Why is Blood Sugar Important?Posted by Samantha Smarte on
Controlling Blood Sugar is vital – for Everyone
Some people think blood sugar control is only of important for diabetics. No, it’s important for everyone.
Blood Sugar is your fuel. You must have it - but in the right amounts. Too much (a sugar ‘spike’), too little (a ‘crash’), or lots of swings are dangerous. Managing it is very important…. for everyone.
Keeping normal blood sugar levels is a key part of feeling great, avoiding long-term health issues, and managing your weight. High blood sugar levels can be extremely toxic, damaging your cells and cause inflammation in the body. On the other hand, low blood sugar levels mean your body won’t have the energy it needs to function, making you feel tired, hungry, anxious, and even depressed (your brain also needs blood sugar (glucose) to function properly). Very high and very low blood sugar are both extremely dangerous, but moderately unhealthy blood sugar swings, common if you’re not managing your blood sugar, can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes, weight gain, and insulin resistance.
Blood sugar level refers to the amount of glucose present in your bloodstream. Glucose is the building block of the carbohydrates you eat and is your body’s primary source of energy. Glucose is absorbed by the cells in the body and combined with oxygen in the tiny power plants inside the cells called mitochondria to create a special molecule called ATP (Adenosine triphosphate). ATP oversees powering the cellular machinery and fueling cell function and growth. When you eat carbohydrates, glucose enters your bloodstream and your blood sugar levels increase. We all experience this increase after we eat. It’s the job of the pancreas, an important organ nestled just behind your stomach, to recognize the amount of sugar in your bloodstream and act to regulate the level. It does that by producing insulin.
When your blood sugar rises, your pancreas produces insulin. Insulin is a hormone that lets your cells take in sugar, giving them the energy you need and reducing blood sugar levels towards ‘normal’ (your glucose baseline). It’s a normal process. However, when the pancreas is exposed to frequent highs and lows, after a time, insulin production starts to behave in an irregular way which can lead to initial diabetes type 2 symptoms and issues. When your diet is high in simple carbs and sugars, your body can become insensitive to insulin, glucose may not be properly absorbed, and it remains circulating in your bloodstream, which is dangerous for the body.
Persistently high blood sugar levels is a condition known as “hyperglycemia” and it can develop into a whole host of health issues if not properly controlled. At first, you may feel hungry because your cells aren’t getting the energy they need to function properly. And what do we do when we feel hungry? We eat more.
However, when your insulin isn’t working as it should, the calories you consume can’t be properly utilized for energy, and a significant proportion ends up circulating and getting stored as fat. Not good. Also, hyperglycemia stresses your kidneys as they try to flush the excess sugar out of your blood, taking a lot of bodily fluid with it. The resulting dehydration can adversely affect your concentration, blood pressure, and kidneys and leave you feeling lethargic and unwell. Nothing good here.
Such problems have been linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and even developing certain types of cancer.
Health problems related to blood sugar imbalances are growing rapidly, storing up serious problems for later. Don’t be one of them. Manage your blood sugar.
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