Blood Sugar, or blood glucose level, is the amount of glucose (sugar) present in a person's blood stream. Glucose is the body's primary source of energy for cells. It is transported from the intestines/liver to the body's cells, through the blood stream. Glucose is made available for absorption via the hormone insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. Blood Sugar levels fluctuate throughout the day, however, are usually at their lowest in the morning before the first meal of the day. Normal levels before meals should be between 70-130 mg/dL (milligram/deciliter), and under 180 mg/dL after meals. Don't worry about knowing your levels, your doctor will check them usually during an annual physical. If your levels are out of the normal ranges, that may indicate a medical problem. Levels that are consistently too low, are diagnosed as Hypoglycemia. Levels that are too high, are called hyperglycemia, persistent hyperglycemia is diagnosed as Diabetes.
There are 3 main types of Diabetes
Type 1: Is a condition that involves the destruction of over 90% of the insulin-producing cells from the pancreas. Which causes the pancreas to stop making insulin. Type 1 tends to occur before age 30, and can be caused by an environmental factor or genetic predisposition.
Type 2: Is a condition where the body continues to make insulin, but the body develops a resistance to it. This causes there to not be enough insulin for the body's needs and the blood sugar levels remain high. Type 2 diabetes can occur at any age, but is more likely to affect those over 30, and becomes more common the older you get. It tends to run in families, and might not show symptoms for years before being diagnosed.
Gestational: It develops in pregnancy, left untreated can harm the mother and unborn child, and usually resolves itself after delivery.
Here are some Steps to Prevent Diabetes:
1. Pay attention to diabetes' risk factors that might apply to you...
- Family history
- Cardiovascular risks (heart disease or high cholesterol)
- Ethnicity (Hispanic, African American, Native American, Asian, and Pacific Islander decent are almost double the risk of White Americans)
- Gestational diabetes during pregnancy
- Low birth weight
- Diet high in sugar, processed foods, or cholesterol
- Lack of exercise
3. Change your Diet:
- Increase your daily intake of fruits & vegetables (especially dark green veggies, orange veggies, beans, and peas)
- Eat good carbohydrates (whole grain-rice, pasta, cereal, etc; whole wheat-bread, bagels, pitas, tortillas)
- Stop drinking sugar (juice, soda, alcohol, energy drinks, etc)
- Stop snacking on sugar (cakes, pastries, candy, cookies, etc... even breakfast cereal)
- Eat less fat (consume less than 30% of your daily calories as fat, avoid trans fat)
- Save Treats for special occasions
- Eat more often, 4-6 smaller meals/snacks will also help stabilize blood sugar levels (high or low)
4. Lose Weight: If you change your eating habits for healthier choices, you will naturally lose weight. Eat healthy and Exercise!
5. Exercise regularly: 30 min a day for 5 days a week, cuts your risk of diabetes by 58%, not to mention other health issues too.
Diabetes is pretty simple, none the less, a disease you don't want to mess with. Once diagnosed, one could be on medicine or insulin injections for the rest of their life. So, let's make healthy choices, exercise well, and get regular check ups, to help prevent diabetes.
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