Diabetes is on the rise... In 2020, the CDC estimated that 13% of the US population (18+ years old) had type 2 diabetes, with that number rising to 27% for those over the age of 65. This estimate is only looking at type 2 diabetes (often called adult onset diabetes), which is typically the type of diabetes that most people are aware of. It is the type of diabetes that you are NOT born with, but rather acquire as you age, heavily as a result of your lifestyle choices. Type 1 diabetes (often called juvenile diabetes) on the other is a result of inherited genetics elements (i.e., generally out of the individual's control...). This article is concerned with type 2 diabetes, and from here on out, when I use the word "diabetes" or "diabetic", I am referring specifically to type 2 diabetes or those who have been diagnosed with it.
Simply put, those with diabetes are unable to effectively move glucose out of their blood and into the cells where it is used for fuel. It is unable to move the glucose out because the body has built up a resistance to insulin, which is the vehicle that in a healthy individual would transfer the glucose out of the blood stream. Since the glucose is unable to move out of the blood stream, it builds up and creates what is called a "high blood glucose level," aka hyperglycemia. But wait... There's more! The body then responds to this increased level of glucose in the blood stream by producing even more insulin, leading to excessive insulin, aka hyperinsulinemia. Hyperinsulinemia not only is an indicator of diabetes, but also leads to heart disease and hypertension (high blood pressure).
Wouldn't it just be GREAT if there was an easy way to measure if your body is having a hard time or not at keeping your blood sugar levels at an appropriate level!?!? Oh wait... there is!
In fact, with only a small, relatively pain free, prick to your finger tip and a tiny drop of your blood, we are able to assess your blood glucose levels within as little as 10 seconds! This is exactly what those who have been diagnosed with diabetes use to track and monitor their levels. Unfortunately, testing blood glucose is almost exclusively used only once you already have been diagnosed with diabetes.... By periodically testing glucose levels when fasted and/or within specific time frames following a meal, we are able to get a snapshot of your body's ability to move sugar out of your bloodstream and into the cells.
A normal fasting blood sugar is 83 mg/dL or less, and in very metabolically healthy, active individuals, it's in the mid to high 70s. Unfortunately, many doctors accept anything under 100 mg/dL as normal, but studies have shown that people with fasting blood sugar levels above 95 mg/dL have more than 3x the risk of developing diabetes than people with levels below 90. The best part of all... through diet and activity modification, these numbers can improve, and diabetes can be prevented!
If longevity and, even more so, quality of life are important to you, then one of the most important things you can do for your health is to regularly measure and assess your blood glucose levels. Contact us today if you are interested in learning about your blood glucose levels as a key component of optimizing your health.