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 Do I Check My Blood Sugar
Checking your blood sugar is simple and can be done at home with the right equipment. The most traditional and effective way of doing so is with a glucose meter. You wash your hands to wash away germs, prick your finger with a needle, apply the blood from the pricked finger to a test strip and insert it into the machine. Your blood sugar level will appear on the meters display. Alternatively, there are a few modern methods that have been developed. They show results but are considered not to be as accurate as glucose meters.
Signs And Symptoms Of Low Blood Glucose
Each person’s reaction to low blood glucose is different. Learn your own signs and symptoms of when your blood glucose is low. Taking time to write these symptoms down may help you learn your own symptoms of when your blood glucose is low. From milder, more common indicators to most severe, signs and symptoms of low blood glucose include:
- Color draining from the skin
- Feeling weak or having no energy
- Blurred/impaired vision
- Tingling or numbness in the lips, tongue, or cheeks
- Nightmares or crying out during sleep
The only sure way to know whether you are experiencing low blood glucose is to check your blood glucose levels, if possible. If you are experiencing symptoms and you are unable to check your blood glucose for any reason, treat the hypoglycemia.
A low blood glucose level triggers the release of epinephrine , the fight-or-flight hormone. Epinephrine is what can cause the symptoms of hypoglycemia such as thumping heart, sweating, tingling, and anxiety.
If the blood sugar glucose continues to drop, the brain does not get enough glucose and stops functioning as it should. This can lead to blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, confused thinking, slurred speech, numbness, and drowsiness. If blood glucose stays low for too long, starving the brain of glucose, it may lead to seizures, coma, and very rarely death.
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Target Blood Sugar Levels For Children And Adolescents With Diabetes
Age 6-12 Bedtime 100-180
Kids aged 6 to 12 should have blood sugar levels that range between 80 to 180 mg/dL over the course of a day. Blood sugar levels go up after eating a meal because the body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which is then distributed throughout the bloodstream. Other macronutrientsprotein and fatturn into glucose as well, but at a slower rate. Many people learn how to use these factors to their advantage. For example, if a childs sugar is trending low, a bedtime snack that includes something with protein and fat, like chocolate milk or peanut butter, will help raise blood sugar levels and help keep blood sugar levels steady through the night.
When you wake up in the morning, your fasting blood sugar is generally at its lowest because you havent consumed food for about eight hours. However, many people experience an increase in blood sugar levels in the early morning hours. If youre an adult and struggling with glucose control, your healthcare provider can help you develop a treatment plan to manage your blood sugar better.
Blood glucose levels outside the ranges listed above are categorized as either high or low blood sugar. For example, according to this chart, blood sugar levels are considered high if theyre over 130 mg/dL before a meal or 180 mg/dL within one to two hours after a meal. Many people wont start to experience symptoms from high blood sugar until their levels are at 250 mg/dL or higher. .
Take Your Insulin As Prescribed
High blood sugar occurs when your body has too little insulin, or your body cant use insulin properly. Administering insulin can bring your blood sugar levels down.
Talk to your doctor about how much rapid-acting insulin you should administer when your blood sugar is high.
You may want to check your blood sugar about 1530 minutes after taking insulin to make sure your blood sugar is going down and that its not dropping too low.
Low Blood Sugar Symptoms
Low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia, is what happens when blood glucose levels drop too low. People who take insulin may have low blood sugar if they take too much insulin or mistime the insulin dose in relation to food, or if they exercise more than usual when there is fast-acting insulin on board .
Your healthcare provider will tell you when and how to check blood sugar, and when and how to treat low blood sugar. A low blood sugar is generally considered to be less than 70 mg/dL. A dangerously low blood sugar is below 54 mg/dL.
Low blood sugar can also be caused by many things including certain medications or combinations of medications, alcohol, endocrine disorders, eating disorders, and disorders of the liver, kidneys, or heart.
Here are some of the most common symptoms that someone with low blood sugar might experience:
If your blood sugar is low you might start to feel some of the first signs of hypoglycemia like dizziness, lightheadedness, or sweating. The only way to know for sure if your blood sugar is low is to test it with a glucose meter or monitor it with a continuous glucose monitor such as the Dexcom G6.
If your blood sugar is low , a general rule of thumb is to consume 15 grams of fast-acting carbs to raise your blood sugar levels and avoid further symptoms, according to the American Diabetes Association . Your healthcare provider will give you a plan for what to do in case of low blood sugar that is specifically designed for you.
What Is The Normal Blood Sugar Level For Teens
Teenagers are recommended to have a blood sugar range between 70-150 mg/dL. Itâs not easy for a teenager to maintain a tight range, therefore itâs important to aim for these numbers to give them a bit more flexibility.
- Fasting: 70-150 mg/dL
- Postprandial : Less than 140 mg/dL
- Bedtime: 90-150 mg/dL
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Ideal Blood Sugar Levels For Type 2 Diabetes
In this post, we talk about the ideal blood sugar levels for type 2 diabetes. Blood sugar levels or blood glucose levels is the amount of blood sugar in your body. When you understand the normal blood sugar level ranges you can better manage your diabetes. The ranges stated on this post are as recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence . However, your target range as advised by your doctor or health professional may be different.
For most healthy people, the normal blood sugar levels are:
- Fasting : between 4.0 to 5.4 mmol/L
- 2 hour after eating: Up to 7.8 mmol/L
How Does Vitamin D Make It Easier To Control Blood Sugar
Vitamin D is known to reduce inflammation. We believe that could be the key: It may be that by protecting beta cells from harmful inflammation, vitamin D gives them a chance to produce more insulin on their own. In the study, the group receiving vitamin D had lower levels of a compound thats a sign of inflammation, so that gives us an important clue.
