Sweet Blood: What Blood Sugar Is, And Why It’s So Commonly Discussed Today
Understanding blood sugar, and diabetes – a disease that currently affects at least 62 million Indians, along with the long-term consequences of the disease.
When we talk about health, one of the things that often comes up in discussions is blood sugar levels. What is blood sugar, and why must we work hard to maintain that?
Blood sugar or blood glucose is the level of glucose present in our blood. In healthy people, blood sugar levels are regulated by the hormone insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas. When the sugar levels in our body persistently remain too high, the cells in the pancreas are not able to make insulin. This is called diabetes.
Normal blood sugar levels are less than 100 mg/dL after fasting for eight hours or more, and 140 mg/dL two hours after eating.
Diabetes is a slow killer. Not only are the symptoms not obvious, it can also slowly wreak havoc on all parts of the body:
- Eventually, with consistent diabetes, the pancreas can get damaged.
- It can lead to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the blood vessels of the heart.
- Inflammation in the blood vessels and nerves is common in diabetics.
- People with diabetes are at an increased risk of strokes and heart attacks.
- Diabetics have a high risk of developing nerve damage.
- The eyes can also get damaged, leading to vision loss or complete blindness.
- Kidney disease or failure can occur.
- They have poor circulation of blood in the legs and feet.
- Erectile dysfunction can be caused due to diabetes.
- Diabetics’ wounds don’t heal quickly, and in some cases, it may lead to amputation.
- The immune system of people with diabetes is weak, leading to easily acquired infections.
In some people, the blood sugar level can fall down to dangerous levels, and they can even go into coma. In most healthy people, fasting or dieting does not cause the sugar level to fall below 60, as the liver turns fat and muscle into sugar, thus regulating the levels. But diabetics should take care not to have too much time between meals or snacks.
The reason blood sugar is more common a disease than it was earlier, is because it’s a lifestyle disease. A sedentary lifestyle, coupled with an unhealthy diet, stress, and frequent intake of alcohol in increasingly larger amounts cause diabetes in most people.
Once diabetes is contracted, it can be dangerous for each part of the body. New research shows that even hearing can be impaired due to diabetes.
Just by making a few changes in our regular lifestyle, we can avoid this deadly disease. Those who have a family history of diabetes, or those who have been diagnosed as pre-diabetics, should take stringent care to exercise regularly and eat a healthy and balanced diet.