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Managing your blood sugar and well-being

It’s no secret. Our blood sugar levels are strongly linked to our overall well-being. A healthy blood sugar balance is necessary for our bodies to function properly. When our blood sugar levels are too high or too low, they can adversely impact our mental and physical health.

In this article, we will discuss the determining role of blood sugar in our well-being, the consequences of having too high or too low blood sugar levels, and how we can maintain optimal levels to remain in good health.

What is blood glucose?

Blood glucose is the amount of glucose in the blood. Glucose is the body’s main sugar. This source of energy is essential for the human body to function. It plays an essential role in the proper functioning not only of our organs, but also of all our body’s systems. 

Ensuring our well-being therefore requires us to learn how to regulate our blood sugar levels. And to regulate them, we must first understand what they are, and how our body works. This proper understanding of how our bodies work will help us maintain suitable levels, which are essential to remain in good health.

Blood sugar levels are regulated by the hormones released by the pancreas: insulin and glucagon. After a meal, all the sugar that the body can assimilate passes directly into the bloodstream through the small intestine walls. It is then used as “fuel” for the organs and muscles. If not used immediately, it is then stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. It is then released according to the body’s needs.

Our blood glucose level being too high (hyperglycaemia) or, conversely, too low (hypoglycaemia) can have dire consequences on our health. In the long run, high blood sugar levels can lead to cardiovascular events (stroke or heart attack) and even to pre-diabetes or diabetes.

Blood sugar directly affects your well-being

One of the keys to staying healthy is managing our blood sugar levels. They have a significant impact on our overall well-being. In the absence of a medical condition such as diabetes or pre-diabetes, our blood sugar level is a direct consequence of our diet, lifestyle, medication, or even stress.

Furthermore, blood sugar levels have a direct impact on the body. They immediately translate hyperglycaemia or hypoglycaemia into negative sensations. And sometimes, these sensations are the very indications that there is an imbalance. Pallor, slight nausea, dizziness… all point to hypoglycaemia. Hyperglycaemia however, is indicated by thirst, dry tongue, tiredness or heavy urination.  

The regulation of blood sugar levels is therefore essential for our well-being. We need to constantly keep a balance to ensure that our blood sugar levels stay in the right range. Because the effective management of our blood sugar levels keeps us healthy and fit. Health starts with a healthy lifestyle, and it helps us prevent future problems, which contributes to our overall well-being.

Managing emotions to manage blood sugar

In our daily lives, the way we manage our blood sugar can have a profound effect on our sense of well-being. 

Strong feelings and conditions such as infection, pain, stress, intense joy or sadness (when we hear good or bad news) can cause our blood sugar to rise or fall. It is said that love at first sight can even cause a sharp rise in blood sugar levels. 

It’s physical, chemical even. When we feel strong emotions, our bodies release hormones that can cause our blood sugar to rise. It is therefore important to recognise how certain situations and feelings affect us physically, as well as mentally.

By learning to manage our emotions, we can better manage our blood sugar levels and improve our overall well-being. An example of how managing emotions affects blood sugar is recognising how stress can raise our blood sugar levels.

Although the hormone cortisol is normally released in response to stress, it can also increase our risk of diabetes, because it increases insulin resistance. It causes fat cells – called adipocytes – to store more sugar as triglycerides. These cells are stored in the muscles and liver.

Controlling your blood sugar levels means improving your well-being

By understanding the link between our emotions and our blood sugar, we can then directly influence our health and well-being. As a matter of fact, while emotions affect our blood sugar levels, the reverse is also true. Blood sugar levels and mood are strongly linked. (https://www.carenity.com/infos-maladie/magazine/actualites/quelle-est-linfluence-du-diabete-sur-la-sante-mentale-19)

The level of sugar in our bodies affects not only our physical health but also our emotions. Managing our blood sugar levels can therefore help us maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent serious illnesses such as diabetes. It can also help us manage our emotions, as blood sugar levels have been shown to affect how we feel and think.

It has been shown that people with low blood sugar levels have a higher risk of developing depression and anxiety, while people with high blood sugar levels may be at higher risk of mania, or even schizophrenia (https://www.em-consulte.com/article/101579/diabete-et-schizophrenie-quels-liens). 

In addition, low serum glucose (blood sugar) levels can lead to cognitive impairment, such as that found in Alzheimer’s disease (https://www.santelog.com/actualites/alzheimer-sucre-et-glycemie-une-liaison-dangereuse). In fact, it has been shown that each person’s brain is 24% dependent on glucose for proper functioning.

By managing our blood sugar, we can ensure that we are in the best possible state of mind to make decisions and lead a balanced life.

How to manage your blood glucose

Fortunately, there are several strategies for managing our blood sugar. 

The first is, quite simply, to make healthy food choices. For example, we have to limit our intake of foods with a high glycemic index. Eating foods that are low in simple carbohydrates and high in complex carbohydrates, limiting sugary drinks and snacks, and reducing stress are all important. Healthy eating is essential for our physical and mental well-being. Eating the right foods can help maintain blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases. However, making good food choices can be made more difficult by the availability and ease of consumption of junk food.

Also, healthy eating habits should be complemented with regular physical activity. The key is to pace ourselves. There is no point in going all out for a marathon if we have not trained our body regularly beforehand. It could even prove dangerous. 

Too much physical activity is one of the most frequent causes of hypoglycaemia; i.e., when blood sugar levels fall too low. We need to be fully aware of the risks associated with strenuous physical activity and how it can affect our blood glucose levels.

What are the consequences of hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia?

Qu’est ce que l’hypoglycémie ?

Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels; i.e., below 0.7 g/L) is a condition that can cause a variety of symptoms. These symptoms can include sweating, paleness, abnormal hunger, mild nausea, nervousness and trembling. They can include dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, loss of balance and even an accelerated heart rate or feeling of anxiety.

It can be caused by a change in our lifestyle: a change in our eating habits, missing a meal or eating a meal that is late, lighter than usual or does not contain enough starch (bread, pasta, rice, etc.); An unplanned intense activity; The consumption of alcohol, which prevents the liver from functioning correctly, etc. (https://www.diabete.qc.ca/fr/comprendre-le-diabete/pratique/mises-en-garde/les-boissons/#:~:text=L’alcool%20peut%20aussi%20faire,seul%2C%20en%20ap%C3%A9ritif%20par%20exemple).

What is hyperglycemia?

Hyperglycaemia (blood sugar levels that are too high; i.e., above 7 mmol/L on an empty stomach or before a meal, and above 10 mmol/L two hours after the start of a meal) can lead to symptoms such as palpitations, irritability, tingling around the mouth, dizziness, headaches, blurred vision and weakness. High blood sugar can even have serious consequences: confusion, slurred speech, mood disorders, etc. If left unchecked, these symptoms can worsen over time: concentration problems or “brain fog” that disrupt daily life and social or family relationships. 

Managing your blood sugar means improving your well-being

It is therefore very important to manage our blood sugar levels according to the effort we are asking of our body. We need to give it enough sugar to function, but not too much, so as not to upset the “machine”. By understanding how it works, we can take proactive steps to manage it, reduce the risk of developing uncomfortable symptoms and thus manage our overall well-being.

By monitoring our blood sugar levels, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, we are already improving our health and wellbeing.

So, why wait?

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