Blood glucose, or simply glucose, is the sugar that our bloodstream carries to all the cells in the body to supply energy making it the primary source.
One must maintain blood glucose levels at an optimal level to reduce health risks and avoid any critical medical conditions. Each food item that we consume contributes to the glucose levels in our bodies. While some have little effect on our blood sugar some can increase it way above the recommended level, which is very unhealthy.
The human body regulates blood glucose and consistently tries to keep them at a moderate level by supplying just enough to fuel the cells and avoid the overload of the bloodstream.
As a result, blood glucose levels are at their lowest point before the first meal of the day. Furthermore, it can change throughout the day depending on what you eat.
Blood Glucose Monitoring devices are available in the market now, like the Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) which can alert us if our glucose level rises above the recommended level. CGM is a small and powerful health-tech device that helps you track blood sugar levels in real-time. This helps you decide which foods to consume and when to burn your calories.
What Is Continous Glucose Monitoring?
Since CGM systems give real-time data, one can make informed decisions about their food choices, activity status, and other proportional trends of their transformational journey.
These devices are designed to alert the user when the blood-sugar levels touch an alarming high or low level helping one take necessary actions to tackle it.
The CGM incorporated with the new HealthifyPro helps you get a consistent and holistic understanding of your health. The CGM syncs with your phone and gives you concurrent data about your blood sugar levels.
Your Pro coach can then review how your glucose changes with respect to your unique diet, exercise, medication and overall lifestyle, and help you create a fitness plan customised to you.
HealthifyPro is a complete package that comes with a Smart Scale to keep a tab 11+ body metrics, a metabolic panel to keep a check on your metabolic health, Pro coaches to give you personalised feedback and smart AI assistance along with the advanced CGM experience at your fingertips.
What is the Recommended Healthy Blood Glucose Level?
The U.S. National Institutes of Health research confirm that the recommended fasting blood sugar level is below 99 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). However, these levels differ for those who already have diabetes.
In addition, the American Diabetes Association has confirmed that the recommended glucose levels for patients with diabetes are between 80 to 130 mg/dl before eating.
And after two hours of eating, glucose levels must stay less than 180 mg/dl for diabetes patients and below 140 mg/dl for others.
Normal Blood Glucose Levels by Age
You can calculate blood sugar levels at different times. For instance, you can test it during fasting or after not consuming food for more than 8 hours. It is because blood sugar tends to fluctuate during the day for countless reasons, especially after eating.
Here’s the ideal blood sugar range per age and category of people.
Ideal Blood Glucose Range for Children (Below 6 Years)
- Before Meals: 100-180 mg/dL
- 1-2 Hours after a Meal: Around 180 mg/dL
- Fasting: 80-180 mg/dL
- Bed Time: 110-200 mg/dL
Ideal Blood Glucose Range for Adolescents (6-12 Years)
- Before Meals: 90-180 mg/dL
- 1-2 Hours after a Meal: Around 140 mg/dL
- Fasting: 80-180 mg/dL
- Bed Time: 100-180 mg/dL
Ideal Blood Glucose Range for Teens (13-19 Years)
- Before Meals: 90-130 mg/dL
- 1-2 Hours after a Meal: Around 140 mg/dL
- Fasting: 70-150 mg/dL
- Bed Time: 90-150 mg/dL
Ideal Blood Glucose Range for Adults (20 Years & Above)
- Before Meals: 70-130 mg/dL
- 1-2 Hours after a Meal: Under 180 mg/dL
- Fasting: Under 100 mg/dL
- Bed Time: 100-140 mg/dL
Normal Blood Glucose Range for Women Above 60 Years Who Do Not Have Diabetes
- 2 hours after the last meal: 90 to 140 mg/dL
- 2 to 4 hours after the last meal: 90 to 130 mg/dL
- 4 to 8 hours after the last meal: 80 to 120 mg/dL
Given these ranges, a glucose level above 180 mg/dL should be considered high and requires immediate precautions. Your blood sugar level is dangerous if it’s higher than 200 mg/dL.
