Wordsmith, storyteller, article writer and passionate professional, who enjoys creating original pieces that are witty and animated. An experienced freelancer who specialized in the health and nutrition niche, with a soft spot for medical articles addressed at professionals and amateurs alike.
High blood sugar means that the level of blood glucose (a form of sugar) is higher than it should be. This is usually a sign that something is wrong and that it will go even worse. High blood sugar is tightly related to insulin resistance, the first sign of diabetes.
What is blood sugar?
Before we can talk about high blood sugar, we need to understand normal blood sugar.
Our body constantly uses sugar in all its forms. We process it by breaking down carbohydrates, fructose (the sugar of fruit), simple sugars (actual sugar and honey) and even different sweeteners.
Once carbohydrates and sugars enter our body, our digestive system breaks them down and they are absorbed, in the small intestine.
In our blood, sugar is called glucose. It is a simple molecule that will be transported to cells, to produce energy.
The glucose that isn’t needed will not go to waste. Our blood will transport it to different “warehouses” that will store the glucose until it’s needed.
Why does our body store glucose?
Glucose has proven to be extremely useful through our evolution as a species.
It gave humans energy to survive, to build shelters, to outstand the cold even before they discovered fire.
More importantly, glucose burns fast, which means that it gave humans the possibility to be very fast and strong for a short time span.
With the fight or flight response, that is inbuilt in our instinct, we burn a lot of glucose to be able to do things that we otherwise wouldn’t do.
Also, when sick or after an injury, the body mobilizes a lot of resources to help us heal. It takes energy to do that, and the fastest way to obtain that energy would be to use glucose.
Nowadays we have access to sugar almost all the time. But this is a relatively recent addition to our society. It’s been less than 500 years, so from an evolutionary standpoint, it’s been a few minutes.
Glucose storage is similar to having a rainy day account.
It’s a shame that we can’t trust our body (not our brain) with finances. It will definitely do a good job since it’s such a hoarder.
We discussed glucose and what its role is, in detail, in the article about nutrition that you will find here.
Where is glucose stored
Blood glucose is a relative healthy constant, in healthy individuals. The body needs to maintain a certain level for the proper functioning of different, vital processes.
The excess of glucose, which comes from our diet, is stored in our muscles and in our liver in the form of glycogen.
Blood sugar and glycogen together can amount to up to 2500 calories. This means that an individual can go an entire day without food and still have glucose to burn.
As annoying as this is for those who want to lose weight, you have to admit, that it is very useful in case of a famine or a war.
We may not be in that situation now, and I hope that we will never have to face it. But it happened repeatedly and for extended periods of time, during our evolution. And we adapted, because that’s what we do best.
After all the glycogen storage is depleted, the body starts to burn fat for energy. We discussed this in out article that you can find here.
Why does blood sugar become too high?
While our body seems to function like a well oiled machine, we tend to forget to oil it.
Glucose reaches the cell in a very particular way. Cells can’t allow everything that the blood brings them to enter.
In order for something to be allowed in, it requires a “password”. In the case of glucose, this password is insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. The pancreas produces insulin when different receptors sense the fact that we ate something with sugar in it.
The more sugar we eat (and drink), the more insulin is produced.
Over time, due to over exposure, cells begin to develop a resistance to insulin. And they tend to ignore it.
In return, the pancreas produces even more insulin, to get the cell to understand the message.
As this process goes on, blood glucose accumulates and the pancreas becomes tired.
Over time, this leads to type 2 diabetes, which is entirely preventable by making the right choices and by leading a healthy life style.
Which are the risks of high blood glucose?
Did you know that roughly 34 million Americans suffer from diabetes? Nearly 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes.
These are grim numbers, especially when you keep in mind that type 2 diabetes is preventable. Prediabetes and insulin resistance are preventable.
Prediabetes represents the insulin resistance that we were talking about earlier and, if left unaddressed, in an average of 5 years, it evolves to diabetes.
Diabetes is manageable by dieting and exercising. But over time, as the body ages, the pancreas will be able to produce less and less insulin.
For this reason, some type two diabetics need to use insulin after every meal.
Diabetes and prediabetes are also associated with conditions like:
- Heart conditions;
- Increased risk of heart attacks;
- Increased risk of stroke.
Can I lower blood sugar naturally?
Lowering your blood sugar can seem challenging at first, but it is definitely something that you can do.
Prediabetes is like a telegram from your body. High blood sugar is telling you to take action. And if you listen to your body, and begin to treat it right, it will reward you and your blood sugar will be back to normal.
I know that a considerable lower level of sweets seems like it will cause great sadness and that it will test your will power. But, it doesn’t take too long to get used to a new life style.
If you can will yourself to do something for three weeks, you will be able to do it for a longer period, and you will even feel good about it.
We have an entire article about solutions to lower blood sugar here. I advise you to read it as it refers to both natural solutions, some of which are quite enjoyable, and to some supplements that anyone can use.
Before thinking that you have tried to lower your blood sugar before, and failed, please keep in mind that there are people out there who succeeded and are now leading a fulfilling, healthy life.[i]