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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Keep An Eye On Your Carb Intake
Paying attention to carbohydrates is important for people with type 2 diabetes. Carbs are what cause your blood sugars to potentially fluctuate, Crandall Snyder says.
How many carbs per meal is ideal? Its tailored to each individual, says Weisenberger. How much you exercise, your weight, and your age can all affect how long sugars stay in your system, according to the CDC. A typical starting point for people with diabetes is to limit carb intake to 200 to 245 grams per day, which amounts to about one-half of your daily calories coming from carbs, according to the CDC. From there, make adjustments according to your blood glucose readings or as recommended by a dietitian, Crandall Snyder says.
And keep in mind that carbs arent only found in the usual culprits, like bread, potatoes, and pasta. They are also in fruits, vegetables, sweets, and dairy, so you have to take all of those into consideration as well, Crandall Snyder says.
What Causes Low Blood Glucose
- Symptoms occur when blood glucose levels fall below 70 mg/dl a condition known as hypoglycemia.
- In most cases, low blood glucose results from overtreatment: Either taking too much diabetes medication or not eating enough food. Higher doses of medicine than the person actually requires can also lead to hypoglycemia.
- People who aim for too-low values on their A1C test tend to experience more frequent drops in blood glucose.
- Vigorous exercise doesn’t just burn calories, it also burns blood glucose! Hypoglycemia can occur unless blood glucose levels are carefully monitored during and after exercise.
- Not eating on a regular basis can deprive the body of glucose and make it difficult to prevent hypoglycemia. Eat balanced meals throughout the day and always keep a snack on hand.
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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.
Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
How you react to low blood sugar may not be the same as how someone else with low blood sugar reacts. Its important to know your signs. Common symptoms may include:
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.
You may not have any symptoms when your blood sugar is low . If you dont have symptoms, it will be harder to treat your low blood sugar early. This increases your risk of having severe lows and can be dangerous. This is more likely to happen if you:
- Have had diabetes for more than 5-10 years.
- Frequently have low blood sugar.
- Take certain medicines, such as beta blockers for high blood pressure.
If you meet one or more of the above and you have hypoglycemia unawareness, you may need to check your blood sugar more often to see if its low. This is very important to do before driving or being physically active.
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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.
No Symptoms Be Alarmed
Surprisingly, the most dangerous episodes of hypoglycemia occur with little or no warning. When low blood glucose occurs on a regular basis, the body can become used to the warning signs and the person may stop noticing symptoms. This is a particularly dangerous condition known as hypoglycemic unawareness. People with this condition might not realize they have low blood glucose until it’s dangerously low seizures and coma are sometimes the first indication of a problem. The good news is that this condition can often be reversed allowing people to once again notice the signs of low blood glucose if hypoglycemia is avoided for a few weeks through careful monitoring of blood glucose.
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When To Contact Your Healthcare Provider
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.
Hyperglycemia can turn into a medical emergency like DKA and HHS that requires immediate intervention by your practitioner or a local emergency department.
Signs of hyperglycemia include:
- Ketones in your urine
- Stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
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Managing Type 1 Diabetes
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces little or no insulin which is vital for converting glucose into energy. People with type 1 diabetes need to do the job of the pancreas and replace the insulin via insulin injections or an insulin pump. The insulin acts to reduce the level of glucose in the blood.
Type 1 diabetes is a life threatening condition which needs to be closely managed with daily care. Type 1 diabetes is managed with:
- Insulin replacement through lifelong insulin injections or use of an insulin pump
- Monitoring of blood glucose levels regularly
- Following a healthy diet and eating plan
- Taking regular exercise
The aim diabetes management is to keep blood glucose levels as close to the target range as possible, between 4 to 6 mmol/L . However, the ranges will vary depending on the individual and an individuals circumstances. Talk to your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator for the range of blood glucose levels that are right and safe for you.
