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How the Body Controls Blood Sugar - Topic Overview

The bloodstream carries glucose—a type of sugar produced from the digestion of carbohydrates and other foods—to provide energy to cells throughout the body. Unused glucose is stored mainly in the liver as glycogen.

Insulin, glucagon, and other hormone levels rise and fall to keep blood sugar in a normal range. Too little or too much of these hormones can cause blood sugar levels to fall too low (hypoglycemia) or rise too high (hyperglycemia).

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Normally, blood glucose levels increase after you eat a meal. When blood sugar rises, cells in the pancreas release insulin, causing the body to absorb glucose from the blood and lowering the blood sugar level to normal. When blood sugar drops too low, the level of insulin declines and other cells in the pancreas release glucagon, which causes the liver to turn stored glycogen back into glucose and release it into the blood. This brings blood sugar levels back up to normal.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 08, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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