Maintaining normal range blood sugar levels is the daily challenge of juvenile diabetics.
Glucose, another term for sugar, is what fuels the cells in your body. The food we eat, particularly carbohydrates, is changed into glucose. It moves throughout the body in your bloodstream.
The hormone, insulin, enables the glucose to transfer from the blood into the cells.
Insulin is released from the pancreas. The pancreas is a gland situated near the stomach. It secretes insulin as well as other fluids that aid in the digestive process. Insulin controls the amount of blood sugar released into the cells.
This page will discuss...
Why is blood sugar such a big deal?
How is glucose measured?
What are normal range blood sugar levels?
The challenge of juvenile diabetes and blood glucose levels.
Managing type 1 diabetes.
As important as glucose is to human life, there is really very little in your body at a time!
In a 165 pound (75kg) man with 1.3 gallons (5L) of blood, there are about 5 grams of glucose! That equals one restaurant packet of sugar!
The body is an amazing machine. It uses glucose from the foods you eat to give you the energy to live your life.
It has a great system of checks and balances. There are two hormones secreted from the pancreas that keep our bodies within normal blood glucose levels.
When we start experiencing low blood sugar symptoms, glucagon is released to bring the glucose level up. Low blood sugar is a condition called hypoglycemia.
Insulin and glucagon work together to keep the glucose in the normal range blood sugar level.
In the U.S. and a few other countries, glucose is measured in mg/dL. This is the mass concentration of glucose in the blood.
Most countries measure blood sugar by molarity or mmol/L.
Here is a formula in case you need to convert the measurements...
Your glucose is measured by using a blood sample. The non-diabetic usually has his blood sugar tested by a blood test at the doctor's office.
If you have juvenile diabetes, you'll be doing your own blood testing. You'll be armed with a kit of diabetes testing supplies. Your kit will include a variety of tools including a blood sugar meter which actually calculates your results.
This blood sugar chart shows the normal target ranges for blood glucose levels. The ranges are the same for people with type 1 diabetes and non-diabetics.
|Normal range||80-110||4-6||While fasting|
|After meals||Up to 140||7-8||Non-diabetic|
|High||>180||10+||Symptoms may not show until higher levels|
Everyone experiences ups and downs in their blood sugar throughout the day. Your blood sugar is usually lowest first thing in the morning.
Glucose levels rise within a couple of hours after eating. So we know food has a lot to do with increasing blood glucose levels. Blood sugar levels may drop lower if you haven't eaten for long periods of time.
There are other factors that can cause blood sugar to fall out of normal range blood sugar levels. A couple of the most common are illness, infection and stress. Stress can be either mental stress or physical stress.
If you have juvenile type 1 diabetes, your pancreas is no longer producing insulin. Without insulin, glucose can't get into your cells. The sugars build up in the blood.
As a diabetic, you have to externally replace the insulin to get your blood sugars back into normal blood glucose levels. The insulin lets the cells pull the glucose out of your blood lowering your blood glucose level.
The challenge is to determine the right amount of insulin. Too little and you'll start experiencing high blood sugar symptoms. Persistent high blood sugars can lead to serious side effects of diabetes over time.
Too much insulin can bring on low blood sugar symptoms. Low blood glucose levels need more immediate attention.
Illness and stress impact your blood sugar just as they do for the non-diabetic. The difference is you have to manage the amount of insulin given.
When you're sick you may need more insulin. If you're into sports or work-out or even have a particularly active day, you'll need to take this into account when delivering insulin.
If we've learned anything about managing Jake's diabetes, it's that you can never master the process.
Over time your body changes. Then you have to tweak the amount of insulin to get your blood sugars back into the normal range blood sugar level.
For example, Amy has been able to keep Jake's blood sugars at reasonable levels for the past few years. His glucose might run a little high or low, but she had determined the steps to get it back into normal blood sugar range.
When he turned 13, his hormones seemed to run rampant! So were his blood sugars! Sometimes high....quite high, like over 300! Sometimes low...quite low, like 48!
It's a nerve-racking time! We didn't know what to expect!
This is where persistence and trial come into play! Working with his doctor, Amy made small tweaks to his treatment program to gain better control. But, during the process...Yikes!
If you have diabetes, you'll have to monitor your own blood sugar several times a day.
Glucose monitoring using a blood sugar meter is the most practical way to find out if your glucose is in the normal range blood sugar level.