Glucose, or blood sugar, is a very important source of energy in the bodies of many living things. Having too little glucose, a condition known as hypoglycemia, can lead to neural problems, decreased mental ability and feelings of fatigue. Consistently high glucose, or hyperglycemia, can result in severe weight loss, uncontrollable urges to eat, drink, and urinate, and heart problems. Preventing hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia are especially important in diabetic people, whose bodies are unable to regulate blood sugar on their own. There are many different effective means of glucose control, including carefully monitoring levels with medical equipment, maintaining a healthy diet as prescribed by physicians, and receiving regular or emergency insulin injections to stabilize blood sugar.
There are no absolute ranges for glucose levels, since every person's body is a little different. Medical history, the presence or absence of diseases, blood type, weight, height, age, and gender all affect blood sugar levels. A skilled doctor can take careful measurements and observations to determine the proper range for an individual, then suggest the best possible means of maintaining glucose control. Doctors, nurses, and patients work together to establish plans to ensure glucose control, and what to do in emergency situations.
Many people with diabetes and other conditions that affect glucose are equipped with a blood glucose meter, an electronic device that can monitor blood sugar levels by analyzing a small sample. Most meters feature a tiny pin or needle that is used to prick a fingertip and produce a small blood drop. The meter analyzes the amount of glucose in the sample and relays data on a digital screen. Many people with diabetes are instructed to use their meters at least once a day to ensure their glucose levels are normal.
People who struggle with glucose control may need to make significant changes to their diets and lifestyles. Individuals are typically instructed by their physicians to quit smoking, limit alcohol and caffeine consumption, and engage in regular exercise. Low-calorie diets that emphasize whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are usually recommended. Many people achieve better glucose control by taking regular vanadium or chromium supplements, as well as herbal remedies like cinnamon. An individual should consult his or her doctor before taking any type of herbal or mineral supplement, however, to ensure their safety.
Insulin injections are often necessary to provide glucose control in people with diabetes. Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body that is responsible for, among other things, promoting the absorption of glucose into bodily cells. A doctor may provide a patient with single insulin injectors to be used at home, or schedule regular visits to a medical office to receive injections. Glucose control can be greatly improved when blood sugar is carefully monitored, insulin is made available, and a steady diet and exercise routine is maintained.