Alternatively, a blood sugar level below 50 is also dangerous and you may require professional help. If you’re concerned about your health, a few key lifestyle changes can prove to be highly beneficial. Here’s an article on how to reduce blood sugar levels naturally for you.
One needs to check their Glucose levels as a screening test to diagnose diabetes. Even when we do not have diabetes, we can even check our glucose levels using Blood Glucose Monitors.
What is High Blood Glucose Level, and What are its Effects?
High blood sugar is a medical condition that is infamously called hyperglycemia. The condition is more commonly faced by patients with diabetes, Cushing’s syndrome, etc., or those who take steroids regularly.
Studies have confirmed that hyperglycemia occurs when our blood sugar goes above the recommended level. Thus, resulting in low insulin levels in the body or a decreased sensitivity of cells to insulin. Without insulin, glucose won’t be able to enter cells and can end up building up in the bloodstream.
It is not good to have sustained hyperglycemia. If this condition persists for a long time, it can lead to insulin resistance in our body as our cells may become less sensitive to it, which will lead to the amount of glucose absorbed being less.
It is a primary reason that leads to Type 2 diabetes. And when diabetes extends for a long term without enough medical attention, it can affect the blood vessels that supply different organs. This includes kidneys, nerves, retina and some other organs.
The serious issues that one can get from sustained hyperglycemia are
- Poor wound healing
- Foot ulcers
- Increased risks of heart attacks or stroke,
- Erectile dysfunction
- Vision loss
- Nerve damage
- Numbness and tingling
- Vision loss
- Kidney diseases which can lead to kidney failure
Studies have also confirmed that high or low glucose levels in the blood can also cause cognitive decline. Common symptoms that indicate hyperglycemia can include a dry mouth, increased thirst and frequent urination as stated in this study. Other less common symptoms include fatigue, nausea, blurred vision, lightheadedness and headache.
What is Low Blood Glucose Level, and What are its Effects?
The condition that results in the low glucose level in our blood is called hypoglycemia and this condition can be as severe as hyperglycemia. Unfortunately, people with diabetes are prone to these medical situations, and hypoglycemia can be fatal.
Some of the effects that severely low blood sugar levels in the body can cause include difficulty concentrating, aggression or paranoia and confusion or disorientation.
Specific less common effects also include seizures and losing consciousness. According to documented evidence, the common symptoms of hypoglycemia include anxiety, pale face, tingling lips, and dizziness among others.
Here’s an article on diabetes and hypoglycemia to help you understand the relationship and subsequent complications better.
How to Manage an Optimal Blood Glucose Level?
It is crucial for not just diabetes patients but everyone to maintain their blood glucose level at the optimal level. New methods are available to help us maintain our blood glucose levels.
Blood Glucose Monitoring
The best and the most convenient of all methods to monitor our glucose levels in the blood is a continuous blood glucose monitor. Such devices are even recommended especially to diabetes patients by medical practitioners, as they effectively keep the disease under control. In addition, you can use these monitors to plan out your diets and activities and bring in food or medical interventions.
Continuous Glucose Monitors are pretty convenient as it is way easier and provides an accurate reading of the blood glucose level in the body. They can also record the readings digitally on their mobile devices or can allow automatic storage of data.
For example, the CGM that comes with the HealthifyPro package of HealthifyMe syncs with your phone making it easier to measure your blood glucose levels in real-time time and understand your body’s reaction to certain food categories.
In addition, it continuously measures your blood glucose levels and chalks out trends. Finally, it alerts you if any food item has caused glucose fluctuation in your blood, thus helping you take immediate measures to bring it back to normal.
Glycemic Index is the primary metric to assess how a particular food affects blood sugar levels. The glycemic index (GI) helps people choose food items that will not disrupt their blood sugar levels.
The index shows us the values that indicate the spike a food item can cause in the body’s blood sugar levels. Pure glucose, the standard that other food items get measured against, has 100 in the glycemic index. Any food below 55 is considered low-GI food. Anything between 56 -69 is medium GI, and above 70 or more is high GI food.
