Treating A Blood Sugar Spike
If you have those symptoms, check your blood sugar. If it’s high, you may be able to get it down if you get 10-15 minutes of exercise, like a short walk.
But if your level is more than 240, you should test yourself for the presence of something called ketones before your workout. Ketones are an acid produced when your body burns stored fat. If you exercise when having high levels of ketones in your blood, it can make blood sugar spikes worse or cause something called ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening condition. You can test for ketones at home by using your glucose meter or a simple urine test. If you have them, don’t exercise. Instead, talk with your doctor about how to manage them.
If you have a severe hyperglycemic spike, you may have to go to a hospital to get extra fluids and insulin.
If you have sugar spikes a lot, talk to your doctor. You may need to tweak your treatment plan.
What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Someone who has high blood sugar can develop a serious problem with a serious-sounding name: diabetic ketoacidosis . This happens if the body gets desperate for a source of fuel. The body wants to use glucose . But without insulin, that glucose stays stuck in the blood and isn’t available to the cells so the body uses fat instead.
But that can sometimes cause problems. Why? Because when the body uses fat, chemicals called ketones are produced. These ketones get into a person’s blood and urine and they can make a person very sick. DKA is a very serious problem for people with diabetes, but the good news is that it can be prevented and treated.
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.
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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.
What Works for Some People
High Blood Sugars from the Night Before
Ok So How Did You Get Here
You might assume a blood sugar spike happens after you eat a ton of sugar. That would make sense and would be a simple explanation with an easy fix. Unfortunately, its more complicated than that.
Your blood sugar fluctuates throughout the day, rising after you eat certain foods, such as carb-heavy ones like pasta and potatoes. If its consistently high, thats when you need to start worrying.
There are several reasons this could happen :
- You skipped a dose of insulin or didnt take enough.
- You skipped your oral diabetes medication.
- You have an illness or infection, like a cold or the flu.
- Youre extra stressed out.
- You ate too many carbohydrates.
- You havent been exercising.
- You spent too much time in the sun and got a sunburn.
- You skipped a meal the night before and didnt adjust your insulin dose.
- The dawn phenomenon is at play.
- Youre dehydrated, so your blood sugar is more concentrated.
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Simple Ways To Avoid Blood Sugar Spike
Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is an important source of energy for your body. Frequent changes in blood sugar levels may put you at a higher risk of health complications. Healthy, balanced diet plays a significant role in managing your blood sugar levels. Olivia Marrone, Registered Dietitian at CHA HPMC, shares tips to prevent high blood sugar levels.
Incorporating these simple dietary changes, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and staying hydrated can help you manage blood sugar levels effectively.
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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Take Care Of Your Sleep Schedule
Getting quality sleep is integral to maintaining good health. A lack of sleep can increase your risk of a range of health conditions, including type 2 diabetes.
In addition, lack of sleep increases the amount of the stress hormone, cortisol, in your body which has a direct link to blood sugar regulation.
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.
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Work With Your Health Care Team
Most people with diabetes get health care from a primary care professional. Primary care professionals include internists, family physicians, and pediatricians. Sometimes physician assistants and nurses with extra training, called nurse practitioners, provide primary care. You also will need to see other care professionals from time to time. A team of health care professionals can help you improve your diabetes self-care. Remember, you are the most important member of your health care team.
Besides a primary care professional, your health care team may include
- an endocrinologist for more specialized diabetes care
- a registered dietitian, also called a nutritionist
- a nurse
The Causes Of High Blood Sugar
In general, higher than normal blood glucose levels can be caused by:
- not taking your diabetes medicine when you’re supposed to or not taking the right amounts
- eating more food than your meal plan allows
- not getting enough exercise
- having an illness, like the flu
- taking other kinds of medicines that affect how your diabetes medicines work
Keeping blood sugar levels close to normal can be hard sometimes, and nobody’s perfect. Grown-ups can help you stay in balance if you have diabetes. Sometimes blood sugar levels can be high because you’re growing and your doctor needs to make some changes in your diabetes treatment plan.
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Don’t Shortchange Your Sleep
Getting enough sleep at night is crucial for overall health and wellbeing, but especially for blood sugar control. Sure, one night of shortened or interrupted sleep may not have a detrimental effect, but don’t kid yourself that you can get away with too little shut-eye regularly without it causing an imbalance in blood sugar levels.
“It’s recommended that we snooze for seven to nine hours per night, and missing out on quality sleep can trigger stress hormones that increase blood sugar levels,” Harris-Pincus explains.
Plus, stress is unhealthy in general, and it can lead to an increase in cravings, moodiness, physical discomfort, GI distress, and higher risk of disease, among other various concerns.
How To Avoid Blood Sugar Swings
This article was medically reviewed by Shari Forschen, NP, MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Jessica Gibson. Shari Forschen is a Registered Nurse at Sanford Health in North Dakota. She received her Family Nurse Practitioner Master’s from the University of North Dakota and has been a nurse since 2003.There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 6,484 times.
