Blood sugar – function, composition & complaints

blood sugar

Of the blood sugar or Blood sugar levels is the concentration of glucose in the blood. Grape sugar or glucose is the commonly available form of carbohydrates in the organism. The body therefore transforms starch, cane sugar and fructose into glucose. As glucose, the energy supplier is transported in the bloodstream. So the blood sugar gets into the organs, which need it as fuel.

Table of Contents

What is the blood sugar level (measured values)?

The standard blood sugar level is 80 to 120 milligrams per deciliter of blood, ie 80 to 120 thousandths of a gram in one tenth of a liter (abbreviated to mg / dl). According to a more modern unit, physicians give the blood sugar of the healthy person between 4.5 and 7.0 milli-moles per liter (abbreviated: mmol / l). This unit of chemistry directly relates to the number of molecules.

The small fluctuations of the blood sugar around a mean value are a normal and therefore harmless appearance. Also extreme values ​​of the blood sugar can explain the doctor with the healthy sometimes. Thus, the blood sugar before breakfast sometimes under 70 and shortly after luscious meals over 160 mg / l.

The blood sugar must not be constantly under or exceeded. When that happens, the patient is suffering from the diabetes mellitus. The pancreas produces too little insulin. Without this hormone, the organs can no longer absorb the blood sugar. In this case, diabetes mellitus type 1 is present. Often in advanced age, diabetes mellitus type 2 is characterized: Although there is enough insulin, but the organs no longer respond to the attraction of the messenger.

Below a blood sugar of 40 mg / l, life-threatening low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) has occurred. The brain is no longer functioning properly because it urgently needs blood sugar. Because the central nervous system can not rely on fat as biological fuel like the muscles.

Also, a hypoglycemia can lead to unconsciousness and even death. If the blood sugar rises above 200 mg / l, the doctor speaks of such hyperglycemia. The body defends itself against the flood of sugar by excretion, which leads to the menacing dehydration of the body. If a slightly elevated blood sugar goes unnoticed for a long time, it can lead to vasoconstriction. Then threaten heart attack, stroke and amputations.

Insulin and blood sugar levels

Insulin is a protein (peptide) composed of 51 amino acids and it regulates the sugar balance of our body. Apart from insulin, the islets of Langerhans deliver another important hormone – the glucagon It is also a peptide and antagonizes insulin.

Both hormones play an important role in the sugar metabolism of humans. The central organ for this metabolism is the liver. It takes blood from the intestine and transforms it into glycogen. If necessary, glycogen is broken down to glucose and transferred to the blood. By the interaction of the two hormones insulin on the one hand and glucagon as well as hormones of the pituitary, the adrenal cortex and the thyroid on the other hand, the blood sugar level is kept relatively constant.

If the blood sugar level rises, then the Langerhans islands excrete insulin. Their effect is that the excess sugar oxidizes in part, but is built up and stored in the liver and muscle cells to glycogen. If the blood sugar level drops, then the glucagon and the other hormones come into play, causing the liver to break down glycogen to glucose and transfer that sugar to the blood.

How does the blood sugar level regulate??

Each cell of our body constantly needs carbohydrates in the form of glucose, glucose for the course and the maintenance of all material and energy change processes. Because of this, there must always be a certain concentration of glucose in the blood.

The blood sugar level is constantly fluctuating. The glucose content of the blood increases by the intake of carbohydrate-containing food. He sinks through increased physical and mental activities. These stresses cause an increased metabolism and energy in the cells and thus an increased consumption of glucose from the blood.

The blood sugar level is thus dependent on food intake and other human activities. It is kept relatively constant (100 mg of glucose per 100 ml of blood) by the interaction of hormones and nerves.

Control blood sugar level

In order to keep the blood sugar level within certain limits in the body constant, a complicated regulating mechanism is present. Here is a much simplified version of the control loop. In this control loop, the blood sugar is the controlled variable. The standard is about 100 mg of glucose per 100 ml of blood. The actual sugar value, the actual value, is constantly measured by sensory cells (sensors) in the blood vessels.

These two values ​​are constantly compared with each other, with the pituitary as a regulator playing a major role. After a meal (disturbance), the blood sugar level rises. The pituitary gland (regulator) immediately innervates the pancreas (actuator) for the production of insulin and its delivery into the blood. Liver and muscle cells increasingly absorb glucose and store it in the form of glycogen. The blood sugar level drops, the setpoint is reached.

Through physical activity (muscle work), another disturbance comes into play, which strongly influences the controlled variable. The blood sugar level drops, because the glucose is now needed especially in the muscle and nerve cells. The feelers register this and pass the value on to the pituitary gland. This regulator activates the two pancreatic and adrenal actuators to produce the hormones glucagon and adrenaline, which then cause the controlled breakdown of the stored glycogen to glucose. As a result, the blood sugar level (controlled variable) increases and the corresponding cells can be used as needed. The blood sugar level is controlled by the hormones glucagon, adrenalin (player) and insulin (antagonist) antagonistically.

Lower blood sugar levels

The intake of carbohydrate-containing food increases the blood glucose level. The pancreas is stimulated by appropriate nerve impulses to secrete insulin increasingly to the blood. This hormone causes the transport, the uptake of glucose from the blood into the cells of the liver and muscles. In these cells, glucose is converted to glycogen and stored. The blood sugar level of the blood is thus lowered.

Increase blood sugar levels

In all physical, mental activities or sporting conflicts, the cells increasingly require glucose, depending on the severity of the stress to maintain their metabolic processes. These get them from the blood, which lowers the blood sugar level. At this point, the adrenal hormones, adrenaline, and a pancreatic hormone, the glucagon, come into play.

Both hormones cause the breakdown of the stored glycogen in liver and muscle cells to glucose and their release into the blood. The blood sugar level rises and every cell of our body can be sufficiently supplied with sugar to maintain their metabolic processes. In addition to insulin, glucagon and adrenaline, other hormones can affect blood sugar levels. For example, on excitement thyroxine, a thyroid hormone, causes an increase.

Meaning of blood sugar in sports

An athlete’s body needs a solid reserve of carbohydrates because the muscles in action use the combustion energy. Pure sugar, especially glucose, leads to a rapid increase in blood sugar. In healthy people, such peaks but also quickly decrease again. This is not only due to increased consumption of blood sugar during exercise.

Athletes should therefore pay attention to a carbohydrate-rich diet, so eat a lot of bread, rice, pasta or potatoes. The starch contained therein also splits the intestine into glucose, which is converted into blood sugar.

But unlike pure sugar, the process is slow and balanced. The body can not do anything with a blood sugar that overshoots for a short time, because the oxygen in the blood is limited and thus also the biological combustion processes.

Only very briefly, the organism can use the blood sugar without oxygen. But then the concentration of lactic acid increases and acidification of the blood threatens. Within limits, this effect will always occur in competitive sports. Something can counteract here a mineral-containing diet and appropriate drinks.

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Christina Cherry
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