Eating The Right Foods For You
When it comes to avoiding big blood sugar spikes and dips, there are some general guidelines you can follow.
However, to make sure youre eating the best foods for you, its important to understand your bodys unique metabolism. And your blood sugar levels are not the only thing involved in shaping it.
Your gut microbiome is the name for the trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms that live in your gut. It plays an important part in your overall health and how your body responds to food.
When the bad bugs in your gut microbiome outnumber the good, it can have a negative effect on how your body manages energy.
At ZOE, we run the largest study of nutrition and the gut microbiome in the world, with over 15,000 participants so far. Our data show that theres no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and that everyone responds differently to foods.
ZOEs at-home test helps you to understand your bodys responses to different foods by analyzing your blood sugar, blood fat, and your gut microbiome.
Based on your results, we give you personalized recommendations of the best foods for you.
Our unpublished research found that 82% of people who closely followed their personalized ZOE nutrition program said they had more energy.
What If The 15
If you dont feel better after three tries, or if your symptoms get worse, call your healthcare provider or 911. Healthcare providers can use a medication called glucagon. They inject it with a needle or squirt it up your nose. Glucagon is also available for home use. Your healthcare provider can prescribe it and teach a family member or friend how to use it in the event of severe hypoglycemia.
What Are The Signs Of Hypoglycemia
An individual may frequently wake up in the middle of the night as a result of nighttime hypoglycemia. In other instances, though, people may know if they experienced hypoglycemia during their sleep if they notice the following symptoms:
- Waking up with a headache
- Waking up in a sweat
- Getting unusual feelings of tiredness throughout the day
- Experiencing anxiety or heart palpitations
- Feeling confused, dizzy or weak
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Preventing Low Blood Sugar Levels
Here are some other tips to help you avoid low blood sugar levels:
- Eat all your meals and snacks on time and try not to skip any.
- Take the right amount of insulin.
- If you exercise longer or harder than usual, have an extra snack.
- Don’t take a hot bath or shower right after an insulin shot.
- Stick to your diabetes management plan.
- Check your blood sugar levels regularly, so you can tell if your blood sugars are running too low and your treatment plan needs adjustment.
- Carry something containing sugar with you at all times and take it right away if you have symptoms. Don’t wait to see if the symptoms will go away they may get worse!
Alcohol and drugs can cause major problems with your blood sugar levels, so avoiding them is another way to prevent diabetes problems. Drinking can be particularly dangerous even deadly for people with diabetes because it messes up the body’s ability to keep blood glucose in a normal range. This can cause a very rapid drop in blood glucose in people with diabetes. Drug or alcohol use is also dangerous because it may affect someone’s ability to sense low blood sugar levels.
Learning how to recognize the signs of low blood sugar levels and get them back to normal is an important part of caring for diabetes. Keeping track of your blood sugar levels and recording lows when they occur will help you and your diabetes health care team keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range.
How Much Of A Fluctuation Is Normal
This is a bit of a loaded question, as it can depend on many factors and it also depends on the person.
As an example, fasting blood sugar that bounces between 80 mg/dL and 110 mg/dL is pretty normal those values are still considered within range.
Another normal fluctuation example would be if your blood sugar was 6.4 mg/dL one afternoon, and then a few hours later your blood sugar was 6.9 mg/dL.
Whats not necessarily normal is if your blood sugar is 75 mg/dL one morning, and then 140 mg/dL the next morning thats a large fluctuation!
The only way to know your sugar level is to check, and check often!
You may check your blood sugar before breakfast and find its 95 mg/dL , but that doesnt mean your blood sugar is going to stay at that level all day.
Ideally you want to be working toward having a blood sugar level that is within a healthy range on a consistent basis.
Fasting blood sugar:
- Between 70-100 mg/dL or 4-5.6 mmol/l
- 70-110 mg/dL or 4-6 mmol/l
- 70-130 mg/dL or 4-7.2 mmol/l
Postprandial blood sugar :
- Under 140 mg/dL or 7.8 mmol/L
The more consistent your blood sugar is on a daily basis, the better off you are. Throughout the day your levels may vary around 20-30 mg/dL naturally your goal is to stay within range as much as possible.
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What Should You Do In An Emergency
If mild or moderate hypoglycemia isnt treated right away, it can turn into severe hypoglycemia. People with severe hypoglycemia usually pass out. If you pass out, someone should 911 right away.
If you have a health problem that tends to cause low blood sugar, its a good idea to teach your family, friends, and coworkers about what symptoms to watch for and what to do. You may also want to wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace.
