It is common for physicians to want information on how their patient’s body reacts to glucose, a type of sugar, in regards to general health. The value not only indicates information about organ function but is also used to determine health status in emergent situations. Blood glucose, or commonly know as blood sugar, is evaluated via a venipuncture (draw blood) during routine exams or when the practitioner suspects the person has an underlying
disease. Although blood sugar disorders are commonly associated with the pancreas, the level of glucose is primarily dependent on the liver and the adrenals, an organ that sits on top of the kidneys. The pancreas’ role is primarily to release insulin into the bloodstream at meal time to escort glucose into the cell for energy production with the excess glucose being converted to fat thus increasing the patient’s body weight. There are other organs and hormones that influence glucose levels but in general, the above organs function together to maintain specific levels of glucose in the blood.
The normal range for a fasting blood glucose levels is 80-100mg/dl with normal increases after a person consumes a meal. There are many methods and reasons to measure glucose for the patient. The most common test is a fasting blood glucose, which is ordered during yearly routine labs. This test is performed 8-hours after the patient’s last meal, usually the first thing in the morning with the purpose it to check for prediabetes or diabetes. The 2-hour postprandial blood sugar is used for diabetics on insulin to measure blood glucose exactly 2 hours after a meal to see if the current dose of insulin is correct. A random blood sugar test is most helpful in emergency situations and is it used at any point during the day to determine if the person’s blood sugar is too low or too high.
Specialized testing such as an oral glucose tolerance test is mainly used in pregnancy if there is suspected of gestational diabetes. Final a test called hemoglobin-A1c, which is used to evaluate if the patient’s blood glucose has
been well controlled over the past 2-3 months. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is a diet of excessive amounts of processed foods that contain sugar such as sugar cane, corn syrup/high-fructose corn syrup, maltose, dextrose, rice syrup and more. Type 2-diabetes is called “the disease of diet and lifestyle” and is one that typically can be
prevented if a person decides to make changes to their daily habits. The first goal is to reduce or eliminate the consumption of processed foods and sugar but this doesn’t mean switch to sugar substitutes such as equal, splenda or sweet-n-low since these substitutes have been linked to hormone imbalances and cancers.
The easiest way to reduce sugar intake is to choose water to drink and make coffee at home. Some of the biggest culprits of excessive sugar intake are through beverages: soda, specialty coffee drinks, fruit juices, bottled teas, energy drinks, sports drinks etc. Another simple change is to eat a majority of meals at home where you can select the ingredients for your meal and then be able to make enough for lunch the following day. Lastly, an easy way to control blood sugar levels is to eat a balanced meal of fat, protein, and vegetables with a small number of grains or fruit at least 3 times per day beginning with the most important meal, breakfast!