Stick To An Eating Schedule
Dr. Kara warns against skipping meals frequently to avoid the rollercoaster of high to low blood sugar surges and dips. Spreading your meals out throughout the day, rather than eating a large breakfast or large dinner can help to regulate blood sugar. Eating regularly from morning through evening is the best strategy.
What Severe Complications Can Occur Because Of Rationing Or Running Out Of Insulin
Diabetic ketoacidosis is an emergency condition that results if you dont have enough insulin to regulate your blood sugar. DKA causes your body to break down fat for energy in the absence of insulin. This leads to a dangerous accumulation of acids known as ketones in your blood that can cause your brain to swell and your body to go into shock.
Signs of diabetic ketoacidosis include:
- Thirst or a very dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- High levels of ketones in your urine
- Nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain
- Difficulty breathing
- A fruity or acetone odor on your breath
- Confusion or acting drunk while sober
DKA is so common and can come on so quickly that it is the first sign of Type 1 diabetes in 20% of cases, and the way many type 1 diabetics are first diagnosed with the condition. If you go into diabetic ketoacidosis, dont try to hide it or make light of it. Treat it as the emergency it is and get to a hospital as soon as possible to recover. Ive had people tell me theyre tired of taking insulin, or that theyre rationing it due to cost. In type 1 diabetes, thats all it takes to end up in a life-threatening situation, says Dr. Zilbermint.
Another complication facing diabetics who use insulin is the potential for hyperglycemia, also known as insulin shock, which involves using too much insulin and causing your blood sugar to drop extremely low. This can cause coma, seizures, and heart attacks, says Dr. Powers.
How Long Does It Take For Intermittent Fasting To Lower Blood Sugar
Not eating can affect your blood sugar levels. It can take a few hours for glucose to enter the cells in the body, thereby, lowering your blood sugar levels.
This is why when you need to undergo fasting blood glucose to measure the sugar in your blood, you have to fast for at least 8 hours.
Thats how long your body works to sweep all glucose molecules from the bloodstream and make them enter your cells.
Thus, the longer you fast, the lower your blood sugar levels will be. If you dont eat and theres no more glucose available, your body starts to use up stored fats.
When your body starts to use fats for energy, your body burns more calories.
If youre obese and you fast intermittently for a few months, youll lose a significant amount of weight. But thats not a definite result.
Some people practice intermittent fasting but still gain weight. Why?
Thats because they binge or overeat after their fasting period is over. Its one reason you still need to monitor your calorie intake when you do IF.
However, you may not need to monitor your calorie intake if you eat twice a day and you consume less sugar.
Furthermore, some people still gained weight after intermittent fasting for a few weeks because they have a false sense of security.
They think that just because they practice IF, they dont have to follow a positive eating habit.
They eat whatever they want including processed foods.
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What Complications Are Associated With Type 1 Diabetes
Having type 1 diabetes increases a persons risk of developing long-term health complications. Over time, the high blood sugar levels that are associated with diabetes can damage the body, affecting the nervous system, blood vessels, eyes, heart, and kidneys. Careful management, and maintaining stable blood glucose levels, can reduce a persons risk for complications. To read more about complications, click here.
How To Manage Blood Sugar
First, keep the above glucose levels diabetes chart handy. Then, the key is keeping in mind how glucose and diabetes work together.
- Glucose: the carbs and sugars in your food and drinks that turn into sugar in your digestive system before moving to your bloodstream
- Insulin: a hormone your pancreas produces in response to an influx of glucose to help lower blood sugar levels
When you have Type 2 diabetes, your glucose level ranges will be higher than people without this disease. Your glucose will build up in your blood instead of getting absorbed into your cells.
This is because your body develops insulin resistance, where it cant utilize the insulin your pancreas is producing. Your pancreas will eventually lose the ability to produce insulin at all.
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What Happens When You Are Sick
When you are sick, your body reacts by releasing hormones to fight infection. But these hormones raise blood sugar levels and at the same time make it more difficult for insulin to lower blood sugar. When you have diabetes, even a minor illness can lead to dangerously high blood sugar. This may cause life-threatening complications, such as diabetic ketoacidosis or a hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state .
