Glucose is a simple carbohydrate that is important for the human body, as it is one of the main sources of energy for the body. But its excess or lack can bring health problems.
To find out if you are at a normal glucose level, you can take a blood glucose test, which can be indicated by a doctor.
Understand what glucose is, the glycemic index and how it can help control blood glucose levels.
- 1 What is glucose?
- 2 What is the value of low glucose?
- 3 How much is normal glucose?
- 4 Pregnancy and diabetes: how much is normal glucose for pregnant women?
- 5 When is the person considered diabetic?
- 6 When is the person considered to be pre-diabetic?
- 7 What to eat to keep glucose normal?
What is glucose?
Glucose is a simple carbohydrate (monosaccharide). Like fructose, ribose, galactose and other carbohydrates , it has the function of supplying cells with energy, being important for the proper functioning of the body.
Virtually every food consumed is converted to glucose, which is the simplest carbohydrate unit. Therefore, the ingested carbohydrates are degraded until they become monosaccharides.
They are sent into the bloodstream to be absorbed by the cells. This process happens with the help of the hormone produced by the pancreas, insulin, which helps glucose in the blood to enter the cells to be used as energy.
The organ that consumes more glucose in its functioning is the brain, as neurons use it to make synapses (connections of neurons), consuming 19% of the glucose generated after the breakdown of carbohydrates.
When the body works properly, the hormone insulin supplies demand and manages to keep blood sugar levels regulated. However, some conditions can prevent glucose from being sent into cells.
Thus, the molecules are circulating freely in the bloodstream, which causes the blood glucose to be altered.
What is the value of low glucose?
Below 70mg / dL means that the glucose level is low in the blood, already being called hypoglycemia .
Early in the morning or after long hours without eating, or even intense physical activity, it is normal for glucose to be at a lower value, as the carbohydrate has been consumed by the body. Therefore, at that time, the ideal is that the result is between 70mg / dL and 99mg / dL.
Right after a meal, it is expected that the value will be a little higher, reaching 110mg / dL for people without diabetes .
The person with hypoglycemia (low glucose level) may show signs of malaise, tremors, mental confusion, hunger and dizziness , among other symptoms that are caused by this disorder.
Low-level reactions may appear suddenly, but the glycemic level can be corrected and reactions can be reduced by eating a sweet or carbohydrate-rich food, stabilizing the level within, on average, 15 minutes.
Glucose drop can happen extremely, going below 40mg / dL – however, it is less frequent in people without diabetes or other disorders in the pancreas.
How to proceed in case of extreme low glucose levels?
In situations of extremely low glycemic levels, the person may have severe reactions such as loss of consciousness or seizures, requiring immediate measures (and assistance from another person) to return to the normal index (above 70mg / dL).
The measures that can be taken immediately are first to trigger the medical emergency and receive guidance by phone, while face-to-face paramedics are on the way.
People with diabetes or cases of frequent severe hypoglycemia may receive average guidance to have an injection called glucagon at home, which acts quickly to correct hypoglycemia.
If there is no access to the application, in cases of diabetes or not, just give the person some sweet drink, if he is awake.
If fainting or seizures happen , it is possible to put sugar under your tongue, and never offer fluids, because of the risk of drowning.
How much is normal glucose?
The index values that indicate a healthy blood glucose level are between 70 mg / dL and 99 mg / dL, whereas people with diabetes may have these values changed above this range (fasting up to 115 mg / dL).
The normal glucose value can also vary throughout the day, as it depends on whether the index measurement was made on an empty stomach or after meals.
Normal fasting glucose
The ideal value of fasting glucose is up to 100mg / dL, for people without diabetes or who are undergoing treatment. But, as pointed out by the Diabetes Guidelines of 2019/2010, of the Brazilian Diabetes Society, the WHO considers acceptable values up to 110mg / dL as normal.
Fasting is characterized as a period equal to or greater than 6 hours without eating any type of food, thus without interfering with the measurement result.
Normal glucose after meals
The measurement made after 2 hours of a meal shows normal values if:
- Up to 140mg / dL for people without diabetes.
