When afflicted with diabetes, blood sugar levels are something that must be closely monitored and kept in check. The blood sugar level is a rating of how much glucose, which is a basic sugar, is found in the bloodstream. This measurement, which is also known as the serum glucose level, is expressed as a fraction, millimoles over liters, or mmol/l.
A healthy persons blood sugar levels usually maintain themselves throughout the day between the rates of 4 mmol/l and 8 mmol/l. The levels are often heightened after eating meals and at their lowest points when first waking up in the morning.
When someone is diagnosed with diabetes, monitoring blood sugar levels can become a matter of life and death. Since your body either doesnt produce insulin, as in Type 1 diabetes, or cannot process the insulin that it makes, which is found in Type 2 diabetes, these blood sugar levels can vary much more then those of a person in perfect health.
If blood sugar levels get too high, such long-term complications can arise as neuropathy, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, heart failure, stroke, gangrene, retinopathy and nephropathy. These usually begin to occur after a person with Type 1 diabetes has been afflicted with the disease for 10 to 15 years.
People with Type 2 diabetes may find themselves suffering from these side-effects after being diagnosed for less than 10 years. This shortened period is due to the fact that most people who are Type 2 diabetes positive do not realize that they have the disease immediately. The main key to preventing this long-term damage is to closely monitor blood sugar levels.
Checking Glucose Levels
To check your blood sugar levels, the most commonly used method of obtaining a blood sample is to prick the finger. You then take the blood that is released and put it onto a testing strip, which comes with blood sugar level testing kits. This strip is then put into a measuring device, and processed for around 30 seconds before a result is achieved.
To keep a good baseline for what your blood sugar levels may be, healthy values vary from between 4 and 7 mmol/l before eating meals. While within 90 minutes after eating a meal, normal blood sugar levels should be found to be less than 10 mmol/l. When going to bed in the evening, your blood sugar level should be right around 8 mmol/l.
Those afflicted with Type 1 diabetes should check their blood sugar levels daily before they eat. The number of tests performed per day for those with Type 1 diabetes often rest around 2 to 3 per day, but some patients may need as many as 6 tests in a day. These tests help determine how much insulin needs to be taken into the body to help process the glucose.
If you are a Type 2 diabetes patient, and your condition is treated with drugs and dieting, blood sugar levels should be monitored once or twice per week. This should be done eating a meal or 90 minutes after eating. In addition, it is a good idea to check your levels before every meal around one day a month to see exactly how your body interacts with the food that you eat.