How Your Current Glucose Levels Predict Your Future Health

Maintaining healthy glucose levels is key for health and longevity. Learn how glucose affects your future outcomes and steps to keep your glucose levels in check.

As an adult with a busy schedule, your health and wellbeing often take a backseat to work and family responsibilities. However, to maintain your energy, focus and performance over the long run, vigilance about certain health markers is essential.

One of the most important is your glucose level. Glucose, also known as blood sugar, provides the fuel for all of your body's cells and organs. When glucose levels are out of balance for extended periods, serious health consequences can result. Monitoring and managing your glucose levels, especially as you age, is one of the best ways to safeguard your health and longevity.

This comprehensive guide provides an overview of what glucose is, why it matters for your health and productivity, how to track your levels, and the lifestyle changes as well as medical interventions that can help keep your glucose in the optimal range.

TLDR: Glucose, also known as blood sugar, provides energy for your body's cells and organs.

  • High levels of glucose is associated with increased risk of diabetes and heart disease
  • Monitoring and managing your glucose levels is important especially as you age to safeguard your health and longevity.
  • Implement changes in diet and increase exercise to keep your glucose levels in check.

What Is Glucose and Why Is It Important?

What is Glucose?

Glucose is a simple sugar that serves as the primary source of energy for your body and brain.

Glucose comes from the carbohydrates you eat, like grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables. After you eat, your blood glucose levels rise as the body breaks down these carbs into glucose and sends it into your bloodstream. Your pancreas then releases insulin to help cells absorb the glucose, lowering your blood sugar levels again.

The Impact of Glucose on Disease Risk and Longevity

Uncontrolled glucose can significantly raise your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and Alzheimer's disease.

Diabetes Risk

Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are conditions characterized by high blood sugar levels. According to the CDC, 88 million Americans have prediabetes. Without intervention, up to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.

Diabetes can cause damage to blood vessels and nerves, leading to complications like heart attack, stroke, blindness, and limb amputations.

Heart Disease Risk

High glucose levels damage arteries and are a major cause of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. This can lead to high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. In fact, cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death for people with diabetes.

Other Health Risks

Chronically elevated glucose levels are also associated with non-alcoholic liver disease, several types of cancer, cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease. Controlling glucose levels and maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure can help minimize health risks and extend life expectancy.

How Often Should Working Adults Get Their Glucose Tested?

As a working adult, monitoring your glucose levels regularly is essential to maintaining health and longevity.

  • It is recommended that most adults get screened for high blood glucose, or hyperglycemia, at least once every 3 years after the age of 45, to intervene before progression to diabetes.

Once diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes, self-testing blood glucose at home is necessary to properly manage the condition.

  • For prediabetes, testing 2-4 times per week at varying times before and after meals can help determine how best to control blood sugar spikes.
  • For diabetes, testing before each meal, at bedtime, and occasionally in the middle of the night is typically recommended to gain awareness of how food, activity, medication, and rest affect glucose levels.

Mito Health's flagship package, priced at $499, offers testing for glucose as well as 66 other carefully curated biomarkers that provide insight into various aspects of your health - this comprehensive suite of tests allows for early detection of cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes and more.

In addition to testing, you will receive a personalized health optimization plan from our doctors incorporating supplements, nutrition, exercise and sleep strategies, discounted pricing for specialized additional tests, and access to exclusive health and longevity events.

Ideal Glucose Levels for Optimal Health

According to the American Diabetes Association.

  • Ideal: The ideal fasting blood glucose level for most adults is between 70 to 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Fasting means you have not eaten for at least 8 hours prior to testing your blood glucose. Two hours after eating, glucose levels should be less than 140 mg/dL.
  • Prediabetes: Fasting blood glucose of 100 to 125 mg/dL or an A1C of 5.7% to 6.4%. Prediabetes means your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as diabetes.
  • Diabetes: Fasting blood glucose of 126 mg/dL or higher, an A1C of 6.5% or higher, or a random blood glucose of 200 mg/dL or higher with symptoms of diabetes like frequent urination, excessive thirst, and unexplained weight loss.

