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How To Cope With Stress

How to Test Your Blood Sugar

Everyone copes with stressful situations in different ways. If you want to change the way you react so things feel easier, try the Stress Manager tool on our Learning Zone. Answer questions on how you deal with the demands of managing your condition to get a plan of action to help you simplify stressful situations.

Look after yourself

At times of stress, its even more important to remember to look after yourself and treat yourself kindly.

But we know its not always as easy as that. If youre extra busy at work or looking after family then forgetting to eat or take medication can happen.

Its important to get a balance between looking after yourself without putting too much pressure on yourself to do everything perfectly. This can add or lead to stress. But its good to be aware of how easy it can be to give into the habit of letting diabetes self-care slip in times of stress.

Getting enough sleep and building exercise, rest and relaxation time into your routine helps some people cope better with stress.

When things get hard, I usually go into self-care over drive. If too many hypos are throwing me off, Ill hole up on the sofa with blankets and some trashy TV to make me feel better.

Laura, who has type 1 diabetes read Lauras story

And you dont need us to tell you that turning to comfort food will raise your blood sugar and make you feel worse. Similarly, drinking more alcohol will affect your blood sugar levels.

Talk to others

Functional Medicine Type 2 Diabetes

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Treating Low Blood Sugar

You are at risk of having a low blood sugar reaction if you:

  • Skip or delay a meal or snack
  • Take too much insulin or eat too few carbohydrates
  • Drink alcohol, especially without eating carbohydrates

Check your blood sugar if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Weakness and/or fatigue

If your blood sugar is less than 70 milligrams per deciliter :

  • Eat 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate
  • Wait 15 minutes and then recheck your blood sugar
  • If your blood sugar is still less than 100 mg/dl, take another 15 grams of carbohydrate and retest your blood sugar in another 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary.

Important: If you have frequent low blood sugars speak to your doctor. You may need changes in your medication and/or meal plan.

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Causes Of Blood Sugar Levels

Whilst the liver and muscles produce some glucose, most comes from the foods we eat. Food and drinks that are high in carbohydrates are most impactful on blood sugar level. What we eat provides us most of the nutrients our body needs and sometimes, does not need. That is not to say that food is a major cause of blood sugar level increasing or decreasing too dramatically.

Typically, if a person has health conditions or poor nutrition, this will lead to a spike or decline in blood sugar level. The causes differ from high to low blood sugar levels and are as follows:

Stress In People With Type 2 Diabetes

Blood Sugar Chart: Levels &  Ranges (Low, Normal &  High)  20 Free Charts

For people with type 2 diabetes, high levels of stress can lead to an increase in blood sugar levels. When there is a high level of cortisol in the body, it causes body tissues to be less sensitive to insulin. Therefore, more blood sugar is available in the bloodstream. When this happens, blood sugar levels become imbalanced and can reach dangerously high levels, especially if it is left untreated.

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Hard Time Quitting Sugar

A little note of interest, especially to those of you having a hard time quitting sugar in any shape or form. I was looking for an article that would explain how much sugar our blood has on average. This is important, because when you eat an apple, you eat approximately 3-5 teaspoons of sugar equivalent but what does that mean to your body? I have been puzzled by that since migraineurs are so sensitive to sugar, and the apple has about 4 teaspoons of sugar equivalent in carbs. What is that relative to the sugar in the blood?

You may be surprised to learn that your blood throughout your entire body of around 5 liters has a grand total of 1 teaspoon of sugar! That is, on average, your entire body has ONE teaspoons of sugar at any given time maxif you are healthy. If it is any higher than thatas fastingyou are prediabetic or have full-blown type 2 diabetes. The difference between being diabetic or normal is very little: instead of 1 teaspoon, make that 1.25 teaspoons!

What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels

They’re less than 100 mg/dL after not eating for at least 8 hours. And they’re less than 140 mg/dL 2 hours after eating.

