Glucose in the blood is necessary for the proper functioning of our body. Both men and women need it. Its entry into brain neurons and red blood cells is important.
Glucose is consumed in the body by bypassing the insulin pathway for:
- protection of red blood cells and neurons from reactive oxygen species (ROS);
- maintenance of iron in the erythrocyte in the form required for metabolism;
- conservation of energy exchange;
- ATP production for neurons;
- synthesis of biologically active substances (neurotransmitters).
Glucose transport to other cells is mediated by the pancreatic hormone insulin. Its deficiency in diabetes mellitus causes a lack of glucose in the cells and its excess in the blood.
The cells of the adrenal glands and gonads are involved in the synthesis of steroid hormones. For these purposes, they use glucose.
The liver synthesizes fatty acids, cholesterol and activates vitamin D in the human body. It performs all these functions thanks to glycolysis.
During hunger and muscle work, glycogen synthesis processes are activated.
What is a normal blood sugar level?
Glycemia is the level of sugar in the blood. Normal values of this indicator are ensured by the balance of the processes of transport, use, creation and entry of glucose into the blood. The state of balance is maintained by hormones. Among them are:
- hypoglycemic (insulin);
- hyperglycemic (glucocorticosteroids, adrenaline, norepinephrine, glucagon).
Blood glucose standards range from 3. 3 to 5. 5 mmol/l; according to some sources, the reference limit has been moved to 6. 6. Values calculated for venous blood are slightly higher than for capillary indicators.
How does low blood sugar manifest itself?
The reason for this condition is the increased need of cells for glucose, due to which the processes of ATP production are disturbed.
Causes of these disorders include:
- hyperproduction of insulin in tumors (insulinoma);
- wrongly administered dose of insulin for diabetes mellitus;
- adrenal insufficiency caused by a lack of hyperglycemic hormones;
- disruption of the flow of sugar from the intestine;
- liver pathologies;
- hereditary diseases that result in reduced glucose production;
- alcohol addiction;
- lack of vitamins (biotin) involved in glucose metabolism;
- disorders of the central nervous system.
A decrease in the level of glucose coming from the intestine can be associated with absorption pathology (for example, enteritis) and nutritional starvation caused by the lack of this element. This condition is called nutritional hypoglycemia.
A low level of glucose in the blood leads to a nutritional deficit of red blood cells and brain neurons, which is characterized by the following symptoms:
- pale skin;
- rapid breathing and heartbeat;
- sweating, chills;
In such situations, help must be provided immediately. The level of glucose in the blood increases with the help of sweets or an injection of medicine. Lack of help can lead to coma and death.
How does high blood sugar manifest itself?
Hyperglycemia is considered an increase in blood sugar of more than 5. 5 mmol/l. This process is a consequence of reduced cell demand and increased glucose production. The reasons are:
- lack of insulin in diabetes mellitus, pancreatic necrosis;
- hyperproduction of hormones in acromegaly - somatotropic, thyrotoxicosis - iodothyronine, Itsenko-Cushing's disease - glucocorticosteroids;
- kidney failure and impaired filtration;
- overeating and excess sugar;
- exercise stress;
- stroke, brain tumor.
The most serious consequence of hyperglycemia is the development of hyperosmolar coma, caused by an excessive level of glucose in the blood, which attracts too much fluid into the blood vessels. This type of coma is typical for people with diabetes mellitus complicated by kidney failure. Normally, healthy kidneys prevent blood sugar from rising above 9 mmol/L, reducing reabsorption and causing glycosuria.
In moderate hyperglycemia, the processes of pathological protein glycosylation and sorbitol formation are triggered. This compound promotes the accumulation of fluid in the tissues and disrupts the functioning of cells. Pathological glycosylation disrupts the work of antibodies and causes hypoxia. By changing the antigenic properties of proteins, it can lead to the emergence of autoimmune diseases.
The main clinical symptoms associated with high blood sugar are:
- visual impairment;
- nervous sensitivity disorder;
- formation of kidney failure;
- trophic disorders in the tissues of the lower extremities;
- frequent urination;
- general weakness;
- strong thirst;
- slow regeneration of cuts and wounds.
Most of these signs characterize diabetes mellitus, a disease of endocrine etiology that is associated with impaired glucose absorption due to a lack of the hormone insulin.
Factors that predispose to the development of this pathology include:
- genetic predisposition;
- excess weight;
- taking inducer drugs.
If you recognize several of the listed clinical signs and risk factors, you should schedule an appointment with an endocrinologist.
Laboratory tests: norms, blood sugar level in men and women
Many methods and tests are used in the laboratory diagnosis of pathologies associated with disturbed sugar metabolism. This includes:
- glucose tolerance test;
- glycated hemoglobin;
- determination of fasting blood sugar level;
- general urinalysis;
- blood chemistry.
In case of an unclear diagnosis, a tolerance test is carried out. If diabetes mellitus is established, this test is not recommended. For the test, blood is taken on an empty stomach, and then the level is assessed after drinking a solution with sugar. Based on the obtained data, a sugar curve is formed, the levels of which return to normal within 2-3 hours. A reading above 11 mmol/l indicates possible deviations.
Glycated hemoglobin is used to monitor the dynamics of hyperglycemia in people with diabetes mellitus, to identify latent forms and to diagnose gestational diabetes mellitus in pregnant women. The norm is up to 6% of the total amount of hemoglobin.
The presence of sugar in the general urine test is directly influenced by the concentration of glucose in the blood. Its reabsorption is normally 1. 7 mmol per minute. The blood sugar level above which it appears in the urine is called the renal threshold. Its value is 8. 8 – 9. 9 mmol/l. The appearance of sugar in the urine may indicate diabetes mellitus, however, it is not the only reason. Glucosuria develops in some cases:
- in pregnant women with reduced reabsorption;
- with congenital or acquired anomaly of the proximal tubules of the kidney.
A level of up to 0. 8 mmol/l is considered normal.
What medications can affect test results?
Medicines taken continuously can skew the results up or down.
- glucocorticosteroid hormones (hydrocortisone, prednisolone, budesonide, etc. );
- drugs for the treatment of psychiatric diseases;
- oral contraceptives prescribed for women;
- antihypertensive drugs;
- syrup-based cough suppressants.
Aspirin, aloe juice and quinine artificially lower blood sugar values.
These studies also affect female sex hormones, so taking tests before the start of menstruation should be postponed until it ends.
Thus, glucose has a huge impact on the performance of the whole body. To prevent the disease, especially in people with a hereditary predisposition to diabetes, it is necessary to determine the concentration of sugar in the blood at least once a year, or as part of a medical examination.