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What is blood sugar and how does it relate to diabetes?

A diabetic woman testing her blood sugar.

Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, is a type of sugar in your blood that is used by your body as a major source of energy. Too much glucose in your blood can lead to diabetes.

Blood sugar levels are tested using a blood sample. You may be asked to fast for 8 hours before your blood glucose test.

What Fasting Blood Sugar Levels Mean 

  • Normal Blood Sugar Levels: Up to 100        
  • Prediabetes: 100-125     
  • Diabetes: 126 or higher

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disorder of the metabolism. Most of the food you eat is broken down into glucose to be used by your body as fuel. The glucose requires insulin to help move it from your blood into your cells. In people with diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin, or the cells do not respond to the insulin that is being produced. Therefore, the glucose stays in the bloodstream instead of going into the cells. So even though there’s plenty of glucose in the blood, it can’t get to the cells, so it passes out of the body when you urinate instead of being used as fuel.

Learn about diabetes from the Joslin Diabetes Center at Wake Forest Baptist.

Symptoms of diabetes may include:

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling hungry
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Sores that are slow to heal
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Tingling in your feet
  • Blurred vision

Diabetes and Heart Disease 

If you are diabetic, you’re at increased risk of heart disease. In fact, your risk of heart attack is the same as someone who has already had a heart attack. You can reduce your risk of heart disease by controlling your cholesterol levels, especially your triglycerides. Cholesterol can often be controlled by eating a heart-healthy diet and exercising regularly.

At Wake Forest, you’ll have access to a team of health care professionals who can help you to manage your diabetes and control your cholesterol. Your team may include doctors who specialize in diabetes care (endocrinologists), heart doctors (cardiologists), nurse specialists, nutritionists and others.

You may request an appointment with a Heart and Vascular Center doctor to learn more about diabetes and blood sugar by filling out our online form.


Quick Reference

Heart & Vascular Center
New Patients

Local 336-716-WAKE
Toll-free 888-716-WAKE

Returning Patients

Vascular 336-716-4151
Heart 336-716-6674

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Last Updated: 12-21-2015
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.

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