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
How To Treat A Low Blood Sugar Level Yourself
Follow these steps if your blood sugar level is less than 3.5mmol/L or you have hypo symptoms:
You do not usually need to get medical help once you’re feeling better if you only have a few hypos.
But tell your diabetes team if you keep having hypos or if you stop having symptoms when your blood sugar level is low.
Foods That Raise Blood Sugar
The quickest way to raise your blood sugar is by having something to eat or drink, says Barnathan.
If your blood sugar levels are extremely low and you need a quick boost, you’ll need something with some carbohydrates so that you can restore your blood glucose. But you shouldn’t overdo it.
- One-half cup of fruit juice or regular, non-diet soda
- One tablespoon of sugar
- One tablespoon of honey or syrup
- Four or five hard candies, jelly beans, or gumdrops
Doctors recommend waiting 15 minutes and check your blood sugar levels once more before eating again to avoid raising your blood sugar too much.
If you notice your blood sugar levels may be dropping, but you haven’t reached hypoglycemia, it may be best to add some protein and fat into the mix, like by eating a protein bar or meat sandwich.
Protein and fat will slow down digestion, delaying an increase in glucose. However, they can also prevent a big blood sugar spike and subsequent drop. For this reason, those who experience insulin resistance are recommended to regularly include protein and healthy fats in their diet.
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How To Bring Your Blood Sugar Level Down
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Exercise In The Afternoon
Exercise lowers blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity, which allows the body to use insulin and glucose more effectively, increasing glucose movement during and after exercise. Studies have shown that exercise will lead to optimal insulin regulation. Exercise after dinner will set you up for steady glucose levels through the morning.
Research has also shown that moderate-intensity aerobic exercise before breakfast reduced the morning rise of blood glucose in type 2 diabetes patients, partially counteracting the dawn phenomenon. The same study also found that exercise significantly reduced blood glucose fluctuations and improved blood glucose control throughout the day.
Some of the best exercises for avoiding morning blood sugar spikes include:
- A walk
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What Is The Somogyi Effect
A second possible cause of high blood sugar levels in the morning is the Somogyi effect, sometimes also called rebound hyperglycemia. It was named after the doctor who first wrote about it.
If your blood sugar drops too low in the middle of the night while you are sleeping, your body will release hormones in an attempt to rescue you from the dangerously low blood sugar. The hormones do this by prompting your liver to release stored glucose in larger amounts than usual. But this system isnt perfect in a person with diabetes, so the liver releases more sugar than needed which leads to a high blood sugar level in the morning. This is the Somogyi effect.
How Do Carbs Affect Blood Sugar
Carbs in food make your blood sugar levels go higher after you eat them than when you eat proteins or fats. You can still eat carbs if you have diabetes. The amount you can have and stay in your target blood sugar range depends on your age, weight, activity level, and other factors. Counting carbs in foods and drinks is an important tool for managing blood sugar levels. Make sure to talk to your health care team about the best carb goals for you.
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How Can I Check My Blood Sugar
Use a blood sugar meter or a continuous glucose monitor to check your blood sugar. A blood sugar meter measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip. A CGM uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. If you use a CGM, youll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.
Managing Blood Sugar Crashes
If you’re prone to low blood glucose, it’s a good idea to carry a source of fast-absorbing carbs with you. Follow up with your doctor and take a glucose tolerance test if this is your first episode and you don’t have diabetes.
Read more:The Best Diet for Reactive Hypoglycemia
In the meantime, eat small, frequent meals rather than fewer large meals filled with a mix of healthy, nutrient-rich foods. If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor about the best way to prevent low blood sugar. He may adjust your medication or recommend making dietary changes to keep your blood more stable, such as eating high-protein snacks between meals.
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Other Ways To Treat Low Blood Sugar
Glucose tabs and glucose gel may be eaten to help raise blood sugar levels, or you can administer a glucagon injection. Glucagon is a hormone that tells your liver to release stored glucose into the bloodstream.
Typically, your pancreas releases glucagon when your blood sugar levels are too low. People with diabetes can get a prescription for glucagon kits.
If they ever lose consciousness due to low blood sugar, a glucagon injection is the best way to bring their levels back to normal. Friends and family should also know how to use a kit in case of an emergency.
If you have frequent episodes of hypoglycemia, talk to your doctor. If you have diabetes, you may need to reduce your diabetes medicines, says Barnathan. You’ll also want to make sure you are eating three meals a day.
Repeated episodes of hypoglycemia can cause hypoglycemia unawareness, where you no longer have early symptoms like shakiness or irregular heartbeat. Without those warning signs, you may not notice your blood sugar is low until more severe symptoms set in.
If you don’t have diabetes but frequently have low blood sugar, you and your doctor need to check for other possible causes.
