What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
Different people may feel low blood sugar levels differently. People with low blood sugar may:
- feel hungry or have “hunger pains” in their stomach
- feel shaky or like they’re trembling
- have a rapid heart rate
- feel sweaty or have cold, clammy skin
- have pale, gray skin color
- have a headache
- have seizures or convulsions
- lose consciousness
If you have diabetes, try to remember how your body reacts when your blood sugar levels are low. It may help you figure out when you’re having a low blood sugar level more quickly the next time.
Strike The Spike Ii: How To Manage High Blood Glucose After Meals
Dealing With High Blood Sugar After Meals
Several years ago, I wrote an article for Diabetes Self-Management about the management of high blood glucose after meals. It was called Strike the Spike and no article Ive ever written has led to greater reader response. To this day, I still receive calls and e-mails thanking me for offering practical answers to this perplexing challenge. Ive even been asked to speak on the topic at some major conferences. So when presented with the opportunity to readdress the issue, I jumped at the chance.
A lot has changed in recent years: we know more than ever about the harmful effects of after-meal blood sugar spikes, but we also have a number of potent new tools and techniques for preventing them. And now that I know how meaningful this topic is to so many people, Ill do my absolute best to provide some answers.
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Check Your Blood Glucose Levels
For many people with diabetes, checking their blood glucose level each day is an important way to manage their diabetes. Monitoring your blood glucose level is most important if you take insulin. The results of blood glucose monitoring can help you make decisions about food, physical activity, and medicines.
The most common way to check your blood glucose level at home is with a blood glucose meter. You get a drop of blood by pricking the side of your fingertip with a lancet. Then you apply the blood to a test strip. The meter will show you how much glucose is in your blood at the moment.
Ask your health care team how often you should check your blood glucose levels. Make sure to keep a record of your blood glucose self-checks. You can print copies of this glucose self-check chart . Take these records with you when you visit your health care team.
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Why Is Managing Blood Sugar Important
Keeping blood sugars at target levels helps people with diabetes avoid serious complications from the disease. High blood sugar can cause many ill effects, which can be sudden, such as acid buildup in the bloodstream, or occur gradually over time.
Over time, keeping blood sugar at unhealthful levels can damage small and large blood vessels in several organs and systems, leading to serious consequences, such as:
- vision impairment and blindness
How To Test Blood Sugar Levels
Your doctor can test your blood sugar levels using one of several methods depending on your unique health situation.
We usually do a hemoglobin A1C test or check their serum glucose levels, says Dr. Raja.
The most common testing method used is the glycated hemoglobin test, which screens you for prediabetes, and diabetes.
The A1C test is a blood test that measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen from your lungs to tissues in the body. The A1C test will reveal your average blood sugar level for the previous two to three months.
Certain health conditions such as severe anemia, vitamin deficiencies, thalassemia, and sickle cell trait can often result in inaccurate A1C test results. When A1C test results seem inaccurate or inconsistent, your doctor may perform one or more other tests. These include a random glucose test, a fasting glucose test, or an oral glucose tolerance test.
For the random glucose test, your doctor will take a sample of your blood at a random time to test your blood sugar level. A fasting glucose test requires you to do an overnight fast before your doctor draws blood the following day. The oral glucose tolerance test also requires you to do an overnight fast, and consume a sugary liquid after you arrive at the doctors office, and get blood drawn at one hour and three hour intervals.
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If You Regularly Have High Blood Sugar Levels
Having high blood sugar levels regularly is not something you should live with. This is because in the long-term it can increase your risk of developing diabetes complications, such as neuropathy and retinopathy.
If you notice that your blood sugar levels are often high, you should contact your diabetes healthcare team. They will review your treatment and provide you with advice on how to get your blood sugar levels back within your target range. This advice may include increasing your medication.
In the video below, Lynsey talks to Khalida about feeling anxious after getting a high blood sugar level reading. If youre finding it hard to deal with similar feelings, weve got information on emotional health that you may find helpful.
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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How Do Carbs Affect Blood Sugar
Carbs in food make your blood sugar levels go higher after you eat them than when you eat proteins or fats. You can still eat carbs if you have diabetes. The amount you can have and stay in your target blood sugar range depends on your age, weight, activity level, and other factors. Counting carbs in foods and drinks is an important tool for managing blood sugar levels. Make sure to talk to your health care team about the best carb goals for you.
High And Low: How To Reduce Blood Sugar Level Immediately
Is insulin enough to reduce blood sugar immediately? Insulins main function is to lower blood sugar levels, but does your insulin dosage do the job?
The simple answer is: yes, insulin does the job, especially for those with insulin-dependent diabetes. There are certainly alternative ways to lower blood sugar immediately, but thats not exactly the goal when it comes to diabetes.
You dont want to lower blood sugar rapidly, just for the sake of being rapid. If you reduce blood sugar too quickly, then youll end up having to deal with low blood sugar instead.
Diabetes management is more about finding balance and treating yourself in a controlled manner. So, while you might need to reduce blood sugar immediately in some situations, you can do it in a way where youre still in control.
Find out how to stay in control, lower blood sugar, and get back to your normal lockdown routine of bread-baking and Tiger King-viewing!
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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 .
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.
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Avoid Alcohol The Night Before And Sugar In Anything The Next Morning
Like to enjoy a tipple the night before you go to bed? Its time to cut down or back on that completely. The alcohol dehydrates the body and will mean your blood glucose level will be more saturated. The smaller amounts of glucose will affect you in bigger ways.
