In an era where diseases such as diabetes are on the rise, understanding blood sugar levels is essential. Blood sugar levels, or blood glucose, refer to the amount of sugar in our blood, a crucial source of energy for our body.
Understanding blood sugar levels
Blood sugar comes from the food we consume and is carried by our blood into our cells to provide energy. The sugar concentration in our blood, expressed in millimoles per liter (mmol/L) or milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), is known as our blood sugar value. These values can fluctuate based on factors such as diet, exercise, medications, stress, and general health.
The blood sugar values table
Below is a general table of blood sugar values. These values may vary depending on individual health and other factors. They should not be taken as absolute standards, always consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.
Fasting (before eating): 4.0 – 6.0 mmol/L
2 hours after eating: < 7.8 mmol/L Random reading: < 11.1 mmol/L
Interpretation of the Table
Fasting blood sugar levels are measured after at least 8 hours of fasting and are normally between 4.0 and 6.0 mmol/L. Blood sugar values 2 hours after eating indicate how efficiently your body has processed the sugar from your meal; less than 7.8 mmol/L is considered normal. A random blood sugar reading is taken at any time of the day, regardless of the last meal.
When do I have diabetes?
Blood sugar - pricked sober (nothing eaten or drunk except water eight hours before):
- Below 6,1 mmol/l - no diabetes
- Between 6,1 and 6,9 mmol / l - preliminary phase of diabetes
- Above 6,9 mmol / l - diabetes
Blood sugar - not pricked sober (about one and a half to two hours after a meal, when there is the most blood sugar in the blood):
- Below 7,8 mmol/l - no diabetes
- Between 7,8 and 11 mmol / l - preliminary phase of diabetes
- Above 11 mmol / l - diabetes
So what are normal blood sugar levels?
One speaks of normal blood sugar values when the blood sugar values on an empty stomach are between 4 and 6,1 mmol / L. A small upward fluctuation, for example with a blood sugar level of 6,4 mmol/L, is not immediately referred to as diabetes. A measurement in which food has been consumed up to two hours in advance is considered normal blood sugar values if the amount of mmol / L is between 4 and 8.
Impact of blood sugar levels on our health
When our blood sugar levels are well regulated, we feel energized and alert. Nevertheless, too high or too low blood sugar levels can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, headache, dizziness, and in severe cases even coma or death. People with fluctuating blood sugar levels can often feel tired and experience a craving for sugary snacks. A blood sugar level that is too low can prevent the body from functioning normally, resulting in various health problems.
Measure blood sugar levels
In people with diabetes, the blood sugar level can be too high. Diagnosing diabetes is done by measuring blood sugar, usually via a finger prick. The moment of the test influences the blood sugar value: it can differ considerably before and after a meal. In case of a deviating value, another test is often carried out in a laboratory for a more accurate assessment.
In people with type 1 diabetes, too high a blood sugar value, also called a hyper, can occur. This is often difficult to recognize and therefore it is important to regularly check the blood sugar value and adjust it with insulin if necessary. However, there are many factors that can affect blood sugar levels, such as exercise, diet, medications, but also fever and stress.
People with type 2 diabetes who use tablets alone usually do not need to self-check their blood sugar unless their blood sugar levels fluctuate. However, self-measurements can also be useful in type 2 diabetes to gain more insight into blood sugar levels.
Measuring your own blood sugar level
Measuring your blood sugar at home is possible with the help of a blood glucose meter. You should first wash your hands with soap and water to remove any food residue that could interfere with the measurement. You prick the side of your finger with a lancing device. Each shot requires a new lancet to prevent infection. A drop of blood is then applied to a special test strip, which is placed in the blood glucose meter. The meter then displays the blood sugar reading.
Monitoring blood sugar levels is an important part of managing diabetes and maintaining a healthy life. It is always wise to consult your doctor for guidance and advice when in doubt.