What is glucose?
Glucose is the sugar present in the blood, as well as it is found in high concentrations in some food groups, such as fruits. The word glucose is a derivative of the Greek word glykózi which means sweet. When the levels of this molecule in the blood are normal, the metabolism is in an optimal state. Having high or low levels can be a severe problem, especially for people with diabetes.
The hormone insulin is responsible for transporting glucose through the blood. This molecule is then stored or used as a source of energy for the proper functioning of the body. People with diabetes lose their average glucose transport capacity, and therefore their blood levels are altered.
How is glucose formed?
Glucose is formed from eating carbohydrate foods. Bread, pasta, cereals, and high-starch vegetables (potatoes, carrots) are all foods from which the body can form this molecule.
Glucose is formed in the process of digestion. During the passage of food through the esophagus and stomach, enzymes and the acidic medium transform food into small parts to form glucose molecules. This is then absorbed by the intestine to be used as an energy source by the cells.
What is glucose for?
Glucose is the primary source of energy for the nervous system. Neurons need this molecule and neurotransmitters for communication between them to be successful. In addition, the molecule serves as an energy source for muscle work and restoring muscle glycogen stores.
The human body is designed to have regular and stable blood glucose levels. Insulin is the hormone in charge of regulating them. When there is an excess of sugar in the diet, the body gets used to the presence of high levels of this molecule in the blood and loses the ability to detect them. This is the leading cause of type 2 diabetes.
Normal blood glucose levels
A healthy person’s average blood glucose levels are between 90–125 milligrams per deciliter (mg / dL). (3) After 1 or 2 hours after a meal, these can reach up to a value of 180 mg / dL. A person with diabetes does not have or lose the ability to stay in this range of values.
In addition, average blood glucose levels can be altered by external factors. Skipping meals, stress, not doing physical exercise, an excess of sweet foods or an incorrect dose of medication (in cases of diabetes) are frequent causes of alteration in average blood sugar levels.
What to do if glucose levels are very high?
Very high glucose levels are known as hyperglycemia. In a healthy person, these can be neutralized in a standard way by the action of insulin. In a person with diabetes, insulin injections are usually necessary. In addition, when levels skyrocket, physical exercise can help restore them, and drinking a more significant amount of water is recommended.
And very low?
When blood sugar levels are deficient (less than 70 mg / dL), what is known as hypoglycemia occurs. This occurs when a person skips meals, medications, or diets to lose weight (for example, a low carbohydrate diet ). In these cases, it is recommended to drink liquids or foods with glucose (juices, sweets, etc.) that quickly reestablish normal blood levels.
Glucose levels and diabetes
The glucose levels of an average person are around 100 mg/dl between meals. When a person has diabetes, this does not happen. A glycemic index test should be performed to determine whether or not a person has diabetes. When levels are above 126 mg / dL two consecutive times, a person is diagnosed with this disease. (5)
The glycemic index test is recommended for people whose close relatives have diabetes and people with overweight or obesity disorder who do not exercise regularly. If the result is positive, it is recommended to carry out a diet for type 2 diabetics. These meal plans are effective in regulating blood glucose levels.
Consequences of high glucose levels
When blood glucose levels are very high, there is a greater risk of diseases associated with the cardiovascular system. Cellular oxygen transport processes are hampered and cause adverse health consequences.
The consequences of high glucose levels are:
- Increased likelihood of chronic cardiovascular disease
- Greater probability of coronary events (heart attacks)
- Kidney disorders
- Damage to the nervous system
- Vision damage
Glucose is the sugar in the blood. Having normal blood levels (90-125mg / dL) is necessary for a person’s optimal state of health. When a person does not have or loses the ability to regulate the levels of this molecule, they develop chronic diseases such as diabetes.