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Personalizing Your Diet Based On Blood Sugar Response
In addition to seeing your healthcare provider, there are steps you can take to reduce your blood sugar levels. If you check your blood sugar after meals and keep track of those measurements, along with the types and amounts of food you ate, you may be able to see which foods are problematic.
Although an increase in blood sugar is usually due to eating high-carb foods, all carbs are not the same when it comes to raising blood sugar. Because starchy foods digest down to glucose very quickly, some starchy foods may end up having a much greater impact on blood sugar than you might expect.
For instance, even though a banana tastes sweeter than a baked potato, the potato may actually have a bigger impact on blood sugar.16
Because high-carb foods have the biggest impact on blood sugar levels, it makes sense to reduce them, no matter what type of diet you follow. The American Diabetes Association made this point in a 2019 paper on nutrition for people with diabetes.17
Sometimes making gradual changes can work best. Our guide, Eating better: six steps down carb mountain, can help you lower your carb intake, one step at a time.
If youve been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, our guide to the best foods for people with diabetes can help you make choices that may reduce your need for blood sugar control medications.
If a food or beverage seems to be causing your blood sugar to rise too much, try leaving it out of your diet for a few days to see if you notice a difference.
When To See A Doctor
According to the University of Michigan, blood sugar levels of 300 mg/dL or more can be dangerous. They recommend calling a doctor if you have two readings in a row of 300 or more.
See your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar levels. Symptoms of this include:
- increased thirst
- high levels of sugar in urine
Ask your doctor how often to check your blood sugar and about your ideal blood sugar levels.
If you dont currently see a doctor who specializes in diabetes, known as an endocrinologist, you can find one by searching the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists website.
You can find a certified diabetes educator by visiting the American Diabetes Associations website and searching by zip code.
Talk to your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar readings or symptoms of chronic hyperglycemia.
Checking your blood sugar and then treating hyperglycemia early will help prevent any complications.
Health problems can arise when someone has high blood sugar regularly and without treatment.
Examples of complications include:
- nerve damage, called diabetic neuropathy, that may affect sensations in the feet and hands
- diabetic retinopathy, or damage to the blood vessels in the eyes that affects vision
- increased risks for kidney problems
- increased risks for heart problems
Taking steps to keep your blood sugar at target levels can help to minimize the likelihood that these complications will occur.
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Type 2 Diabetes And Blood Sugar Levels
Type 2 diabetes prevents glucose sugar from entering your bodys cells to properly use for energy. Insulin is a hormone released by your pancreas , which helps glucose get into your cells to carry out body functions.
However, in those with type 2 diabetes, the cells become resistant to insulin. This makes it more difficult for the glucose in your bloodstream to get into the cells to provide your body with the energy it needs for many of its functions. This can lead to high levels of sugar in your blood that cant get into your cells, which over time may result in dangerous health consequences.
The Power Of Prevention
The high prevalence of adult obesity in America, which is now around 35%, is largely to blame for the prediabetes epidemic, says Dr. Ganda. But if your blood sugar is on the high side, you dont need to make drastic changes to see improvements. The Diabetes Prevention Program, a landmark study published 15 years ago, showed that cutting out 150 calories per day and walking briskly for 30 minutes, five days a week, cut the risk of developing diabetes by more than half . You should also avoid refined carbohydrates, such as white rice, foods made with white flour, and sugary treats like desserts and sodas. Losing weight is ideal but not absolutely mandatory.
I tell my patients, dont be disheartened if you dont lose weight, says Dr. Ganda. If you keep exercising regularly, even if your weight doesnt change, your body composition will change. Losing fat and gaining muscle will improve your response to insulin, as will the exercise itself. Think of doing exercise as having a little bit of extra insulin on board, he says.
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How Do You Treat Low Blood Sugar
A popular method for treating low blood sugar is to follow the Rule of 15. This is when a person experiencing low blood glucose eats 15 grams of carbohydrates, then waits for 15 minutes for their glucose to rise.
These 15 minutes can feel impossibly long, but its important to be as patient as possible to see if the initial intake of 15 grams of carbohydrates is working.
If glucose levels have not come up in the initial 15 minutes, the person should consume 15 more grams of carbohydrates and repeat the process.
If they are using a continuous glucose monitoring system, they should remember that it can take a few more minutes for the interstitial glucose to reflect the glucose absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. It is best to check a fingerstick in 15 minutes to confirm that glucose is rising, as the rise in glucose could be delayed on CGM.
When in doubt, use a fingerstick to verify glucose levels especially if the symptoms dont match the CGM values.
Another way to treat low blood sugar is by using glucagon.
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When To Call The Doctor
If signs of low blood sugar do not improve after you have eaten a snack that contains sugar, have someone drive you to the emergency room or call 911 or the local emergency number. Do not drive when your blood sugar is low.
Get medical help right away for a person with low blood sugar if the person is not alert or cannot be woken up as this is a medical emergency.
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Helpful Hints For Treating Hypoglycemia
Here are a few helpful hints for low blood sugars:
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Symptoms Signs Causes Of Levels Of High Blood Sugar In The Blood
High blood sugar or hyperglycemia is an abnormally high blood sugar level in the blood. Hyperglycemia is a hallmark sign of diabetes and prediabetes.
Signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia include blurred vision, headaches, hunger, and …
The normal ranges for blood sugar levels in adults who do not have diabetes while fasting are 72-99 mg/dL. These ranges may increase to 80-130 mg/dL for those being treated for diabetes.
According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes should have
- blood sugar levels of 80-130 mg/dL before eating a meal , and
- less than 180 mg/dL about 1-2 hours after eating a meal
High blood sugar ranges for people who dont have diabetes begin at 140 mg/dL, while those being treated for diabetes have a high range beginning at 180 mg/dL.
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