The Nation's Health + health

Blood glucose 160

What happens when blood glucose hits 160 mg/dl?

A blood glucose at this level is typical after, say, a bowl of slow-cooked oatmeal with no added sugar, a small serving of Cheerios, or even an apple in the ultra carb-sensitive. Normal blood sugar with an empty stomach, i.e., fasting; high blood sugars after eating.

Conventional wisdom is that a blood sugar of 160 mg/dl is okay, since your friendly primary care doctor says that any postprandial glucose of 200 mg/dl or less is fine because you don't "need" medication.

But what sort of phenomena occur when blood sugars are in this range? Here's a list:

--Glycation (i.e., glucose modification of proteins) of various tissues, including the lens of your eyes (cataracts), kidney tissue leading to kidney disease, skin leading to wrinkles, cartilage leading to stiffness, degeneration, and arthritis.
--Glycation of LDL particles. Glycated LDL particles are more prone to oxidation.
--VLDL and triglyceride production by the liver, i.e., de novo lipogenesis.
--Small LDL particle formation--The increased VLDL/triglyceride production leads to the CETP-mediated reaction that creates small LDL particles which are, in turn, more glycation- and oxidation-prone.
--Glucotoxicity--i.e., a direct toxic effect of high blood glucose. This is especially an issue for the vulnerable beta cells of the pancreas that produce insulin. Repeated glucotoxic poundings by high glucose levels lead to fewer functional beta cells.

A blood glucose of 160 mg/dl is definitely not okay. While it is not an immediate threat to your health, repeated exposures will lead you down the same path that diabetics tread with all of its health problems.

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