Understanding blood sugar and sugar control
Your blood sugar is an important measure of your health. Too much sugar in the blood is the common factor between all types of diabetes.
Many foods are broken down (digested) into blood sugar, which is used for biofuel to, for example, our heart, muscles, brain and other organs. The blood sugar either comes from the food we eat or it’s made from the liver. Sugar (glucose) is most often stored in two places of the body; in the blood there is glucose that is transported to all our organs and cells, and inside the cells glucose is stored for use as energy.
If you feel it is exhausting to manage your blood sugar levels, you are not alone. Using the latest tools and strategies, you can take the right measures to manage your blood sugar, prevent serious complications and experience minimal diabetes problems in your everyday life.
Factors affecting blood sugar
Before you had diabetes, no matter what you ate or how active you were, blood sugar levels were within a normal range. Diabetes usually leads to rising blood sugar levels and most anti-diabetes drugs reduce sugar levels in the blood. Several factors can change your blood sugar levels, learning about these can help control your blood sugar levels.
Acquaintance with your blood sugar levels will help you make decisions about appropriate food and activities during the day. These decisions can help you slow down or prevent diabetic complications such as myocardial infarction, kidney disease, blindness and amputation.
What can cause my blood sugar to rise?
- Too much food, like a meal or snack with more carbohydrates than usual
- Not being physically active
- Not enough insulin or oral diabetes drugs
- Side effects from other drugs, such as steroids, antipsychotic drug
- Disease — your body releases hormones to fight the disease, and these hormones raise blood sugar level
- Stress, which can produce hormones that increase blood sugar level
- Short- or prolonged pain, like pain from a tan – your body releases stress hormones that raise sugar level
- Menstrual periods, causing changes in hormone levels
- Dehydration ( lack of fluid)
What can cause my blood sugar to fall?
- Not enough food, such as a meal or snack with fewer carbohydrates than usual, lack a meal or snack
- Alcohol, especially on an empty stomach
- Too much insulin or oral diabetic drugs
- Adverse reactions from other medicines
- More physical activity or exercise than usual — Physical activity makes your body more sensitive to insulin and can lower blood sugar in a few hours.
How can I check my blood sugar?
There are two ways to keep track of your blood sugar levels:
- Using a continuous blood glucose meter (CGM) that measures your blood sugar levels in the fluid between your skin cells continuously.
- To check long-term blood sugar (HbA1c) at least twice a year to find out your average blood sugar in the last 2 to 3 months.
- Measurement of blood sugar in capillaries with a stick in the finger.