Signs Of High Blood Sugar
|Time and Situation|
|First thing in the morning||< 100 mg/dl|
|Before lunch, dinner, and snacks||< 110 mg/dl|
|Two hours after starting to eat a meal or snack||< 140 mg/dl|
You may or may not notice signs of high blood sugar. They can include:
- Increased thirst, due to the extra sugar in your blood.
- Increased urination, due to the extra water you may drink.
- Blurred vision.
- Fatigue, weight loss, and hungerall because your body is not using sugar properly for fuel. It is just sitting in your blood.
- Infections, foot numbness, and slow wound healing due to sugar damaging your blood vessels and reducing oxygen delivery to parts of your body.
- Kidney damage, chronic gastrointestinal distress, and heart diseasedue to sugar damaging these parts of your body.
The only way to know for sure if your blood sugar is high is to test it. Your doctor might order a fasting blood glucose, A1C, or oral glucose tolerance test as a routine test or if she suspects that you have diabetes or prediabetes. If you have diabetes, you are probably already testing your blood glucose at home, and you can test an extra time if you think that you may be having a hyperglycemic episode.
How Are High Blood Sugar Levels Treated
To treat high blood sugar, it helps to know what is causing it. You might need to take more insulin or diabetes pills because you’re growing and eating more food, or you might need to get more exercise each day.
Having high blood sugar levels every once in a while isn’t a big deal. It happens to everyone with diabetes from time to time. But if your blood sugar levels are high a lot, your diabetes health care team will have to help you figure out how to get them back to a healthy level.
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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Diet And Exercise To Reduce Blood Sugar
Aside from taking any medications that you may be prescribed, losing extra weight, getting active, and eating right can be the best ways to reduce blood sugar.
Losing weight: Any pounds that you lose if your body mass index is over 30 can lower your blood sugar dramatically. These strategies are simple and effective.
- Eating more vegetables.
- Cutting portion sizes of high-calorie foods.
- Eating less often at restaurants, or eating half of the amount you are served.
- Swapping sugary beverages for water and fruit for dessert.
- Steaming, grilled, and baking instead of frying with added fats.
You can check your BMI here. Overweight is over 25, and obese is over 30.
Getting active: Getting moving increases insulin sensitivity, lowers blood sugar, and also helps you lose weight. This includes dedicated workouts, activity throughout the day, and breaking up sedentary time.
Eating right: While weight loss is a significant factor in blood sugar control, eating right also helps reduce blood sugar. What does eating right include?
Some research suggests that a low-glycemic diet can be helpful. You can choose one by limiting sugar and refined starches, having fiber, protein, and fat with your carbohydrate sources, and choosing less processed foods, such as whole grains instead of refined.
Managing Blood Sugar When Youre Ill
When you get sick, your blood sugar levels may fluctuate and become unpredictable.
If you’re sick, it’s very important that you:
- drink plenty of water or sugar-free fluids
- check your blood sugar levels more often than usual
- take 15 grams of carbohydrate every hour if you are not able to follow your usual meal plan
- replace food with fluids that contain sugar if you can’t eat solid food
- continue to take your insulin or other diabetes medication
If you have a cold or flu and want to use a cold remedy or cough syrup, ask your pharmacist to help you make a good choice. Many cold remedies and cough syrups contain sugar, so try to pick sugar-free products.
As an extra precaution, you should always check with your health-care team about guidelines for insulin adjustment or medication changes during an illness.
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How To Stay In Target
Eating healthy, exercising and taking medication, if necessary, will help you keep your blood sugar levels within their target range. Target ranges for blood sugar can vary depending on your age, medical condition and other risk factors.
Targets are different for pregnant women, older adults and children 12 years of age and under.
What To Do Next If You Cant Reduce Blood Sugar Naturally
Contact your healthcare provider if you have tried but are unable to successfully reduce your blood sugar by practicing healthy lifestyle behaviors. Your doctor can talk to you in greater detail about your diet and exercise routine, and identify where you might be able to make further improvements.
Patients can expect to have their blood pressure checked and monitored over a period of weeks to establish the diagnosis. It will be treated with lifestyle changes and the patient will be monitored regularly. They may also have lab testing. If the blood sugar remains uncontrolled, medication will be the next step, says Dr. Raja.
There may be some instances where blood sugar cannot be reduced naturally, and medications are needed to control and reduce blood sugar. If your doctor recommends taking medication for your condition, dont hesitate to ask any questions you may have and make sure to inquire about all your available treatment options for reducing your blood sugar levels.
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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.
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:
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Healthy Eating For Blood Sugar Control
If you have diabetes, a healthy eating plan for you is not that different from a healthy eating plan for people without diabetes. The American Diabetes Association echoes the dietary guidelines recommended for the general public that is, a diet centered on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes , and low-fat dairy products.
However, you’ll want to pay special attention to your carbohydrate intake.
Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains provide more nutrition per calorie than refined carbohydrates and tend to be rich in fiber. Your body digests high-fiber foods more slowly which means a more moderate rise in blood sugar.
For most people with diabetes, carbohydrates should account for about 45% to 55% of the total calories you eat each day. Choose your carbohydrates wisely ideally, from vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. Avoid highly refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, and rice, as well as candy, sugary soft drinks, and sweets. Refined carbohydrates tend to cause sharp spikes in blood sugar, and can boost blood triglyceride levels.
