulin sensitivity and the amount of glucose that the cells absorb. This might eventually lead to type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, persistent hyperglycemia can damage the small blood vessels that supply the nerves, retina, kidneys, and other organs.
Some serious health problems that can arise from persistent hyperglycemia include:
- Vision Loss
- Kidney Disease
- Heart Attack
- Permanent Nerve Damage
- Foot Ulcers
- Poor Wound Healing
When to Check Blood Sugar Levels
Talk to your doctor about the best times to check your blood sugar levels – optimal times vary from one person to another.
Some options may include:
- After fasting (after not eating for 8-12 hours or after waking)
- Before meals
- Before and after meals – to see the impact that the meal has on your blood sugar levels
- Before meals, to decide how much insulin to inject
- At bedtime
Make sure to record your blood sugar results and bring it to your doctor’s appointments. This way, you can show it to your doctor so that they can review it and adjust your treatment if necessary.
How to Check Blood Sugar Levels
To check your blood sugar levels, you will need to take your blood sample. You can do this at home using a blood glucose monitor. There are different types of blood sugar monitors, but one of the most common uses a lancet to prick the tip of your finger to draw a small drop of blood. Then, you will have to place this drop of blood on a testing strip and insert it into an electronic blood glucose meter. The meter will measure the level of sugar in the sample and return a number on a digital readout.
Another way to check your blood sugar levels is through a continuous glucose monitor. With a continuous glucose monitor, a small wire is inserted underneath the skin of your abdomen. The wire will measure your blood sugar levels every 5 minutes and deliver the result to a monitor device that you can place in your pocket or wear. This allows you and your doctor to monitor your blood sugar levels in real-time.
How to Lower Blood Sugar: Sustain a Healthy Normal Blood Sugar Level
Looking for ways to maintain a healthy blood sugar level?
Listed below are some tips that you should keep in mind.
- Don’t skip meals.
It is important to spread out your daily food intake, starting with a healthy breakfast. Consuming more food in just one or two meals can cause greater fluctuations in your blood sugar levels. Three healthy meals a day, with two healthy snacks in between can help you maintain stable blood sugar levels.
- Exercise regularly.
Exercising regularly can increase your insulin sensitivity and help you lose weight. Why is this important? This is because increased insulin sensitivity means that your cells are able to use the available sugar in your bloodstream more efficiently. Good forms of exercise include brisk walking, jogging, biking, dancing, swimming, and more. Also, make sure to check your blood sugar levels – this will help you learn how to respond to different forms of activities and keep your blood sugar levels from getting too low or too high.
- Increase your fiber intake.
Fiber can slow down sugar absorption and carb digestion – both of which promote a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels. There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble. While both of these are important, soluble fibers have been shown to effectively lower blood sugar levels.
- Drink water and stay hydrated.
Drinking water and staying hydrated throughout the day may help keep your blood sugar levels within the healthy range. On top of preventing dehydration, it can help flush the excess blood sugar from your kidneys through urine. Remember, water and other non-alcoholic drinks are best. Sugar-sweetened drinks can raise blood sugar levels, promote weight gain, and increase your risk for diabetes. Another caution: do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach. If you haven’t eaten, drinking alcohol can cause your blood sugar levels to drop up to 24 hours later.
- Take Diavit Herbs.
Diavit Herbs is an FDA-approved dietary supplement that can help you sustain healthy and normal blood sugar levels. It is made up of all-natural ingredients, namely ampalaya, banaba, and turmeric, all of which offer numerous health benefits. Some of the benefits of Diavit Herbs include: helps balance blood sugar; helps decrease blood sugar levels and prevent other diabetes-related complications; aids in weight loss; boosts immune systems; and it supports overall brain health.
Important Note: Before making any lifestyle changes or trying new supplements, make sure to consult your doctor first.
The Bottom Line
People should aim for blood sugar levels that are below 99 mg/dL. Too high or too low blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes and other harmful health complications.
To sustain healthy blood sugar levels, make sure to never skip meals, exercise regularly, increase your fiber intake, stay hydrated, and consider taking a dietary supplement like Diavit Herbs.
However, make sure to consult your doctor first before making any lifestyle changes or trying new supplements.