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Blood Glucose Level: Understanding the Significance of Blood Sugar Measurements

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High blood sugar or hyperglycemia is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Blood glucose level refers to the amount of glucose present in the bloodstream. It is imperative to measure and understand blood glucose level to maintain good health and stable energy levels. An individual's blood glucose level can fluctuate depending on different factors, such as diet, activity level, and medications. Therefore, it is essential to understand the significance of measuring blood sugar levels and know what is considered normal and what is high. This article aims to educate the audience on Blood Glucose Level, its importance, and the significance of understanding blood sugar levels. We will explore the different terms used to describe blood glucose levels, discuss the risks associated with high blood glucose levels, and provide tips on how to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Understanding the Blood Glucose Level Terms

Measuring blood glucose levels is a critical step in managing diabetes. To understand blood sugar measurements, it's vital to comprehend the common terms used. The two most common terms used to describe blood sugar levels are Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS) levels and Postprandial Blood Sugar (PPBS) levels.

Detailed Explanation of Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS) Levels

Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS) levels indicate the amount of glucose in the blood after fasting (not eating anything) for at least 8 hours. Doctors recommend measuring FBS levels before breakfast to analyze insulin resistance problems.

The normal FBS level is typically between 80-130 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) of blood. Any number above 130mg/dL is considered high.

Understanding Postprandial Blood Sugar (PPBS) Levels

Postprandial Blood Sugar (PPBS) levels are readings taken two hours after a meal. These levels indicate how efficiently the body processes glucose once it enters the bloodstream. A high reading of PPBS could suggest insulin resistance

A normal PPBS reading is under 180mg/dL; any number above that is considered high. If you're consistently showing high postprandial readings, you need to speak to a doctor for a diabetes check-up.

Understanding both Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS) and Postprandial Blood Sugar (PPBS) levels is crucial when managing diabetes, and you should ensure that you are familiar with these terms for your overall health management.

Blood Glucose Level: What is Normal and What is High?

Blood glucose level signifies the amount of glucose present in your bloodstream. Understanding your blood glucose levels is an essential part of preventing and managing diabetes. The standard blood sugar level for an adult is between 70-99 mg/dL when fasting. If the blood sugar level is less than 70 mg/dL, then it is considered low, whereas a level of above 126 mg/dL indicates high blood sugar.

High blood sugar is also known as hyperglycemia and is caused by a lack of insulin production or the body not responding to insulin. Consistently high blood sugar levels can damage your kidneys, eyes, nerves, and blood vessels, leading to serious health problems. Some of the risks associated with high blood sugar levels are:

  • Heart disease: High blood sugar levels can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Nerve damage: Over time, elevated blood sugar levels can damage your nerves, leading to numbness and tingling sensations.
  • Kidney disease: High blood sugar levels can cause damage to the kidneys and affect their ability to filter waste products.
  • Vision problems: High blood sugar levels can cause damage to the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to vision problems.

On the other hand, low blood sugar levels, also called hypoglycemia, can cause confusion, dizziness, and even seizures. It typically occurs when your body produces too much insulin, and your blood sugar level drops below the standard level. It is crucial to recognize the symptoms of both high and low blood sugar levels and promptly take steps to correct them.

Symptoms and Complications of High Blood Glucose Level

Having too much glucose, or sugar, in your bloodstream can indicate that your body has an insufficient amount of insulin or has developed insulin resistance. A prolonged high glucose level in the body can harm the blood vessels, heart, eyes, kidneys, and nerves, among other things. When left unaddressed, these possibilities may develop into long-term health problems, as well as potential life-threatening conditions.

Below are some of the most common symptoms of high blood sugar levels:

  • Frequent urination.
  • Persistent thirst.
  • Dry mouth.
  • The skin is dry, itchy, or with small bumps.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Headache or even migraines.
  • Loss of appetite and difficulty in feeling full.
  • Slow healing of cuts and wounds.
  • Recurrent infections, particularly those of the skin, gum or bladder.

These symptoms could easily be ignored as everyday issues for someone unfamiliar with diabetes. If you’re experiencing some or all of these symptoms, it is best to consult a doctor for a blood glucose test and a thorough medical evaluation.