How To Prevent It
If you work to keep your blood sugar under control — follow your meal plan, exercise program, and medicine schedule — you shouldnât have to worry about hyperglycemia. You can also:
- Know your diet — count the total amounts of carbs in each meal and snack.
- Test your blood sugar regularly.
- Tell your doctor if you have repeated abnormal blood sugar readings.
- Wear medical identification to let people know you have diabetes in case of an emergency.
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When To Contact Your Doctor
Hyperglycemia can turn into a medical emergency like DKA and HHS that requires immediate intervention by your doctor or a local emergency department. If you have two blood sugar readings of 300 mg/dL or more, or have blood sugar above your target range for more than a week, seek immediate medical help.
Signs of hyperglycemia include:
- Ketones in your urine
- Stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
Choose Low Glycemic Index Foods
The glycemic index measures and ranks various foods by how much they cause blood sugar levels to rise. Research shows that following a low glycemic index diet decreases fasting blood sugar levels.
Low glycemic index foods are those that score below 55 on the glycemic index. Examples of low glycemic foods include:
- sweet potatoes
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:
Im A Type 1 Diabetes Educatorheres Why I Think Working At Levels Is The Best Way I Can Impact Metabolic Health
Levels Operations Specialist Jesse Lavine on why he believes that improving metabolic health for the broader population will benefit the Type 1 community.
As a Type 1 diabetic, I have long been passionate about diabetes education and advocacy. My work in the diabetes community has ranged from starting a College Diabetes Network chapter at my university to interning at the T1D Exchange to spending three months biking across the country with Beyond Type 1 to show that anything is possible despite your diagnosis and raise money for a cure. Most recently, Ive been working on building an app to help kids learn to manage their diabetes through games, while working as a diabetes coach and getting a masters degree in public health.
Jesse Lavine, Operations Specialist at Levels and Type 1 Diabetic Educator
To some, working for Levels, a healthtech startup aiming to improve metabolic health in the broader population, might seem like a sharp turn off course. If I care so much about supporting the diabetes community, why would I work on a product that is not intended for diabetes management, cure, or prevention? If my goal is to help Type 1 diabetics live happier, healthier lives, why would I work for a company that is using diabetes technology to help non-diabetics optimize their health?
Here are just a few of the things Im excited to see Levels do that I believe will make life better for people like me in the long run.
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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.
How Do I Lower My Blood Sugar Level If I Have Gestational Pregnancy
A little more than 9.2% of pregnant women have gestational diabetes. It is very common that all women are tested during their pregnancy. If you havent yet, bring it up to your physicians attention. The cause is really unknown, but doctors believe that it is because the extra hormones that are released during pregnancy hinder the insulin sensitivity and increase the need for more insulin. It is very important to keep blood sugar levels under control because high blood sugars can lead to complications such as:
- Premature labor
- Pre-eclampsia which can lead to seizures
- Increased risk of the mother to develop type 2 diabetes later in life
Lowering blood sugar with gestational diabetes is a lot like the other ways mentioned above.
Breastfeeding after the baby is born is a great way to lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life as well as providing many benefits for the baby. Read this article / that I wrote about all of the benefits of breastfeeding.
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High Blood Sugar Causes
Sometimes the cause of a blood sugar spike is clear . But other times, the cause is a little more mysterious.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, losing sleep, skipping breakfast, not drinking enough water, or drinking coffee can cause blood sugar instability.
Even weirder, sometimes a sunburn can cause a spike! The pain of a burn causes stress, and high levels of stress can mess up your blood sugar. So bust out the sunscreen for the sake of your pancreas!
Other causes include eating high-sugar/high-carb foods, drinking alcohol, getting sick, and changing medication. A diet low in fiber and high in refined carbs or sugars and a sedentary lifestyle also make high blood sugar more likely.
So, what can you do when your blood sugar gets too high? Here are some natural ways to get your sugar back into a safe zone.
Strategies Proven To Lower Blood Sugar
If youre consistently struggling with high blood glucose, either as a result of insulin resistance like in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, or due to insufficient insulin production from type 1 diabetes or type 1.5 diabetes, there are some consistent, evidence-based strategies you can implement to help.
