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The nitty-gritty of how a burger fuels a person for several hours after eating it is not really regarded as a “must-know” for the majority of the population. But that is something that needs to be changed: With diabetes plaguing ten percent of the American population (that’s almost 30 million people) , knowing how the body produces energy from food should be important to everyone – because it could ultimately be that knowledge that keeps you alive… here are 5 important facts about blood sugar levels:
1) Blood Sugar Is Actually Blood Glucose
The term “blood sugar” is often heard when talking about diabetes. The correct medical term is actual blood glucose levels – which refers to the amount of glucose found in the blood. But hold up, what’s glucose? Glucose is a simple sugar. It is a type of carbohydrate that comes from the food a person eats which is digested and absorbed by the body. Glucose is very important to the cells; in order to produce energy for life functions, glucose is absorbed by the cell, broken down, and turned into ATP, the unit of energy used by body.
2) Insulin and Glucose Work Together
While high levels of blood sugar contribute to the development of diabetes, the problem actually lies in the body’s ability to produce another substance – a hormone called insulin. When a healthy person eats too much and there is too much glucose circulating in the blood, the pancreas releases insulin. Insulin is responsible for stimulating our cells to absorb glucose, thereby lowering blood sugar levels to normal.
3) High Blood Glucose Causes Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes Type 1 is characterized by a failure of the pancreas to produce insulin. This is the only type that affects children, hence the condition’s other name, juvenile diabetes. 
Diabetes Type 2 is a problem that begins with insulin sensitivity. When the cells of the body are consistently exposed to high levels of glucose, the cells can become less sensitive to insulin. Think of this in a similar way to your sense of smell. People who are consistently exposed to a particular odor become less sensitive to it – like living on a farm and finding that the smell of animals is barely noticeable after several weeks.
When there is too much glucose in the blood in a diabetic person, the cells don’t respond to the normal level of insulin needed to absorb the glucose – this is decreased sensitivity, which is seen in Diabetes Type II. With too much insulin in the blood, the pancreas then produces less insulin – contributing to even higher levels of blood glucose and creating a spiral into Diabetes Type 2.
4) Some Of The Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar and High Blood Sugar Can Be Similar
Hyperglycemia has a blood glucose level greater than 110 mg/dl after fasting or greater than 140 mg/dl two hours after a meal. Hypoglycemia has a blood glucose level lower than 60 mg/dl. 
5) Grains And Fiber In The Diet May Help Lower Blood Glucose
The primary factors for prevention and treatment of diabetes involve a healthy diet, physical exercise, not smoking and maintaining a normal body weight. 
Avoidance of sweets and high-carbohydrate food is an essential part of the diabetic diet. Pastries and soda have high sugar content, which is dangerous for a diabetic person. White bread is converted rapidly to blood sugar and causes a significant spike. However, food that is high in soluble fiber like oatmeal (unsweetened!) and barley – basically food that takes longer to digest – is a better option because it does not elevate levels of blood glucose as high or as fast. 
Note – this article is a general knowledge report based on scientific studies and as with the rest of this site, is not medical advice. Please see full disclaimer at foot of page.
 American Diabetes Association (2014). National Diabetes Statistics Report. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/
 Smeltzer, et. al. (2010). Brunner and Suddarth’s Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing p.1197-1199.
 Kam, K. Diabetic Diet: 6 Foods That May Help Control Blood Sugar. http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/features/diabetic-diet-6-foods-control-blood-sugar
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