Do you know your blood sugar level?
Do you know your blood sugar level? The American Diabetes Association recommends testing fasting glucose levels. A person with diabetes should aim for fasting glucose of less than 100 mg/dL, and people without diabetes are advised to keep their levels below 140 mg/dL. High blood sugar can lead to diabetic complications such as heart disease, kidney failure, and nerve damage in the feet that may cause amputation. Therefore, chronic disease prevention requires people to monitor blood sugar levels regularly and consult with a doctor about abnormal readings.
What is Blood Sugar?
Also known as glucose, blood sugar is a sweet substance that your body uses for energy derived from carbohydrates. Although your body needs glucose, too much or too little can cause serious health problems. For example, without sugar, your muscles would get weak, and you could collapse. Sometimes runners and other endurance athletes experience this phenomenon, which is sometimes called bonking. They simply use up all their available glycogen stores and get sick.
Too much sugar is also dangerous. It can lead to headaches, excessive thirst, nausea, vomiting, and eventually vision issues. As it worsens, individuals can experience slow healing wounds, nerve damage, and gum disease.
What Are the Causes of High Blood Sugar?
The most common cause of high blood sugar, also called hyperglycemia, is consuming too many simple carbs. Additionally, people who aren't active enough don't burn off as much sugar throughout the day and have a higher chance of developing high blood sugar. Other causes of high blood sugar occur when the body isn't managing insulin effectively. For people with a diabetes diagnosis, this can include not taking enough insulin or not taking meals and snacks into consideration with diabetic medications.
Another cause of high blood sugar is physical or emotional stress and other medications that interfere with blood sugar. In addition, people with certain diseases, such as pancreatitis or Cushing syndrome, can develop insulin resistance issues.
What Are the Causes of Low Blood Sugar?
Low blood sugar levels can be just as dangerous. This condition, also known as hypoglycemia, can happen for several reasons, such as not accounting for exercise when taking insulin or going to bed without checking your blood sugar.
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Blood Sugar & Heart Disease
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Additionally, one person dies every 36 seconds in the U.S. from cardiovascular-related conditions. These are SCARY statistics. However, heart disease is also one of the most preventable diseases in the U.S.Blood sugar is commonly attributed to cardiovascular disease along with other wellness concerns, such as obesity and high cholesterol.
Blood Sugar & Diabetes
Diabetes is an all-too-common condition in the U.S. Over 10 percent of the population had diabetes in 2018. According to the American Diabetes Association, 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year. People can develop diabetes type 2 from consuming too much sugar. Disease prevention strategies to reduce sugar can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Blood Sugar & Kidney Disease
Kidney disease occurs when the body can't process blood properly, and waste builds up in the body, causing additional damages. What's one of the leading causes of chronic kidney disease? High blood pressure and diabetes. Nearly half a million people are on dialysis, and many are waiting on a kidney transplant.
Blood Sugar & Cognitive Disorders
Disease prevention includes protecting the brain. Unfortunately, high blood sugar can cause cognitive changes.
According to Dr. Melissa Young, an endocrinologist on staff at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, New Jersey,
"Studies show that in addition to loss of nerve cells, there is also a change in the way brain cells work when someone has diabetes ...And the higher blood sugars are, on average, the higher the risk."
Additionally, she explained,
"Repeated low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, is also associated with cognitive decline."
How to Manage Blood Sugar Levels
Managing glucose levels to prevent high or low blood sugar levels doesn't have to be complicated. You can make a few changes in your lifestyle to get it under control and reduce your risk of developing these conditions.
Tips to Manage Blood Sugar
Part of disease prevention is blood sugar management. It's essential to watch your diet and limit sugar to maintain low blood sugar levels. Here are a few helpful ways to naturally find the balance you need.
Choose Low or No Sugar Snacks
There's nothing wrong with snacking between meals. However, keep these in-between meal treats light and low in sugar. Consider Extend Nutrition Bars or Shakes to control blood sugar for at least six hours and prevent your appetite from distracting you before lunch or dinner.
Eat Low-Carb, High Protein Meals
A low-carb, high-protein diet can keep your sugar levels low without sacrificing energy. Remember, carbohydrates aren't the enemy. There are plenty of complex carbs that will fill you up for hours without leaving dragging a short while later. For more information about "good" carbs, review the glycemic index. The lower the number, the longer it takes for the glucose to release into the bloodstream.
When life is already going 90 miles per hour, it's hard to detour for the gym. However, the three hours you spend exercising can make all the difference in how you feel. Additionally, it can seriously aid disease prevention. If an hour is hard to squeeze into your day, try 30 minute walks daily to reduce blood sugar levels, improve energy, and reduce weight.
Stick to a Sleep Schedule
Sleep is another area that's an essential part of wellness. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night to wake up refreshed and ready to power through your day. If you're having trouble regulating your sleep schedule, consider using melatonin to get the timing right. Also, make sure to have a healthy snack an hour or two before bed to prevent an unhealthy drop in blood sugar overnight.
Disease Prevention with Extend Protein Bars & Shakes
You can prevent many of the causes of high blood sugar with a few changes to your diet. Two steps include reducing sugar consumption and eating more nutritious meals that are high in protein and fiber. An easy way to get there faster is by switching your normal snacks with Extend Protein Bars and Shakes. They're tasty and naturally boost energy and control blood sugar. Additionally, if a low blood sugar level is the problem, such as bottoming out after a challenging workout and depleting your glucose levels, avoid running on empty with Extend Protein Bars and Shakes. These are easy to keep in your backpack or gym bag, so you always have a nutritious option for controlling your blood sugar for at least six hours and up to nine hours.