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How Can I Treat And Manage Hyperglycemia
People with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can manage hyperglycemia by eating healthy, being active, and managing stress. In addition, insulin is a critical part of managing hyperglycemia for people with type 1 diabetes, while people with type 2 diabetes may need oral medications and eventually insulin to help them manage hyperglycemia.
If you dont have diabetes and have any of the signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia, call your healthcare provider. Together you can work to manage your hyperglycemia.
What Causes High Blood Sugar
There are many causes of blood sugar to spike, some of which include:
- Not taking enough insulin for the carbohydrates you eat
- Eating more than you planned
- Being inactive or exercising less than you usually do
- Drinking alcohol
- Emotional stress
- Skipping your insulin or oral glucose-lowering medications
- Other problems with insulin or insulin administration
Have you ever wondered why you sometimes have high blood sugars in the morning for no apparent reason? You might be suffering from something called the dawn phenomenon. Find out more about it and why it happens here.
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Causes Of Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar is common for people with type 1 diabetes and can occur in people with type 2 diabetes taking insulin or certain medications. The average person with type 1 diabetes may experience up to two episodes of mild low blood sugar each week, and thats only counting episodes with symptoms. If you add in lows without symptoms and the ones that happen overnight, the number would likely be higher.
General Tips On How To Keep You Blood Sugar Levels In Control
- Foods to eat
You should eat foods that are high in protein, fiber, and lower in carbohydrates. You should aim at having around 45 to 60 carbs for each meal. Consistency throughout the day is key to keeping blood sugar levels in control. Foods low in fat and high in nutrients should be picked to maximize your nutrition.
Vegetables and fruits are great as well as eggs, fish, beans, and oatmeal. There is also research that shows cinnamon and apple cider vinegar can help lower your sugar.
- Foods to avoid
Avoiding foods like soda, juice, pasta, candy, and other desserts can help keep your sugar from climbing too high. These foods are high in sugars and fat but low in other nutrients.
Avoiding excess alcohol is also better for you. Read the following article that I wrote about drinking alcohol when you have diabetes to learn more about this topic:
- Signs and symptoms
Signs of high blood sugar include: increased thirst and hunger, blurred vision, irritability, dry mouth, tired, and urinating a lot.
- Look for patterns
Patterns can be great because they help you figure out what is causing undesirable blood sugar values. A good way to track of it is to keep a journal of all of the food you eat, activities you do and your blood sugar levels for 1 week. During this week, check your sugar before and after you eat, as well as in between meals. Also document any insulin that you give yourself.
- Test sugar levels regularly
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How Do You Know What Your Blood Glucose Level Is
For the most part, you cant feel what your blood glucose level is unless its fairly high or its low. You may not even always have symptoms of either high or low blood glucose.
The best way to know your blood glucose level is to check it with a glucose meter. This means doing a fingerstick with a lancet and getting a drop of blood onto a test strip, then inserting the strip into the meter for a reading. Your doctor may be able to give you a meter free of charge, but youll likely need to pay for test strips and lancets. But check with your health plan, as there are likely one or two preferred meters that they want you to use.
Another way to know what your glucose levels are up to is to use a continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, which reads glucose in the interstitial fluid about every 5 minutes. Continuous glucose monitoring is expensive and may or may not be covered by your health plan.
Blood Sugar Lowering Activities That Will Do The Trick Immediately
If youre experiencing a post-meal high , I recommend a brisk walk or living room dance-off, accompanied by plenty of fluid.
What you want to achieve is an increased heart rate that stays up for a period of time. This type of activity is called steady-state cardio and will typically lower blood sugars pretty quickly. Most people I have worked with see an impact already after 15-20 minutes, but it really depends on you, your blood sugar level, and your insulin sensitivity.
I usually recommend a brisk walk, but it can be whatever activity works for you, as long as it raises your heart rate. If its pouring rain or snowing outside, you can walk or dance around the house instead .
If you have limited mobility, it might be something as simple as standing up and sitting down several times in a row or simply fluttering your legs while seated. Work with what you got!
I think you get my point by now, just move, and get your heart rate up!
I also mentioned hydration, which is a critical component. Most people forget to get enough water throughout the day, and being dehydrated does not help when it comes to lowering blood sugars. So make sure to drink enough, even if you live in a cold climate.
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