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  • Writer's pictureHappy Hearts

The Importance of Blood Sugar Levels for a Healthy Heart.

We all need sugar in the blood to provide cells with energy. We produce a hormone called Insulin which allows sugar (glucose) in our blood stream to enter our cells where it provides us with energy. If we have insufficient Insulin, the sugar will stay in our blood stream. Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause other complications such as:

  • Heart and blood vessel damage.

  • Kidney disease.

  • Diabetic eye disease.

  • Nerve damage (Neuropathy).

  • Skin conditions and slow healing of wounds.


A high blood sugar level will mean you either have Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)

Type 1 is an auto-immune disease, it typically begins in children and young adults.

Symptoms of type 2 (adult onset) diabetes may include:

  • Increased thirst.

  • Urinating frequently.

  • Blurred vision.

  • Unexplained weight loss.

  • Fatigue.

  • Recurrent infections.

However you may only experience any of the above mildly, or possibly not at all. Therefore it is important to get yourself tested.


Risk Factors for Diabetes.

  • Aged 45+.

  • Inactivity.

  • Overweight or obese.

  • A high waist hip fat ratio.

  • A close relative has diabetes.

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure).

  • If you are of South Asian, Chinese, African Caribbean, Black African ethnicity.

  • Are suffering from depression.

Getting yourself tested.

If you have heart or circulatory disease, this will be done as part of your routine blood checks. If you are aged 40+ you are entitled to an NHS health check up.


If you have Diabetes?

Self monitoring is an essential part of diabetes management, this can be done at home, by using a glucose testing meter. This involves pricking your finger and applying a drop of blood to a test strip. Regular blood sugar level tests can help you spot any specific changes e.g. physical activity or dietary change. It can also help your GP to adjust your treatment to prevent any long term complications.


How is Blood Sugar Measured?

Your GP will diagnose type 2 diabetes, by testing your blood for a substance called HbA1c (Glycated Haemoglobin) and if you have diabetes, to monitor your long term blood sugar control, this measurement gives a picture of your average blood sugar levels over the past 8 to 12 weeks. The higher the HbA1c the greater the risk of developing complications.


If HbA1c is more than 48 mmol/mol or fasting blood glucose is more than 11 mmol/L, your blood sugar is high. For most people without diabetes normal blood sugar levels are,

  • between 4 and 6 mmol/L before meals.

  • less than 8mmol/L two hours after eating.

If you have diabetes it is important for your blood sugar levels to be as near normal as possible.

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