What Else Can I Do To Help Manage My Blood Sugar Levels
- Keep track of your blood sugar levels to see what makes them go up or down.
- Eat at regular times, and dont skip meals.
- Choose foods lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.
- Track your food, drink, and physical activity.
- Drink water instead of juice or soda.
- Limit alcoholic drinks.
- For a sweet treat, choose fruit.
- Control your food portions .
Check Your Blood Sugar
If you take medication that may cause low blood sugar , its highly advisable to check your blood sugar levels before you try to bring your sugar levels down.
This is just in case your blood sugar is normal or low, which can be the case in some situations.
Testing of blood sugar before bringing your levels down is particularly important if you take insulin.
Checking For Low Blood Sugar Levels
The warning signs of hypoglycemia are the body’s natural response to low blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels fall too low, the body releases the hormone adrenaline, which helps get stored glucose into the bloodstream quickly. This can make someone:
- start shaking
- have an increased heart rate
If the hypoglycemia isn’t treated, more serious symptoms may happen, such as drowsiness, confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
The only way to know for sure if you’re having a low blood sugar level is to test. Blood sugar levels can be tested with a . This computerized device measures and displays the amount of glucose in a blood sample. But if you can’t quickly check your blood sugar level, it’s important to treat yourself for hypoglycemia immediately to prevent symptoms from getting worse.
Sometimes a person with diabetes may have symptoms of low blood sugar levels, but blood sugar levels are not actually low. This is a called a false reaction. The hormone adrenaline is not just released when blood sugar drops too low it’s also released when blood sugar levels fall quickly when they’re too high. If you’re having a false reaction, you might actually have blood sugar levels in a healthy range but feel as if you have low blood sugar. Testing blood sugar levels before treating yourself for hypoglycemia can help you figure out if you’re having a false reaction.
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Exercise To Lower Blood Sugar Fast
Regular exercise improves and increases your sensitivity to insulin. This means the cells in your body can better absorb and use the glucose in your body to make energy.
When your muscles contract during movement, glucose is the preferred source of fuel. Thatâs why when your glucose spikes after eating a sugary treat or a large meal with lots of high-glycemic foods, you can bring your glucose back down to a normal range if you exercise within 30-60 minutes after eating.
Any type and duration of exercise can improve insulin sensitivity and helps stabilize your glucose afterward.
That said, if youâre fit enough and able to handle high intensity, short bursts of movement performed at 80% of your max effort can burn up to four times the amount of glucose compared to what youâd burn slumping on the couch.
If you want short and sweaty to bring down your blood sugar quickly, follow along with our 10-minute full-body or dumbbell leg workout. These get-âer-done-fast efforts combine strength training with cardio in a circuit-style workout that stabilizes glucose in less time.
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.
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Natural Ways To Lower Blood Sugar
Whether you have symptoms of high blood sugar or youve been diagnosed with diabetes, you may be wondering how to lower blood sugar naturally. While blood sugar may be improved with home remedies, people with diabetes should not stop taking their medication or change their dosage without talking to their healthcare provider. But in addition to medication, you can try these natural remedies for lowering your blood sugar. Also consider the opposite, if you do not follow these healthful ways to lower blood sugar, the medication that your physician prescribes may never effectively control your blood sugars.
When Eating Carbs Choose Complex Carbs
While complex carbs are an important part of a nutritious diet, refined or simple carbs dont usually contain a lot of fiber or micronutrients and are digested very quickly.
Refined carbs include simple sugars as well as grains that have had the fibrous parts removed. Some examples are cereal with added sugar, highly processed fast foods, foods made with refined flour like certain breads and pastries, and white rice .
Regularly consuming refined carbs can lead to several health problems, including high insulin levels and weight gain (
Replacing refined carbs, which are digested quickly and can sharply raise blood sugar, with slower-digesting complex carbs and whole grains may help lower insulin levels.
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Dont Give Yourself A Hard Time
And the flipside of focusing on the positives of these new changes is to not give yourself a hard time, or expect to be perfect. Its very rare to quit eating meat and added sugar, and integrate an entirely new system of eating and exercising all at once.
You might have nights where you splurge, or weeks where youre busy and might not be able to exercise. Family life, work, and vacations get in the way.
The important thing is to focus on the long term effect. Are you moving in the right direction in general? If so, dont give yourself a hard time.
