Glucose, also known as blood sugar, is the measure of the sugar concentration in the bloodstream. Your glucose levels are affected by diet, exercise levels, and metabolism. High levels of blood glucose is known as hyperglycemia and low levels of glucose in the blood is known as hypoglycemia. Your blood glucose levels fluctuate slightly throughout the day highest after eating and lowest in the morning upon waking and through times of fasting.
Low Glucose Levels (Hypoglycemia)
Hypoglycemia is actually a very common condition. Low blood glucose can be a frequent condition for those who do not eat well or who do not get adequate amounts of sugar or carbohydrates in their diet. Symptoms of hypoglycemia may include fatigue, dizziness, confusion, hunger, and shakiness. Fainting can also be a result of hypoglycemia when blood glucose level drop too low. A small dose of glucose can relieve the symptoms and raise glucose to a healthier level.
Elevated Glucose Numbers (Hyperglycemia)
Elevated glucose numbers are a very serious condition and may be a indication for diabetes. If your glucose levels remain uncontrolled you increase your risks for developing serious health issues such as heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, and hypertension. Your doctor can help you to determine what level is healthy for you but if you are at risk for developing hyperglycemia you need to check with a doctor to get tested for diabetes. Some symptoms include but are not limited to chronic headache, numbness or tingling of the hands or feet, eyesight problems, sudden weight loss or gain with no indication of why, and nausea.
Getting your Glucose (Blood Sugar) Levels tested are a key ingredient in your overall health. Keeping track of your glucose numbers can help you to detect any irregularities early and can be the difference in the prevention of complications due to unhealthy glucose levels. There are many types of testing available but the most common is the finger prick. In this procedure a small amount of blood is taken from the tip of the finger and put on a small strip of testing paper and placed inside a device which reads the glucose concentration. Also your doctor may order a series of tests if he/she believes you are at risk. A test that may be ordered may be the A1C test. This test is a 3 month average of blood sugars, giving the doctor a more accurate reading of your blood sugars.
What is normal varies slightly from person to person and your doctor can help to determine what is "normal" for you. In general, the lower side of normal should be from 70 to 100 mg/dL when fasting or before meals, and less than 180 mg/dL after meals.
Criteria for Diagnosis of Pre-diabetes
Impaired fasting glucose (IFG) 100 – 125 mg/dl
(Fasting plasma glucose) or
Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) 140 – 199 mg/dl
(2-hr post 75g glucose challenge)
Criteria for Diagnosis of Diabetes
Random plasma glucose > 200 mg/dl* with symptoms
(polyuria, polydypsia, and unexplained weight loss) or
Fasting plasma glucose > 126 mg/dl* or
2-hr plasma glucose > 200 mg/dl* post 75g glucose challenge
*Repeat to confirm on subsequent day