Having normal blood glucose levels is crucial in keeping a healthy, active life. Any significant variation from the normal levels of glucose in the blood could result to serious health conditions that could impede a person from living a full life.
What is Blood Glucose?
Blood glucose is a type of sugar found in the blood. When a person eats, there is a sudden rise in the blood glucose level, but this is just normal since the food contains a certain amount of sugar. As a result, the pancreas will release insulin to regulate the normal blood glucose levels in the body. Insulin is a hormone that transports glucose to the cells so that it can be used. But if the cell does not need the glucose, it would be transferred into the liver and muscles for storage. Therefore, insulin and glucose work well together.
If there is an increase in the blood glucose levels in the body,or if the normal blood glucose levels are not maintained, there is a possibility for the person to develop diabetes. Diabetes is a common diseasein which the blood glucose levels are high (hyperglycemia), causing different kinds of symptoms and complications to occur. If the person has normal blood glucose levels, the insulin can effectively transport glucose to the cells and the blood vessels are not yet occluded by high amounts of glucose. However, too much glucose in the blood makes the insulin’s workload heavy and it cannot efficiently carry all of the glucose, thus, the excess blood glucose will accumulate in the blood which causes viscous blood. The viscous blood will occlude the blood vessels which in turn may result to damaged vessels.
Functions of blood glucose in the body
When a person eats carbohydrate-containing food, the carbohydrate will be converted to a simple sugar called glucose so that it can be utilized by the body properly. The glucose in the blood serves as a source of energy for human beings. The body needs normal blood glucose levels to be able to conduct all the activities for daily living. Furthermore, the brain cannot function well if there is not enough blood glucose supply, thus, psychological impairment may be also experienced.
For some reason an individual cannot eat via his or her mouth, he/she is provided with intravenous feeding or nasogastric tube feeding of glucose solution to ensure proper nourishment. Indeed, glucose is really vital for the body to properly function because it is the body’s energy source.
Diagnostic tests for blood glucose
In order for a person to know if he or she has normal blood glucose levels, he/she must undergo tests that can measure the level of glucose in the blood accurately. The normal blood glucose levels are from 70 to 110 mg per dl. There are several types of tests that can help determine whether a person has normal blood glucose levels or not.
- Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
The person should not drink or eat at midnight before the test is conducted. During the test, a blood sample is taken by pricking an area on the body to draw the blood and a glucometer will read the blood glucose level. After the baseline data had been taken, the person is given food containing glucose. After about 30 to 60 minutes, another blood specimen is taken and the blood glucose level is read. This is repeated for the next two hours. As the blood glucose levels slowly reduce as time wears off, a person will ideally achieve normal blood glucose levels two hours after eating. If a person cannot attain normal blood glucose levels after 2 hours, he or she could possibly have diabetes mellitus.
- Fasting Blood Glucose Test
In fasting blood glucose test, the normal blood glucose levels are 100 mg per dl and below. If the blood glucose levels reach as high as 126 mg per dl, the person is said to have diabetes mellitus. In preparation for the test, the person needs to fast for 12 to 14 hours before the test, but he or she is allowed to drink water only. For those who have diabetes, the oral medications or insulin shots are likewise delayed for 12 to 14 hours to be able to obtain accurate results for the test.
- Random Plasma Glucose Test
For this examination, the blood glucose is taken without the need for fasting. The normal blood glucose levels for this test is 200 mg per dl; hence, if the results came back with more than 200 mg per dl, then the person is further examined for the confirmation of diabetes.
- HemoglobinA1c Test
Usually, health care providers use the HaemoglobinA1c test as the confirmatory test for diabetes. Hemoglobin carries oxygen to the different tissues of the body but if hemoglobin is surrounded with glucose, it cannot transport oxygen properly. If a person controls his or her blood glucose properly, the normal blood glucose levels would be 4 to 5.9%; while an 8% indicates that the blood glucose levels are not well controlled.
Maintaining normal blood glucose levels in the body is important for a person’s well-being. It makes the person healthy and at lower risk of developing conditions that plague those who have either high or low levels of blood glucose.