How Much Sugar is Too Much Sugar?

When did you last get a glucose check?

A hectic lifestyle makes it challenging to keep track of what you eat. Many people miss out on home-cooked or healthy meals to keep their work life up to date. Weight gain, improper meals with high carbohydrates, stress levels, and hormonal fluctuations may cause changes in your blood sugar normal level. It is essential to track whether your body utilises the sugar you consume instead of accumulating it over time.

What is the ideal glucose range for you?

The normal value for fasting blood glucose concentration is between 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) and 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L). A random blood sugar test shows these values should be less than 140mg/dL.

When your blood sugar values are above 140-190mg/dL, it can indicate pre-diabetes, and anything above 200 mg/dL is established as diabetes.

Similarly, a person with low fasting blood glucose is classified as hypoglycemic, i.e., below 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L).

Increased fasting blood glucose concentration (hyperglycemia) indicates a higher risk of Diabetes. High blood glucose levels show symptoms like weight loss, increased urination, increased thirst, and fruity-smelling breath.

A test known as HB1AC checks blood sugar values as an aggregate of three months to ensure sustained low or high blood sugar levels.

How does eating sugar-based foods cause problems?

Your body metabolises sugar, otherwise referred to as glucose, into energy so it can be used by the body to function correctly. Sugar is derived from the food and drinks you consume and is used by your body when required.

Insulin works to shift or store glucose from the blood into the tissues and cells. After a meal, the glucose levels increase in the blood at a rapid pace. The pancreas then responds by releasing just enough insulin to counter the high glucose level in the blood. This causes the blood glucose level to return to normal.

If you have diabetes, there are two reasons which may cause blood sugar to rise:

  • The pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin.
  • Insulin does not have the desired effect on blood glucose levels.

Due to either of these situations, the glucose level in the blood remains high. As a result, it causes hyperglycemia (increased blood sugar) or diabetes mellitus.

Hypoglycemia is a condition associated with low blood sugar levels caused due to excess insulin, hormonal disorders, or liver disease.

What happens to your body in case of high or low glucose levels?

Low blood sugar: A sudden drop in blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) can cause symptoms like:

  • Clammy, pale skin
  • Hunger
  • Shivering
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heart-rate
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Vision problems
  • Tingling on the skin
  • Loss of consciousness

Long-term hypoglycemia can cause the following:

  • Continuous or recurring headaches
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Anxiety/depression
  • Tingling/numbness of the lips, tongue, or cheek
  • Confusion, not able to perform regular tasks
  • Loss of coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurry vision
  • Nightmares

Severe hypoglycemia may cause the following:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures

High blood sugar: High blood sugar symptoms are:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Breath smells fruity
  • Confused thoughts
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Unplanned weight loss

Long-term effects of hyperglycemia are as follows:

High sugar levels lower the ability of your pancreas to make insulin over time. The pancreas overcompensates, causing the insulin levels to stay too high. As time passes, the pancreas becomes permanently damaged.

Sustained high blood glucose levels can cause the hardening of the blood vessels, also called atherosclerosis.

If an exact diagnosis and treatment are not made for changes in blood sugar levels, there is a chance for the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, blood vessels, and other organs to be damaged in the long run. In addition, keeping tabs on your blood glucose levels allows you and your physician to know if you are at risk or already have hypoglycemia or diabetes.

Diabetic coma:

Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome (HHNS) is a serious complication that can lead to coma and even death with either type I or type II Diabetes. A diabetic coma can happen when your body is severely dehydrated and your blood sugar levels are too high.

How to not fall prey to the complications of fluctuating sugar levels?

The best way to maintain a normal blood sugar level is to keep track of glucose by getting a test done at least once a year in healthy individuals, those above 45 years of age, and women diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Diabetes or pre-diabetes should be tested every six months to rule out other complications.

Some lifestyle changes that can help lower blood sugar levels are:

  • Diet modifications
  • Exercise
  • Stress regulation
  • Monitoring intake of medications like steroids
  • A regular meal plan with ample fibre, whole grains, and vegetables
  • Weight control
  • Alcohol limitations
  • Avoiding too much fast food
  • Avoid smoking

Some beneficial tips for hypoglycemia

  • Eat small meals frequently.
  • Avoid foods high in trans fat.
  • Include foods in your meals with a low glycemic index.
  • Reduce refined sugars.
  • Eat lean protein.
  • Opt for a high-fibre diet.
  • Reduce alcohol intake.
  • Carry high-energy drinks in case of emergency.

What do you take away from this?

Diabetes or hypoglycemia can be severe health problems. Currently, there is no permanent cure for fluctuating blood sugar levels. Still, it can be managed with lifestyle and diet changes.

Increased or decreased blood sugar levels can cause severe symptoms over time. Therefore, an effort must be made to monitor blood sugar levels regularly and seek medical consultation and care when required. In addition, with the rise in cases of lifestyle health issues, it is imperative to track your sugar intake regularly.


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