Being mindful of your blood sugar levels is critically important if you have diabetes. However, it is just as critical even for those who do not have the disease, say many endocrinologists. For those not aware, blood sugar is a type of sugar that comes from the foods we consume. When we digest food, a certain amount of the sugar in those foods move into the bloodstream. From there, it goes to various cells in the body that uses it for energy.
This process is essential as it enables the body to carry out a wide range of functions that support good overall health. However, having blood sugar levels that are too high or too low is another matter entirely insofar as either can result in short and even long-term health consequences. And this is precisely why so many endocrinologists and even general physicians often encourage those with and without diabetes to check their blood sugar levels regularly.
What Constitutes Normal When It Comes to Blood Sugar Levels?
For individuals who have diabetes, normal blood sugar levels are between 80 to 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) immediately after fasting and slightly less than 180 mg/dL a couple of hours after eating. Conversely, normal levels for those who do not have diabetes are between 70 and 99 mg/dL immediately after fasting and just under 140 mg/dL after consuming food. And all of this information is substantiated in a study published by the American Diabetes Association. In addition to certain foods, such as those high in carbohydrates, for example, the following can also spike blood sugar levels:
- Certain illnesses and medications
- Chronic pain
- Hormonal imbalances
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle
Along with these factors, it is not uncommon for women to experience a spike in blood sugar levels during their menstrual cycles. Among men and women alike, those who do not take their insulin medication as directed by their physician after being diagnosed with diabetes will almost always see a rise in blood sugar levels. Of course, it doesn’t end there in that many things can also cause blood sugar levels to fall too low, some of which include the following:
- Not consuming enough food
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Taking too much insulin medication
- Side effects brought on by other medications
Hormonal Imbalances and High Blood Sugar
In a study published by Science Daily, an online aggregator of science-related press releases, researchers revealed a correlation between insulin resistance and testosterone hormonal imbalances in men. The same was also said to be true of cortisol imbalances and insulin resistance. For reference, insulin resistance is the leading cause and one of the hallmark symptoms of type 2 diabetes. In another study, researchers noted a nexus between low estrogen levels and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in women. It is worth noting that these various hormonal imbalances usually stem from having low human growth hormone (HGH) levels in the blood.
Human Growth Hormones and Blood Sugar Levels
To understand how low HGH levels in the bloodstream can impact blood sugar, it helps to know more about the factors that contribute to a decline in the production of these all-important peptide hormones in the first place. For most men and women, the leading cause of low growth hormone production or a full-on deficiency is aging. After age 30, the pituitary gland, which is part of the body’s endocrine system, gradually secretes fewer of these hormones. The same slow down in production can also be a byproduct of a head injury, damage to the pituitary gland itself, or damage to the nearby hypothalamus.
Tumors affecting either the pituitary gland or hypothalamus can result in a lower output of growth hormones as well. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments employed to combat such tumors can also impede HGH production. When HGH levels in the bloodstream are too low, typically below 18 and 44 picomoles per liter (pmol/L) for men and women, respectively, it gives rise to other hormonal imbalances. And the most common include low testosterone and estrogen levels, not to mention high cortisol levels. For HGH therapy there a few most commonly prescribed brands, such as Norditropin, Sermorelin, Omnitrope. And always pay attention to the instructions before use. For example, Omnitrope instructions include all possible negative effects, warnings, and use details for people with HGHD.
Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia: Understanding What Happens to the Body When Blood Sugar Levels Are Too High or Too Low
According to the National Institutes of Health, hyperglycemia is a medical term that refers to blood sugar levels that are too high. Meanwhile, hypoglycemia denotes blood sugar levels that are too low. But hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia can mean a lot more than merely having too much or too little blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, in the bloodstream. In individuals who do not have diabetes, low or high blood sugar that goes untreated for too long can trigger the disease. Among those already diagnosed with the disease, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia alike can cause diabetic complications. Some of the more notable ones include the following:
Diabetic Complications Caused by Hyperglycemia
- Heart disease
- Kidney damage
- Nerve damage in the feet
- Bacterial and fungal infections of the skin
- Hearing impairment
- Alzheimer’s disease
Diabetic Complications Caused by Hypoglycemia
- Profuse sweating
- Loss of consciousness
Can You Have Hyperglycemia or Hypoglycemia and Not Have Diabetes?
Although hyperglycemia is often associated with diabetes, it can occur in nondiabetics as well. Studies show that some individuals will immediately develop hyperglycemia following an injury or illness. What’s more, it can even be brought on gradually as a side effect of a chronic disease other than diabetes, such as pancreatitis, Cushing’s syndrome, or pancreatic cancer, for example. Hypoglycemia is similar in this respect in that, in addition to diabetes, it can stem from pancreatic cancer, excessive alcohol consumption, certain medications, and even eating disorders.
The Dawn Phenomenon and Why Blood Sugar Levels Change Throughout the Day
Although it might sound like the title of a movie or a must-read novel from your favorite author, the “dawn phenomenon” is indeed rooted in reality. And it explains why many people with and without diabetes tend to experience changes in their blood sugar levels throughout the day. For example, in people without diabetes, changes in hormone levels in the blood while they are asleep can cause their blood sugar levels to be higher in the morning. After they have eaten breakfast, those above-average blood sugar levels then move back into a normal range. In those who have diabetes, blood sugar levels are often much higher in the morning due to either insulin resistance or as a byproduct of the pituitary gland not secreting insulin at all. They, of course, gradually fall back into a normal range after an individual has taken their insulin medication and has consumed food.
Final Thoughts: Monitoring Your Blood Sugar Levels to Ensure It Remains in a Normal Range
In summary, diabetes and several other health conditions can cause blood sugar levels to spike too high or fall too low. That said, the best way to avoid the associated ill-effects of either is to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly. And investing in a good quality glucometer can help in this regard. For those not familiar with them, glucometers are portable blood glucose meters that can accurately analyze the amount of sugar in an individual’s blood. Of course, if your blood sugar levels are too high or too low, you will want to schedule an appointment with a physician as soon as practically possible.