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Importance of Glucose

Published on Jul 20, 2022 and last reviewed on Jan 24, 2023   -  5 min read


This article will cover the details of the importance of glucose in the human body, its functions, its effects on various organs, and their demand for it.

Importance of Glucose

What Is Glucose?

Glucose is an essential fuel for all the activities carried out in the human body. It is as vital to the body as oxygen. Glucose is the simple sugar or simplest of carbohydrates obtained from our food. It makes up the larger structural molecules of the body like glycoproteins and glycolipids.

How Is Glucose Processed in the Human Body?

As the food is eaten and reaches the stomach, the digestive enzymes break down the food, producing glucose. It is then passed to the intestines, where it is absorbed and transferred to the bloodstream. This glucose in the blood is called blood glucose or blood sugar. The pancreas releases the hormone called insulin, which controls the raising of the blood glucose level. The insulin in the blood also makes the glucose available to different cells and tissues for their proper functioning and the liver for its storage.

What Is the Importance of Glucose in the Human Body?

Glucose is imperative to almost all organs of the human body. It provides the energy required for various mechanisms, and all the organ systems are dependent on it. It is majorly needed by the brain, skeletal muscles, erythrocytes, and tissues. Its alteration results in loss of concentration, dizziness, fatigue, and consistent abnormal levels for a prolonged time causing cerebral and intellectual issues. The role of glucose for different organs and organs systems is as follows:

  • Brain: The brain is highly dependent on glucose as an energy source for all functions. A continuous supply is needed as the brain cannot store glucose and its requirement is exceptionally high. The pancreatic hormones insulin and glucagon keep a check on blood glucose levels. The brain functions suffer mainly due to low glucose levels, and problems like headache, dizziness, confusion, loss of concentration, irritation, restlessness, and coordination issues occur. An immediate fall in blood glucose levels may even lead to seizures and coma.

  • Skeletal Muscles: The skeletal muscles are reservoirs of glucose, which is stored in the form of glycogen. This glycogen is turned into glucose during workouts, and a large quantity is absorbed from the blood. During extended workout sessions, a decrease in glucose reserve may occur, which can cause sudden weakness, called hitting the wall.

  • Other Tissues and Organs: Certain organs and tissues of the body hinge on glucose for their power or energy source, such as erythrocytes (red blood cells); lymphocytes (white blood cells); cornea, lens, and retina of the eyes.

What Are the Normal Blood Glucose Levels?

Normal blood glucose levels are significant in maintaining the effective and healthy functioning of the human body. The normal blood glucose levels for diabetic people (non-pregnant) before meals are 90 to 130 mg/dL and after meals (after 1 to 2 hours) are below 180 mg/dL, according to the American Diabetes Association. For non-diabetic individuals; 80-99 mg/dL before meals, and 80 to 140 mg/dL post-meal (after 1 to 2 hours) are normal blood glucose levels. The normal fasting blood glucose (between meals) levels are 70 to 100 mg/dL. Blood glucose levels soar high, usually after a large feed or lack of physical work. Other reasons include mental stress, other systemic health issues, and missing diabetic medication doses.

How to Maintain Normal Blood Glucose Levels?

Overall wellness and good health also involve maintaining normal blood glucose levels. Non-diabetic individuals can take the following measures to maintain normal blood glucose levels:

  • Keeping an optimal body weight according to age, gender, and body height.

  • Taking a healthy and balanced diet consisting of unsaturated fats, fiber-rich foods, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Avoiding saturated fats and processed food items.

  • Regular, intense workout routine at least 30 minutes daily.

  • Normal magnesium level also plays an essential role in the proper functioning of the insulin hormone.

  • Besides getting blood glucose levels checked, the insulin level should also be checked.

What Are the Consequences of Abnormal Blood Glucose Levels?

There are serious health problems that occur as a consequence of alterations in blood glucose levels for a long time. They are listed as:

  • Neuropathy.

  • Nephropathy.

  • Retinopathy (often leading to blindness).

  • Cardiovascular issues.

  • Dermatological infections.

  • Joints and extremities problems.

  • Cognitive issues like coma.

  • Severe dehydration.

Other health risks, including diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome, are seen in diabetics.

What Are the Pathological Conditions Associated With Abnormal Blood Glucose Levels?

The two common pathological conditions that are seen due to abnormal blood glucose levels are as follows:

  1. Hyperglycemia: It is a pathological condition in which the blood glucose levels remain consistently elevated. Over an extended period, the regular high glucose levels cause type-1 and type-2 diabetes mellitus. If left untreated, this condition turns fatal.

  • Type-1 Diabetes Mellitus: It is also known as juvenile diabetes as it is present in children and adolescents. It occurs majorly due to genetic, environmental, and immunological reasons. The beta cells of the pancreas undergo autoimmune killing resulting in low insulin levels.

  • Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus: It is seen in adults, mainly because of genetic and environmental factors. Obesity is a life-threatening condition usually associated with it. Insulin resistance is caused leading to abnormal metabolism.

Type-1 and type-2 diabetes mellitus share clinical signs and symptoms like delayed wound healing, neuropathy, nephropathy, coronary artery disease, and cerebrovascular disease.

In type-2 diabetes mellitus, abnormally high blood glucose levels cause the hyperosmolar hyperglycemic syndrome. Loss of concentration, poor motor coordination, nausea and vomiting, pain in the abdomen, and nervous system dysfunction are noticed in this condition. Polyurea (increased urination) and severe dehydration occur due to increased plasma osmolality.

2. Hypoglycemia: It is a pathological condition characterized by low blood glucose levels. The symptoms of this condition are sudden and evident as the glucose supply to the brain is impaired. It occurs primarily due to drugs meant to lower blood glucose levels. It is also seen in states of fasting and intense workouts. Its symptoms are not specific, and they include hunger, irritation, anxiety, mood swings, palpitations, seizures, coma, etc.


It is easier to sustain normal blood glucose levels in the initial stages with a proper diet and optimal exercise. However, in diabetic people, the importance of blood glucose control is more demanding. Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels also proves helpful in preventing the risk of glucose-associated complications and other medical conditions. Along with all other measures, an appropriate treatment plan is also needed.

Last reviewed at:
24 Jan 2023  -  5 min read




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