During the day, levels tend to be at their lowest just before meals. For most people without diabetes, blood sugar levels before meals hover around 70 to 80 mg/dL. For some people, 60 is normal for others, 90.

What’s a low sugar level? It varies widely, too. Many people’s glucose won’t ever fall below 60, even with prolonged fasting. When you diet or fast, the liver keeps your levels normal by turning fat and muscle into sugar. A few people’s levels may fall somewhat lower.

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Nausea Vomiting Confusion And More

These seemingly disparate symptoms are all signs of a rare and life-threatening state called diabetic ketoacidosis , according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. DKA can cause the symptoms above, as well as stomach pain, trouble breathing, dry or flushed skin, fruity-smelling breath, or difficulty paying attention. It usually occurs in people with type 1 diabetes and is sometimes the first sign they are sick, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. DKA happens when the liver is unable to use the sugar in the blood for energy without insulin and begins to break down body fat into a type of fuel called ketones at such a high rate that they become toxic and make the blood acidic, the U.S. National Library of Medicine explains. DKA can be fatal if left untreated, so anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek care immediately.

Over time, untreated high blood sugar can cause additional symptoms, such as:

Achieving Normal Blood Sugar/blood Glucose Levels

Take Apple Cider Vinegar to Lower Blood Sugar Levels â?

For most people with diabetes, keeping blood sugar levels in check is all about being mindful of what and how much they eat and drink. Making healthy choices and watching portion sizes can help you control your weight and your blood sugar levels.

But dont worry, you dont have to navigate this road alone. When you have nutritionists who specialize in managing diabetes by your side, you can learn to choose the right foods, such as:

  • Smart carbohydrates Instead of white or flour-based bread, rice or pasta, choose whole grains, barley, brown rice, non-starchy vegetables and fresh fruit. These foods can be efficiently converted to energy.
  • Lean proteins Limit or avoid red meats and go for chicken, turkey, low-fat dairy, fish and shellfish.
  • Healthy fats Skip the cream sauces, butter, lard and processed foods, and start cooking with canola or olive oil. Like to snack? Munch on nuts like almonds, cashews, pecans and peanuts.

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What Factors Affect Blood Sugar

You can guess that carbohydrate intake and insulin production are at least partly responsible for your blood sugar levels. But the list is much longer — almost every lifestyle choice you make can affect your blood sugar. Here’s just a partial list.

  • Exercise can affect insulin sensitivity, leading to lower blood sugar for up to 48 hours.
  • Alcohol intake increases insulin production, causing low blood sugar.
  • Stress hormones like cortisol can raise blood sugar, because your body wants access to energy in order to escape what it perceives as a dangerous situation.
  • Medications, especially statins and diuretics, can raise blood sugar. Statins are used to treat cholesterol, and diuretics for high blood pressure.
  • Diet is a major player in blood sugar. Eating too many simple carbs at once can cause levels to skyrocket, while protein intake leads to a slower increase in blood sugar.
  • Dehydration raises blood sugar, because with less water in your body the glucose concentration will be higher.

Other surprising factors can affect your blood sugar, like a sunburn or gum disease, so if you’re dealing with a blood sugar issue and can’t figure out what’s causing your spikes and dips, talk to a healthcare professional.

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How To Calculate Your Blood Sugar Level: The Complete Guide

To get an accurate reading of your blood sugar level, the best and most effective method is using a glucose meter. This will involve a small prick in your finger so receive a blood sample. The strip is then inserted into the meter and tested.

You may be wondering what your reading should be. There is no normal reading, an ideal reading differs from person to person. Everyone will get different readings at different times of the day. However, there is a rough range to determining a low, normal and high blood sugar level. Blood sugar level is read in mmol/L, which stands for millimoles per liter. Here is a guide as to what an ideal reading is for each diabetic type and non-diabetic patients:

Child
4 5.9 mmol/L< 7.8 mmol/L 4 5.9 mmol/L< 7.8 mmol/L

It is advised to check it regularly if you are concerned, show regular symptoms or have diabetes. You should check before meals, exercise, before bedtime and after driving. Everyone is different so it is best to ask your doctor if you are unsure how many times and when you should check your blood sugar levels.

