The older we get, how harder it is to stay healthy. Not only does our age change, but our body also gets more and more ailments. If you do not intercept these ailments in time, it can lead to major physical problems. That’s why it’s important that as you get older, you visit your doctor regularly to check things like your blood sugar levels, hearing, sight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. No matter how healthy you feel, get these things checked regularly and prevent major health problems in the future, such as diabetes type 2, arthritis, and heart disease.
Warning Signs of Hypoglycemia
Normal blood sugar levels are important for everyone, regardless of gender, age, or race. This will help prevent or delay severe health problems vision loss, and kidney diseases. Keeping your levels within your target range is important because having low blood sugar – also called hypoglycemia – or high blood sugar – also called hyperglycemia – are both very dangerous. Warning signs of hypoglycemia are:
- Fast heartbeat
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Irritability or confusion
Warning signs of Hyperglycemia
It’s also possible that you don’t experience symptoms at all. This makes it much harder to treat your low blood sugar and can be very dangerous. People suffering from diabetes for more than 5 years, or frequently have low blood sugar or take medicines, like beta-blockers, have an increased risk of hypoglycemia unawareness, so if you fall in (one of) these categories, make sure to check your blood sugar level regularly. Warning signs of hyperglycemia are:
- Increased thirst
- Dry mouth
- Peeing more frequently than normal
- Blurred vision
- (Unintentional) weight loss
- Recurrent infections, like UTI’s, thrush and/or skin infections
When you experience these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your professional healthcare provider, because long-term high blood sugar can indicate diabetes. This isn’t the only reason for low or high blood sugar.
Before I tell you about possible causes and treatments, it’s good to know what blood sugar actually is, what a healthy – thus normal – range should be, and how someone can measure this. Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is the main sugar found in the bloodstream. Glucose comes from foods and drinks you consume and is the body’s main energy source. To measure if you’ve got high,- low,- or healthy blood sugar levels, you’ve got a special test called the A1C test. This test is done by your healthcare provider and, measures your blood sugar level for the past 3 months to see a good average. This test will tell you if you have healthy blood sugar levels, or that you’re suffering from prediabetes or diabetes.
Blood Sugar Levels Chart
The test tells you in percentages if your blood sugar is healthy. The big question is? What percentage is healthy and what is too high or even dangerous? Well, your normal A1C level is about 5%. An increased risk of diabetes, also called prediabetes, is an A1C level of 5.7% to 6.4%. 6.5% or above means your blood sugar levels are also dangerously high, and you’re (possibly) suffering from diabetes type 2 and start treatment immediately. It is possible that the A1C may show different figures, in which case blood sugar levels are reported in estimated average glucose (eAG). These figures are also shown on a blood sugar meter, which is for most people more familiar. A1C levels work only for high blood sugar levels, in case you want to test if you’re suffering from hypoglycemia, you should use a blood glucose meter or visit your healthcare provider to test your blood sugar levels. A blood sugar level below 70 mg/dL is considered low blood sugar.
Causes of High & Low Blood Sugar Levels
Both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia have many causes. Possible causes of low blood sugar are taking too much insulin, drinking alcohol, hot & humid weather, unexpected changes in your schedule, spending time in your schedule, menstruation, and going through puberty. Low blood sugar is divided into 2 types, which are nighttime low blood sugar ad severe low blood sugar. High blood sugar causes undiagnosed diabetes, stress, dehydration, a lack of exercise, eating too much, and taking certain medications.
Maybe the biggest question is, are both problems treatable or maybe curable? Well, prevention is the best cure! Maintaining healthy blood sugar is always the best option. You do this by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. How do you do that? Have a healthy diet with lots of vitamins and few unhealthy fats and sugars, quit smoking and drinking (excessive) alcohol, keep the caffeine to a minimum, sleep an average of 8 hours per night, and get plenty of exercises – preferably 30 minutes a day and get regular checkups with your professional healthcare provider, so you know where you need to pay more or less attention.
Are There Any Treatment Options?
Both health problems have their own treatment options. In case you’re diagnosed with (diabetes and have symptoms of) hyperglycemia, treatment options are: get physical, take your medication, change your diet, and/or adjust your insulin doses – make sure to discuss this with your healthcare provider first. In case of severe hyperglycemia, make sure to call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately. You need medical help to lower your blood sugar levels.
Treating Low Blood Sugar Levels
Treating low blood sugar is a different story. When your blood sugar levels are between 55 and 69 ml/dL, you must use the 15.15 rule; have 15 grams of carbs and check your blood sugar again after 15 minutes. If it’s still below 70 mg/dL, repeat the rule until it’s back to healthy levels. If your blood sugar levels are below 55 mg/dL, you have severely low blood sugar. This can be difficult to treat by yourself. The 15/15 rule might not work here. What will help is injectable glucagon – which must be prescribed by your healthcare provider. Make sure that your loved ones recognize these signs and know what they should do, in case you faint. If the injection doesn’t work or your blood sugar is still low after 20 minutes of treatment: make sure to call 911!
All these things have an influence on your life and your blood sugar levels. If you want to change your lifestyle, make sure to talk with your doctor to discuss these things. Not everything has to apply to you or your loved ones, but make sure to keep them in mind. Adjusting your day-to-day life can be a drastic thing, so make sure you do plenty of online research about blood sugar levels, meal plans, foods, vitamins, and other treatment options.