How To Prevent Hyperglycaemia And Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels
Testing your blood sugar levels regularly can help you spot the signs of hyperglycaemia. But there are some steps you can take to either prevent a hyper from happening or to bring down your blood sugar levels.
You can start by making sure you are aware of your carbohydrate portions and how they may be affecting your blood sugar levels after eating. Carb countingis one of the ways you can manage this. Avoid foods that have a high glycemic index and choose low GI foods that can help manage your blood sugar levels more effectively. Increase the fibre in your diet. This can help slow down carbohydrate digestion, which can help limit the rise in your blood sugars.
Try to maintain a healthy weight as this promotes regular blood sugar levels in the body. Be as active as possible, regular exercise can help your body process more of the sugar.
Remember to take your insulin and other diabetes medication, and always take them correctly. Continue to take your diabetes medication even if you are ill and not eating.
Concentrate on your emotional wellbeing, get a quality nights sleep and find ways to manage your stress. Stress can cause hormones to be released, which keep your blood sugar levels high.
If your blood sugar levels continue to be high, or youre unsure of what to do, contact your doctor for further guidance.
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Itâs a fact of life that blood sugar fluctuates throughout the day. These ups and downs depend on a handful of factors, like when you wake up, what you eat, the medications you take, and how you manage stress. So, some variation is normal, to the point that you might not even notice it.
Ignoring blood sugar level changes altogether, though, means youâre ignoring a valuable marker of your health. Especially if you start to have new or unfamiliar symptoms like fatigue, thirst, or brain fog . Learning these symptoms and their causes will give you the tools to better understand your own body, then take the right actions for better long-term metabolic health.
Does Not Having Symptoms Mean Diabetes Is Being Managed Well
Blood sugar control is crucial when youre living with type 2 diabetes. Dips and spikes can not only make you feel cranky and sluggish, but they can also wreak havoc on your personal health.
For the record, the American Diabetes Association notes that you have diabetes if one of the following applies to you:
- Your blood glucose after fasting is 126 milligrams per deciliter or higher.
- Your blood glucose two hours after eating a meal is 200 mg/dl or higher.
- Your hemoglobin A1C is 6.5 or higher.
The tricky part is that with type 2 diabetes you may not feel it when blood sugar levels are too high, according to the ADA. It feels different for everyone. Not everyone will have the same symptoms, and some individuals will have no symptoms at all, says Lori Zanini, RD, CDE, a Los Angelesbased former spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Because blood sugar management is so important to your overall health with type 2 diabetes, you need to take action if you think your levels may be out of control, even if youre feeling totally fine.
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A Few Final Notes On Keeping Blood Sugar Stable
Taking an active, intentional approach to your blood sugar levels is crucial to your quality of life and overall health, ONeill says. Avoiding too-high or too-low blood sugar levels will help you avoid adverse symptoms and health complications, and staying within your target range can enable you to feel your best and do whatever you want to do in life, she says.
Test your blood sugar regularly, listen to your body, and dont ever hesitate to reach out to your doctor.
Additional reporting by Karen Appold.
Don’t Use Your Feet To Test Hot Water
When people with diabetes develop nerve damage, or neuropathy, it can be hard to tell if bath water is too hot. They wont realize they are actually scalding their skin, explains Dr. Tillett. Stepping into a bath before checking the temperature can cause serious damage to your feet, since burns and blisters are open doors to infection. Use your elbow to check the water temperature before getting into the tub or shower.
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What You Should Know About Managing Glucose Levels
What are blood glucose levels?
If you have diabetes, managing your blood glucose level is an important part of managing your condition. Thats because high blood sugar levels can cause long- term complications.
When you have diabetes, your body isnt able to get the sugar from blood into cells, or make enough, or any, insulin. This causes high levels of blood sugar, or high glucose levels. The carbohydrates in food cause blood sugar levels to go up after meals.
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When you eat foods that contain carbohydrates, the digestion process turns them into sugars. These sugars are released into the blood and transported to the cells. The pancreas, a small organ in the abdomen, releases a hormone called insulin to meet the sugar at the cell.
Insulin acts as a bridge, allowing the sugar to go from the blood into the cell. When the cell uses the sugar for energy, blood sugar levels go down.
If you have diabetes, theres either a problem with the pancreas producing insulin, or the cells using insulin, or both.