Can Oral Mediations Help A High Blood Sugar
While any oral medications you take to help manage your diabetes do improve your blood sugar levels, they are not something you would take an extra dose off to correct an occasional high blood sugar level.
However, if you realize that you forgot to take your dose of a daily medication, this should be part of the process of bringing your high blood sugar down.
Some medications can be taken late, and some medications may need to wait until your next normally scheduled dose. Contact your healthcare team to determine if the diabetes medication you take can be taken late after missing your usual dose.
If you have been skipping this medication altogether for days or weeks its very likely a significant contributor to the reason your blood sugar is high. These medications are designed to improve your blood sugar levels in a variety of different ways.
Talk to your healthcare team to better understand the medications youve been prescribed and the issues youre having in taking them as directed.
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How To Lower Your Blood Sugar Naturally
Nearly 10% of the U.S. population has diabetes, and globally rates are expected to double by 2030. Significant evidence shows you can lower your blood sugar quickly, and even reverse diabetes by adopting a healthy lifestyle:
- In the United Kingdom, researchers successfully lowered blood sugar and reverse diabetes by implementing a combination of a lifestyle change and weight loss.
- In urban locations in Africa, scientists have found educational programs help prediabetic adults alter their lifestyle to effectively lower blood sugar levels.
- The most extensive study was completed in the United States and was called the Diabetes Prevention Program Randomized Trail. The study observed 3,234 men and women with pre-diabetes over a three-year period. The researchers found a healthy lifestyle was more effective than medication in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes. One third of the adults took a placebo, another took metformin , while the final third of the adults adopted lifestyle changes that were similar to the Pritikin Program . Adults who adopted a lifestyle change were twice as likely to reduce the progression of their pre-diabetes into type 2 diabetes than the control group.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle, such as the Pritikin lifestyle, is twice as effective as medication in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Signs That Blood Sugar Levels Are High
People with high blood sugar may:
- pee a lot. When blood sugar levels get too high, the kidneys flush out the extra glucose into your urine , which is why people who have high blood sugar levels need to pee more often and in larger amounts.
- drink a lot. Because you’re losing so much fluid from peeing so much, you can get very thirsty.
- lose weight. If there isn’t enough insulin to help the body use glucose, the body starts to break down your muscle and fat for energy and you lose weight.
- feel tired. Because the body can’t use glucose for energy properly, you may feel really tired.
High blood sugar levels don’t always cause these symptoms. Sometimes you can have high blood sugar levels without even knowing it. But if left untreated, they can cause serious health problems. That’s why it’s important to work with your parents and diabetes team to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range. This can mean checking your blood sugar levels a few times a day, even when you feel fine.
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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.
What Causes High Blood Sugar
Blood sugar levels are constantly shifting based on many factors, including:
- Time of day
However, the two most common and important causes are high carbohydrate meals and insulin resistance. These are actually kind of one in the same as will be explained shortly.
Although frequently misunderstood, glucose is a vital nutrient because it is the only form of fuel the brain and red blood cells can use for fuel. Glucose is the preferred source for all other organs as well. However, glucose cannot move from the blood into cells without insulin because this hormone unlocks parts of cells that allow sugar to enter.
For reference, people with type 1 diabetes stop producing insulin due to an autoimmune reaction. On the other hand, people with type 2 diabetes do not produce enough insulin and/or their cells are desensitized to the hormone. Without proper insulin use, glucose cannot enter the cell so it remains in the blood.
Thus, carbohydrates are not evil as often depicted, but quantity and quality are important. Over time, eating too much carbohydrate and consuming low-quality, refined, and/or processed and packaged carb sources can contribute to chronically elevated blood glucose levels.
In turn, this can lead to insulin resistance and resulting complications like diabetes, ketoacidosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney problems, neuropathy, blindness, and more.
Foods That Raise Blood Sugar
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Drink Water And Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water may help you keep your blood sugar levels within healthy limits.
In addition to preventing dehydration, it helps your kidneys flush out the excess sugar through urine.
One observational study showed that those who drank more water had a lower risk for developing high blood sugar levels (
Its important to monitor your waistline, as its perhaps the most crucial weight-related factor for estimating your diabetes risk.
A measurement of more than 35 inches for women and more than 40 inches for men is associated with an increased risk of developing insulin resistance, high blood sugar levels, and type 2 diabetes .
Having a healthy waist measurement may even be more important than your overall weight .
Keeping a moderate weight and waistline will help you maintain normal blood sugar levels and decrease your risk for developing diabetes.
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 .
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When To Go To The Er
High blood sugar can be very concerning because your body can start burning fat for energy instead of blood glucose.
This can cause conditions such as DKA and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome . These conditions are medical emergencies and can be fatal if left untreated.
DKA is a serious complication of type 1 diabetes. Its rare in people with type 2 diabetes, but can occur.
Symptoms that can indicate you should go to the emergency room include:
- ketones in your urine, as diagnosed using a urine dipstick test
- stomach pain
High blood sugar levels can cause a fluid imbalance in the body and can cause the blood to become acidic in a manner that doesnt support life.
Medical treatments for these conditions include administering intravenous insulin on a continuous basis and IV fluids to correct dehydration.
High blood sugar can become a medical emergency. Go to the ER if you suspect DKA or HHS.