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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Checking blood sugar is vitally important

on Tuesday, 15 October 2019. Posted in Letters to the Editor, Opinions

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Checking blood sugar is vitally important

Diabetes is caused by too much glucose (sugar) in your blood. This is also called high blood sugar. The cells in our body need sugar to function properly and this sugar comes from the food we eat. Our body makes something called insulin that helps the sugar get in our cells. When you have Type-2 Diabetes, your body doesn’t make as much insulin, or can’t use it well. Without insulin, sugar can’t get in your cells. When this happens, the sugar stays in your blood. Too much sugar in your blood can be serious. It can cause heart, kidney and eye problems and other complications. Too little sugar in your blood can also be dangerous. Keeping your sugar controlled can prevent this. Therefore, it is very important to check your blood sugar.

Diabetes affects over 29 million people in the United States. South Carolina ranks fifth in the nation. One in seven adults in South Carolina has diabetes. It affects one in four people over 65 years old. It is the 7th leading cause of death. In 2017, 1,535 people in S.C. died from diabetes - that is about four people every day. About 20 percent of people in Florence County have diabetes.

When your sugar stays too high it damages your body. This is why it’s very important to know how much sugar is in your blood. Your provider will tell you how often to check your sugar. If you just take a pill for diabetes, you may only need to check it once or twice daily. It is a good idea to check it 2 hours after a large meal or before bed. If you take insulin shots, you need to check it before meals and at bedtime. This can help you understand how food affects your blood sugar (Knapp et al., 2016). You may need to change what you eat to improve your sugar. If you check blood sugar before you eat, it should be 80-130 mg/dL. One or 2 hours after you eat, it should be less than 180 mg/dL (Knapp et al., 2016). At bedtime your sugar should be 100-150 mg/dL. If it is higher or lower, you should write down what you ate and share this with your provider.

If you have diabetes, the most important thing you can do is check your blood sugar (NIDDK, 2016). When you know what your blood sugar is, you can understand how food affects it. Keeping your blood sugar at the right level keeps you healthy. It can prevent complications that can lead to death. Talk to your provider about any questions you have.

Jennifer Reid

Francis Marion University

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