The blood sugar level, blood sugar concentration, or blood glucose level is the concentration of ... The normal blood glucose level (tested while fasting) for non-diabetics, should be between 3.9 and 7.1 mmol/L (70 to 130 mg/dL). The global ...

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Blood sugar and glucose levels: what they mean, and what they should be 

How much sugar is in your diet? Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA

Your blood sugar level is in constant flux, depending on what you''s a crucial tool for diabetes sufferers, as they need to manage their body''re asleep. Low blood glucose level can wake the person up or lead to headaches, tiredness and sweat-soaked sheets in the morning.

What are the symptoms of high blood sugar?

The symptoms of high blood sugar level occur when diabetes is uncontrolled, regardless of the type of diabetes. Typically, the patient experiences thirst, dry mouth, frequent urination, blurred vision and tiredness. In more extreme cases, weight loss can occur. 

Occasional mild periods of high blood sugar level are non-threatening. They can require treatment or return to normal levels on their own. But frequent or severe episodes can be dangerous and can lead to coma.

What happens if I don’t control my blood sugar?

Poorly controlled blood glucose levels can lead to health complications, warns Dr Song. “High glucose levels over a prolonged period, usually over several years, can damage the blood vessels in the eyes, kidneys, nerves and legs (peripheral vascular disease and gangrene). It can cause a heart attack or stroke. Apart from poor diabetes control, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels also contribute to these complications. These risk factors are common in type 2 diabetes. Adequate treatment of the blood pressure and cholesterol levels are as important as managing the glucose control to reduce the complications.

“Type 2 diabetes is often not diagnosed in the early stages due to lack of symptoms. As a consequence, approximately 50 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes have some form of complications at diagnosis.”

How to monitor and test your blood sugar levels

At home, the blood glucose level can be checked by the person with diabetes using a finger prick test with a blood glucose meter. This method checks the glucose level in the capillary blood obtained from the finger prick.

“It is important that the finger is clean and not contaminated by any glucose-containing material when this test is done,” says Dr Song “as otherwise, it can lead to erroneous results. 

“This self-monitoring of blood glucose can help to guide diabetes treatment, especially with insulin injections, that will achieve a satisfactory glucose control.”

Do hot baths lower blood sugar levels?

There is evidence that hot baths do lower blood glucose levels. It could be a good alternative to exercise for some people who want to reduce their blood sugar levels. But doctors will point out that exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.

Can diabetes affect your thinking?

 Diabetes is associated with cognitive impairment but not everyone with diabetes will experience this. Older people with diabetes have been found to lose cognitive ability faster than those without the disease.

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