Your blood sugar levels fluctuate throughout the day whether you’re diabetic or not. If you find yourself more sensitive to spikes in your blood sugar, you might feel tired, thirsty, or need to urinate often. Or, if you experience a drop in blood sugar, you may quickly become shaky, irritable, dizzy, or hungry. To keep your blood sugar levels balanced, improve your diet and make adjustments to your daily habits.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Diabetes AssociationHealth-based nonprofit focused on preventing and researching diabetesGo to source
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Foods That Control Blood Sugar Spikes
Healthy foods, like most veggies and fruit, belong in every diet, and theyre also good at keeping your blood sugar levels stable. Fiber-rich foods and complex carbs help as well, because they take longer to digest so they dont trigger quick spikes like sugar. Here, 10 foods to keep on your list:
- Whole wheat pasta
What To Do When Blood Sugar Spikes
It can be frustrating trying to keep blood sugar levels under control. Day by day, they can fluctuate widely, and theyre not always predictable. Although the greatest danger to people with is when blood glucose gets too low, its also important to take action when blood glucose is high. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help prevent and treat these unexpected spikes.
High blood sugar, also called hyperglycemia, often develops in response to too little insulin or other glucose-lowering medication, or too much food. Its important to address hyperglycemia. Not only can it cause problems like impaired thinking in the short term, it can increase the risk for serious problems like , kidney damage, and blindness over time. Heres what you can do about hyperglycemia.
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Eat The Majority Of Your Calories Early In The Day
Dinner may be thought of as the biggest meal of the day, but if you have elevated blood sugar, you should stop thinking of things that way. And don’t “save” your calories for a big meal either.
“Eating more of your calories earlier in the day can improve blood sugar levels since our bodies follow a circadian rhythm where we process food better during daylight hours,” Harris-Pincus explains. “People who eat a larger breakfast and lunch with a smaller dinner have been shown to improve blood sugar more than people consuming the same amount of calories but during evening hours.”
Plus, when you jam everything in later in the evening at dinner, especially if you eat dinner close to bedtime, your belly might feel too full, and GI distress could prevent you from falling asleep comfortably.
Prednisone And Diabetes: A Life
We have described prednisone as a Deal with the Devil. Thats because this drug is the classic double-edged sword. It can save lives and make life worth living for some people. For others, though, it can cause serious side effects including edema, insomnia, irritability, hypertension, glaucoma, cataracts, ulcers, blood clots, weakened bones and osteoporosis. There is also an association between prednisone and diabetes which in some cases can be life threatening. Here is one such report.
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Medical Approaches To Spike Control
A common approach to lowering after-meal blood glucose spikes is to take more insulin. But unless blood glucose levels remain high for three to six hours after eating, taking more insulin is not going to solve the problem. In fact, increasing mealtime insulin will most likely result in low blood glucose before the next meal.
Here are some strategies that may work better:
Whats A Spike And Why Do They Happen
After-meal, or postprandial, spikes are temporary high blood glucose levels that occur soon after eating. It is normal for the level of glucose in the blood to rise a small amount after eating, even in people who do not have diabetes. However, if the rise is too high, it can affect your quality of life today and contribute to serious health problems down the road.
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Eat Fewer Refined Carbs
Refined carbs, otherwise known as processed carbs, are sugars or refined grains.
Some common sources of refined carbs are table sugar, white bread, white rice, soda, candy, breakfast cereals and desserts.
Refined carbs have been stripped of almost all nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Refined carbs are said to have a high glycemic index because they are very easily and quickly digested by the body. This leads to blood sugar spikes.
A large observational study of more than 91,000 women found that a diet high in high-glycemic-index carbs was associated with an increase in type 2 diabetes .
The spike in blood sugar and subsequent drop you may experience after eating high-glycemic-index foods can also promote hunger and can lead to overeating and weight gain .
The glycemic index of carbs varies. Its affected by a number of things, including ripeness, what else you eat and how the carbs are cooked or prepared.
Generally, whole-grain foods have a lower glycemic index, as do most fruits, non-starchy vegetables and legumes.
Refined carbs have almost no nutritional value and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and weight gain.
Include Foods Rich In Chromium And Magnesium
High levels of blood sugar have been linked to specific nutrient deficiencies, including chromium and magnesium.
Chromium is used in the body to metabolize carbs and fat, and may also improve the action of insulin. This means chromium may have an impact on your levels of blood sugar.
Foods rich in chromium include meat, whole grain products, fruit, vegetables, and nuts.
Magnesium is also thought to impact levels of blood sugar and diets rich in magnesium are thought to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Magnesium-rich foods include tuna, dark leafy greens, whole grain products, dark chocolate, bananas, avocados, and beans.
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So How Did Your Blood Sugar Spike So Much
If glucose builds up in your bloodstream, it can cause your blood sugar to spike. This happens when your insulin cant keep up with the sugar overload.
Blood sugar spikes can also be the result of insulin production being out of whack in the first place, which is why people who have diabetes often experience them.
Glucose and insulin work hand in hand to keep you healthy. Almost any time you eat something, its broken down into glucose, which enters your cells to become fuel your body needs to keep running smoothly.
Insulin is supposed to help deliver glucose to your cells. But heres the thing: if you have diabetes, your body doesnt use insulin effectively and doesnt produce enough insulin, so glucose cant get into your cells.
When that happens, the glucose hangs out in your bloodstream, building up to dangerously high levels.
The scary thing is that blood sugar spikes dont just feel uncomfortable they can also lead to serious long-term damage. If high blood sugar is a chronic issue and goes untreated, it can cause heart disease, nerve damage, vision problems, and kidney failure.
If you ignore high blood sugar for a long time, your cells start to use fat instead of glucose for fuel, which produces ketones. If you dont have diabetes, this usually isnt an issue. But if you do, your blood becomes too acidic, which can lead to diabetic coma or death.