Blood Sugar Levels After Eating and Other Aspects of Diabetes
Does your doctor want you to check your blood sugar levels after eating? Have you ever wondered why this is important? What is blood sugar anyway? Why do we have to check it?
If you’re new to diabetes and blood sugar control, you’ll want to continue reading. This article will attempt to answer your questions in simple layman’s terms that your doctor often forgets to use.
What IS Blood Sugar, Anyway?
Blood sugar, or glucose, is the sugar found in your blood. It comes from the food you eat. Glucose is your body’s main source of energy.
Insulin is also important for energy. Insulin is a hormone that your pancreas produces. This hormone acts like a key to open your body’s cells to allow the glucose in so it can work to produce energy.
When you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels are too high. This happens because your body either does not produce insulin at all (Type 1 Diabetes) or does not produce enough insulin (Type 2 Diabetes). Your body can also become resistant to the insulin that it produces.
This can cause serious complications. These include blindness, kidney failure, amputation, stroke, and heart problems.
If you have diabetes, it is very important to keep your blood sugar in the target range. You may need to check your blood sugar several times each day.
Your doctor will also do a blood test called a hemoglobin A1C. It checks your average blood sugar level over the past three months.
If your blood sugar is too high, you may need to take medicine and/or follow a special diet. (See our blog on Blood Sugar Diets HERE!) .
How Should I Check My Blood Sugar?
There are several meters out on the market today for checking your blood sugar. One new product is out that makes it really easy to monitor your blood sugar is called the Freestyle Libre.
It only requires a blood sugar check (read: one finger-stick) every 10 days! It is a sensor that is inserted in the back of the upper arm. The sensor communicates with a reader/blood sugar monitor (in case anything goes wrong).
All you have to do to see your blood sugar is scan the sensor. No blood, no pain, no mess!
Most other devices involve pricking your finger with a tiny little lancet (you can barely feel it most of the time) and putting a tiny drop of blood on a test strip. After usually 5 seconds, the meter reads the test strip and shows you what your blood sugar level is.
There are several brands out there, including the Bayer Contour Next One, One Touch Verio, and Freestyle brands. Walmart even has their own brand of blood sugar meter that can be a lot less expensive than the others.
For people with diabetes, a blood sugar number between 80 and 120 is good before meals. When you first wake up in the morning and test your blood sugar, called “Fasting” blood sugar, it should be under 140. Your blood sugar levels after eating should be under 180.
Which brings us to our next topic, when?
When Should I Check My Blood Sugar?
If you are on medication, such as insulin, it is important for you to check your blood sugar when you wake up, before you eat, and 2 hours after you eat. We’ll talk more about checking your blood sugar levels after eating in the next topic.
When you first wake up in the morning, it is important to check to see how your night time dose of medication has worked. Before you eat, you need to check usually to see how much insulin you should take to cover the meal.
After you eat, it is especially important to check your blood sugar, whether you are taking medication or not. You should do this at least once per day, at a different meal each day. In the next section, I’ll explain why.
What Is the Deal with Blood Sugar Levels After Eating?
Your doctor will use your blood sugar levels after eating to see how your body is reacting to the food you eat.
According to an article in Everyday Health, your blood sugar levels begin to rise about 10 minutes after you start eating. Sugar levels peak 1-2 hours after you eat (it takes longer if you’ve eaten a fat-filled meal). By 2-3 hours, your blood sugar should begin to get back to normal levels.
It’s important for you to check your blood sugar 2 hours after you eat, at a different meal each day. If you have type 1 diabetes, it is so your doctor can see if he or she needs to increase your insulin dose or adjust your carb ratio.
If you have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, this is so your doctor can see how your body is working.
The doctor will be able to determine whether you are producing enough insulin to cover the food you are eating. If your blood sugar has not returned to normal by this time, this tells the doctor that your body is not giving you enough insulin.
Your doctor may recommend medication or insulin injections based on the information provided by your 2-hour-after-meal blood sugars.
OK, What Else?
Keeping your blood sugars stable is just one aspect of diabetes. Check out our other Blood Glucose blogs here to learn more about the basics of diabetes.
If you need a boost to help your blood sugars stabilize, try Bioterra’s Blood Glucose…Zing! Supplement. Click the pic for a link to read more about the product and purchase it!