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Why Blood Glucose Levels Matter Even When You Don’t Take Insulin



 

Blood glucose levels (BGLs) are an important measure for individuals who have diabetes or prediabetes, but it could actually get old hearing about them. Plus, there’s often shame and stigma around type 2 and prediabetes, making it tempting to disregard the disease. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Well, not a lot. 

Because it seems, BGLs are sometimes talked about by providers for a reason—even in case you don’t use insulin to your diabetes management. Here’s why it’s essential to observe your BGLs, no matter your treatment plan.

The importance of managing blood glucose levels

While BGLs can seem insignificant, because the glucose is something we don’t actually see, they really do play an enormous role in how well our organs work in the long term. Having high and low BGLs can negatively impact the body, especially in the event that they occur ceaselessly.

Low blood sugar levels, or hypoglycemia, affect many parts of the body, including the endocrine system. Low BGLs cause epinephrine to be released, which is the “fight or flight” hormone. It will probably cause symptoms of hypoglycemia including shakiness, a rapid heart rate and sweating. Along with the endocrine system being affected, the central nervous system is activated if you find yourself sweaty and shaky, while the cardiovascular system is affected when you’ve gotten a quick heart rate. 

High BGLs also affect the body in other ways. The circulatory system could be negatively impacted if fatty deposits form within the partitions of blood vessels when BGLs are elevated commonly. This may result in restricted blood flow, contributing to heart disease, stroke and peripheral neuropathy—nerve damage within the hands and feet. 

High BGLs may impact the digestive system, resulting in the event of gastroparesis. This condition prevents the stomach from emptying completely; it could actually result in high BGLs and other unpleasant unwanted side effects.

Diabetes can definitely be a challenge to handle, but managing your BGLs now could be a approach to avoid a few of these complications in a while. And even in case you are someone with prediabetes, BGL management is very important to be able to delay and even avoid the onset of diabetes! 

The role of environmental aspects + food 

No matter your treatment plan, there are still many other aspects that impact BGLs. While many probably consider food first, there are other things that play a task too.

When it comes to food, carbohydrates are what break down into sugar and subsequently raise BGLs when digested. Carbs are present in many foods, from breads to vegetables to fruits.

Other aspects that may impact your blood glucose levels include movement, stress, illness and incorrect doses of diabetes medications. 

Stress can raise BGLs due to adrenaline and cortisol being released into the bloodstream, while being sick may additionally increase BGLs due to hormones that should make it easier to get well. Nonetheless, eating lower than usual when sick can, in turn, decrease BGLs. Exercise may decrease BGLs because your cells are higher capable of soak up glucose and use it as an energy source on account of increased insulin sensitivity. Nonetheless, different types of exercise may raise your glucose levels.

What are you able to do in case your blood glucose levels are high?

Everyone can have high BGLs now and again for quite a lot of reasons. When this happens, there are a few steps you’ll be able to take to assist lower them. 

  • For those who’re sick, follow your sick day plan as discussed between you and your medical provider.
  • For those who are vomiting and unable to maintain fluids down, it’s possible you’ll must seek emergency care. 
  • For those who are sick or have ketones, avoid exercising.
  • Even in case you usually are not sick, contact your medical team in case your BGL is amazingly high in case of emergency.
  • Go for a walk or a jog.
  • Drink loads of water or fluids with electrolytes to avoid dehydration.
  • Reflect on any possible reasons or changes in your routine that might play a task in causing high BGLs.

Medications aside from insulin

There are numerous medications and resources available to assist treat prediabetes and sort 2 diabetes besides insulin. Common ones include:

  • Biguanides, equivalent to Metformin, which increase insulin sensitivity.
  • DPP-4 Inhibitors, equivalent to Januvia and Tradjenta, which increase the quantity of insulin made by the pancreas when BGLs are high.
  • SGLT2 Inhibitors, including Jardiance and Farxiga, keep your kidneys from absorbing an excessive amount of sugar, and route the additional glucose through your urine so your BGLs don’t rise.
  • GLP-1 Antagonists, like Trulicity and Ozempic, increase the production of insulin when BGLs start to extend and likewise slows down the speed of digestion.

A lot of these medications work to assist lower BGLs, making it essential to still monitor them. You may monitor your BGLs with a blood glucose monitor (BGM) which measures the quantity of sugar directly in your blood, or a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), which measures the glucose in your interstitial fluid of body fat.

The advantages of CGMs

Studies have shown that CGMs are effective at decreasing BGLs. One study found that folks with type 2 diabetes using multiple every day injections (MDIs) and a CGM decreased their average A1c from 8.5% to 7.7%. 

Other benefits of CGMs include: 

  • With the ability to see your BGLs in real-time.
  • Seeing how your body responds to various factors like food, exercise, stress, heat, etc.
  • Catching and treating each high and low BGLs more quickly.
  • Having the flexibility to simply share data together with your healthcare team. 

To receive a CGM under Medicare or Medicaid, please contact your local state health exchange to examine your eligibility.

For those who are unable to get a CGM through a prescription, some firms offer a free trial—an ideal choice to get a way of how your BGLs are in real-time. You and your healthcare team can use that data to make informed decisions about your diabetes care. 

Managing BGLs, whether you’re someone with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, could be difficult, no matter your treatment plan. Nonetheless, your body will thanks in the long term for doing all of your best. For those who are on the lookout for support as you navigate life with diabetes, consider joining the Beyond Type 2 Community!


Editor’s Note: Educational content for newly diagnosed individuals with diabetes is made possible with support from Abbott, makers of the Freestyle Libre 3 system, a founding partner of Beyond Type 2. Editorial control rests solely with Beyond Type 2.

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