Items with a high glycemic index cause an increase in blood glucose levels, while the ones with a low glycemic index are the ones that can cause minimal fluctuations through a slow release of energy.
Examples of food items with a high glycemic index are candies, sweet desserts, white bread, white rice, soft drinks, potatoes, etc. Foods with low GI include whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and non-starchy vegetables.
Here’s a list of foods with their glycemic index to help you make an informed decision about your health.
What Are Some Tips To Manage An Optimal Blood Glucose Level?
A person can take several steps to manage optimal blood glucose levels and avoid conditions like hyperglycemia. Some tips that you can follow to ensure controlled blood sugar are
- You can follow a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
- You must eat at regular intervals and avoid skipping meals.
- Use a Continuous Glucose Monitor to keep regular track of your glucose levels and work on bringing your glucose levels back to normal if it rises above the optimal level.
- You must drink water often at regular intervals.
- Exercise regularly with at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense workouts or activities each week.
Balancing portions at meals, make sure that you have a meal that has a healthy quantity of proteins, complex carbs, fibre and healthy fats.
Our body must have optimal blood sugar levels to keep it fit and healthy. On the other hand, a sustained case of irregular or extreme blood sugar levels can cause several medical complications in our bodies, the most important of them being diabetes. Apart from this, most often, obesity is a natural fallout.
Therefore you must watch your blood sugar levels and look at healthy ways of managing your weight. So, people should maintain their blood glucose levels below 99 mg/dl.
The best way to make sure that our body has a healthy glucose level is by using a monitoring system to check the glucose levels in your blood quickly. And the safest option is to choose and consume low-GI food items to maintain and balance blood glucose levels.
- Diabetes Tests & Diagnosis (2022)– https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/tests-diagnosis
- Hyperglycemia (2022) – https://bit.ly/3VkFLNf
- Diabetic Cognitive Dysfunction: From Bench to Clinic (2020) – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30727866/
- Hypoglycemia: The neglected complication (2013) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3784865/
- What is the glycaemic index (GI)? (2022) – https://bit.ly/3WFcNbT
- Glycemic index for 60+ foods – https://bit.ly/3BYHoJs
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What are foods that reduce blood sugar levels?
Foods also have a great impact on our blood sugar levels. Have diets that are rich in protein and complex carbohydrates like wheat, jowar etc. and low on simple carbs such as sugars, refined flours and grains, bakery and processed items.
Have a variety of fibrous fruits especially those low in GI like avocado, cherries, kiwi, plum, apple, orange etc and non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, eggplant, tomato, cucumber, leafy greens etc.
2. What are some ways to lower my blood sugar level without using medication?
The struggle to lower blood sugar levels is not uncommon. Here are the best ways to control blood sugar through small lifestyle and dietary changes.
- Keeping yourself physically active can do wonders for you. Simply brisk walking for an hour or jogging or running for half an hour can prove to be beneficial for you.
- You can also do other exercises like stretching or yoga. If your health permits, you may do some weight lifting or cardio exercises too. However, it is advisable to begin slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your physical activity giving your body sufficient time to adjust to the changes.
- Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep reduces metabolism, which leads to weight gain, impairing insulin functions.
3. Does exercise help with low blood sugar?
Yes, exercise helps in regulating blood sugar levels. People with Type 2 diabetes should include 150 mins of exercise every week, amounting to 20 minutes of daily exercise.
To simplify, it’s 1% of a 24-hour day. When complemented with dietary changes, exercise can help you achieve 5-7% of weight loss, which in turn can revert, delay or prevent the onset of diabetes.
4. How do I get rid of diabetes?
It’s a harsh truth that diabetes is not curable. Once diagnosed with the condition, one has to live with it. However, making dietary and lifestyle adjustments will help you keep your blood sugar level under the desired levels and help you enjoy the ‘sweet moments’ of life.
If you’re concerned about your health, a few minor lifestyle changes can prove to be highly beneficial. Here’s an article on how to reduce blood sugar levels naturally for you.