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Meaning of High and Low Blood Sugar Levels

The blood sugar level is the amount of sugar or glucose in the blood. Even though it constantly changes, blood sugar levels need to be kept within normal limits so that there is no disruption in the body.

Blood sugar levels are influenced by the intake of nutrients from food or drinks, especially carbohydrates, as well as the amount of insulin and the sensitivity of body cells to insulin. Blood sugar levels that are too high or too low will have a negative impact on health, both in the short and long term.

Blood Sugar

What Happens if Blood Sugar Is Too High?

Blood sugar levels are said to be too high if they exceed 200 mg / dL. The medical term for too high blood sugar levels is hyperglycemia.




Hyperglycemia can occur when the body does not have enough insulin, which is the hormone released by the pancreas. Insulin functions to spread sugar from the blood to all body cells so that it can be processed into energy.

High blood sugar can also occur if the body's cells are not sensitive to insulin so that sugar from the blood cannot enter the cell to be processed.

High blood sugar is often experienced by diabetics who do not live a healthy lifestyle, such as eating too much, lack of exercise or forget to take diabetes drugs or insulin. In addition, high blood sugar in diabetics can also be triggered by stress, infection, or taking certain drugs.

Normal people who do not have diabetes can also get hyperglycemia, especially if they are experiencing severe pain. Signs that you have blood sugar levels that are too high are the body feels tired, very high appetite, reduced body weight, often feeling thirsty, and frequent urination.

If blood sugar levels reach 350 mg / dL or more, the symptoms that can arise are very thirsty, blurred vision, dizziness, anxiety, and decreased consciousness. In addition, the skin will look red, dry, and feel hot.

If not treated immediately, blood sugar levels that are too high can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar hyperglycemic syndrome, which can be fatal.

In addition, long-term high blood sugar levels without treatment can increase the risk of infection in teeth and gums, skin problems, osteoporosis, kidney failure, nerve damage, blindness, and cardiovascular disease (heart and blood vessels).

What Happens if Blood Sugar Is Too Low?

Blood sugar is too low or hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar levels are below 70 mg / dL. This condition is also common in diabetics, which is due to the side effects of the antidiabetic drugs they consume. Antidiabetic drugs, especially insulin, can reduce blood sugar levels excessively.

People with type 1 diabetes do not have enough insulin. Therefore, additional insulin from outside is needed which is usually an injection. But if the dose is too high, insulin can make blood sugar drop dramatically.

In diabetics, hypoglycemia can occur if the use of insulin or antidiabetic drugs is not accompanied by adequate food intake. Excessive exercise can also trigger this condition.

Not only diabetics but people who don't have diabetes can also experience hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Some of the causes are:

  • Drink too many alcoholic beverages.
  • Suffering from certain diseases, such as hepatitis, anorexia nervosa, or tumors in the pancreas.
  • Deficiency of certain hormones.
  • Take certain drugs, such as quinine.
  • Accidentally consuming antidiabetic drugs belonging to other people.

If your blood sugar level is low, your body will feel weak and not powerful. Other symptoms that you can experience are hunger, cold sweat, pale skin, palpitations, tingling in the mouth area, anxiety, and irritability.

While the symptoms that you will experience when blood sugar levels are too low (under 40 mg / dL), among others:

  • Talk about wandering
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Not able to stand or walk
  • Twitching muscles
  • Seizures

If left silent, this condition can cause strokes, coma, and even death.

Check Your Blood Sugar

Blood sugar tests are generally recommended for people who have symptoms of diabetes, such as frequent thirst, frequent urination, and often feeling hungry. In addition, this test can also be recommended for people who have a history of diabetes in the family.

The way to find out blood sugar levels is to do a blood test. This test is useful for monitoring blood sugar levels in your body, so as not to come out of normal limits.

Blood sugar tests can be done alone at home using a glucometer. Blood samples for this examination are taken by piercing the fingertips using a special needle.

You can also do a blood sugar test at the hospital. There are several types of blood sugar tests that can be done:

Fasting blood sugar test

You are required to fast eight hours before taking a blood sample. This test is often used to diagnose the condition of prediabetes and diabetes.

Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)

In this test, you will be given glucose in a certain amount, and two hours later, your blood sugar levels will be checked.

Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) or glycohemoglobin test

This test is performed to determine blood sugar levels in red blood cells. The HbA1c test results can provide information about your sugar levels for the past 2-3 months.

This test makes it easy for doctors to adjust the dosage and type of antidiabetic drugs if needed. You do not need to undergo special preparation to do this test.

When blood sugar testing

This test can be done at any time and does not require special preparation. However, checking blood sugar when it cannot be used to diagnose diabetes.

This examination is only used to monitor the ups and downs of blood sugar in diabetics, or to see blood sugar levels in patients with certain conditions, such as weakness or fainting.

If the blood sugar test results when you are high, you don't necessarily have diabetes. It could be that this condition is the effect of the food or drink you just consumed.

If the blood sugar test results when you show low levels, but you do not feel weak or dizzy, there may be an error in the examination tool or technique. Therefore, you need to discuss the results of this examination with your doctor again.

It is highly recommended to consult with your doctor first about what tests are suitable for you. Also, ask the doctor about the risks or other matters related to the test.

What Is Normal Blood Sugar Level?

Normal blood sugar levels are not always the same, depending on when the test is done, after or before eating. The following are normal blood sugar levels but have different standards.

1. Blood sugar test after eating

If the blood sugar test is done two hours after eating, then normal blood sugar levels are less than 140 mg / dL or 7.8 mmol / L. This limit applies to people under 50 years of age.

For people aged 50-60 years, the normal level is less than 150 mg / dL or 8.3 mmol / L. Whereas in people aged 60 years and over, normal blood sugar levels are 160 mg / dL or 8.9 mmol / L.

2. Blood sugar test after fasting

If the blood sugar test is done after fasting, normal blood sugar levels should be less than or equal to 100 mg / dL or 5.6 mmol / L.

3. Random blood sugar test

If the blood sugar test is done randomly (when blood sugar tests), then the results cannot be compared, depending on when the test was done and what was consumed before the test.

In general, normal blood sugar levels are 80-120 mg / dL or 4.4-6.6 mmol / L, if the test is done before meals or after waking up. Whereas if the test is done before bed, the normal limit is 100-140 mg / dL or 5.5-7.7 mmol / L.

4. Hemoglobin test for blood sugar

On the hemoglobin test for blood sugar (HbA1c), the normal level is less than or around 7 percent.

But you need to remember, the limits used by each laboratory may be different, depending on the equipment used. So, use the benchmark given by the laboratory where you check blood sugar.

In addition, also make sure you record the test date and results, as well as what you consume and the activities you did before you took the test.

The results of a normal blood sugar check cannot always indicate that you are not at risk of developing diabetes. To be sure, you are still encouraged to consult your doctor's blood sugar results, especially if you have symptoms of diabetes or are at risk of developing diabetes.

Examination of blood sugar should be done wisely and according to needs. Take a blood sugar check according to your doctor's advice and apply a healthy lifestyle to prevent the adverse effects of high or low blood sugar levels.





References

References

1. Lab Test Online from the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (2019). Glucose test. 

2. WebMD (2018). Normal Blood Sugar Levels for Adults With Diabetes.


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