Lifestyle Changes to Help Manage Glucose Levels

To properly manage your glucose levels, making healthy lifestyle changes is essential.

Diet

The foods you eat have a significant impact on your blood sugar. Focus on a balanced diet with lean proteins, high-fiber whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. Some recommendations:

  • Choose complex carbohydrates like whole wheat bread and oatmeal over simple carbs such as white rice and pasta. Complex carbs are digested more slowly, preventing blood sugar spikes.
  • Include protein with each meal, such as fish, chicken, beans, or nuts. Protein helps you feel full and also slows the digestion of carbohydrates.
  • Limit saturated fat from red meat and full-fat dairy products. Instead, consume unsaturated fats from olive oil, avocados, and nuts.
  • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water and unsweetened beverages. Hydration keeps your kidneys functioning properly and can even boost your energy levels.
  • Monitor your portion sizes and practice intermittent fasting. Both techniques can improve insulin sensitivity and promote weight loss.

Exercise

Engaging in regular physical activity is key to managing your glucose levels in a healthy range. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Some recommendations:

  • Aerobic exercise like walking, jogging, biking, and swimming help your cells become more sensitive to insulin and utilize glucose for energy.
  • Strength or resistance training with weights builds muscle and increases your metabolism.
  • High intensity interval training (HIIT) involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by recovery periods. HIIT can quickly lower blood sugar levels and may reduce your risk of complications.
  • Stretching and yoga improve your flexibility and balance while reducing stress. Stress hormones like cortisol can elevate your blood glucose.

Making changes to your diet and exercise routine may require time and patience. However, developing sustainable habits will have long-term benefits for your health and longevity.

When Medication May Be Needed for Glucose Control

When lifestyle changes are not enough to achieve healthy glucose levels, medication may be prescribed to help gain control. Several types of medications are available to treat high blood glucose, and your doctor will determine which option is right based on your individual needs and health conditions.

  • Metformin - The most common medication, metformin lowers glucose production in the liver and improves insulin sensitivity. It is usually well-tolerated with minimal side effects like nausea or diarrhea.
  • Sulfonylureas - These stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin. Examples are glipizide and glyburide. They can cause low blood glucose and weight gain.
  • Thiazolidinediones - Medications like pioglitazone improve insulin sensitivity and are often used with metformin. Side effects may include weight gain, fluid retention, and possible heart disease risks.
  • DPP-4 inhibitors - Drugs like sitagliptin and saxagliptin prevent the breakdown of a hormone that stimulates insulin release. They tend to have few side effects but may cause joint pain and inflammation.
  • SGLT2 inhibitors - These block the reabsorption of glucose in the kidneys, causing more glucose to be excreted in urine. Examples are empagliflozin and canagliflozin. Side effects can include yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and dehydration.

If oral medications are not providing adequate control or you require insulin, injectable medications may be an option:

  • Insulin injections - Several types of insulin are available with different durations of action. Insulin injections will likely be needed for type 1 diabetes and sometimes type 2 diabetes. Proper dosage is determined based on blood glucose monitoring results. Insulin can cause hypoglycemia and weight gain.

By following your doctor’s recommended treatment plan, checking your blood glucose levels routinely, and making appropriate lifestyle adjustments, medication can be an effective tool for controlling glucose and reducing health risks.

Conclusion

As a working adult, your health and longevity should be top priorities alongside your career and responsibilities. Understanding how glucose impacts your health and taking action to manage it effectively can help ensure you live life to the fullest, avoiding preventable health issues down the road.

At Mito Health, we specialize in advanced health diagnostics to test your glucose levels (along with 66 other biomarkers) - to form a science-based, personalized health plan to help you optimize your health. Sign up for our flagship package today to take control of your health and your future.

Written By
J. Hsu
December 26, 2023
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