Endocrinology and Diabetes
Endocrinologists are specially trained doctors who diagnose the diseases that affect your glands. They know how to treat conditions that are often complex and involve many systems within your body. Your primary care doctor refers you to an endocrinologist when you have a problem with your endocrine system.
The endocrine system consists of several glands, situated in different parts of the body, which secrete hormones directly into the blood rather than into a duct system. Hormones have many different functions and modes of action; one hormone may have several effects on different target organs, and, conversely, one target organ may be affected by more than one hormone.
Blood sugar levels change all the time and vary with each individual. The American Diabetes Association recommends the following: after fasting, your blood sugar should be between 80 and 120 mg/dl; before meals, it should be less than 140 mg/dl; and two hours after a meal, it should be less than 180 mg/dl.
Blood sugar levels should be checked at least twice each day.
This is a type of blood test. A hemoglobin A1c percentage is important because it is the only way to know how well patients are controlling their diabetes over time. Based on blood tests taken over a period of two or three months, doctors can estimate patients' average blood sugar levels. The goal for most diabetics is an A1c of less than 7%. This is roughly equivalent to an average blood sugar level of about 150 mg/dl. An A1c of 9% indicates an average blood sugar level of about 210 mg/dl.
Here's how blood sugar works in the body. Glucose (blood sugar) circulates in the blood after food is absorbed in the intestine. A small amount normally combines with the hemoglobin molecule (A1c). Hemoglobin is the red-colored protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the rest of the body. It operates in direct proportion to the amount of glucose in the blood. The glucose remains with the hemoglobin molecule until the individual's red blood cells die - usually between two and three months. When the patient's blood is analyzed for hemoglobin A1c, the resulting value number provides an estimate of the level of glucose over that time period.
Foods with higher amounts of simple sugars should be avoided, such as fruit juice, regular soda, sport drinks, candies, sugar, brown sugar, honey, syrup, jelly and jams.
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