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Blood sugar levels and what they mean

Blood sugar levels in diabetes

The blood sugar value indicates the sugar content in the blood. It changes depending on the food intake and can be expressed in "milligrams per deciliter" (mg / dl) or "millimoles per liter" (mmol / l).

Expert Jana Choczko, dietician and diabetes advisor at the Helios Klinik Lengerich, explains everything you need to know about blood sugar levels.

What is blood sugar?

The so-called blood sugar corresponds to the amount of glucose in the blood. It provides information about how much sugar (glucose) is present in dissolved form in a person's blood. "Glucose is the most important source of energy for the cells in the body and is a naturally occurring carbohydrate," says Jana Choczko.

The hormone insulin is used to make glucose from the blood available to the cells. Figuratively speaking, insulin is the key to the lock of the cell in order to open the gate for glucose (so-called “key-lock principle”). If there is a lack of insulin, the glucose cannot get into the cell and the sugar level in the blood rises.

Glucose is the main source of energy for cells in the body and is a naturally occurring carbohydrate.

Jana Choczko, diabetes advisor | Helios Clinic Lenegerich

The blood sugar values ​​can be determined from capillary blood, whole blood or blood plasma. By default, blood sugar is measured from a tiny sample taken from the fingertip. In this case, experts speak of capillary blood measurement. Diabetics can also do this themselves on the middle finger, ring finger or little finger. The thumb and ring finger have more tactile sensors than the rest of the fingers, which is why measuring blood sugar can be more uncomfortable there.

Which blood sugar levels are normal?

"The normal blood sugar levels relate to the fasting state. In healthy people it is therefore completely normal that they can be slightly elevated immediately after eating," explains the dietician. Medical conditions and certain medications, such as cortisone, can also cause blood sugar levels to rise.

In people without diabetes, the empty blood glucose level (after 8 to 10 hours without food) is below 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg / dl) or below 5.5 millimoles per liter (mmol / l). After a meal, blood sugar levels usually do not rise above 140 mg / dl (7.8 mmol / l).

Blood sugar levels sober

On an empty stomach, before meals
60-100 mg / dl or
3.3-5.5 mmol / l

Blood sugar levels after eating

After meals
90-140 mg / dl or
5.0 - 7.8 mmol / l

Target values ​​in diabetes

The German Diabetes Society names the following benchmarks for the treatment of diabetes.

Target values ​​for type 1 diabetes (capillary)

sober / prepandial:90-120 mg / dl
postpandial / after eating130-160 mg / dl
before bedtime:110-140 mg / dl
HbA1c value:< 7,5 %

Target values ​​for type 2 diabetes (plasma glucose)

sober / prepandial:100 - 125 mg / dl
postpandial: after eating140-199 mg / dl
HbA1c value:6.5% - 7.5% (target corridor, depending e.g. on age, previous illnesses, overall condition, etc.)

Under and over sugar

Hypoglycemia and hypoglycemia are metabolic derailments in which those affected either have too little or too much glucose in their blood. Hypoglycaemia is more common in people who regularly inject insulin, such as type 1 diabetics.

However, hypoglycaemia can also occur in patients who take insulin-releasing drugs (especially so-called sulfonylureas). An excessively high blood sugar level can occur in all forms of diabetes, for example in the context of diet errors or drug therapies (for example with cortisone).

Hypoglycemia

  • Less than 70 mg / dL or
  • Less than 3.9 mmol / l

Hypoglycaemia can trigger symptoms such as restlessness, tremors, difficulty concentrating, cravings, sweating, weak knees, speech disorders, aggressiveness or confusion.

The following factors can lead to hypoglycaemia:

  • injected too much insulin
  • more movement than usual
  • too little eaten
  • Alcohol consumption

How to act correctly:

  • consume fast carbohydrates such as glucose, apple juice or cola
  • after resorting to fast carbohydrates, measure blood sugar
  • if necessary, consult a doctor

Over-sugar

 

  • About 160 mg / dL or
  • About 8.8 mmol / l

High blood sugar can trigger symptoms such as tiredness, fatigue, frequent urination, increased thirst or a dry mouth.

The following factors can lead to hypoglycaemia:

  • not enough insulin injected
  • more calm than usual
  • Eaten large portions

How to act correctly:

  • measure blood sugar
  • Administration of insulin
  • if necessary, consult a doctor

Blood sugar in children: which values ​​are normal?

Blood sugar is often measured on the earlobe of infants or small children, as the sensitivity to pain is significantly lower there.

Newborns to mothers with gestational diabetes often have low blood sugar shortly after birth. Here it is particularly important to counteract persistent hypoglycaemia in order to prevent secondary diseases in the child.

Target values ​​in children

Target value in babies and toddlers:100-120mg / dl
Children / adolescents:120-140mg / dl

Convert blood sugar values

The concentration of glucose in the blood can be expressed in two units: milligrams per deciliter "(mg / dl) or" millimoles per liter "(mmol / l)." The unit milligrams per deciliter is the mass concentration. Millimoles Experts speak of the substance concentration per liter, "explains diabetes advisor Jana Choczko. The molar concentration of mmol / l is more common internationally, but in most cases the calculation in Germany is still in mg / dl.

It is important that diabetics always use the same conversion factor in order to compare the results and thus avoid dangerous sugar derailments.

Conversion table mg / dl in mmol / l and mmol / l in mg / dl

mg / dL
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
60
65
70
75
80
85
90
mmol / L
0.6
0.8
1.1
1.4
1.7
1.9
2.2
2.5
2.8
3.1
3.3
3.6
3.9
4.2
4.4
4.7
5.0
mg / dL
95
100
110
120
130
140
150
160
170
180
190
200
210
220
230
240
250
mmol / L
5.3
5.6
6.1
6.7
7.2
7.8
8.3
8.9
9.4
10.0
10.5
11.1
11.7
12.2
12.8
13.3
13.9
mg / dL
260
270
280
290
300
325
350
375
400
425
450
475
500
525
550
575
600
mmol / L
14.4
15.0
15.5
16.1
16.7
18.0
19.4
20.8
22.2
23.6
25.0
26.4
27.8
29.1
30.5
31.9
33.3
mmol / L
0.6
0.8
1
1.2
1.4
1.6
1.8
2
2.2
2.4
2.6
2.8
3
3.3
3.6
4
4.5
mg / dL
11
14
18
22
25
29
32
36
40
43
47
50
54
59
65
72
81
mmol / L
5
5.5
6
6.5
7
7.5
8
8.5
9
9.5
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
mg / dL
90
99
108
117
126
135
144
153
162
171
180
198
216
234
252
270
288
mmol / L
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
mg / dL
306
324
342
360
378
396
414
432
450
468
486
505
523
541
559
577
595

 

 

certificate

The Helios Klinik Lengerich has been certified by the DDG (German Diabetes Society) as "suitable for diabetics".

Last updated on June 5th, 2020