The different types of diabetes and diabetes-related conditions include:
Type 1 diabetesis when the body stops making insulin.
- Type 2 diabetesis usually a combination of the pancreas not making enough insulin and the cells not using insulin well, which is called insulin resistance.
- Prediabetes is usually when the cells do not use insulin well.
- Gestational diabetes is when you develop diabetes in your second or third trimester of pregnancy.
How Is Hyperglycemia Diagnosed
If you have diabetes and notice a sudden change in your blood sugar levels during your home monitoring, you should alert your doctor of your symptoms. The increase in blood sugar may affect your treatment plan.
Regardless of whether you have diabetes, if you begin experiencing any symptoms of hyperglycemia, you should speak to your doctor. Before going to your appointment, you should note what symptoms youre experiencing. You should also consider these questions:
- Has your diet changed?
- Have you had enough water to drink?
- Are you under a lot of stress?
- Were you just in the hospital for surgery?
- Were you involved in an accident?
Once at your doctors appointment, your doctor will discuss all of your concerns. Theyll perform a brief physical exam and discuss your family history. Your doctor will also discuss your target blood sugar level.
If youre age 59 or younger, a safe blood sugar range is generally between 80 and 120 milligrams per deciliter . This is also the projected range for people who dont have any underlying medical conditions.
People who are age 60 or older and those who have other medical conditions or concerns may have levels between 100 and 140 mg/dL.
Your doctor may conduct an A1C test to determine what your average blood sugar level has been in recent months. This is done by measuring the amount of blood sugar attached to the oxygen-carrying protein hemoglobin in your red blood cells.
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Risk Factors For High Blood Sugar
Doctors do not know exactly what causes diabetes. Some factors may increase the risk, however.
Type 1 diabetes
Researchers believe certain genetic or environmental factors may make people more likely to get type 1 diabetes.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases say certain genes play a role, and other factors such as viruses and infections may have an impact.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation say that there is nothing a person can do to prevent type 1 diabetes. Eating, exercise, or other lifestyle choices will not change the outcome.
Type 1 diabetes usually begins during childhood or early adulthood, but it can happen at any age.
Type 2 diabetes
People who have high blood sugar should discuss their target levels with their doctor.
They may need regular testing to keep these within a healthy range. Each person is different and levels can vary between individuals.
To find out their blood sugar levels, the person may need to fast for 8 hours, 2 hours after a meal, or at both times.
Some people may also take a glucose tolerance test, in which they drink a sugary liquid and have a blood test after.
The American Diabetes Association recommend a pre-meal blood sugar level of 80130 milligrams per deciliter . Around 1 to 2 hours after the beginning of a meal, blood sugar should be less than 180 ml/dL.
When To Seek Medical Care For High Blood Sugar
If hyperglycemia persists for at least two or three days, or if ketones appear in the urine, call a doctor.
Generally, people with diabetes should test their blood sugar levels at least four times a day: before meals and at bedtime . The urine should be checked for ketones any time the blood sugar level is over 250 mg/dL.
When blood sugar stays high despite following a diabetic diet and plan of care, call the nurse, diabetes health educator, or physician for adjustments in the diet.
If blood sugars are high because of illness, check for ketones and contact a health professional.
Seek immediate medical care for these conditions:
- Blood sugar levels that stay above 160 mg/dL for longer than a week
- Glucose readings higher than 300 mg/dL
- The presence of ketones in the urine
Ketoacidosis or diabetic coma is a medical emergency. Call 911 for emergency transport to a hospital or similar emergency center.
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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:
Inspect Your Feet Every Day For Cracks Wounds And Sores
Nerve damage is a complication of diabetes that makes it hard to feel when you have sores or cracks in your feet. Patients with diabetes are looking for any changes in color, sores, or dry, cracked skin, says podiatrist Steven Tillett, DPM, of Portland, Oregon. Place a mirror on the floor to see under your feet or ask a friend or relative for help if you cant see all parts of your feet clearly.
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Youre Hungrier Than Usual But Losing Weight
Many people with uncontrolled high blood sugar find that theyre hungrier than usual, which signals a symptom called polyphagia, MedlinePlus notes. And although youre eating more, you may be losing weight for no apparent reason if your blood sugar levels are too high, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Since your body is not getting energy from the preferred source, glucose, it has to turn to muscle and fat, Zanini explains. When your body starts breaking down muscle and fat for energy, you experience unintentional and unhealthy weight loss. In addition to these changes in weight and appetite, you may notice weakness in your muscles and experience more frequent falls, Emanuele adds.
