Normal Glucose Levels
Glucose level is the level of sugar in the bloodstream. Glucose is essential for the formation of the muscle cells and other functions. When glucose level is too high it is called as hyperglycemia and when it is too low it is called as hypoglycemia. When it is hyperglycemia it leads to diabetes which requires medical attention. It can prove to be serious, causing severe sickness and sometimes even result in fatalities. The body mechanism called homeostasis maintains the glucose level in blood. It consists of various interacting systems, out of which the most important is hormone regulation. There are two types of antagonistic metabolic hormones which affect the glucose level namely:
- Catabolic hormones like glucagon, cortisol and catecholamines which increase the glucose level in blood and
- Anabolic hormone i.e. insulin which decreases the glucose level in blood.
Symptoms of abnormal glucose levels
If the glucose level is high or low for a short time it can be controlled; but if it continues, it has its consequences. When an individual suffers from hyperglycemia for a long time there are health problems like diabetes, damage to nerves, kidney, eyes and heart diseases. But if the level of sugar drops too low it is fatal. Some of the symptoms of hypoglycemia are:
- Weakening of arm and leg muscles,
- Improper functioning of brain
- Complexion changes
- Patients may become unconscious
- It may also damage the brain
- When a person who is in good health feels drowsy or has impaired cognitive functions after a meal may sometimes indicate low blood sugar
Causes of abnormal glucose level:
Some of the causes are as follows:
- Excess stress
- Excess weight
- Excess intake of alcohol
- Severe liver disease
- Hereditary reasons
- Shocks and convulsions
Types of abnormal glucose level:
There two main types of abnormal glucose level namely:
- Hyperglycemia i.e. when the sugar level becomes too high in blood.
- Hypoglycemia i.e. when the sugar level becomes too low in blood.
Tests to check the normal glucose levels:
It can be done through blood glucose monitor and glucose meter.
Testing of glucose level is important for diabetic patient. It will help to avoid future complications and long term problems.
The laboratory tests are:
- Fasting blood sugar test is the most used method to determine the glucose level. It is taken after fasting for 8 hours.
- The normal glucose range should be between 90mg to 130 mg
- Before meals, the normal glucose range should be between 70mg to 130mg
- After meals, the normal glucose range should be less than 180 mg
- When the sugar level is between the above said range then it is normal, if it is more or less then it requires medical attention.
- Oral glucose tolerance test is taken after intake of specific amount of oral glucose at the given time and helps in diagnosis of diabetes.
- Glycosylated hemoglobin
- Urine glucose test
- Self-monitoring of glucose level via patient testing
- Two-hour postprandial blood sugar test
- Intravenous glucose tolerance test
There can be errors in measurements of glucose levels due to contamination of test strips. Therefore care should be taken. Also, the results may vary for pregnant women or for older individuals.
While checking for the normal levels of glucose in the body, one must take the below mentioned steps:
- First wash hands with soap and wipe it dry.
- After the strip is removed, bottle has to be closed to avoid scratch or damage on other strips.
- Lancet, i.e. the needle used to prick the finger, has to be placed on the finger. Care has to be taken not to hurt the finger.
- Then the strip has to touch the blood drops
- Eventually the reading will come on the glucose meter.
Before taking the glucose test, the glucose meter has to be checked whether it is in proper condition
- Damaged strips should not be used
- Monitor should work properly as per the directions given in the glucose meter manual. Also batteries should be changed if required.
- In some glucose meter there are code numbers, these numbers should match with the box of strips.
- It is essential to wash hands with soap before taking the test. Also the test strip should not be reused.
These tests have to be recorded and a file has to be maintained. It will help to keep a check on the glucose level and accordingly follow the medications.
In hypoglycemia, quick action has to be taken to increase the glucose level to avoid serious problems; else it can prove to be fatal.
Treatments for changes in glucose levels
- When a person has diabetes then it is advisable that sugar level is checked on regular basis. An individual suffering from abnormal glucose level should follow a proper diet.
- Immediate medical help should be taken when the glucose level is too high or too low.