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How To Treat Someone Who’s Having A Seizure Or Fit
Follow these steps if someone has a seizure or fit caused by a low blood sugar level:
Tell your diabetes care team if you ever have a severe hypo that caused you to have a seizure or fit.
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Treating Low Blood Glucose If You Take Medicines That Slow Down Digestion
Some diabetes medicines slow down the digestion of carbohydrates to keep blood glucose levels from rising too high after you eat. If you develop low blood glucose while taking these medicines, you will need to take glucose tablets or glucose gel right away. Eating or drinking other sources of carbohydrates wont raise your blood glucose level quickly enough.
What If I Have Severe Low Blood Glucose And Cant Treat Myself
Glucagona hormone that raises blood glucose levelsis the best way to treat severely low blood glucose. Available as an injection or a nasal spray, glucagon will quickly raise your blood glucose level. Your doctor can prescribe you a glucagon kit for use in case of an emergency.
If your blood glucose level drops very low, you wont be able to treat it by yourself. Be prepared to address severely low blood glucose by
- talking with your doctor or health care team about when and how to use a glucagon emergency kit. If you have an emergency kit, regularly check the date on the package to make sure it hasnt expired.
- teaching your family, friends, and coworkers when and how to give you glucagon. Tell them to call 911 right away after giving you glucagon or if you dont have a glucagon emergency kit with you.
- wearing a medical alert identification bracelet or pendant. A medical alert ID tells other people that you have diabetes and need care right away. Getting prompt care can help prevent the serious problems that low blood glucose levels can cause.
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How To Treat Low Blood Sugar
If you think you have low blood sugar, be sure to check it.
Keeping your blood sugar levels on target as much as possible can help prevent or delay long-term, serious health problems. While this is important, closely managing your blood sugar levels also increases your chance for low blood sugar . Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low. If you think you have low blood sugar, check it. If you arent able to check it, go ahead and treat it.
Untreated low blood sugar can be dangerous, so its important to know what to do about it and to treat it immediately.
What Causes Low Blood Sugar
Some diabetic medications, longer duration of diabetes, being old and being diabetic, eating erratically and missing meals, exercise, alcohol, chronic kidney disease, liver failure, malnutrition.
Longer duration of diabetes
As the duration of diabetes increases the number of glucagon producing cells also goes down. This is more prominent in type I diabetics. Glucagon is a hormone that protects against low blood sugar.
Symptoms of low blood sugar may not be as prominent in older individuals. As a result risk of low blood sugar is much higher in older type I and type II diabetic patients.
Lower levels of glycemia, when achieved with medications
When patients and doctors try to achieve very normal blood sugar levels by using certain medications that can potentially increase the risk of low blood sugar. As we discussed certain medications such as sulfonylureas and insulins increase the risk of low blood sugar drastically.
Erratic timing of meals, including missed meals and low carbohydrate content of meals
This is very important in patients taking insulin at mealtimes. That is also true for patients taking sulfonylureas or repaglinide or nateglinide. When patients take insulin or take 1 of these pills the risk of low blood sugar increases dramatically if they do not eat.
History of recent severe hypoglycemia
Exercise can increase the risk of low blood sugar especially in the setting of insulin and sulfonylureas
Chronic kidney disease
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Talk To Your Doctor Or Nurse
If you use insulin and your blood sugar is frequently or consistently low, ask your doctor or nurse if you:
- Are injecting your insulin the right way
- Need a different type of needle
- Should change how much insulin you take
- Should change the kind of insulin you take
Do not make any changes without talking to your doctor or nurse first.
Sometimes hypoglycemia can be due to accidently taking the wrong medicines. Check your medicines with your pharmacist.
How To Prevent Anxiety Over Hypoglycemia
Most likely, if you havent already been diagnosed with hypoglycemia, youre simply experiencing anxiety. Its perfectly normal to feel as though your anxiety symptoms must be the result of a health problem, and not anxiety, since in many cases anxiety mimics serious health concerns.
Anxiety is more common than many of the health disorders it mimics and unfortunately people with anxiety commonly experiencing health anxiety which may cause further concern over the symptoms they experience.
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Understanding Your Blood Sugar
The best way to understand how your blood sugar changes day-to-day is to regularly use a blood glucose meter to check your blood sugar level. If youre newly diagnosed, its also helpful to keep a food journal in addition to a blood sugar log, as well as tracking any physical activity.
Your blood sugar patterns are unique to you. Over time youll have a better understanding of which foods raise your blood sugars the most, as well as how your blood sugar responds to different types of exercise.
