The blood sugar level is very important for everybody. If we didn’t have sugar in our blood, we wouldn’t exist. Fortunately, nature has configured it so that our bodies can produce sugar on their own. Anyone who completely refrains from sugar intake still has sugar in his/her blood.
A healthy person has a blood sugar content of 100 milligrams of sugar per deciliter of blood plasma. We are talking about blood that does not contain blood cells.
A blood sugar level of zero milligrams per deciliter of blood (blood without sugar) is incompatible with human life. He would be dead immediately, which applies not only to diabetics but also to healthy people.
Red blood cells
The presence of red blood cells is the only reason that ‘Mother Nature’ gave us a blood sugar level. The fact that our blood is red is related to red blood cells, which are also called erythrocytes.
If our blood did not contain erythrocytes, it would be a fairly clear liquid. The red blood cells are formed in the bone marrow. However, some cellular organs are lost during the maturation process.
That is why erythrocytes cannot use anything other than pure sugar as an energy source. As a result, there should always be blood sugar, otherwise the red cells would die. The body can make sugar on its own.
Even those who only drank spring water and ate nothing for weeks could keep their blood sugar level at least 60 milligrams per deciliter.
This effect is also known as gluconeogenesis. You would survive a period of famine, in a bad mood, but without permanent physical damage.
Blood sugar levels are measured irregularly in healthy people, often as part of a medical checkup. For people with diabetes, regular blood glucose monitoring is part of the therapy.
Blood sugar levels in diabetes
Diabetes mellitus (diabetes) is a metabolic disorder in which blood sugar levels are permanently high.
The hormone insulin, which is produced in the pancreas, is responsible for regulating the blood sugar level and ensures that every cell in the body receives enough energy, in the form of sugar. If this supply is interrupted, we are talking about diabetes.
There are 3 main types of diabetes
- Type-1 diabetes: If it is type 1 diabetes, the cell responsible for insulin production is not working properly and the amount of insulin produced is no longer sufficient. Therefore, insulin has to be supplied to the body. Relatively few people are affected by this type of diabetes: only 5% have type 1 diabetes.
- Type-2 diabetes: Most patients suffer from this type of diabetes. The problem is that insulin hardly triggers a reaction in the body. The cells are insulin resistant. Although the body still produces insulin, there is a deficiency of insulin.
- Gestational diabetes: A metabolic disorder occurs especially during pregnancy.
Older people in particular have to deal with type-2 diabetes. But times have changed and children and adolescents are now also affected by this disease.
Diabetics do not usually die of diabetes itself, but secondary diseases are responsible for premature death. For example, vascular occlusions can cause a stroke or heart attack. These can be fatal.
How does blood sugar measurement work?
By measuring blood sugar, the amount of glucose in a predetermined blood volume is measured. The unit used is usually milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood (mg/dl).
The measurement is made with a small amount of blood: to do this, prick the tip of your finger with a small lancet, and place the leaking blood on a test strip. This is inserted into a glucose blood meter, which evaluates the test strip and displays the value of blood glucose.
Many people feel extremely limited in measuring their blood sugar levels on a regular basis. However, it is clear that only those who continuously monitor it can identify unhealthy blood sugar levels early and avoid further damage.
A physician provides information on the frequency and type of measurement that is individually tailored to the patient.
High and low blood sugar: what happens in the body?
With blood sugar values greater than 600 mg/dl, diabetic hyperosmolaremia is medically referred to, that is, the blood becomes thicker and the osmotic pressure increases.
In this case, you should see a doctor immediately. In addition to high blood sugar levels, hyperosmolaremia can also have other causes, such as taking high doses of corticosteroids, high alcohol consumption, stress, or infections.
Symptoms of high sugar levels
- Increased need to urinate.
- Excessive thirst.
- Leg cramps.
There are several indications of an elevated blood sugar level that appear early. In some cases, patients feel extremely weak, flaccid, and highly fatigued.
In general, they feel listless and depressed. A marked feeling of thirst and dry mouth may be the result of an excessively high blood sugar level. The skin often begins to itch. Visual disturbances are also possible. There is increased urination. The symptoms are even more drastic when the sugar level is very high.
Patients lose weight and often experience cramps and muscle pain. Abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting can also occur. A disturbed consciousness and a state of confusion are possible too. Also, a high sugar level can lead to unconsciousness.
Causes of an increase in blood sugar level
Insulin resistance often plays a decisive role in the causes of high blood sugar levels. The cells of a sick person’s body respond less to the hormone insulin than the cells of a healthy person’s body.