GLUCOSE is the primary source of energy, so critical for humans, but having too much or too little in the blood stream can be dangerous.
Glucose levels (or blood sugar levels) are therefore monitored, and those suffering with diabetes must take extra precaution – here’s how they are tested, and what happens if they get too high or low.
Getty – Contributor People suffering with type 1 and type 2 diabetes must be careful with their blood sugar level
What are normal glucose levels?
Blood sugar levels are measured in molar concentration (millimoles per litre).
For non-diabetics, the normal level is around 5.5 mmol/L, but this fluctuates throughout the day.
People with diabetes should keep their levels between 7.2 mmol/L before meals, and never more than 10 mmol/L after meals.
Eating meals (especially those with a high carbohydrate content) cause the blood glucose level to rise, and in between meals, it tends revert to normal.
Drinking alcohol causes it to increase and then fall, and taking drugs also affects blood sugar levels.
What are the risks of low blood sugar?
Early signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) include:
Feeling hungry Feeling tired Feeling shaky, dizzy, or irritable
If not treated, you may start to feel weak, slur your speech, or become clumsy (similar to being drunk), and it can even cause seizures or fainting.
Diabetics may experience it if they’ve taken too much diabetes medication, skipped meals, partaken in sudden exercise, or binge drinking.
For non-diabetics, it can still occur for similar reasons, or by taking other medication.
Getty – Contributor A blood test is used to check for diabetes
What are the risks of high blood sugar?
High blood sugar (Hyperglycaemia) is a common problem for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Feeling thirty Frequently needing to pee Feeling tired Blurred vision Weight loss
It can be caused by stress, illness, overeating, not drinking enough water, not exercising, or missing doses of diabetes medication.
It can affect people without diabetes, but they would usually be seriously ill, such as suffering from a stroke or heart attack.