Blood glucose tests are one way to measure how your body utilizes insulin. The fasting glucose test, taken before any meals, gives you an idea of the baseline level of glucose present in your blood, and can be an indicator of the development of diabetes. If your fasting glucose levels are high, there are a few things you can do to help lower them.
When you eat a meal, your digestive system passes glucose into your bloodstream. Your pancreas then secretes insulin to move this glucose into cells and organs for use and storage. Measured in milligrams per deciliter, a nondiabetic patient’s normal fasting glucose readings should be 100 mg/dl or lower, representing their normal baseline blood glucose level.
Impaired Fasting Glucose
If your fasting glucose numbers are above 100 mg/dl, this can be an indication that you have impaired fasting glucose. Also known as prediabetes, this means your body has developed a resistance to insulin’s effects. If left uncontrolled, this can lead to hyperglycemia, a potentially life-threatening condition. The earlier your physician catches this condition, however, the more you can do to help alleviate its effects.
One way to help lower your fasting glucose levels is through regular exercise. By exercising, you force your muscles to burn excess glucose for energy, helping lower levels in your blood as your body takes up glucose for fuel. In addition, regular exercise can help your body utilize insulin more effectively, reducing resistance. The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, with a goal of losing 5 to 7 percent of your body weight, can reduce your chances of developing diabetes. The Da Qing Impaired Glucose Test and Diabetes Study, conducted in China in the 1990s, found that regular exercise made prediabetic patients 46 percent less likely to develop the disease.
Another way you can lower blood sugar levels is through diet modification. Insulin resistance occurs your pancreas releases large amounts of insulin regularly, usually due to a high-carbohydrate diet. Cutting back on carbohydrates, especially sugar, can help you lower fasting glucose levels and improve your insulin response. The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests carbohydrates should make up no more than 50 to 60 percent of your daily calories, and the same Da Qing study showed diet modification is almost as effective as regular exercise at preventing diabetes, reducing risks by 31 percent.
If diet and exercise fail to improve matters, your doctor may prescribe medication to help maintain your blood sugar levels. There are a variety of medications on the market for this purpose, ranging from pills to injectable drugs, and your doctor will work with you to select the proper medication regime for your unique situation. Medication is only one part of the puzzle, however, and you should strive to make changes in your lifestyle to reduce your risks even further.