Understanding your blood glucose level
Most people enjoy a large slice of cake from time to time. What you may not realize is that after you finish that slice of cake, your blood sugar, also called your blood glucose level, starts to rise.
Your blood glucose level is a number that indicates how much glucose, an important energy source for your body, is in your bloodstream. Your blood glucose level rises when you eat foods that contain sugar and/or carbohydrates, which turn into glucose in your body.
A healthy body releases certain hormones to help regulate your blood glucose level. You eat the slice of cake, and your body adapts. But if you have diabetes or other certain health conditions, your body may not be able to regulate your blood glucose level.
The experts at Main Line Health offer blood glucose testing to help determine if you have diabetes, or another health condition, and to help you monitor your blood glucose levels.
Your blood glucose level could indicate a medical condition
Symptoms of a problem regulating your blood glucose level include:
- Blurred vision
- Frequent urination
- Seizures (without previous history of seizures)
Diabetes is the most common cause of problems with blood glucose levels; however, other conditions can also cause higher or lower than normal levels, including:
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Pancreatitis (inflammation) and pancreatic cancer
- Pituitary gland disorder
- Thyroid problems
If your doctor suspects you have a problem controlling your blood glucose levels, he or she will order a blood glucose test. You may be asked to refrain from eating or drinking anything except water for at least eight hours before the test. In some cases, you may be asked to consume a special glucose drink and wait two hours before having the test.
Determining what your blood glucose level means
The test to check your blood glucose level is simple and fast. A medical professional will draw your blood and send it to the lab to determine the amount of glucose present in your bloodstream.
- Low glucose levels – A blood glucose level below 70, also called hypoglycemia, can happen if you skip meals or exercise more than usual. A low blood glucose level can also happen if you have diabetes and take too much medicine to increase your insulin levels.
- Normal glucose levels – Normal results show a blood glucose level between 70 and 100 mg/dL (after fasting for eight hours).
- High glucose levels and pre-diabetes – If your blood glucose level is higher than 100 but lower than 125, you may have pre-diabetes, which means you are at risk of developing diabetes.
- High glucose levels and diabetes – If your blood glucose level is over 125 after fasting, you have diabetes and will need treatment. If you are already being treated for diabetes, this level indicates that your treatment needs to be adjusted for better control.
Everyone’s body is different. In some cases, low glucose levels are lower in women who have low body weight. Any medicine you take may also affect the results of your test, so be sure to tell your doctor before the blood glucose test.