Individuals with diabetes could face a long list of complications and consequences if their high blood sugar levels are left untreated. Prolonged high blood sugar increases your risk for:

  • Peripheral Neuropathies - Nerve damage can cause numbness or tingling in extremities. The lack of feeling can raise the risk of infection and ulceration on the feet or hands.
  • Retinopathy - Which can lead to partial or complete blindness.
  • Nephropathy – Kidney disease also known as diabetic nephropathy, which could eventually lead to kidney failure.
  • Cardiovascular and heart disease - The risk of experiencing blockages in the blood vessels or experiencing a heart attack is increased should persistently untreated high blood sugar.
  • Increased risk of stroke.
  • Gastroparesis - A condition that restricts the stomach from emptying properly, resulting in nausea, vomiting, bloating, and heartburn.

It is important to get medical assistance to avoid the complications associated with high blood sugar levels. Individual's with diabetes should be cautious of possible complications and make necessary lifestyle modifications to control their blood sugar levels.

Maintaining Healthy Blood Glucose Levels

High blood sugar levels, or hyperglycemia, can lead to complications such as nerve damage, heart disease, kidney damage, and vision problems. Therefore, maintaining healthy blood glucose levels is crucial to managing diabetes and staying healthy in general. Here are some tips on how to keep your blood sugar levels stable:

1. Exercise Regularly
Physical activity helps the body use insulin more effectively, which can improve blood sugar control. Engage in moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week. Consider activities such as walking, cycling, or swimming.

2. Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep can disrupt hormonal balance, leading to insulin resistance and ultimately high blood sugar levels. Ensure you get enough sleep per night to maintain a healthy mind and body.

3. Manage Stress
Chronic stress can increase the body's cortisol level, which elevates blood sugar levels. Ensuring you have a healthy coping mechanism to manage stress, such as deep breathing techniques, yoga or meditation, can help reduce stress levels and regulate blood sugar levels.

There are other lifestyle modifications to prevent elevated blood sugar levels.

4. Quit Smoking
Smoking is harmful to the body and impacts metabolic function. Quitting smoking also helps to reduce the risk of other health issues.

5. Limit Alcohol Intake
Drinking alcohol in moderation or eliminating it can help reduce blood sugar levels. Alcohol increases blood sugar level and leads to complications with diabetes.

Lastly, a healthy and structured diet can help maintain a healthy blood sugar level.

6. Optimize Your Diet
Avoid sugary foods and simple carbohydrates. Instead, opt for fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The fiber in these foods slows the absorption and digestion of carbohydrates into the bloodstream, preventing the rise in blood sugar levels.


In conclusion, measuring blood glucose levels is a crucial part of maintaining overall health and assessing the risk of developing diabetes. The terms used to describe blood sugar levels can be confusing, but understanding them is essential for monitoring and maintaining a healthy blood glucose level. A normal fasting blood sugar level is below 100mg/dL, and a postprandial blood sugar level should be less than 140mg/dL. High blood sugar levels can lead to serious health complications such as cardiovascular disease, neuropathy, and kidney failure.

It is crucial to maintain healthy blood glucose levels to prevent the development of diabetes and the complications associated with the condition. Tips like exercising regularly, following a well-balanced diet, monitoring blood sugar levels, and avoiding high-sugar foods can help individuals maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the significance of measuring blood sugar level?

Measuring blood sugar levels helps identify diabetes or pre-diabetes, which is essential in preventing health complications.

What is a fasting blood sugar level?

Fasting blood sugar (FBS) is the level of glucose in the blood after not eating or drinking anything for eight hours. It is usually measured in the morning.

What is a postprandial blood sugar level?

Postprandial blood sugar (PPBS) is the level of glucose in the blood after eating a meal. It is usually measured two hours after the start of the meal.

What are the risks associated with high blood sugar levels?

High blood sugar levels can cause long-term complications such as kidney damage, nerve damage, and vision problems. It can also increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

How can I maintain healthy blood sugar levels?

To maintain healthy blood sugar levels, you can stay physically active, follow a healthy diet, monitor blood sugar levels regularly, and take medications as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

William H. McDaniel, MD

Dr. Robert H. Shmerling is the former clinical chief of the division of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and is a current member of the corresponding faculty in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

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