Blood Sugar

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What is the blood sugar level?

The blood sugar level is the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. It is also known as serum glucose level. It is expressed as millimoles per litre (mmol/l).

Normally, blood glucose levels stay within narrow limits throughout the day: 4 to 8mmol/l. But they are higher after meals and usually lowest in the morning.

In diabetes the blood sugar level moves outside these limits until treated. Even with good control of diabetes, the blood sugar level will still at times drift outside this normal range.

Why control blood sugar levels?

For reasons that are not well understood, when very high levels of blood glucose are present for years, it leads to damage of the small blood vessels.

This in turn increases your risk of developing late-stage diabetes complications such as:

retinopathy (eye disease)

nephropathy (kidney disease)

neuropathy (nerve disease)

cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack, hypertension, heart failure, stroke and problems caused by poor circulation, eg gangrene in the worst cases.

With Type 1 diabetes, these complications may start to appear 10 to 15 years after diagnosis.

It's often less than 10 years after diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, because this type of diabetes is often present for years before it is recognised.

By keeping the blood sugar level stable, you significantly reduce your risk of these complications.

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