Keeping your blood glucose level at the optimum range is a careful balance between what food is eaten, physical activity and medication. Blood glucose levels which are too high, could result in hyperglycaemia or ketoacidosis. Blood glucose levels which are too low, could result in hypoglycaemia. It is important to learn about each reaction and respond appropriately. Ketoacidosis is an emergency and you must call emergency services immediately.
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Treating Low Blood Sugar
You are at risk of having a low blood sugar reaction if you:
- Skip or delay a meal or snack
- Take too much insulin or eat too few carbohydrates
- Drink alcohol, especially without eating carbohydrates
Check your blood sugar if you have any of these symptoms:
- Weakness and/or fatigue
If your blood sugar is less than 70 milligrams per deciliter :
- Eat 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate
- Wait 15 minutes and then recheck your blood sugar
- If your blood sugar is still less than 100 mg/dl, take another 15 grams of carbohydrate and retest your blood sugar in another 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
Important: If you have frequent low blood sugars speak to your doctor. You may need changes in your medication and/or meal plan.
Managing Your Dogs Diabetes At Home
Diabetes mellitus, or simply diabetes, is a common endocrine disorder that affects both humans and dogs. In dogs, the disease can come on at any age and usually requires ongoing treatment. Diabetic dogs often require insulin injections, but determining how much to give them can be a tricky task. The best way to prevent a diabetic dog from developing hypoglycemia is to properly manage their disease on a daily basis. Here are some tips that can help:
Optimize your insulin regimen Dogs with diabetes usually require two daily insulin injections. These should be given at the same time each day, ideally 15 to 30 minutes after a meal. If your dog is refusing to eat, dont administer their insulin, as doing so could push them into hypoglycemia.
Keep a consistent feeding schedule Diabetic dogs do best with timed meals as opposed to free feeding. Aim to feed your dog every 10 to 12 hours or so.
Opt for a prescription diet Prescription diets for diabetic dogs are formulated to keep their blood sugar at healthy levels. Theyre also usually low in fat to prevent your dog from developing pancreatitis. Going with a prescription diet can help owners take some of the guesswork out of their pets nutrition.
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What Food Regulates Blood Sugar
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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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Best Diet To Reduce Blood Sugar
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Work Closely With A Diabetes Educator And Your Doctor
Diabetes management takes constant vigilance to ensure your insulin regimen and eating plan is working effectively. The medication and insulin combination that works best varies depending on the person.
Talk with your doctor if youre concerned about your ketone levels spiking frequently.
Last medically reviewed on May 3, 2022
- Diabetes & DKA . . https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/dka-ketoacidosis-ketones
- Ketones. . dtc.ucsf.edu/types-of-diabetes/type2/understanding-type-2-diabetes/how-the-body-processes-sugar/ketones/
- Ketone testing. . joslin.org/patient-care/diabetes-education/diabetes-learning-center/ketone-testing-0
- Urbain P. . Monitoring for compliance with a ketogenic diet: what is the best time of day to test for urinary ketosis? ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5097355/
- Hu, Cheng, et al. Biomarkers of Metabolic Disorders: Diagnostic and Prognostic Values, and Insights into the Pathogenesis. BioMed Research International, vol. 2014, 2014, pp. 12., retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/586272.
- Misra, S., and N. S. Oliver. Utility of Ketone Measurement in the Prevention, Diagnosis and Management of Diabetic Ketoacidosis. Diabetic Medicine, vol. 32, no. 1, 2014, pp. 1423., retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/dme.12604.
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What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis
If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms.
When too many ketones are produced too fast, they can build up in your body and cause diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. DKA is very serious and can cause a coma or even death. Common symptoms of DKA include:
- Fast, deep breathing.
- Nausea and vomiting.
If you think you may have DKA, test your urine for ketones. Follow the test kit directions, checking the color of the test strip against the color chart in the kit to see your ketone level. If your ketones are high, . DKA requires treatment in a hospital.
DKA happens most in people with type 1 diabetes and is sometimes the first sign of type 1 in people who havent yet been diagnosed. People with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but its less common.