According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 13% of adults in the United States live with diabetes. Another 34.5 have prediabetes. This means that roughly half of the adult population in the U.S. has a problem with their blood sugar level.
Long-term high blood sugar categories can lead to limb and life-threatening complications. Blood sugar management helps curtail these risks. This article will take a deep dive into how lowering your blood sugar levels improve your overall health.
What is blood sugar level and how is it measured?
Carbohydrate, your major energy source, is broken down into little molecules called glucose. This glucose is absorbed into your bloodstream. In response, insulin is released from your pancreas to push the glucose in the bloodstream into cells either to generate energy or for storage. The amount of glucose circulating in your blood at any given time is your blood glucose or blood sugar level.
Blood glucose level is measured with either of these two tests:
- Fasting glucose: measure your blood glucose after 8 hours of overnight fasting.
- Hemoglobin A1C: also known as glycated hemoglobin. It gives an overview of your blood glucose level over the last 2-3 months.
What is the healthy blood sugar range?
According to the World Health Organization, the healthy range for blood sugar are:
- fasting blood glucose between 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) and 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L).
- An A1C level below 5.7%
Prediabetes and diabetes set in when these thresholds are crossed. This rise in blood glucose is associated with complications affecting several body organs.
The health benefits of lowering blood sugar
For individuals with pre-diabetes or at risk of diabetes, it helps to lose weight. Some of the lifestyle changes in lowering blood sugar hinge on weight loss. This also reduces the risk of development of type 2 diabetes in them.
However, for individuals with type 2 diabetes, the mainstay of management is lowering their blood sugar level. In a study by Jay Skyler, a professor of medicine at the University of Miami, good glycemic control was established to reduce the complications of type 2 diabetes.
Heart diseases and diabetes walk hand in hand. People with diabetes are most likely to have conditions that raise the risk of heart disease. Keeping the blood glucose within the recommended limit reduces the risk of high blood pressure and increased bad cholesterol—two of the most important factors implicated in heart diseases.
In a Finnish study published in the Annals of Medicine journal, a linear relationship was found between cardiovascular mortality and glycemic control, which means that the poorer the glycemic control, the worse the risk of heart disease.
High blood glucose causes damage to the tiny vessels that supply your nerves. The damage leads to the death of these nerves. When this happens in the feet, it leads to insensitive feet and ultimately diabetic foot ulcers. This has led to lots of limb amputations. Maintaining good glycemic control is pertinent and central to preventing this damage, concluded a 2016 study in the Journal of Vascular Surgery.
Poorly controlled diabetes can damage the tiny blood vessel clusters in your kidneys. These vessels are tasked with removing waste products from your blood. The damage causes an accumulation of salt and water in the body, which leads to high blood pressure. This, in turn, damages the kidney even further, establishing a feedback loop. Close monitoring of blood glucose has been established as a central part of preventing kidney diseases in people managing diabetes.
Hyperglycemia leads to damage to the small vessels in your eyes and causes diabetic retinopathy. The process can start as early as during the prediabetes stage.
Research has shown that lowering blood glucose reduces this risk. Although it doesn’t reverse the damages, it prevents further damage and preserves the remaining vision.
Inflammation is central to the development of arteriosclerosis, a condition that precedes stroke. Glucose is a highly inflammatory substance. Consistently high blood sugar has been linked with an increased incidence of cerebrovascular accidents. Studies showed that reducing the blood sugar level reduces the incidence of stroke.
Poor management of blood sugar levels causes decreased libido, arousal inability, decreased sensations, and erectile dysfunction. In women, it has also been noted to cause intercourse-related pain. Men with diabetes are three times more likely to have erectile dysfunction. Proper control of blood sugar levels has been shown to delay and prevent this.
Monitoring your blood sugar level
Monitoring your blood sugar level is an important step in diabetes management. It determines the approach that will be used for your care after diagnosis. Also, in the course of your management, your doctors will make clinical decisions based on these figures.
The Klinio app helps with monitoring your blood sugar level. It provides an easy interface for logging in and storing your daily blood sugar levels. This enables you to watch how well you control your diabetes and make the data available to your physicians.
How to lower blood sugar levels
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) stated that exercise is a crucial part of managing diabetes. Exercise increases insulin sensitivity, pushing sugar into your cells.
Watch the type of carbs you consume. Focus more on good carbs with lots of fibers. Avoid foods that have deleterious effects on your blood sugar. The Klinio app employs dieticians to develop meal plans ideal for individuals managing diabetes.
Obesity, especially truncal obesity, is central to diabetes and its complications. Weight reduction is, therefore, one of the crucial steps in managing diabetes.
Use your medications as prescribed by your doctor. This might be pills or, in severe cases, involve the use of insulin injections.
Diabetes has multiple effects on different organs of the body if not properly managed. The eyes, kidneys, heart, and nerves are some of the worst hits. However, multiple studies have shown that lowering blood glucose helps prevent these complications. This is why we at Klinio are dedicated to helping you live a full life with proper blood glucose control.