AHA – why is blood sugar important?

Hello North Idaho Direct Primary Care family,

Now continuing our discussion on the American Heart Association’s Simple Seven, the next arena is an area that I find a lot of person reward. Controlling our blood sugar. This is directly what leads to diabetes and all of the complications that go along with this disease.

Types of Diabetes

There are a few different definitions that are important to understand about diabetes. First, there are 2 main types (with many subtypes): type 1 and type 2. Type 1 Diabetes occurs when your body attacks the pancreas and you no longer create insulin. Generally, this will occur in childhood but can occur later in life as well. The main theory is that there is a genetic disposition that responds to a stimulus (we think it may be certain viruses), and the body makes antibodies that destroy the pancreas’ ability to make insulin. The only treatment for these patients is supplemental insulin.

Then there is type 2 diabetes. This is where I like to use the analogy of the path of our lives. All of our decisions to this point have brought us here, but the next step in life is up to us to intentionally take. Type 2 diabetes is often a series of events related to diet and exercise that have led to the bodies inability to process sugars correctly. Fat cells actually blunt our bodies response to insulin, and over time this creates a situation your body is unable to keep up with.

What should my blood glucose be?

Ideal fasting blood sugars are < 100. 100-125 are considered insulin resistance or “pre-diabetes”. A fasting blood sugar 126 or higher is considered diabetes. We also measure an A1c to get an average over 3 months. An A1c <5.7 is considered normal, 5.7-6.4 is insulin resistance, and 6.5 or greater is considered diabetes.

How do I treat diabetes?

This is a complicated area. The first thing to do is get our diet under control. Identifying our habits that increase our blood sugar will allow us to make lifestyle changes that can drastically impact our levels. Next, intentionally being active every day will help bring your glucoses under better control as well. Finally, there are medications that we will discuss in the clinic to find the best options for you and your lifestyle. My main goal is for you to control your disease and not let your disease control you.

What can I do to prevent diabetes or help control my diabetes?

I will do a future post diving into medications for diabetes in depth, but this one is intentionally a brief over view. Here are a couple places to find out more. As always, if you or someone you know wants to know more about diabetes or how to manage it, please schedule an appointment to discuss more.


Dr. Odom

North Idaho Direct Primary Care




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