Sunday, November 13, 2011
Keep Your Blood Sugar in Range:
"Blood sugar testing is performed to check the amount of glucose that is in the blood at a given time. This is an easy test to administer and it can be performed by doctors, other health care professionals and many pharmacies also have the facility. The reading is shown in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L). This is a useful test to have done if you find you have been gaining weight and it doesn’t seem to shift easily! The place to start is to ascertain a fasting blood sugar level. A healthy reading will lie somewhere between 80 and 99 mg/dl. If you want to convert this to mmol/ simply multiply by 18 or divide by 18 if you want to do it the other way around. Conventional medicine is likely to tell you that this range is too low. It isn’t! If the reading is above 100 mg/dl, a red flag is flying.
A reading between 100 and 125 indicates that you have a pre-diabetic condition and need to take some steps to prevent a further rise. The islets of Langarhans in the pancreas produce a hormone called insulin. Insulin is a storage chemical. Its purpose is to take glucose out of the blood and move it to the liver for storage. This supply of sugar feeds the brain and is responsible for overall energy needs. More glucose is taken to the muscles where it is stored for physical needs. Overall the body does not require much; approx 100 Gms is about enough as far as the liver is concerned. The glucose that is not stored converts to fat and weight increases. Metabolic Syndrome is sometimes referred to a syndrome X, it indicates that insulin is beginning to loosen its grip and is inhibited in reaching the cells. This is when blood sugar levels begin to rise and with them blood pressure readings. Now is the time to take some drastic steps to reverse the situation. Nobody wants to take supplemental insulin if at all possible!
If a test gives an elevated reading, repeat it TEST TWICE MORE TO BE QUITE SURE. Fasting means going without food and drink, except water and repeating the procedure first thing in the morning. If you are a smoker, refrain before because that might increase the result. If the reading is still above 100, go for another test an hour after eating. If this reading is even higher it seems safe to assume a problem exists. What do you do about it?
The first step is to regulate the diet. Glucose is something you eat so cut out the obvious culprits like sugar and sweets. Lettuce is a carbohydrate and will not be a problem. It is the starchy carbohydrates that pose the major difficulty. Starchy carbs include bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, biscuits, cakes and so on. You need to substantially reduce these in the diet. Thinking behind nutrition has changed radically and the old carb food pyramid is now obsolete. Instead include a restricted amount of complex carbohydrates in your eating regimen. This variety has not been refined so the husk and associated particulates make the digestion process slower. These foods include brown rice, jacket potatoes, wholemeal bread as well as pasta. Ideally though lots of vegetables and salads along with lean protein should be the preferred option.
Reduce the intake of coffee, instead plump for herbal or green tea, all preferably without sugar. Alcohol is sugar. Anything ending in “ol” is a sugar and should be severely curtailed if not avoided all together. Many high blood sugar issues are the result of excessive alcohol consumption.
Coupled with this dietary change it is important that your start to exercise. Long brisk walks that get you out of breath, but swimming, cycling, yoga, muay Thai, work outs in the gym or even hula hooping can have the desired effect, too. Such exercise will help burn off glucagon stored in the muscles and help displace blood sugar.
Higher blood sugar levels indicate the body is in a heightened state of physical readiness (flight or fight) because at an emotional level there is a stress related situation. You are squaring up to some situation that you want to resist. It would be a really good idea to examine what the situation is and do something to bring down the resistance levels. Health Ambit Consultancy can advise you how to do that. You can make contact via the website.
Low blood sugar is another problem but that is as they say another day’s work."
This article by Alister Bredee first appeared in "The Samui Gazette" of 11/11/11