Blood glucose screening
Your blood glucose level
Your blood glucose level as determined during your screening test tells how your body handles food as the body is turning what you eat or drink into glucose (sugar) for fuel. The body begins to turn some juices or liquids into sugar within 15 minutes. The chart below will help you interpret your blood glucose level.
Time blood glucose (BG) is checked
Expected BG level for that time
|Fasting (no food or drink for 8-12 hours||Less than 100 mg/dl|
|BG two hours after a meal||Less than 140 mg/dl|
|Pre-diabetes/glucose intolerance||Fasting BG between 100-125/Two hours after a meal, BG higher than 140 but less than 200|
|Diabetes may already be present||Fasting BG higher than 126; BG value over 200 no matter when you ate|
|If diabetes has already been diagnosed||Before meal, BG should be 80-120 one to two hours; 180 one to two hours after a meal; less than 140 two hours after a meal and at bedtime|
If your blood glucose today is not within the recommended guidelines, this does not necessarily mean you have diabetes. However, if your blood glucose levels are not within these guidelines, you should talk with your physician and have a follow-up check at his or her office. Regardless of your blood glucose today, it is important to know the most common signs of diabetes:
- Passing urine often
- More hunger but with weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Skin infections
- Slow healing of cuts or scratches
- More thirst
- Rapid weight loss
- Weakness and tiredness
- Numbness in hands and feet
- Having vaginal infections often
Diabetes: The diagnosis
Diabetes is a life-long disease characterized by either low insulin levels or resistance to insulin, which causes high levels of glucose in the blood. Treatments include meal planning and exercise. Some may also need glucose-lowering medications.
The number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes has risen sharply in the past decade -- climbing 70 percent among people in their 30’s. Some 17 million Americans have the disease, characterized by an inability to regulate blood sugar or glucose. Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure and limb amputation and raises the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 is when the body does not produce any insulin and daily insulin injections are necessary. Type 2 may be controlled by meal planning and exercise, possibly in combination with insulin or diabetes pills.
Living better with diabetes
You can live better with diabetes by:
- Following your doctor’s and healthcare team’s advice about medication and self-management of your diabetes.
- Following your meal plan.
- Exercising regularly to lower glucose levels.
- Taking care of your feet and having annual eye exams.
There is no cure for diabetes. The short-term goal is to stabilize your blood sugar and eliminate the side effects of high or low blood sugar. The long-term goal is to prolong life and prevent complications such as heart disease and kidney failure.
Basic diabetes management skills include:
- Recognizing and treating low blood sugar and high blood sugar
- Knowing what to eat and when
- Knowing how to take insulin or oral medication
- Learning to test and record blood glucose
- Testing urine for ketones (for Type 1)
- Adjusting insulin and/or food intake when changing exercise and eating habits
- Handling sick days
- Buying and storing diabetes supplies.
When you have diabetes, every bite that you put into your mouth is important. Just like everyone else, you should be following a low-fat diet that includes a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish and chicken and no-fat or low-fat dairy. Your registered dietitian will help you tailor a meal plan to your particular needs.
Generally speaking, those with Type 1 diabetes should plan meals designed to keep your blood glucose level as near to normal as possible. Meals, medications, and exercise should be balanced according to your body chemistry and your daily schedule.
For those with Type 2 diabetes, additional consideration is given to planning meals to provide good control of your blood glucose and blood pressure levels, better blood fat levels and a healthy weight.
When it comes to sugar, people with diabetes can have foods that contain limited amounts of the "sweet stuff." If your doctor approves, you can also have one to two alcoholic drinks a day. However, you should drink the alcoholic beverage with food.
Working it out
Moving it is a great way to lower your blood glucose level. Before starting an exercise program, be sure to check with your doctor and find out what he or she recommends as an activity level.
Here are some basic guidelines for getting started:
- Start slowly. If you’ve been a couch potato, a 10-minute walk two or three times a week may be enough for the first week or two.
- Warm up before your exercise and cool down afterward by walking slowly for five to seven minutes. End your workout with gentle stretches.
- Test your blood glucose level before you exercise. Don’t exercise if it is higher than 250 mg/dl and/or if there are ketones in your urine. If you have Type 1 diabetes and your glucose level is less than 100 mg/dl, have a carbohydrate food as a snack before exercising.
- Try to exercise at the same time each day to make the effect on your blood glucose more predictable. An hour after a meal or snack is a good time to work out.
- Be prepared to treat hypoglycemia by carrying juice, a soft drink, glucose tablets or gel, or other sugar source with you. If you feel a reaction coming on, stop and treat it right away.
- Always have a diabetes ID card or medallion with you.
- Stop exercising if you feel sick, dizzy, out of breath or if exercising becomes painful.
Foot care: The bottom line
People with diabetes may have trouble with their feet because of poor blood flow and nerve damage. Injuries may take longer to heal. Take care to prevent them from ever happening.
See your doctor or podiatrist if you injure your foot, have cuts or breaks in the skin, an ingrown toenail, the skin changes color or if you experience a numb or tingling sensation.
Good foot care includes:
- Wash and carefully dry them each day. Put on lotion.
- Check them for sores, calluses, red spots, swelling and blisters each day.
- If you injure your foot, clean it immediately with soap and water and call your doctor.
- Carefully cut your toenails to follow the curve of your nail.
- Don’t buy tight shoes.
- Wear socks that fit and do not have big seams or bumps.
- Don’t walk barefoot.
Help for living with diabetes
Your doctor/diabetes educator can help guide you to resources for better living with diabetes. Baptist Health Paducah's online Health Encyclopedia has a wealth of information about diabetes under its Disease section.
For help on a personal level, Baptist Health Paducah offers daytime and evening classes plus individual education sessions. Nutritional counseling is also available. There is no extra charge for bringing a guest who can help you with taking notes and learning the ropes about caring for yourself. To learn more, click the link above, or phone Baptist Health Line at (270) 575-2918.