Take A Shot Of Apple Cider Vinegar
Swigging apple cider vinegar might not sound appealing, but it could help keep your blood sugar in balance if taken before you eat. Some research has found that consuming ACV reduced post-meal blood sugar levels by about half in healthy patients. The theory is that acetic acid, a component of the vinegar, slows down the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar in the bloodstream. Pro tip: Mix a tablespoon or two into a glass of watertaking it straight will burn!
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Roller Coaster: Female Hormones
When a woman’s hormones change, so does their blood sugar. Keep a monthly record of your levels to get a better idea of how your menstrual cycle affects you. Hormone changes during menopause may make blood sugar even harder to control. Talk to your doctor about whether hormone replacement therapy is a good idea.
How Do I Pay For These Tests And Supplies
Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans pay for the A1C test and some of the cost of supplies for checking your blood sugar. Check your plan or ask your health care team for help finding low cost or free supplies. Ask your health care team what to do if you run out of test strips. For more information about Medicare and diabetes, go to .
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How Do I Check My Blood Sugar
You use a blood glucose meter to check your blood sugar. This device uses a small drop of blood from your finger to measure your blood sugar level. You can get the meter and supplies in a drug store or by mail.
Read the directions that come with your meter to learn how to check your blood sugar. Your health care team also can show you how to use your meter. Write the date, time, and result of the test in your blood sugar record. Take your blood sugar record and meter to each visit and talk about your results with your health care team.
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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Tips To Prevent Blood Sugar From Dropping At Night
Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar or low blood glucose, occurs when blood glucose levels drop below normalwhich is typically below a level of 70 milligrams per deciliter . With levels more commonly dipping at nighttime, otherwise referred to as nighttime hypoglycemia, this condition affects mostly patients with diabetes.
Maintaining Balanced Blood Sugar Levels Is Absolutely Critical For Us All Not Just Diabetics
The extreme blood sugar highs and lows that cause blood sugar dysregulation not only increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, but they also suppress the immune system, weaken the vascular system, slow metabolism, inhibit the ability to lose weight, and cause a host of cognitive issues from lethargy to impaired memory.
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How To Keep Your Sugar Level Even All Day
During digestion, the foods you eat, mainly carbohydrates, are broken down into glucose, a type of sugar. Your blood stream then carries this sugar to your body’s tissues and organs to use for fuel. Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is not only crucial to providing energy, but can also reduce the risk of developing diabetic complications. Whether you have diabetes or just want to eliminate daily energy slumps, what you eat and when you eat is key to avoiding blood-sugar spikes. By making a few adjustments in meal planning, you can help keep your blood sugar level even all day.
Start your day with breakfast. According to Clemson University, breakfast replenishes blood sugar after your night’s sleep and energizes your body so you perform better mentally and physically. Cooked oatmeal with low-fat milk and fresh berries or whole-grain toast and peanut butter with an apple are good choices.
Create meals and snacks that combine carbohydrates, proteins and a small amount of fat. When these foods are combined, the digestion process takes more time, providing your body with slow, even-burning fuel that maintains stable blood sugar levels. A skinless chicken breast with brown rice and steamed broccoli or, low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit and a slice of whole-grain bread are two excellent carbohydrate-protein-fat meal combinations.
How Can I Pay For Tests And Diabetes Supplies
Medicareexternal icon, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans pay for the A1C test and fasting blood sugar test as well as some diabetes supplies. Check your plan or ask your health care team for help finding low-cost or free supplies, and see How to Save Money on Diabetes Care for more resources.
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Caution: Birth Control Pills
Types that have estrogen can affect the way your body handles insulin. Still, oral contraceptives are safe for women with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association suggests a combination pill with norgestimate and synthetic estrogen. The group also says birth control shots and implants are safe for women with the condition, though they can affect your blood sugar levels.
What Is The A1c Test
The A1C test is a simple blood test that measures your average blood sugar levels over the past 2 or 3 months. The test is done at a lab or your doctors office in addition tonot instead ofregular blood sugar testing you do yourself.
A1C testing is part of the ABCs of diabetesimportant steps you can take to prevent or delay health complications down the road:
- A: Get a regular A1C test.
- B: Try to keep your blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg .
- C: Manage your cholesterol levels.
- s: Stop smoking or dont start.
The A1C goal for most adults with diabetes is between 7% and 8%, but your goal may be different depending on your age, other health conditions, medicines youre taking, and other factors. Work with your doctor to establish a personal A1C goal for you.
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What To Eat To Keep Your Blood Sugar In Check
Swap difficult diets for good and simple healthy foods. Hereâs how.
You need to eat wisely to keep your diabetes in check. The key is to choose healthy foods and portion sizes so that you can control both your weight and blood sugar levels.
The first step: Learn whatâs good for you, says diabetes educator Emmy Suhl, RD, CDE, of Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
âThereâs no such thing as a diabetes diet,â Suhl says. âThe best diet for someone with diabetes is your basic, healthy diet.â