Diabetes and Blood Sugar Levels
If blood sugar levels fall or rise abnormally in someone with diabetes, they’ll experience a variety of symptoms. Blood sugar monitoring is the primary tool you have to find out if your blood sugar levels are within your target range. This tells you your blood glucose (sugar) level at any one time.
It’s important for blood glucose levels to stay in a healthy range. If glucose levels get too low, we can lose the ability to function normally. If they get too high and stay high, it can cause damage or complications to the body over the course of many years.
Diabetes and Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia, sometimes called a hypo is a condition that occurs when a person’s blood glucose level (BGL) has dropped too low, below normal.
It is important to treat a hypo quickly to stop the BGL from falling even lower and the person becoming seriously unwell. Hypoglycemia can make it hard to concentrate and carry out everyday activities
Hypoglycemia is much more common in people who take insulin or certain other glucose-lowering tablets, however, it can occur in people with diabetes who are not using insulin.
A hypo occurs:
- After an insulin injection
- After taking oral diabetes medication
- If a meal is missed or delayed
- After strenuous exercise
- If alcohol is drunk on an empty stomach
Classification of Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia can be classified as Mild or Severe. A mild hypo occurs when a person can treat their own hypo. A severe hypo occurs when a person needs help from someone else to treat their hypo.
The symptoms of a hypo vary from person to person. Mild hypoglycemia may cause:
- Mood swings
A mild hypo can usually be treated with some form of sugar. Types of sugar to use during mild ‘hypo’:
- Dextrose tablets (carry these if you have diabetes)
- Three sugar lumps
- Two teaspoons of sugar
- Chocolate or sweet biscuits
- A sweet drink
When the blood sugar level falls even lower, then the person may behave strangely and become confused (often mistakenly interpreted as drunkenness). Under these circumstances, it may be easier and quicker to give sugar in liquid forms, such as a sweet drink.
In severe hypoglycemia, the person loses consciousness. Under these circumstances, an injection of glucagon is given, which temporarily raises the level of blood glucose. Once the person is conscious they can be given some sugar and a snack to prevent the hypo from recurring.
People with diabetes and those close to them are taught to look out for signs that their sugar level may be low, and are advised to always have sugar tablets or another form of sugar available to raise the level quickly. This solves the problem quickly and prevents serious consequences.
People with diabetes are advised to carry some form of identification saying that they have diabetes so that people will realize their condition should they get into difficulty and need help.
Symptoms of Hypoglycemia
Most people feel symptoms of hypoglycemia when their blood sugar is lower than normal. The symptoms may be different, depending on how low your blood sugar goes. The symptoms usually include:
- Shaking, trembling or weakness
- Pins and needles around the mouth
- Mood change
- Irregular heartbeat
As hypoglycemia gets worse, symptoms might include:
- Blurred Vision
- Passing out, Loss of Consciousness, Seizure
Diabetes and Hyperglycemia
Hyperglycaemia is when the blood glucose level is too high. Blood sugar control is at the center of any diabetes treatment plan. High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, is a major concern and can affect people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
If the blood glucose level becomes dangerously high then the person becomes dehydrated and may become comatose. This is a medical emergency that requires hospital treatment.
Frequent or ongoing high blood sugar can cause damage to your nerves, blood vessels, and organs. It can also lead to other serious conditions. People with type 1 diabetes are prone to a build-up of acids in the blood called ketoacidosis.
- Too much carbohydrate food at once
- Not enough insulin or diabetes tablets
- Other tablets or medicines.
When it’s mildly raised then symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes occur, they are namely:
- Excessive thirst
- Passing urine frequently
- Blurred vision
Ongoing high blood sugar may cause:
- Vaginal and skin infections
- Slow-healing cuts and sores
- Worse vision
- Nerve damage causing painful cold or insensitive feet, loss of hair on the lower extremities, or erectile dysfunction
- Stomach and intestinal problems such as chronic constipation or diarrhea
- Damage to your eyes, blood vessels, or kidneys
- Tell your doctor if you have repeated abnormal blood sugar readings.