But this doesnt help you on a morning, right? Well, look out for drinking anything sugary on a morning. This includes your glass of orange juice. You may even want to avoid plain water!
You want to drink something that is going to keep your sugar levels to a minimum and not spart the release of insulin. That means looking for something that packs plenty of protein. Remember that protein berry smoothie? Consider that as your morning drink/breakfast. You can follow it with a glass of water if youd like.
A green smoothie would be another excellent option. It packs you full of nutrients, and you can add in the protein to get that filling element.
If you really want water, add a slice or two of lemon. You get some sweetness but without the large amounts of sugar hitting your system causing a problem.
Keeping your morning drink routine perfect will also help you reduce the stress hormones. Coffee is a stimulant and will just make your stress levels even worse. Anything with caffeine will do the same and thats usually what youll add sugar to. Opt for lemon water for a refreshing drink and then a smoothie for a no-caffeine, nutrient packed breakfast.
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How Can I Pay For Tests And Diabetes Supplies
Medicareexternal icon, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans pay for the A1C test and fasting blood sugar test as well as some diabetes supplies. Check your plan or ask your health care team for help finding low-cost or free supplies, and see How to Save Money on Diabetes Care for more resources.
How Do I Prevent Hyperglycemia
- Exercise to help lower blood sugar. Work with your healthcare provider to make a daily activity plan.
- Follow your meal plan if you have one. Learn how carbohydrates impact your blood sugar, and work with your diabetes care team to find the best meal plan for you.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Dont smoke.
- Limit drinking alcohol. Alcohol can raise blood sugar levels, but can also cause dangerously low blood sugar levels. Work with your provider to determine how much is safe to drink.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/12/2020.
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.
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Natural Treatment For High Blood Pressure
Preventing high blood pressure is key, however, there are natural treatment options available that could help to reduce your blood pressure.;
Managing stress with meditation or deep-breathing exercises Quit smoking Eating more food rich in calcium and magnesium
Eating foods rich in potassium can help;
In Addition to the options listed above, there are several natural supplements that may also help to lower blood pressure or prevent it from elevating, to begin with.;
What Is A Dangerous Blood Sugar Level
A normal blood sugar level is between 70 and 130 after you have been fasting for a few hours. Blood sugar levels can be dangerous if they are too high or too low.
Low blood sugars can be caused by not eating enough, or by trying to lower your sugar too quickly. A blood sugar under 60 is considered dangerous. It can lead to confusion or loss of consciousness, which can be deadly. It is important to have a snack with you at all times in case this happens to you. If it does happen, think about what you did or didnt do that lead to the low number. If it happens often, start writing things down to help you track what the cause is so that you can avoid it.
High blood sugars over 300 are pretty concerning.; A lot depends on what your sugar typically runs. If you are normally in the 200s, then a sugar of 320 wouldnt affect you the way that it would for someone whose typically runs 150.
If your blood sugar gets too high, then you may have Ketoacidosis. What happens is that the body does not have enough insulin to use the glucose cells, so it starts to break down fat and muscle for fuel. This causes ketones to enter the bloodstream and causes a pretty bad chemical imbalance. Ketones can also be found in your urine, which is an easy way to test. Signs of Diabetic Ketoacidosis are:
- Fruity smelling breath
- Loss of vision
- An abnormal increase in blood sugar
You should also seek medical attention for this as well to rehydrate your body before any complications happen.
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What Can Cause Low Blood Sugar Levels
Some things that can make low blood sugar levels more likely are:
- skipping meals and snacks
- not eating enough food during a meal or snack
- exercising longer or harder than usual without eating some extra food
- getting too much insulin
- not timing the insulin doses properly with meals, snacks, and exercise
Also, some things may increase how quickly insulin gets absorbed into the bloodstream and can make hypoglycemia more likely. These include:
- taking a hot shower or bath right after having an insulin injection increases blood flow through the blood vessels in the skin, which can make the insulin be absorbed more quickly than usual
- injecting the shot into a muscle instead of the fatty layer under the skin
- injecting the insulin into a part of the body used a lot in a particular sport .
All of these situations increase the chances that a person may get hypoglycemia.
How To Bring High Blood Sugar Down Fast
Everyone with diabetes is bound to experience high blood sugars. There are simply too many variables out of our control to prevent high blood sugars from ever happening.;
But the best thing we can do when they do happen is to help them come down as quickly as possible.
Here are four things you can do to bring a high blood sugar level down quickly.
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Sweet Potatoes And Yams
Regular potatoes have a high GI score, but sweet potatoes and yams have low scores and are very nutritious.
Reporting the findings of an animal study, the researchers also noted that sweet potato consumption may lower some markers of diabetes.
While there is still no conclusive evidence that sweet potatoes can help to stabilize or lower blood sugar levels in humans, they are undoubtedly a healthful, nutritious food with a low GI score.
People can substitute sweet potatoes or yams for potatoes in a variety of dishes, from fries to casseroles.
Oats have a GI score of 55 or lower, making them less likely to cause spikes and dips in blood sugar levels.
Oats also contain B-glucans, which can do the following:
- reduce glucose and insulin responses after meals
- improve insulin sensitivity
Avoid legume products that contain added sugars and simple starches, such as those in syrups, sauces, or marinades. These additions can significantly increase a products GI score.
Garlic is a popular ingredient in traditional medicines for diabetes and a wide variety of other conditions.
People can eat garlic raw, add it to salads, or use it in cooked meals.