What Causes Hyperglycemia
Your diet may cause you to have high blood sugar levels, particularly if you have diabetes. Carbohydrate-heavy foods such as breads, rice, and pasta can raise your blood sugar. Your body breaks these foods down into sugar molecules during digestion. One of these molecules is glucose, an energy source for your body.
After you eat, glucose is absorbed into your bloodstream. The glucose cant be absorbed without the help of the hormone insulin. If your body is unable to produce enough insulin or is resistant to its effects, glucose can build up in your bloodstream and cause hyperglycemia.
Hyperglycemia can also be triggered by a change in your hormone levels. This commonly happens when youre under a lot of stress or when youre feeling ill.
Hyperglycemia can affect people regardless of whether they have diabetes. You may be at risk of hyperglycemia if you:
- lead a sedentary or inactive lifestyle
- have a chronic or severe illness
- are under emotional distress
- use certain medications, such as steroids
- have had a recent surgery
If you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels may spike if you:
- dont follow your diabetes eating plan
- dont use your insulin correctly
- dont take your medications correctly
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What If It Goes Untreated
Hyperglycemia can be a serious problem if you don’t treat it, so it’s important to treat as soon as you detect it. If you fail to treat hyperglycemia, a condition called ketoacidosis could occur. Ketoacidosis develops when your body doesn’t have enough insulin. Without insulin, your body can’t use glucose for fuel, so your body breaks down fats to use for energy.
When your body breaks down fats, waste products called ketones are produced. Your body cannot tolerate large amounts of ketones and will try to get rid of them through the urine. Unfortunately, the body cannot release all the ketones and they build up in your blood, which can lead to ketoacidosis.
Ketoacidosis is life-threatening and needs immediate treatment. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
Talk to your doctor about how to handle this condition.
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High Blood Sugar Facts
- Low high blood sugar is abnormally high blood levels of insulin in the blood. Hyperglycemia is a hallmark sign of diabetes and prediabetes, and diabetes is the most common cause of it. Severely elevated glucose levels can result in a medical emergency like diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome .
- The primary symptom of hyperglycemia is excessive amounts of sugar in the urine. Other symptoms and signs of high blood sugar levels in the blood are blurred vision, hunger , and headaches.
- Other conditions that can cause high blood sugar are pancreatitis, Cushing’s syndrome, unusual hormone-secreting tumors, pancreatic cancer, certain medications, and severe illnesses.
- Insulin is the treatment for people with type 1 diabetes, and life-threatening increases in glucose levels. People with type 2 diabetes may be managed with a combination of different oral and injectable medications. Hyperglycemia due to medical conditions other than diabetes is generally treated by treating the underlying condition responsible for the elevated glucose.
Drink Water And Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water could help you keep your blood sugar levels within healthy ranges.
In addition to preventing dehydration, it helps your kidneys flush out any excess sugar through urine.
One review of observational studies showed that those who drank more water had a lower risk of developing high blood sugar levels (
You can do so at home using a portable blood glucose meter, which is known as a glucometer. You can discuss this option with your doctor.
Keeping track allows you to determine whether you need to adjust your meals or medications. It also helps you learn how your body reacts to certain foods .
Try measuring your levels regularly every day and keeping track of the numbers in a log. Also, it may be more helpful to track your blood sugar in pairs for example, before and after exercise or before and 2 hours after a meal.
This can show you whether you need to make small changes to a meal if it spikes your blood sugar, rather than avoiding your favorite meals altogether. Some adjustments include swapping a starchy side for non-starchy veggies or limiting them to a handful.
Checking your blood glucose and maintaining a daily log enables you to adjust foods and medications when necessary to better manage your blood sugar levels.
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What You Can Do Now
Your doctor will provide you with clear steps to follow aimed at lowering your blood sugar levels. Its important that you take their recommendations to heart and make any necessary lifestyle changes to improve your health. If left untreated, hyperglycemia can lead to serious, and sometimes life-threatening, complications.
Your doctor may recommend that you buy a blood glucose meter to use at home. This is a simple and effective way to monitor your blood sugar and act quickly if your levels have spiked to an unsafe level. Being aware of your levels can empower you to take charge of your condition and live a healthy lifestyle.