- Wear medical identification to let people know you have diabetes in case of an emergency.
- Know your diet — count the total amounts of carbs in each meal and snack.
- Test your blood sugar regularly.
Diabetes and Blood Sugar Levels FAQs
What level of blood sugar level is diabetic, 6.5 or 7.0?
What are normal blood sugar levels?
Normal blood sugar levels are less than 100 mg/dL after not eating (fasting) for at least eight hours. And they’re less than 140 mg/dL two hours after eating. During the day, levels tend to be at their lowest just before meals.
What happens if your blood sugar is over 700?
A diabetic coma could happen when your blood sugar gets too high -600 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or more causing you to become very dehydrated.
My blood sugar is 102. Should I be worried?
102 is a diagnosis of pre-diabetes. A fasting level anywhere from 100-125 is considered pre-diabetes. If you haven’t already made significant lifestyle changes, now is the time to do so to prevent diabetes in the future. Stay dedicated to maintaining a good amount of daily activity and exercise.
What number is 156 in blood sugar?
If your blood sugar level is 156 that means you are a diabetic and you need to take care of your blood glucose.
Is a blood sugar reading of 156 normal 2 hours after eating?
It is not normal for a nondiabetic. The maximum reading 2 hours after eating should not be above 140. It is more important to know what your glucose reading is before eating and 4 hours after eating and when fasting. These readings should be below 100. If you eat a large meal composed of mostly simple carbs, your blood sugar could go above 140 for a short period of time but should come back down quickly. A single reading does not tell the whole story, you need multiple readings to understand what is going on.
Does high blood sugar always mean diabetes?
Hyperglycemia means high glucose in the blood. Hyperglycemia is a defining characteristic of diabetes—when the blood glucose level is too high because the body isn’t properly using or doesn’t make the hormone insulin. Eating too many processed foods may cause your blood sugar to rise.
What should my blood sugar be as a diabetic?
What are normal blood sugar levels? Normal blood sugar levels are less than 100 mg/dL after not eating (fasting) for at least eight hours. … For most people without diabetes, blood sugar levels before meals hover around 70 to 80 mg/dL. For some people, 60 is normal; for others, 90 is the norm.
What does diabetes do to blood sugar?
High sugar levels slowly erode the ability of cells in your pancreas to make insulin. The organ overcompensates and insulin levels stay too high. Over time, the pancreas is permanently damaged. High levels of blood sugar can cause changes that lead to a hardening of the blood vessels, which doctors call atherosclerosis.
What is the normal sugar level in the human body?
For the majority of healthy individuals, normal blood sugar levels are as follows: Between 4.0 to 5.4 mmol/L (72 to 99 mg/dL) when fasting. Up to 7.8 mmol/L (140 mg/dL) 2 hours after eating.
What should be your blood sugar level in the morning?
A person usually has slightly higher blood sugar (glucose) levels in the morning. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, healthy blood sugar levels are: from 80–130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) just before eating. below 180 mg/dl 2 hours after eating.
Does coffee raise blood sugar levels?
Too Much Caffeine Can Give Blood Sugar a Jolt. Consuming up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day is safe for most people, in those with diabetes, the substance can affect how insulin behaves, leading to low or high blood sugar.
What is a good blood sugar level for type 2 diabetes?
The American Diabetes Association recommends aiming for a blood sugar level between 70 to 130 mg/dl before meals and less than 180 mg/dl one to two hours after a meal. To keep your blood sugar within this range, follow a healthy, well-rounded diet and eat meals and snacks on a consistent schedule.
What is the normal blood sugar level for diabetes type 2?
A blood sugar level that is less than 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) is normal. A reading between 140 and 199 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L and 11.0 mmol/L) indicates prediabetes. A reading of 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) or higher after two hours suggests diabetes.