How Are High Blood Sugar Levels Treated
Treating high blood sugar levels involves fixing what caused them in the first place. Your diabetes health care team will give you specific advice on how to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range. But here are some ways to manage the common causes of high blood sugar levels:
|Reason for High Blood Sugar Level||What to Do|
|Not getting enough insulin or other diabetes medicine||
|Not following the meal plan||
|Not getting enough exercise||
|Illness or stress||
|Use of other medicines that can increase blood sugar||
How To Fix High Blood Sugars In The Morning
The Dawn Phenomenon
More than half of people with diabetes are thought to experience dawn phenomenon, and it can lead to significant increases in HbA1c.
The dawn phenomenon begins when your body secretes a surge of hormones, including growth hormone, cortisol, adrenaline and glucagon. These hormones start working very early each morning around the same time to prepare your body to wake. Basically, your body is starting the engine, releasing some fuel, and prepping to go for the day.
These hormones trigger the conversion of the livers glycogen stores into glucose which is then dumped into the blood in a process called glycogenolysis.
This general process occurs in all humans regardless of whether they have diabetes. In people without diabetes, the bodys natural insulin response prevents the blood sugars from rising. In people with diabetes, though, the body is unable to produce a healthy insulin response, and therefore blood glucose levels spike up.
The Mayo Clinic suggests several strategies you can try to combat the effects of dawn phenomenon:
- Use an insulin pump to administer extra insulin during early-morning hours.
- Avoid carbohydrates at bedtime.
- Adjust your dose of medication or insulin.
- Switch to a different glucose-lowering medication.
- Adjust the time when you take your medication or insulin from dinnertime to bedtime.
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High Blood Sugars from the Night Before
Diabetes: Shooting Pains In Your Legs Could Be Sign Of High Blood Sugar
Recent figures have revealed that almost 5.5 million people are likely to be living with diabetes within the next decade. The condition can lead to devastating events, including heart attack and kidney failure if left untreated. Being alert to the signs of high blood sugar, however, can help curtail the risk of permanent damage. One sensation in the legs may be more apparent in the evenings.
Pain in the legs is a sign that the nerves are no longer functioning properly, and may sometimes be accompanied by numbness or tingling.
The health body explains: Sensory neuropathy affects the nerves that carry the message of touch, temperature, pain and other sensations from the skin, bone and muscles to the brain.
It mainly affects the nerves in the feet and legs, but people can also develop this type of neuropathy in their arms and hands.
The main danger of neuropathy for someone with diabetes is loss of feeling in the feet, which adds to the health body.
Likewise, untreated neuropathy could lead to the development of Charcot foot a serious foot complication characterised by swelling.
According to Healthline, diabetic neuropathy may also cause numbness or tingling in your fingers, toes, hands, and feet.
Another symptom is burning, sharp or aching pain. The pain may be mild at first, but it can get worse over time and spread up your legs or arms, says Healthline.
It is essential that those with diabetic neuropathy pay close attention to their blood sugar levels.
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Make Good Use Of Technology
Technology such as insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors are there to help you. If youre noticing a lot of high blood sugars overnight, tinker with your basal and bolus rates at dinner time and before bed.
Most people need a lot more insulin overnight to help combat the dawn phenomenon, so dont feel bad or guilty if your basal rate overnight is twice what you require during the day.
In addition, set high blood sugar alarms on your CGM , so you can wake up and take insulin if needed.
If youre on a hybrid closed-loop system such as the Medtronic 670g, 770g, Tslim Control IQ, or DIY Loop, your insulin pump will automatically increase your basal rates to help combat overnight highs, but if you are not, you can do this manually.
What Happens If My Blood Glucose Level Becomes Too Low
Sometimes blood glucose levels drop below where they should be, which is called hypoglycemia. For most people with diabetes, the blood glucose level is too low when it is below 70 mg/dL.
Hypoglycemia can be life threatening and needs to be treated right away. Learn more about how to recognize and treat hypoglycemia.
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Keeping Your Blood Sugar Steady
With certain strategies, you can help prevent spikes in your blood sugar levels, says Toby Smithson, RD, LDN, CDE,a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the founder of DiabetesEveryday.com.