Diabetic Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Syndrome
Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome is a potentially life threatening condition involving extremely high blood sugar levels.
When your blood sugar gets too high, the kidneys try to compensate by removing some of the excess glucose through urination.
If you dont drink enough fluids to replace the fluid youre losing, your blood sugar levels spike. Your blood also becomes more concentrated. This can also occur if you drink too many sugary beverages.
This condition is called hyperosmolarity. Blood thats too concentrated begins to draw water out of other organs, including the brain.
Failure to monitor and manage blood glucose levels can also lead to HHS.
Symptoms may develop slowly and increase over a period of days or weeks. Possible symptoms include:
- fluids given through your veins to prevent or reverse dehydration
- insulin to lower and stabilize your blood sugar levels
- potassium, phosphate, or sodium replacement if necessary to help return your cells to their normal function
Treatment will also address any complications from HHS, such as shock or coma.
Factors that can increase your risk of complications with HHS include:
- advanced age
- severity of dehydration when youre treated
- the presence of other illnesses when youre diagnosed
Take the following steps to help prevent HHS:
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When To Seek Medical Attention In An Emergency
For people with type 1 diabetes, untreated high blood sugar can lead to a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA.
When there is no insulin and glucose can’t get into cells, your body starts breaking down fat into a fuel called ketones. If ketones build up in your blood, it becomes dangerously acidic. DKA can cause very serious health complications such as fluid building up in the brain, kidney failure, and cardiac arrest.
If your blood sugar is above 240 mg/dL, you should check your urine for ketones, a sign you may be at risk for DKA. You can do this with an at home test, but you also should contact your doctor. If there are ketones in your urine, you should go to the emergency room. Other symptoms of DKA include:
- Increased respiratory rate, or trouble breathing
- Breath that smells fruity
- Nausea and vomiting
- A very dry mouth
In rare occasions, DKA can occur in people with type 2 diabetes, but the more common complication for people with type 2 is called hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state, or HHS. HHS occurs when blood glucose levels are high for an extended period of time. The extra sugar is passed into the urine, causing the person to urinate frequently and become severely dehydrated, just like with DKA.
For people with type 2 diabetes, blood sugar above 600 mg/dL indicates HHS. Other symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
Absorb Less Sugar By Eating More Fiber
If you increase your fiber intake you also decrease your sugar intake even eating the same amount of sugar. Fiber adds bulk without sugar or calories.
Cold-pressed apple juice is basically apples minus fiber. In seconds, you can drink enough juice to get the same amount of sugar in five cups of apple slices.
Without the fiber, apple juice is absorbed as soon as it hits your intestines and spikes your blood sugar. Meanwhile, the trapped sugar in the apple slices is absorbed slowly. Nutrients are absorbed when they have contact with the side of your intestines.
Because fiber never absorbs, it can carry or eliminate calories, fats, or sugars through digestion.
What diabetes diet makes the problem worse?
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Take A Correction Dose
For those who take fast or rapid-acting insulin Novolog, Humalog, Apidra, Fiasp, Admelog, Afrezza you can take a correction dose to bring a high blood sugar down.
A correction factor is determined with support from your healthcare team. This number tells you how much 1 unit of fast or rapid-acting insulin will lower your blood sugar. For example, a correction factor of 1:50 means that 1 unit of insulin will lower your blood sugar by 50 points.
Its important to keep in mind how much insulin you may already have on board in your bloodstream before taking an additional dose of insulin.
Most fast and rapid-acting insulin stays in your system for approximately 3 to 4 hours, which means taking an additional dose of insulin to correct a high could lead to a severe low blood sugar if you already have a significant amount of insulin from your most recent dose still in your bloodstream.
Also, remember to give that correction dose of insulin at least two hours to make an impact on your blood sugar before getting frustrated and taking another injection. You wont see a significant improvement in your blood sugar until its been in your system for at least 2 to 3 hours .
Which Foods Increase Blood Sugar Levels
Carbohydrates ultimately break down into glucose. Many people believe that carbs are bad for people with diabetes. This is not true. Carbs are fuel for the body, so they have to be eaten. You just need to be smart about which ones you eat and how much you eat of them. Picking foods that are high in carbs but have no other nutrition is not smart. Examples of these foods are:
- Full fat yogurt or milk
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Foods That Help Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels
One way to lower your blood sugar levels is to alter your diet, shifting it so that you decrease sugary foods and replace them with healthier foods that are known to affect blood sugar levels.
