About 30.3 million Americans have diabetes.* https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/diabetes-statistics
And about 88 million Americans have pre-diabetes, but about 80% are unaware they have a problem.* https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/prediabetes.html
Pre-diabetes increases your risk of developing diabetes (type 2), heart disease, and stroke.* https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/prediabetes.html
Understanding how blood sugar (glucose) works can help you better manage your levels and overall health, especially as you age.
How does blood glucose work?
Glucose is the primary fuel to support your body’s engine.
Your food is broken down in the gut and absorbed as glucose into your bloodstream.* https://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-05-molecular-mechanism-blood-sugar-diabetes.html
This process increases your blood glucose level, which triggers the release of insulin into your bloodstream.* https://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-05-molecular-mechanism-blood-sugar-diabetes.html
Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that acts like a key to let glucose into cells for use as energy.
As blood sugar levels rise, glucose transporter proteins are sent to muscle and fat cells to also help with the transfer of glucose into your cells for energy.* https://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-05-molecular-mechanism-blood-sugar-diabetes.html
When blood glucose levels soar
Blood glucose levels can rise due to eating too many carbs, having an infection, illness, stress, or because of lack of exercise.* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK545201/
Increased Risk factors for pre-diabetes include:* https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/prediabetes.html
- Excess body weight and fat
- Reaching age 45 years or older
- Relatives with type 2 diabetes (a parent, brother, or sister)
- Physically active LESS than 3 times a week
Symptoms of high blood glucose include:* https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/hyperglycemia/hyperglycemia-when-your-blood-glucose-level-goes-too-high
- Increased thirst and/or hunger
- Frequent urination
- Troublesome headaches
- Difficulty concentrating
- Blurred vision
- Frustrating fatigue
- Numbness in hands and feet
- Abdominal pain
- Uncomfortable nausea and/or vomiting
- Traces of sugar in your urine
It can also lead to central nervous system issues, coronary artery disease, cerebral vascular disease, chronic kidney disease, stroke, and more.* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK545201/
10 Smart steps to help balance blood glucose levels* https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/prediabetes.html
Whether you have pre-diabetes or diabetes or just want to stay healthy, there are many ways you can control your level of risk for further damage.
- Take your insulin (or glucose-lowering medication) as prescribed
- Avoid eating too many calories (i.e., sugary beverages)
Healthier meal planning – Including:
eating smaller meals more often
watching intake of sugar and carbohydrates
limiting alcohol use
eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and whole grains
- Lose excess weight – Even a small drop in weight can have a beneficial impact.
- Control stress – Balance a healthy lifestyle with:
- listening to music
- taking walks
- getting together with friends
- having fun!
- Stay active (exercising) – Maintaining regular activity can help your blood glucose level remain within a healthy range.
- See your doctor regularly – Tell your doctor if you have repeated abnormal blood glucose readings.
- Balance your blood glucose levels throughout the day
- Drink plenty of water
- Work with a trained coach to make realistic, lasting lifestyle changes
Vitamin and mineral supplements that help support healthy blood glucose and insulin levels include:
Antioxidants: Vitamins C, D, and E* https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27578124/?from_term=vitamin+e+blood+sugar&from_pos=9
Herbs: Bitter Melon,* https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31845444/?from_term=bitter+melon+and+blood+sugar&from_pos=1
Juniper Berries,* https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25429661/
Mulberry Leaf * https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28619294/
By maintaining healthy blood glucose levels, you can reduce your risk of these health complications.
Through medication (if prescribed), exercise, and careful meal planning, you can help keep your blood glucose level from climbing.
And that can help your overall health and well-being, especially as you age.
Take the CDC test to see if you may be at risk for pre-diabetes: