Beware Of Low Blood Sugars
Remember, above all else, its very easy to over-treat a high blood sugar and wind up low. Then youll be tempted to binge-eat and wind up high again. This blood sugar roller coaster is exhausting and dangerous, too.
Frequently finding yourself on the blood sugar roller coaster means your approach to taking insulin and/or how you treat low blood sugars isnt working and needs some fine-tuning. Work with your healthcare team to reduce and prevent these wild swings to ensure your overall safety and quality of life!
Techniques To Manage Your Blood Sugar In The Morning
Based on your glucose levels and trends, there are a few things you can do to manage your glucose levels so they dont run high in the morning. Some of these strategies focus on adjusting medications to better suit your needs. Other strategies include adjusting your exercise routine, as well as what and when you are eating before bed.
If your glucose levels are in range before bed, they may rise throughout the night without enough insulin. This can be especially true for people who take long-acting insulin in the morning, since it may be wearing off before your next dose.
Consider changing the time of day when you take your long-acting insulin. You may also benefit from switching to either twice-daily basal insulin or ultra-long-acting insulin, or from starting on an insulin pump. Read our article, Are You on the Right Kind of Insulin, to learn more.
Check your blood glucose during the night between 3 am and 8 am. If you are running high during these hours, you may be experiencing the dawn phenomenon.
Talk with your healthcare team about finding the best nighttime insulin regimen for you. If you take basal insulin, you may need to delay the timing of your dose to as close to bedtime as possible. Another option is to try an insulin pump or automated insulin delivery system. AID systems will automatically adjust your basal insulin doses throughout the night to help keep your glucose levels stable.
What Causes Low Blood Glucose In People With Diabetes
Low blood glucose levels can be a side effect of insulin or some other medicines that help your pancreas release insulin into your blood. Taking these can lower your blood glucose level.
Two types of diabetes pills can cause low blood glucose
- sulfonylureas, usually taken once or twice per day, which increase insulin over several hours
- meglitinides, taken before meals to promote a short-term increase in insulin
The following may also lower your blood glucose level
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What Are The Recommended Targets For Blood Glucose Levels
Many people with diabetes aim to keep their blood glucose at these normal levels:
- Before a meal: 80 to 130 mg/dL
- About 2 hours after a meal starts: less than 180 mg/dL
Talk with your health care team about the best target range for you. Be sure to tell your health care professional if your glucose levels often go above or below your target range.
Foods That Lower Blood Sugar
Food can be a wonderful tonic for your overall good health and well-being or it can be devastating to your health. Taking the time and effort to make good choices can save you from a lot of pain and suffering in the future. Here is a list of foods that are great for your health, and especially good for maintaining healthy sugar levels.
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Check Your Blood Glucose Levels
For many people with diabetes, checking their blood glucose level each day is an important way to manage their diabetes. Monitoring your blood glucose level is most important if you take insulin. The results of blood glucose monitoring can help you make decisions about food, physical activity, and medicines.
The most common way to check your blood glucose level at home is with a blood glucose meter. You get a drop of blood by pricking the side of your fingertip with a lancet. Then you apply the blood to a test strip. The meter will show you how much glucose is in your blood at the moment.
Ask your health care team how often you should check your blood glucose levels. Make sure to keep a record of your blood glucose self-checks. You can print copies of this glucose self-check chart . Take these records with you when you visit your health care team.
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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Sweet Potatoes And Yams
Regular potatoes have a high GI score, but sweet potatoes and yams have low scores and are very nutritious.
Reporting the findings of an animal study, the researchers also note that sweet potato consumption may lower some markers of diabetes.
Although there is still no conclusive evidence to suggest that sweet potatoes can help stabilize or lower blood sugar levels in humans, they are undoubtedly a nutritious food with a low GI score.
People can substitute sweet potatoes or yams for potatoes in a variety of dishes, from fries to casseroles.
Foods Minerals & Spices That May Help Control Blood Sugar
When it comes to managing blood sugar, the types of foods and drinks you consume plus what you sprinkle on top to add zest and a pop of color can help to stabilize your glucose.
Higher doses of spices are available in pill form. Check with your doctor before taking any supplements, and for advice on specific dosage recommendations.
Here are some foods, spices, and minerals that may help you control blood sugar:
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What Impacts On Your Health Does High Blood Sugar Have
Having extra sugar in your bloodstream can be very harmful to the vessels in your body, as well as some major organs. Complications of diabetes include and are not limited to:
- Problems with your eyes which could lead to loss of vision
- Poor wound healing which could lead to an amputation
- Increased risk of heart disease and stroke
These complications are not caused by a spike in the blood sugar. They are caused by an increased number of high blood sugar events over a period of time. Do not think that one or two high blood sugars are going to cause you to go blind. However, it is important to know what caused those high sugars so that you can prevent it from happening again. Hemoglobin A1C levels are checked to see what the average blood sugar has been over the past 120 days. Your doctor will check this to see if how your blood sugar levels have been trending.
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The rest of this article explains these in further detail.
Always talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet or exercise regimen.
Check your blood sugar levels!
There are critical times that you should check your blood sugar.
There are times when our health is well out of our control. Checking your blood sugar is one way that you can stay in control. Take this control and use it to better your health and your life.
According to the NIDDK, when checking your blood sugar levels, consider the following tips:
Make An Effort To Get Better Sleep
Ever wondered why the blueberry crumb muffins in the coffee shop look even more irresistible when youâre shuffling on three hours of sleep? Poor sleep can affect glucose levels21, insulin sensitivity22, and the hormones that control appetite.
When you donât get enough shut-eye, your cravings and desire to eat now can go into overdrive. Thatâs because leptin reduces and ghrelin increases23, signaling to your brain that you have to eat that blueberry crumb muffinâ¦ maybe even two of them before you feel satisfied.
You might find it easier to choose the sous-vide egg bites over the tender, berry-studded cake-with-no-icing when youâre well-rested. Even partial sleep loss may increase the risk of weight gain and obesity24, one sugary muffin at a time.
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Monitor Blood Sugar Levels Closely
High blood sugar levels often do not cause symptoms until they run well over 200 mg/dL. As such, it is essential for a person with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar several times a day. Doing so will mean that blood sugar levels never get that high.
A person with diabetes can use a home glucose monitor to check blood sugar levels. These are available for purchase online.
Recommendations for how frequently to check glucose levels during the day will vary from person to person. A doctor can make the best recommendations regarding blood sugar monitoring to a person with diabetes.
How Are Low Blood Sugar Levels Treated
Your diabetes health care team will give you guidelines for treating low blood sugar levels, depending on your symptoms. If you can, try to test your blood sugar levels to make sure that your symptoms are because of hypoglycemia. If you can’t test blood sugar immediately, don’t delay in treating your symptoms you can always check your blood sugar after you’ve taken steps to get your blood sugar back up into the normal range.
When blood sugar levels are low, the goal is to get them back up quickly. To do that, you should take in sugar or sugary foods, which raise the blood sugar level quickly. Your health care team might suggest that you:
- Eat, drink, or take something that contains sugar that can get into the blood quickly. Your doctor may tell you to have really sugary foods or drinks or might give you glucose tablets or gel to take all of these can help to raise your blood sugar level fast, which is what you need to do when it’s low.
- Wait about 10 minutes to let the sugar work.
- Recheck your blood sugar level with a glucose meter to see if blood sugar levels are back to normal.
- Get a glucagon shot , if your symptoms are severe or get worse after you eat, drink, or take glucose.
Sometimes, blood sugar levels can get so low that you may not be awake enough to eat or drink something to get them back up. When this happens, you may need a glucagon shot.
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When Should I Call For Medical Help
It is great to have regular medical care for your diabetes. There are some instances that you should call your doctor right away.
- If you experience an abnormally high blood sugar for more than 24 hours
- If you have fruity smelling breath or test positive for ketones in your urine
- If you become severely dehydrated
- If you are unable to eat or take your medications without vomiting
If someone ever loses consciousness, call 911 right away. This could be caused by blood sugar levels that are too high or too low.
Best Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Quickly
When treated early, you can bring high blood sugar levels down and prevent complications, including DKA.
Some sources suggest that drinking water or eating a high protein snack can quickly lower your blood sugar levels, though there isnt enough research to support this.