Here is a list of these types of foods:
Foods with a low glycemic load
We mentioned previously that blood sugar levels can be controlled by considering a foods glycemic load.
The glycemic load is calculated by multiplying the foods carbohydrate content by its glycemic indexa measure of how much a food affects blood sugar levels and then dividing by 100.
White, processed bread, for example, tend to have a higher glycemic index because they largely contain a mixture of carbohydrates but often lack fiber32. Sprouted grain or whole wheat bread, on the other hand, has a lower glycemic index due to the presence of fibers.
Its important to consider a foods glycemic index, but also to look beyond it when designing your diet.
Studies looking into the effectiveness of a diet enriched for low glycemic index foods found a mild but significant decrease in participants blood sugar levels compared to those who ate a regular diet containing more carbohydrates33.
This may be because a food with a high glycemic index may not deliver a large amount of sugar when eaten in moderate proportions.
Instead of glycemic index, it may be better to focus on a foods glycemic load. Foods with a low glycemic load include oats, barley, beans, and non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus and Brussels sprouts.
How Is It Determined If The Dawn Phenomenon Or Somogyi Effect Is Causing The High Blood Sugar Levels
Your doctor will likely ask you to check your blood sugar levels between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. for several nights in a row. If your blood sugar is consistently low during this time, the Somogyi effect is suspected. If the blood sugar is normal during this time period, the dawn phenomenon is more likely to be the cause.
Some additional clues that the Somogyi effect may be the cause include nightmares, restless sleep and overnight sweating as these are all signs of low blood sugar levels.
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Stick To Your Medication And Insulin Regimen
Skipping a dose of medication or insulin can be harmful to your body and increase your blood sugar levels.
Its important to stick to your treatment plan and follow your doctors instructions for taking your medication.
Healthful lifestyle habits can help people manage their blood sugar levels over the long term, such as eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, staying hydrated, and getting good sleep.
Dont Rely On Supplements Or Vitamins
Theres no shortcut to maintaining good blood sugars. A supplement or vitamin alone will not give you healthy blood sugar levels and they can interact negatively with other medications. Speak to your healthcare provider and perhaps ask for a referral for a dietitian who specializes in blood sugar control before incorporating dietary supplements, shakes, or vitamins to achieve blood sugar control.
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Are You Eating The Right Foods But In The Wrong Form
Rolled oats have a lower glycemic index than instant oats , which are oats with thinner flakes. And instant oats have a lower glycemic index than powdered oats .
If all three are made from oats, why do they cause different blood sugar responses?
The physical form of food determines both fat and carbohydrate absorption. The rapid absorption of carbohydrates can trigger a sequence of hormonal and metabolic changes that increase hunger .
In one study, participants who ate instant oatmeal ate 53% more over the next five hours compared to eating the same number of calories of steal-cut oatmeal.
Some breakfast cereals are even worse, with a glycemic index in the 80s or 90s . The new methods used to make breakfast cereals speed up starch digestion and absorption. This process causes an exaggerated blood sugar response, regardless of the sugar content.
For example, shredded wheat and spaghetti are both made from wheat, but shredded wheat has twice the glycemic index.
How Are Blood Sugar Levels Regulated
Sugars are among the bodys most important fuel sources, helping to provide energy to our brain cells, heart cells, and nearly every other cell in the body.
This is why were programmed to eat it.
But like most things in life, too much of a good thing can be bad.
Excess sugar in the blood can lead to numerous health conditions, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. High blood sugar levels can also damage body tissues, especially eyes, kidneys and nerves.
Its natural for your blood sugar levels to vary throughout the day.
Shortly after eating a meal, your body extracts sugar from the food you just ate and dumps it into the bloodstream. There it courses through your blood vessels and is distributed to cells that need energy or is stored in muscle or the liver for use at a later time.
At the same time, a hormone known as insulin is released into the bloodstream. Insulin opens the cells gates to allow glucose in for use and storage.1.
This means that in the few hours after eating a meal, your blood sugar levels will spike. But, as insulin levels increase in the blood over time, sugar levels will decrease as the bodys cells remove the sugar from the blood for immediate use or storage1.
Type 2 diabetes develops when this sugar-regulating system goes awry, leading to chronically high levels of blood sugar2. Fortunately, there are ways we can help our bodies keep sugar levels in check.
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