A high level of blood sugar is a condition that defines diabetes. During this condition both acute and chronic complications can develop: hyperglycemia/hypoglycemia or coronary heart disease, stroke, lower limb peripheral arterial diseases which are potentially lethal complications. This is why it is important to understand the mechanism of blood glucose levels and how we can detect it or keep it under control.
Glucose is the most important energy source of our body. It comes mainly from foods rich in carbohydrates. During digestion, glucose is released into the blood and then delivered to the cells in order to be used for our cellular metabolism.
There are two important hormones contributing to regulating blood glucose levels: glucagon and insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas and has the main role of transporting blood glucose to our cells, in order to be used as a source of energy and development, resulting in lowering blood glucose.
Increased blood glucose symptoms
Blood glucose levels remain high because the physiological process of transferring glucose to our cells is altered, either because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin produced.
Consequences are depriving our body cells of their source of energy and damaging of organs or tissues (retina, kidney, nervous tissue) which are more exposed to blood flow or to abnormally high glucose levels.
Increased blood glucosegives symptoms such as blurred vision, excessive thirst, hunger and increased consumption of food, fatigue, frequent urination or weight loss.
Laboratory tests used in diabetes diagnoses
Both detection of diagnosis and monitoring of diabetes are based on laboratory methods to determine serum/plasma glucose. Can be harvested four types of samples:
• Plasma/serum glucose determined on empty stomach
• Serum glucose measured 2 hours after eating (postprandial)
• Plasma/serum glucose determined from a blood sample collected at any time of day, regardless of the interval since the last meal (random)
• Plasma/serum glucose determined by the glucose tolerance test (2 hours after administration of 75 g glucose), this test should be performed only by clinician.
The human body has special mechanisms to maintain a steady blood sugar level. Mechanisms for keeping blood glucose levels will ensure a level of approximately 100 mg / dl which is enough to supply the necessary blood glucose to tissues and organs. Carbohydrate metabolism imbalances and nutritional imbalances can lead to decreases or increases in blood sugar levels.
Types of Diabetes
1. Diabetes Type 1 – can occur at any age, but it is more common among children, adolescents and young adults. In this type, the pancreas does not produce insulin and symptoms develop soon (insulin-dependent).
2. Diabetes Type 2 – is represents most diabetes cases, but it occurs more in adults and is caused by an insulin resistance. Symptoms develop slowly so that many people with high levels of blood sugar have no symptoms.
3. Gestational diabetes – is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy in 2-5% of pregnant women. It may disappear after birth or it can announce the installation of type 2 diabetes later in life.
Other types of diabetes are caused by genetic defects in the functioning of insulin-producing pancreatic cells, diseases of the exocrine pancreas (cystic fibrosis) or medications.