What is blood sugar?
Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is the primary source of energy for the body's cells. It is a sugar that is formed when carbohydrates are broken down during digestion. Every time you eat foods like fruits, vegetables and bread, the carbohydrates are converted into glucose and then absorbed by the small intestine. Glucose is then transported through the blood to the body's cells to use as fuel. During a check of your blood sugar, the concentration of glucose in the blood, P-Glucose, is therefore analysed.
In order for glucose to be taken up by the cells and used as energy, a hormone called insulin is required. Insulin is produced by the pancreas and acts as a key that opens the cells' gates to let glucose in. To check the insulin level, C-peptide is analysed, a protein that is formed together with insulin in the pancreas.
Why is blood sugar balance important?
When blood sugar is too high or too low, it can lead to unpleasant symptoms and serious complications. Having a stable and optimal level of blood sugar is essential for the body to function correctly.
When blood sugar is too high (hyperglycemia), it may indicate diabetes or other health problems. High blood sugar levels can lead to symptoms such as increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue and blurred vision. If hyperglycaemia is not treated, it can lead to serious complications and damage to organs such as the kidneys, heart and blood vessels.
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), can lead to symptoms such as sweating, palpitations, hunger and tremors. If left untreated, hypoglycemia can lead to confusion, unconsciousness, and even coma. Therefore, it is important to maintain a balanced level of blood sugar to avoid these complications.
How is blood sugar measured?
When checking blood sugar, the concentration of glucose circulating in the blood is measured, and this is called P-glucose, where "P" stands for plasma. In venous sampling for glucose measurement, a thin needle is used to insert into a vein, usually in the armpit. Fasting before sampling is often a requirement in order to get a more accurate picture of fasting glucose levels. The blood is taken in a test tube and then sent to the laboratory for analysis of the glucose concentration. Here you can easily order a blood sugar test.
What is a normal blood sugar?
To interpret blood sugar levels, a reference range is used that indicates the normal range for P-Glucose. The reference interval can vary depending on whether the blood sugar is measured in a fasting state or after a meal.
Normal value for fasting glucose
For fasting blood sugar, the reference range is usually between 4.0 and 6.0 mmol/L. This refers to the blood sugar level after the person has fasted for at least eight hours. If the blood sugar exceeds this range, it may indicate high blood sugar and the need for further investigation.
Glucose value after meal
After a meal, the blood sugar level can temporarily rise, which is common. This is normal and usually normalizes within a couple of hours. However, the reference range for blood sugar after a meal is usually less than 7.8 mmol/L. If blood sugar exceeds this range, it may indicate a problem with blood sugar management and the need for further investigation.
What affects blood sugar?
Several factors can affect blood sugar and make it difficult to maintain a balanced level. Here are some factors that can affect blood sugar:
Diet plays an important role in blood sugar levels. Foods that contain a lot of fast carbohydrates, such as sweets, soft drinks and white bread, can quickly increase blood sugar. On the other hand, foods containing fiber and slow carbohydrates, such as whole grain products, fruit and vegetables, can provide a more stable blood sugar curve.
It is important for people with diabetes to have a balanced diet that is adapted to their needs and treatment plan. By planning their meals and choosing the right foods, they can help keep their blood sugar in the optimal range.
Physical activity can affect blood sugar levels in different ways. Exercise can help lower blood sugar by increasing the body's sensitivity to insulin and helping to use glucose more efficiently. On the other hand, intense exercise or excessive physical exertion can cause blood sugar to drop too low.
People with diabetes should be aware of how physical activity affects their blood sugar level and adapt their treatment accordingly. It may be necessary to eat extra carbohydrates before, during or after exercise to avoid hypoglycemia.
Stress and illness
Stress and illness can also affect blood sugar. When the body is under stress, hormones are produced that can increase blood sugar. The same applies to diseases such as infections or inflammations. People with diabetes should be aware of how stress and illness can affect their blood sugar levels and take the necessary steps to manage it.
This is how you keep your blood sugar in balance
Having a balanced level of blood sugar is essential to maintaining good health. Here are some tips to help you keep your blood sugar in balance:
- Eat a balanced diet: Choose foods that contain slow carbohydrates, fiber and healthy fats. Avoid consuming too many fast carbohydrates and sweets.
- Monitor your blood sugar: we recommend that you test your blood sugar to get a reference value. If you have diabetes, use a blood glucose meter to regularly monitor your levels.
- Exercise regularly: Physical activity can help regulate blood sugar levels. Strive to be active every day and adapt your training to your individual needs.
- Manage stress: Stress can affect blood sugar levels. Find ways to manage stress, such as mindfulness, meditation or physical activity.
- Follow your treatment plan: If you have diabetes, be sure to follow your treatment plan carefully. Take your medications as prescribed and consult your doctor regularly.
- Avoid excessive alcohol intake: Alcohol can affect blood sugar levels. Be careful with your alcohol intake and drink in moderation.
By following these tips and taking an active role in monitoring your blood sugar, you can maintain a balanced level and promote your overall health and well-being.