Dumaguing: How well do you know your blood sugar

ATTENDEES and participants to the European Association for the Study of Diabetes annual meeting held in Munich Germany on September 12-16, went home with a treasure trove of the newest breakthroughs in the diagnosis and management of diabetes, which has become a big worldwide health issue, made more worrisome by the fact that, the disease which used to be the illness of the rich and the famous, has become a huge concern among citizens of developing countries especially in Asia and Africa. However, all the experts- endocrinologists, diabetologists, epidemiologists and researchers- agree that a basic knowledge of the disease is first and foremost in the control of the disease, saying that if the patient knows what he is going through, then he is in a better position to help control the blood sugar.

Forewarned is forearm. So here are basic facts. Blood sugar -glucose- levels rise and fall throughout the day. One key to taking care of your diabetes is understanding why it rises and it falls. There is an increase after a meal or snack with more food or more carbohydrates- indeed, not only sweet ones- than usual. Or a prolonged physical inactivity, or not enough anti-diabetes medicines. Or it could be the side effects of some medicines like diuretics for hypertension. People with a serious infection have their blood sugar rising fast. In women, hormonal surges could up their blood sugar and don’t forget stress. Adrenaline and cortisol have significant blood-sugar increase effects.

On the other hand, what are those that could make blood sugar fall? Common sense dictates that missing a meal or a snack is an obvious cause. Alcoholic drinks, taken on an empty stomach are another big cause. Overdose or too much of diabetes drugs is an understandable reason and again, side effects of some medicines. And don’t forget, exhausting oneself in a physical activity would definitely consume all your stored sugar thus, its blood levels fall.

Targets set by the American Diabetes Association is that, your normal blood sugar before meals (breakfast) should be 80-120 mg/dl, and two hours after the meal should not be higher than 180 mg/dl. See your health care provider soon if your glucose levels are often higher than your goals because there might be some modifications in your meal plan, physical activity and even your medicines.

The Hemoglobin A1c tells you your average blood sugar over the past 2-3 months period. The results are reported in two ways; HbA1c as a percentage, and for most diabetes study groups, it should be less than seven percent. The other measure is "eAG" or estimated Average Glucose, in the same kind of numbers as your day-to-day blood glucose readings and the normal should be below 154 mg/dl.

Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is a big concern and fear of most diabetics because the signs and symptoms of which are more life threatening than hyperglycemia or high blood sugar- weakness, dizziness, confusion, cold clammy perspiration, low blood pressure-these occur usually when the blood sugar falls below 70mg/dl. Right away, please have one of the following, which each have about 15 grams carbohydrates; half cup of fruit juice, half cup of soft regular drink( not diet or zero variety) a glass of milk, or one tablespoon of sugar or if available, honey.

There our dear readers and friends are basic facts about diabetes and hopefully will shed light on how much you can help your doctor help you keep your blood sugar at bay, and at the same time enjoy the good things in life. Cheers!
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