Keep An Eye On Your Waistline
Far from a quick fix to lower your blood sugar quickly, this is more of a fact-of-life tip. You likely know the reasons why maintaining a healthy weight is vital to your longevity and quality of life.
It turns out that a trim tummy not only helps your pants fit better but also wards off the risk of developing abnormal high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and diabetes28. Your wait measurement could be more important than the number on the scale when it comes to maintaining metabolic health and avoiding chronic conditions related to high glucose.
Men and women who have waist circumferences greater than 40 inches and 35 inches , respectively, are considered to be at increased risk for cardiometabolic disease29.
A whole foods diet made up of more low-glycemic foods than high combined with plenty of physical activity, enough quality sleep, hydration, and stress coping strategies can help you whittle your waist to a healthy circumference.
What Happens When Your Blood Sugar Drops To Zero
Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, is a fall in blood sugar to levels below normal. This may result in a variety of symptoms, including clumsiness, trouble talking, confusion, loss of consciousness, seizures, or death. Feelings of hunger, sweating, shakiness, or weakness may also be present.
Foods That Wont Spike Your Blood Sugar Levels
When making food choices while managing blood sugar levels, it is important to select ones that wont cause your blood sugar to increase quickly and significantly. Look for whether foods have complex or simple carbohydrates and opt for complex carbohydrates when possible.
Below are 10 foods that wont spike your blood sugar levels and some ideas for incorporating them into your meals.
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Only You Can Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes
Its annoying but true: The best way to lower your blood sugar is to avoid a spike in the first place.
Eating whole foods that are low in sugar and exercising regularly will help keep your blood sugar in check. This can be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes, but medications may also be necessary to keep blood sugar in a healthy range.
To avoid food-based spikes, try to steer clear of added sugars in your diet. The FDA recommends consuming less than 200 calories a day from added sugars.
That sounds pretty simple, but when you realize that 16 ounces of orange juice has 240 calories , its easy to see how sugar consumption gets out of hand.
Its best to avoid all sugary drinks and check the labels. There are hidden sugars in everything from bread to turkey slices, so double-check your favorite foods to make sure you arent getting any unnecessary sweetness.
Low Blood Glucose During Sleep
Your blood glucose level can drop while you sleep and stay low for several hours, causing serious problems.7 Symptoms of low blood glucose while you sleep can include
- crying out or having nightmares
- sweating enough to make your pajamas or sheets damp
- feeling tired, irritable, or confused after waking up
Although you may not wake up or notice any symptoms, low blood glucose can interfere with your sleep, which may affect your quality of life, mood, and ability to work. Having low blood glucose during sleep can also make you less likely to notice and respond to symptoms of low blood glucose during the day.
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Do Not Drive When You Have Low Blood Sugar
It’s very 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 necessary. Eat a protein and carbohydrate source before you drive on.
Be prepared. Keep a sugar source in your car at all times for emergencies.
Important New Guidance For Those With Type 2 Diabetes
People with type 2 diabetes are typically advised to aim for levels of blood sugar, or glucosethe energy from food that fuels our cells and organsthat are close to those for people without diabetes. But just how near-normal these levels should go has long been a matter of disagreement.
Today, after reviewing the current guidelines, the American College of Physicians advised that most people with type 2 diabetes not go below 7 percent on the HbA1c test, which measures long-term blood sugar control.
Often, doctors encourage them to strive for an HbA1c of 6.5, which can require high doses of multiple medications.
But when the ACP analyzed the evidence behind the guidelines, they found that bringing blood sugar levels down to between 7 and 8 was enough to reduce the risks of major diabetes complications such as heart attack, stroke, and damage to eyes, nerves, kidneys, and feet.
Going lower than that didnt provide any more benefit, and, in fact, in some cases caused harm by causing blood sugar to drop too low, explains Jack Ende, M.D., president of the ACP. And left untreated for long enough, low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can cause seizures, heart attack, or stroke.
Not everyone agrees. The American Diabetes Association , for example, considers an HbA1c of less than 7 percent suitable for the majority of those with type 2 diabetes.
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How Much Can Metformin Lower Your Blood Sugar
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Q: I Have Type 2 Diabetes And Take Insulin Injections If My Blood Sugar Is Low Should I Still Take My Insulin
A: Let me say that if you are experiencing a low blood sugar with symptoms, you should always treat first, worry about your insulin later. Common symptoms of hypoglycemia, the official term for low blood sugar, are confusion, heart racing, vision changes, being uncoordinated, and feeling cold, clammy, or sweaty. If hypoglycemia continues without treatment, it can lead to a loss of consciousness.
We define hypoglycemia as a blood sugar below 70 mg/dL regardless of symptoms. Many people experience blood sugars much lower than this without concern but for someone on insulin, it can be quite dangerous to keep your blood sugar that low.
Ideally, we would like to see blood glucose kept in a relatively normal range of 80 to 120 mg/dL. If you can do that safely, without hypoglycemia, then you are well controlled! If there are reasons your provider has counseled against this guideline, educate yourself about the reasons and follow their guidance.
When we are counseling someone on insulin usage and blood glucose, we try to focus on teaching the rhythm that insulin and blood glucose follow as it relates to time of day, when and what you last ate, or when you exercised. Managing your blood sugar is like playing soccer. You need to guess where the ball is going, so you can plan to meet it. When you check your blood sugar before a meal or an activity, or even at bedtime, youre measuring where the ball is now, which isnt helpful.
