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Monitoring Blood Glucose Levels.

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Introduction

Monitoring Blood Glucose Levels Maintaining normal blood glucose levels greatly reduces the risk of experiencing complications due to diabetes. Whether an individual has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, regular use of a glucose monitor to determine blood sugar levels will help determine what adjustments to diet, oral medications, or insulin injections may be necessary to achieve good control. What's Glucose? Glucose is a simple form of sugar. Dextrose, fructose, sucrose and other forms of sugar are broken down into glucose so the body can use it for energy or store it for later use. What Does Insulin Do? In a normally functioning body, the intake of food triggers the release of a corresponding amount of insulin. As food is digested, the bloodstream carries the nutrients to the various cells where insulin "unlocks" the door and allows the cells to use the glucose. With diabetes, the body is unable to make or properly use insulin so sugar remains in the bloodstream. Normal Blood Glucose Levels Blood sugar levels are considered within the normal range when they measure between 80 and 120 mg/dl after fasting. The goal is to keep blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. Low blood sugar can occur suddenly. Its symptoms can include dizziness, shakiness, weakness, sweating, nervousness, irritability and hunger. ...read more.

Middle

Liver glycogen serves as an immediate energy reservoir, available to replenish falling blood glucose levels. There is another possible destination of glucose produced from excess carbohydrates in the diet - one that most people don't usually appreciate. And that is the fat cell. While carbohydrates are not "'fattening' consuming more than the body's immediate energy needs leads to fat storage. Once transformed into fat, there is minimal conversion back to glucose. But we can't just live on carbohydrates. Protein, for instance, is essential for proper immune system function, tissue growth, cell maintenance and repair. Protein also supplies 4 calories per gram, but using it for the body's energy needs is not its most important function. Protein is also essential for water balance in the body. This is one reason why carbohydrates and proteins must both be consumed, and why their intake must stay in balance. For example, each pound of carbohydrate stored in the body results in the retention of three pounds of water. Therefore, protein is necessary to help regulate excessive water retention. There is also a complex relationship between carbohydrates and proteins in maintenance of stable blood glucose levels. As mentioned, carbohydrates raise blood glucose levels - sometimes very rapidly. Protein will influence the rate of carbohydrate absorption to allow slower, more gradual increases in the blood glucose. ...read more.

Conclusion

* Try to avoid extra carbohydrates. * If you use insulin, ask your doctor about gradually increasing your dose. * Consult your health care team. CONTRACEPTIVES : Birth control pills and the IUD work by altering hormone concentrations in the blood. This, in turn, can affect your blood glucose levels. In some women these devices can increase insulin resistance. On the other hand, one type of birth control pill-a monophasic pill- which releases a steady amount of hormones throughout your cycle may even help keep your blood glucose swings to a minimum. In any event, your health care team can help you choose the birth control method that's best for you. PREGNANCY: women who use insulin often have to increase their insulin dose over the course of pregnancy to maintain tight control of glucose levels. Some women need to increase their dose considerably, especially in the last trimester because pregnancy releases hormones that create insulin resistance. This increase in insulin resistance is normal. You and your health care team should decide how to change your insulin schedule and dose. After delivery, your blood glucose levels may swing unpredictably because your hormone levels and general body chemistry are still in flux. You may require less insulin for the first three to four weeks. If you find that keeping good blood glucose control is difficult, talk it over with your health care team. ...read more.

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