- Up to 180mg / dL, but ideally up to 140mg / dL for people with diabetes.
Pregnancy and diabetes: how much is normal glucose for pregnant women?
According to the 2019/2020 Diabetes Guidelines, healthy glucose values during pregnancy are:
- Fasting: 92mg / dL ;
- After 1 hour of food intake: 180mg / dL ;
- After 2 hours of food intake: 153mg / dL.
It is important to be aware of the risk factors that influence the development of diabetes, such as excessive weight gain during pregnancy, previous history of gestational diabetes , maternal age (over 35 years), among others.
Medical follow-up before, during and after pregnancy helps the mother and baby to stay healthy, and can prevent the development of gestational diabetes.
When is the person considered diabetic?
When the glucose index test is done on an empty stomach and has 126 mg / dL, type 1 diabetes is found.
Patients with results that indicate pre-diabetes (between 100mg / dL and 125mg / dL) and with other indications, such as family history or overweight, should be evaluated for cases of type 2 diabetes.
In all cases, the doctor will perform an analysis of the test and will probably request a new test, because some factors (alcohol intake and high-intensity physical exercise) may affect the index temporarily.
A second exam of glycated hemoglobin is usually requested to confirm the diagnosis.
When is the person considered to be pre-diabetic?
When the test values are between 100 mg / dL and 125 mg / dL and were performed on an empty stomach, it may be an indication of pre-diabetes.
In that case, treatment is recommended so that rates are regulated and diabetes does not develop. This is done with changes in eating habits and the inclusion of physical exercise.
What to eat to keep glucose normal?
Focusing on a diet with low and medium glycemic index (GI) foods can be a good option to keep glucose at the level considered normal for those who are predisposed to diabetes or pre-diabetes.
The glycemic index shows the speed at which a food, after being directed, releases glucose into the bloodstream. High-index foods cause spikes in glucose – that is, they quickly raise blood sugar levels.
They can be separated into high, medium and low GI. And with good nutritional guidance, it is possible to make balanced choices and avoid glycemic spikes.
For this, you can bet on the intake of fiber, good fat, lean protein and low / medium glycemic index carbohydrates.
It is worth mentioning that the way of preparing the food can also influence the glycemic index of the food. For example, the potato has the highest GI if it is fried instead of roasted.
Another example is orange, the consumption of fruit with bagasse has low GI, as it contains fiber. Already the juice made with squeezed oranges has a higher GI – this is because many oranges are needed for 1 glass of juice, in addition, the bagasse is discarded, which removes the fibers from the fruit.
What is the glycemic index of foods?
The glycemic index of foods is separated into high, medium and low, in the following values:
- Low glycemic index: 55;
- Average glycemic index: 56-69;
- High glycemic index: 70.
Below is a list of foods with low / medium glycemic index that can help keep glucose at the normal level:
- Whole grains: oats (GI 54), rye (GI 60), barley (GI 28), brown rice (GI 50);
- Vegetables: pumpkin (GI 64), zucchini (GI 20), eggplant (GI 15), chayote (GI 20), yam (GI 55), green corn (GI 37), cucumber (GI 30), okra (GI 25) , asparagus (GI 20), carrots (GI 47), broccoli (GI 10);
- Fruits: apple (IG 39), pear (IG 40), strawberry (IG 44), prunes (IG 40), kiwi (IG 58), peach (IG 42), tomatoes (IG 38), cashew nuts (IG 27);
- Vegetables: lettuce (GI 10), cabbage (GI 10), cabbage (GI 22), watercress (GI 10), cucumber (GI 30);
- Legumes: black beans (IG 30) and white beans (IG 31), lentils (IG 29), chickpeas (IG 28), soybeans (IG 14);
- Whole milk (IG 31), skim milk (IG 32) and natural yogurt (IG 14);
- Beef (lean cuts), fish, chicken and egg (IG 0), as they have no carbohydrates.
Glucose is part of the functioning of our organism, so it is important to check its index through exams and maintain a healthy diet, even if there is no risk of developing diabetes.
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