If you have high blood sugar and need to lower it fast, try the following methods:
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How Exercise Impacts Glucose In The Moment
When you exercise, your body relies on two sources of fuel: glucose and fat. How your blood sugar changes during exercise depends on the intensity level of your workout and the fuel source your body is using.
Steady-state cardio exercises, like jogging or gentle swimming, donât rely on your body having to produce quick bursts of energy. In these cases, it gets more of its energy from fat, so your blood sugar will usually stay at the same level or decrease.
Higher-intensity exercises like HIIT, strength training, and sprinting cause your body to release a surge of adrenaline. To ensure that you have enough energy readily available for this, your body releases glucose from your liver, increasing your blood sugar levels.
Put more simply, your body works through exercise using supply and demand. During high-intensity exercises, it doesnt have the supply of energy on hand to fuel your workout. So, it releases glucose, immediately meeting the energy demand to fuel your workout while causing a short-term spike in blood sugar. During low-intensity exercise, your body has enough energy on hand to meet the demand, so blood glucose typically stays steady or decreases.
Short-term level changes like these are not harmful, just a standard part of our physiology.
What Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring
Continuous glucose monitoring is another way to check your glucose levels. Most CGM systems use a tiny sensor that you insert under your skin. The sensor measures glucose levels in the fluids between your bodys cells every few minutes and can show changes in your glucose level throughout the day and night. If the CGM system shows that your glucose is too high or too low, you should check your glucose with a blood glucose meter before making any changes to your eating plan, physical activity, or medicines. A CGM system is especially useful for people who use insulin and have problems with low blood glucose.
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How To Lower Morning Blood Sugar
Trying to learn how to lower morning blood sugar? Heres why your glucose levels rise in the morning and a few things you can try to keep them in range.
Waking up with high glucose levels may feel like it doesn’t make sense. You spend several hours asleep, not consuming any carbs, and yet somehow your glucose levels are still high when you wake up in the morning.
Why does this happen? What can you do to make sure your glucose levels are safely in range in the morning? Learn more about some tips on avoiding high morning blood sugar levels so you can start your day off right.
What Should I Do If My Glucose Levels Are Too High
You should establish a treatment plan with your doctor. You may be able to manage your glucose levels through diet and other lifestyle changes, like weight loss. Exercise can also help lower your glucose levels.
Medications may be added to your treatment if needed. Most people with type 2 diabetes will start on metformin as their first medication. There are many different types of diabetes medications that act in different ways.
Injecting insulin is one way to quickly reduce your glucose levels. Your doctor may prescribe insulin if you need help managing your glucose levels. Your doctor will determine your dosage and go over with you how to inject it, and when.
Let your doctor know if your glucose levels are consistently high. This could mean you need to take regular medication or make other changes to your diabetes treatment plan. Working with your doctor to get your glucose levels under control is important. Consistently high levels can lead to serious complications, like diabetic neuropathy or kidney failure.
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Managing Your Blood Sugar Levels When Exercising
Some days you might do exactly the same type of activity and eat the same foods, but your blood sugar levels may be completely different to what youd expect. This is completely normal, but we know it can be really frustrating.
Although everyone manages their diabetes differently, these tips can be a useful starting point to build your confidence and get you moving:
- if you normally check blood sugars, keep a record of what happens when youre being active and show this to your diabetes nurse or doctor
- if youre at risk of hypos, keep hypo treatments handy, as well as a snack with some carbs in e.g. a sandwich, a piece of fruit or a cereal bar
- wear your diabetes ID so people around you can help if they need to
Follow Your Treatment Plan
You can lower your risk of DKA with proper management of your diabetes:
- Take your medications as directed, even if youre feeling fine.
- Follow your meal plan.
- Test your blood sugar consistently, as recommended by your doctor. This will help you get in the habit of making sure your numbers are in range. If you notice a problem, you can talk with your doctor about adjusting your treatment plan.
- Talk with your doctor about adjusting your insulin dosage levels based on your activity level, illnesses, or other factors, such as what youre eating.
- If you have high blood sugar and your blood or urine test detects ketones, do not exercise. Exercising with high blood sugar can be dangerous when you have diabetes. Its best to talk with your doctor about how to manage this situation.
- Sometimes the cost of insulin can make it to follow a diabetes treatment plan. Read more about how to access insulin at a reduced cost.
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