If you read part 1 of the blood sugar blog (here), you may be saying to yourself, “Okay, I see why having unbalanced blood sugar is a big deal, but how do I know if I have it?”. So today, we’re diving into the red-flag symptoms and the lab tests you may want to consider to get the hard data. So, grab a comfy seat, and let’s get educated on balancing blood sugar.
Symptoms of unbalanced blood sugar 🚩
Let’s discuss some warning signs that might suggest your blood sugar is dancing to its own beat, leaving you feeling out of sync. Recognizing these symptoms early can help you take control:
1. Energy rollercoaster. Do you often experience energy crashes, especially after meals or in the late afternoon? That’s a classic sign of blood sugar imbalances.
2. Hangry episodes. Ever feel hangry (hungry and angry) all of a sudden? Or shakey after you miss a meal? Blame it on unstable blood sugar levels. It can make you go from ‘I’m fine’ to ‘I need food NOW’ in no time.
3. Mood swings. Unpredictable mood swings? Yep, blood sugar can mess with your mood, making you go from ‘happy-go-lucky’ to ‘grumpy bear’ at the drop of a hat.
4. Sugar and carb cravings. Craving sugar and carbs like there’s no tomorrow? It’s your body’s way of screaming for a quick energy fix.
5. Weight struggles. Are you battling the scale even though you’re eating ‘healthy’? Blood sugar imbalances can make it difficult to shed those extra pounds (especially in the midsection).
Important labs to have checked for blood sugar
Knowledge is power, right? So, if you suspect blood sugar issues, it’s time to get those labs checked. Here are the key tests to ask your healthcare provider for:
This test measures your blood sugar levels after an overnight fast. It’s a crucial indicator of how your body handles sugar. While most labs will say up to 100 mg/dL is normal, from a functional/optimal lens, we want to see this number less than 90 mg/dL.
A1C (Hemoglobin A1C)
A1C provides a snapshot of your average blood sugar levels over the past few months. It’s a reliable gauge for long-term blood sugar control. Again, the lab may say up to 5.7% is normal, but above this point, you’re already in the prediabetes/diabetes range. I like to intervene well before we get close to the prediabetes cut-off; ideally, we want to see A1C 4.6-5.1%.
Checking your fasting insulin levels helps assess your body’s insulin sensitivity. High fasting insulin is often a sign of insulin resistance, a common issue in hormone imbalance.
We will often see fasting insulin increase as an even earlier indicator than fasting blood glucose increasing so this is a great lab to get done if you want to catch things early. Optimally, fasting insulin should be less than 5 mIU/mL (although some experts say less than 3 mIU/mL is a better goal).
So, what’s next?
If you’re nodding your head, recognizing the signs, it’s time to take action. The good news is that you don’t have to navigate this journey alone. I’m here to support you every step of the way.
Let’s chat about how you can regain control of your blood sugar and hormones. Together, we’ll create a plan that’s tailored just for you. Say goodbye to those energy crashes and mood swings, and hello to a happier, healthier you!