Some people with diabetes choose to use a continuous glucose monitor to monitor their blood sugar trends.
A continuous glucose monitor is a device with a sensor worn under the skin which measures blood sugar levels every 5-15 minutes. This is useful for identifying trends in blood sugar levels and can help predict and identify hypoglycemia sooner.
Using a CGM can reduce the amount of finger prick glucose tests needed each day, which is an added benefit.
Dont Drive When You Have Low Blood Sugar
It’s dangerous. If you’re driving and you have hypoglycemia symptoms, pull off the road, check your blood sugar, and eat a sugary food. Wait at least 15 minutes, check your blood sugar, and repeat these steps if needed. Eat a protein and carbohydrate source before you drive on. Be prepared. Keep a sugar source, such as glucose tablets, in your car at all times for emergencies.
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Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
How you react to low blood sugar may not be the same as how someone else with low blood sugar reacts. Its important to know your signs. Common symptoms may include:
If youve had low blood sugar without feeling or noticing symptoms , you may need to check your blood sugar more often to see if its low and treat it. Driving with low blood sugar can be dangerous, so be sure to check your blood sugar before you get behind the wheel.
You may not have any symptoms when your blood sugar is low . If you dont have symptoms, it will be harder to treat your low blood sugar early. This increases your risk of having severe lows and can be dangerous. This is more likely to happen if you:
- Have had diabetes for more than 5-10 years.
- Frequently have low blood sugar.
- Take certain medicines, such as beta blockers for high blood pressure.
If you meet one or more of the above and you have hypoglycemia unawareness, you may need to check your blood sugar more often to see if its low. This is very important to do before driving or being physically active.
Foods To Eat And Foods To Avoid With Type 2 Diabetes
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes your doctor most likely has recommended dietary changes to manage your blood sugar levels. Simple carbohydrates or simple “carbs” are the primary culprit in raising blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. “Glycemic index” and “glycemic load” are terms used to measure the impact some foods have on your blood sugar levels. Low glycemic foods, for example complex carbohydrates like brown rice, quinoa, steal cut oatmeal, vegetables, some fruits , beans, and lentils don’t raise blood sugar levels very much. However, high glycemic foods for example, sugar, white flour and bread, cookies, pastries, and white potatoes can raise blood sugar levels dangerously high.
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What Can You Do If Your Blood Sugar Levels Are Too Low
It is important to react quickly enough and eat or drink something, like dextrose sugar or a sugary drink .
If someone has severe hypoglycemia they may feel drowsy and confused, and might even become unconscious. People who have type 1 diabetes often carry a pre-filled syringe on them in case that happens, containing the hormone glucagon. Glucagon makes the liver release sugar into the bloodstream. Someone else can then inject the hormone if necessary. If this is not possible, it is important to call the emergency services immediately and ask for medical help.
If your blood sugar levels keep on dropping too low, you should see your doctor. It could then be a good idea to change your lifestyle or medication.
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When To Speak To Your Healthcare Team About Fatigue
If you are experiencing regular fatigue you should speak to your healthcare team. They may want to look at your medications and they will usually have some tips on how to cope.
The team will also be able to offer medical advice on whether the extreme tiredness is a sign of something more serious, such as diabetes complications.
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What Can Cause Low Blood Sugar Levels
Some things that can make low blood sugar levels more likely are:
- skipping meals and snacks
- not eating enough food during a meal or snack
- exercising longer or harder than usual without eating some extra food
- getting too much insulin
- not timing the insulin doses properly with meals, snacks, and exercise
Also, some things may increase how quickly insulin gets absorbed into the bloodstream and can make hypoglycemia more likely. These include:
- taking a hot shower or bath right after having an insulin injection increases blood flow through the blood vessels in the skin, which can make the insulin be absorbed more quickly than usual
- injecting the shot into a muscle instead of the fatty layer under the skin
- injecting the insulin into a part of the body used a lot in a particular sport .
All of these situations increase the chances that a person may get hypoglycemia.
An Ounce Of Prevention
As the saying goes, âan ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.â It is best to follow a diet that will prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping in the afternoon, rather than trying to correct blood sugar levels once they are low. Dr. Alicia Stanton, an expert on womenâs health, recommends eating small meals every 2 to 3 hours. These meals should consist of a lean protein, such as chicken, turkey or fish, and a complex carbohydrate, such as vegetables, fruits, quinoa, beans or legumes. Start your day with a high-fiber breakfast, like oatmeal, every day.
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