Research shows that over 50% who try to estimate their blood sugar level reading are incorrect. This may be due to over underlying medical conditions that did not know they had or poor lack of judgement. Therefore, this suggests it is very important to test at home to check in on your levels regularly to avoid any unnecessary future complications.

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How To Deal With Stress As A Person With Diabetes

In general, theres only so much you can do to prevent the blood sugar spikes from different types of stress hormones because we cant always predict stress.

However, if youre dealing with predictable stress or ongoing stress, definitely talk to your healthcare team about an adjustment in your insulin doses that can help tamper those stubborn high blood sugars.

For those unexpected bursts of stress and rapid spikes in your blood sugar:

You should use your established correction factor to determine an appropriate dose of insulin to bring the blood sugar down.

But keep in mind: its very likely your blood sugar will sit at that higher level until your body has recovered from the stressful state. When those stress hormones are pumping and adrenaline is causing your liver to produce more glucose, it can be very difficult to get ahead of it.

For ongoing stress during a period of your life:

If you know the next few months are going to be stressful because of a promotion at work, a divorce, the death of a loved one for example then a simple increase by a few units in your background insulin dose can have a big impact on staying in your goal blood sugar range.

Dont underestimate how much ongoing stress can affect your daily insulin needs. Even on the normal days during a stressful period of your life, your body is still coping with that ongoing stressor.

Consequences Of Blood Sugar Levels

Blood Sugar Chart: Levels &  Ranges (Low, Normal &  High)  20 Free Charts

Whilst most symptoms of low and high blood sugar levels are mild, they can worsen if left untreated and sometimes have long term consequences and/or complications. Overtime, a high blood sugar level is what can cause consequences. Lack of treatment can cause severe damage to the blood vessels and lead to complications such as:

  • Damage to the eyes and/or loss of vision
  • Nerve problems in the feet leading to infections

To avoid long term consequences and complications, it is advised to take all precautionary measures and treat your blood sugar level so that it can be maintained at your ideal reading. So do so, follow all treatment methods, stay on track with checking your level daily and seeking help if symptoms persist.

If you have any more questions, here are a few of the most frequently asked questions which may answer your concerns:

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Is Blood Sugar Of 135 High

A blood sugar level of 135 is not considered high. However, it is still important to take steps to lower your blood sugar levels if they are above your target range. You can do this by making changes to your diet and exercise routine. You should also talk to your doctor about ways to lower your blood sugar levels.

How Much Can Exercise Lower A Blood Sugar Spike

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High And Low Blood Sugar Levels With Diabetes In Adults

The chart below shows the dangerous level of blood glucose for diabetic patients. Red levels are indicators that require emergency treatment, while yellow levels indicate medical attention but not an emergency. So, it is clear that sugar levels greater than 250 mg/dl could be dangerous. It is recommended that you need to consult with the doctor immediately.

Chart of High and Low Blood Sugar Levels in Diabetes
Blood sugar level status

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High Sugar Levels Range in Adults

  • Blood sugar levels above 250mg/dL are considered very high. Therefore, it requires immediate medical treatment. In addition, it is recommended to have a ketones test done.
  • Blood glucose levels between 180 to250 mg/dL are considered high. Therefore, it may require insulin therapy and proper medication to control the high level.
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    Recommended Target Blood Glucose Level Ranges

    2e: Low Blood Sugar in Individuals with Diabetes (2021) OLD

    The NICE recommended target blood glucose levels are stated below for adults with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and children with type 1 diabetes.

    In addition, the International Diabetes Federations target ranges for people without diabetes is stated.

    The table provides general guidance. An individual target set by your healthcare team is the one you should aim for.

    NICE recommended target blood glucose level ranges

    Target Levels

    *The non-diabetic figures are provided for information but are not part of NICE guidelines.

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