Rather than focus on things you shouldn’t have, try incorporating the following foods and healthy habits into your daily type 2 diabetes routine:
Go nuts. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios contain healthy fat that slows the body’s absorption of sugar. But be sure to limit how many nuts you eat in one sitting because even healthy fats contain calories, Smithson says. Just six almonds or four pecan halves have the same number of calories as one teaspoon of butter.
Eat whole grains. Oat bran, barley, and rye are fiber-rich foods that contain beta-glucan. This soluble fiber increases the amount of time it takes for your stomach to empty after eating and prevents spikes in blood sugar. Remember, though, that these foods are still carbohydrates. “Whole grains will still raise your blood sugar, just not as quickly and as high as processed foods,” Li-Ng says.
Veg out. Packed with fiber, non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, cucumber, and carrots can also help prevent surges in blood sugar levels while providing essential nutrients.
Carb Count And Dose Accordingly
If you are taking insulin, this is something you likely do on a regular basis. Since I am so picky and stick to the same foods, I really dont count carbs at all. I use the WAG strategy , but this could wind up costing you a good nights sleep. Make sure to count your carbs, know your carb-to-insulin ratio, time your dose correctly and keep your fingers crossed. Pumps have calculators built in to help make this easier for you and if you are on shots, you should check out the InPen, which has been a lifesaver for me in regards to getting my doses right and keeping my blood sugars in range.
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Reduce Your Sugar Intake
The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day. That translates to around 350 calories .
While some of this is added as table sugar, most of it comes from processed and prepared foods, such as candy, cookies and sodas.
You have no nutritional need for added sugar like sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup. They are, in effect, just empty calories.
Your body breaks these simple sugars down very easily, causing an almost immediate spike in blood sugar.
Studies show that consuming sugars is associated with developing insulin resistance.
This is when the cells fail to respond as they should to the release of insulin, resulting in the body not being able to control blood sugar effectively .
In 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration changed the way foods have to be labeled in the US. Foods now have to display the amount of added sugars they contain in grams and as a percentage of the recommended daily maximum intake.
An alternative option to giving up sugar entirely is to replace it with sugar substitutes.
Sugar is effectively empty calories. It causes an immediate blood sugar spike and high intake is associated with insulin resistance.
High Blood Sugar Causes
Sometimes the cause of a blood sugar spike is clear . But other times, the cause is a little more mysterious.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, losing sleep, skipping breakfast, not drinking enough water, or drinking coffee can cause blood sugar instability.
Even weirder, sometimes a sunburn can cause a spike! The pain of a burn causes stress, and high levels of stress can mess up your blood sugar. So bust out the sunscreen for the sake of your pancreas!
Other causes include eating high-sugar/high-carb foods, drinking alcohol, getting sick, and changing medication. A diet low in fiber and high in refined carbs or sugars and a sedentary lifestyle also make high blood sugar more likely.
So, what can you do when your blood sugar gets too high? Here are some natural ways to get your sugar back into a safe zone.
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Take Advantage Of Technology
If you are fortunate enough to own a continuous glucose monitor , you should make the most of its features. Keep the alarms set to a high and low blood sugar number that you are comfortable with to help wake you if damage control is needed. You can also share Dexcom with a loved one who could alert you of dangerous numbers if you are unable to wake from the alarm on your own. Pumps like Tandem Basal Control have become extremely popular, as they can release insulin if your blood sugars get too high allowing you to focus solely on dreaming of a cure!
Causes Of High Blood Sugar
The leading causes of high blood sugar or hyperglycemia include:
Diet: Glucose comes from food, so what you are eating causes high blood sugar. Carbohydrates are the most common culprit as they are broken down into glucose very quickly in the body. High-sugar foods, high-fat foods, and processed foods also cause blood glucose spikes and should be replaced with healthier options.
Stress: When you are stressed, more stress hormones and chemicals are released, which drives blood sugar levels up too. If the stress is only temporary, this is not a serious issue, but if you experience chronic stress or an anxiety disorder, you may experience high blood sugar levels more often.
Metabolic Syndrome: These are a collection of conditions that occur at the same time and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. High blood pressures, excess fat around the waist, and high cholesterol or triglycerides are examples of these conditions. When these occur in the body together, your risk for diabetes increases as does your blood sugar and the risk for potential complications.
Physical Inactivity: A lack of physical activity contributes to elevated blood sugar. When you are physically active each day, insulin works more efficiently, and your blood sugar can be maintained.
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How To Avoid Complications
Because diabetes can reduce the blood supply to the feet, its crucial to have your feet checked annually.