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How Long Will The Effects Last
The effects of low blood sugar will continue and may even get worse until treatment brings your blood sugar level back to normal. It may take several minutes for the symptoms to go away after you start treatment. This may be a temporary problem while you and your healthcare provider are adjusting your medicine. If you are always prone to having low blood sugar, you may need to take special care for the rest of your life to keep your blood sugar at the proper level.
What Should I Do If I Have Symptoms Of A Low Blood Sugar Level
- Check your blood sugar level, if possible. Your blood sugar level is too low if it is at or below 70 mg/dL.
- Eat or drink 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate. Fast-acting carbohydrates will raise your blood sugar level quickly. Examples of 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates:
- 4 ounces of fruit juice
- 4 ounces of regular soda
- 2 tablespoons of raisins
- 1 tube of glucose gel or 3 to 4 glucose tablets
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How To Treat A Low Blood Sugar Level Yourself
Follow these steps if your blood sugar level is less than 3.5mmol/L or you have hypo symptoms:
You do not usually need to get medical help once you’re feeling better if you only have a few hypos.
But tell your diabetes team if you keep having hypos or if you stop having symptoms when your blood sugar level is low.
How To Test Your Blood Sugar At Home
To perform a blood sugar test, you will need to prick your finger with a lancet . Youll put a small sample of blood from this onto a strip inserted into the blood glucose meter.
Before you test your blood sugar at home, its important to find out from your doctor what a healthy blood sugar range is for you. Your doctor will determine this range based on factors such as:
- the type of diabetes you have
- how long youve had diabetes
- your age
- whether you have any other chronic health conditions
If you dont have a blood sugar testing machine on hand and are experiencing signs or symptoms of low blood sugar with diabetes, your symptoms may be enough to diagnose low blood sugar.
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How Can I Prevent Low Blood Glucose
All people with diabetes:
- If you experience low blood glucose often, ask your doctor if setting a higher goal for your A1C level may be appropriate.
- Ask your doctor to look at the test results from your home blood glucose monitor. These results reveal how often you have low blood glucose and when these episodes occur. Your doctor will look for patterns to see if low glucose happens after exercise or at certain times of day, for example.
- If you’ve had low blood glucose in the past, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet so that others will know that you have diabetes in the event of an emergency.
- Keep a fast-acting carbohydrate in your bag, desk drawer, car and other places for easy access. Good options include hard candy, fruit juice or glucose paste or tablets, which can be purchased at most pharmacies.
- Ask your doctor for an emergency glucagon kit. This kit contains a fast- acting medication that can be injected in case of loss of consciousness because of low blood glucose. Keep one kit at home and one at work or school.
- Monitor your blood glucose regularly so that low levels can be corrected before symptoms progress.
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.
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Examples Of Appropriate Snacks May Be:
- 6 saltine crackers
- 1 slice toast and 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup milk
The food eaten for a reaction need not be subtracted from a meal plan.
Obtain a blood sugar when symptoms occur if you are able. If symptoms are severe, treat the reaction first and then obtain a blood sugar. Do not drive nor operate equipment if you feel your blood sugar is low.
If your blood sugar drops low enough for you to become unconscious, you must be taken to the hospital and/or treated with glucagon.
Glucagon is a hormone that causes the blood sugar to rise. It can only be given by injection. It is used to treat a low blood sugar if a person becomes semi-conscious or unconscious due to a severe low blood sugar. Please ask your nurse for instruction on glucagon. Your doctor will need to write a prescription for glucagon so you can have it available at home.
Faq: How Low Can Blood Sugar Go Before Death
If your blood sugar drops below 70 milligrams per deciliter , you may have symptoms, such as feeling tired, weak, or shaky. If your blood sugar drops very low and you do not get help, you could become confused or drowsy or even lose consciousness and possibly die.
How low can blood sugar go before you die?
- Doctors say that a blood sugar level below 50 is fatal. Levels below 60, even in a healthy person, are potentially fatal, especially if the blood sugar drops quickly.
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What Is The Outlook For People With Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia can be managed when you and your healthcare provider understand what causes your blood sugar to go down. Give your healthcare provider as much information as possible about any hypoglycemic episodes. Fixing the problem may be as simple as changing the times you take medication, eat and exercise. Minor changes to the types of food you eat may also help.
Your Hypoglycemia Action Plan
If you experience symptoms of hypoglycemia, its important to take action. Start with these steps:
Test your blood sugar. If you recognize any of these symptoms and believe your blood sugar may be too low, the first step you should take is to test your blood sugar with your glucose meter, Tan says. Anything less than 70 milligrams per deciliter is considered low blood sugar, according to the National Library of Medicine . However, target levels are often individualized, so talk with your healthcare provider about your optimal numbers, Tan adds.
Eat or drink fast-acting carbs. If you have low blood sugar, you need to take action right away. Your best bet is to consume about 15 grams of carbohydrates, the NLM says. Some options include:
- ½ cup or 4 ounces of orange juice
- ½ cup or 4 ounces of regular soda
- 1 tablespoon of sugar dissolved in water
- 1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup
- 5 or 6 hard candies, jelly beans, or gumdrops
- 1 tablespoon of cake frosting
- 2 tablespoons of raisins
- ½ cup of applesauce
You can also take three to four glucose tablets or a tube of glucose gel. Everyone who takes medications for diabetes should always have glucose tablets with them, Galindo urges.
Wait, then retest. The next step is to wait 15 minutes, then test your blood sugar again. If blood sugar has reached 100 mg/dl or greater, youre fine. If not…
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