Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blood Sugar and Diabetes

If you watch television, you’ve probably seen ads related to blood sugar testing. The incidence of diabetes is rising, right along with Americans’ waistlines. Diabetes occurs when the body cannot regulate blood sugars. Uncontrolled diabetes increases your risk for eye problems including blindness, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and nerve damage. Data from 2007 indicate that 23.6 million children and adults in the United States—7.8% of the population—have diabetes, and the number is growing is each year (

What is considered a healthy blood sugar (glucose) level? Glucose levels are measured through a blood test where the sample is drawn by a medical professional from a vein or by a finger stick. There are a variety of tests and the kind of test done determines what a healthy level is, as shown below:

• Fasting (at least 8 hrs since eating): normal range is 70-99 mg; beginning of diabetic range is 126 mg

• Two hours after beginning last meal: normal range is 70-145 mg; beginning of diabetic range is 200 mg

• Random: normal range is 70-125 mg; beginning of diabetic range is 200 mg*

* Other symptoms must be present such as increased thirst and frequent urination (especially at night), unexplained increase in appetite, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, erection problems, blurred vision, and tingling or numbness in the hands or feet

There are several risk factors for diabetes. We’ll look at those next time. In the meantime, make sure you speak to your doctor about how often you need to get your blood sugar level checked. (Unless otherwise noted, the source I used for this article was

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