Are you looking to keep your blood sugar levels healthy?
Having high blood sugar can cause a variety of health issues. To keep these sugar levels in the healthy range, you’ll want to make sure you’re eating the right foods and getting the right amount of exercise. High blood sugar levels during pregnancy come with higher risks of having problems with the baby and the mother’s health. In this article, we’ll discuss what you need to know about blood sugar levels and how to keep them in check.
What do levels of blood sugar indicate?
High blood sugar is called hyperglycemia. It happens when the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood rises higher than normal. If you have diabetes, high blood sugar can cause serious health problems. Low blood sugar levels indicate that a person is experiencing hypoglycemia. In hypoglycemia, the body’s cells are starved of energy because there is not enough glucose available to fuel them. If these dangerous levels of blood sugar occur too often or if they last for a long time they can cause headaches, dizziness, and confusion and also lead to loss of consciousness or coma if ignored for too long.
The negative effects of high blood sugar
High blood sugar can lead to many different health problems, including:
- Eye conditions: It can harm the eyes over time, which could result in blurry vision or even blindness. It may also result in glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic macular oedema, and diabetic retinopathy.
- Heart attack and stroke: High blood sugar causes you to have more atherosclerosis — the hardening of arteries that can cause heart attacks and strokes.
- Kidney disease: High blood sugar damages your kidneys, which may lead to kidney failure or even kidney cancer if left untreated.
- Weight gain: Eating foods high in refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice, and potatoes, can cause your body to produce extra insulin, which leads to dangerous blood sugar levels and weight gain.
- High blood pressure: High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke, so eating high-carbohydrate foods can increase your risk for these conditions as well as other age-related diseases such as arthritis and dementia.
How to maintain healthy blood sugar levels?
Follow the few tips shared below to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and avoid reaching a dangerous level of blood sugar:
- Eat fibrous foods having low glycemic index such as oats, barley, lentils, beans etc.
- Have a nutritious breakfast to start the day.
- Take in more fresh fruits and veggies.
- Stay away from processed meals.
- Drink lots of water.
- Avoid skipping meals.
- Get adequate rest.
- Refrain from drinking alcohol.
- Get some regular exercise.
- Maintain a sugar level chart.
- Attend routine medical checkups.
What is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar levels are generally healthy, but you have high blood sugar during pregnancy. It is not the same as type 2 diabetes, which occurs in non-pregnant adults and children. Gestational diabetes develops because the body becomes resistant to insulin, and the pancreas cannot make enough insulin to control blood sugar levels effectively. The risks associated with gestational diabetes include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Excess weight gain
- Preeclampsia (high blood pressure, protein in the urine, swelling in the face or hands)
- Retinopathy (damage to the back of the eye caused by high blood sugar)
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of heart disease and stroke
- Newborn complications: Gestational diabetes increases the risk of premature delivery or low birth weight babies. Premature delivery is more likely in women who have gestational diabetes than in women who don’t have it.
Why is it important to manage gestational diabetes?
The management of gestational diabetes is important because it is a serious condition that can lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes. Having gestational diabetes increases the risk of having a baby with birth defects and other problems. Also, if left untreated, gestational diabetes can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
The gestational diabetes self-management program
The gestational diabetes program helps women with gestational diabetes and to learn how to take care of themselves during pregnancy. The program includes education about diabetes and how to test your blood sugar levels. You will learn what foods are best for you, which ones to avoid, and how much exercise you should do each day. The program helps you set goals for managing your diabetes and make sure that your treatment team is involved in helping you achieve them.
Benefits of the gestational diabetes program include:
- Preparing for the birth of your baby
- Learning about nutrition, exercise, and healthy habits so that you can prepare for labour and delivery
- Ways to manage your blood sugar levels while pregnant
- Meeting with a nurse or dietitian regularly during pregnancy
What you can expect from the program
The best way to understand the gestational diabetes program is to attend one of our classes, where we explain the basics of gestational diabetes, including how it is diagnosed and treated.
To wrap things up
The first step to maintaining a healthy blood sugar level is knowing what normal blood sugar levels actually look like and then aiming to keep your own within that range. The key here is consistency. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels throughout your pregnancy will not just keep you and your baby safe and healthy, but it can also reduce complications such as birth defects and miscarriage. Gestational diabetes reminds us of how important it is to work with your doctor and monitor your blood sugar levels regularly.