Keeping your feet clean and free from infection, or wearing shoes that fit well, will also stave off problems in the feet.
Foot specialist Mike ONeill, explains on the NHS website, that the risk of foot complications can be reduced by bringing blood sugar levels under control.
He said: Ensure that your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are also monitored and controlled with medication if needed.
Drink Only In Moderation
Its best ifyou can quit drinking habits. You might consider moderate drinking on occasionsbut remember to set your limits. Be sure to check with your doctor if drinkinga glass of wine or cocktail can spike sugar levels. Too much alcohol caninterfere with insulin production and may cause a dip in sugar too. For thebest choices, it is recommended to have mixed drinks like rum with ice orcalorie-free mixers. Avoid soda, sweet wines, and sugary cocktails at the bar.
Steer clear of these worst foods to keep your blood sugar levels in control. Do write to us about your foods to avoid with high blood sugar and healthy meal plans.
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Easy Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Levels Naturally
High blood sugar occurs when your body doesnt make enough or effectively use insulin, a hormone that regulates blood glucose and helps it enter your cells for energy.
High blood sugar is associated with diabetes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 13% of U.S. adults live with diabetes, and 34.5% have prediabetes (
This means close to 50% of all U.S. adults have diabetes or prediabetes.
Here are 15 easy ways to lower blood sugar levels naturally:
How Can I Treat Low Blood Sugar
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.
Carry supplies for treating low blood sugar with you. If you feel shaky, sweaty, or very hungry or have other symptoms, check your blood sugar. Even if you dont have symptoms but think you may have low blood sugar, check it. If your blood sugar is lower than 70 mg/dL, do one of the following immediately:
- Take four glucose tablets.
- Drink four ounces of fruit juice.
- Drink four ounces of regular soda, not diet soda.
- Eat four pieces of hard candy.
Wait for 15 minutes and then check your blood sugar again. Do one of the above treatments again until your blood sugar is 70 mg/dL or above and eat a snack if your next meal is an hour or more away. If you have problems with low blood sugar, ask your doctor if your treatment plan needs to be changed.
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What Causes Hyperglycemia In People With Diabetes
- The dose of insulin or oral diabetes medication that you are taking is not the most helpful dose for your needs.
- Your body isnt using your natural insulin effectively .
- The amount of carbohydrates you are eating or drinking is not balanced with the amount of insulin your body is able to make or the amount of insulin you inject.
- You are less active than usual.
- Physical stress is affecting you.
- Emotional stress is affecting you.
- You are taking steroids for another condition.
- The dawn phenomenon is affecting you.
Other possible causes
- Pancreatic diseases such as pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and cystic fibrosis.
- Certain medications .
- Gestational diabetes, which happens in 4% of pregnancies, and is due to decreased insulin sensitivity.
- Surgery or trauma.
Get More Quality Shuteye
Poor or limited sleep affects body chemistry, and getting more slumber helps with blood sugar control, Weisenberger says. Chronic lack of sleep may contribute to the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a small study published in Diabetologia in February 2015. Healthy volunteers who slept only four hours for three nights in a row had higher levels of fatty acids in their blood, which reduced insulins ability to regulate blood sugar by about 23 percent, the researchers found. Lack of sleep is also linked with other health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, and stroke, according to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends aiming for seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
Having sleep troubles? Follow these recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation:
- Sleep in a cool, dark room.
- Avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine in the hours before bed.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends.
- Dont look at screens for at least a half hour before bedtime, including TV, tablets, cell phones, and computers.
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What To Do Next If You Cant Reduce Blood Sugar Naturally
Contact your healthcare provider if you have tried but are unable to successfully reduce your blood sugar by practicing healthy lifestyle behaviors. Your doctor can talk to you in greater detail about your diet and exercise routine, and identify where you might be able to make further improvements.
Patients can expect to have their blood pressure checked and monitored over a period of weeks to establish the diagnosis. It will be treated with lifestyle changes and the patient will be monitored regularly. They may also have lab testing. If the blood sugar remains uncontrolled, medication will be the next step, says Dr. Raja.
There may be some instances where blood sugar cannot be reduced naturally, and medications are needed to control and reduce blood sugar. If your doctor recommends taking medication for your condition, dont hesitate to ask any questions you may have and make sure to inquire about all your available treatment options for reducing your blood sugar levels.
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