When Should I Check My Blood Sugar
How often you check your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes you have and if you take any diabetes medicines.
Typical times to check your blood sugar include:
- When you first wake up, before you eat or drink anything.
- Before a meal.
- Two hours after a meal.
- At bedtime.
If you have type 1 diabetes, have type 2 diabetes and take insulin, or often have low blood sugar, your doctor may want you to check your blood sugar more often, such as before and after youre physically active.
What Are The Complications Of Low Blood Glucose
Mild-to-moderate low blood glucose can be easily treated. But severely low blood glucose can cause serious complications, including passing out, coma, or death.
Repeated episodes of low blood glucose can lead to
- high blood glucose levels, if worry or fear of low blood glucose keeps you from taking the medicines you need to manage your diabetes8
- hypoglycemia unawareness, a condition in which you dont notice any symptoms of low blood glucose until your blood glucose level has dropped very low
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 .
Recommended Reading: What Foods Are Low In Potassium And Low In Sugar
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.
What Foods Can Assist Raise Blood Sugar Quickly
Because your blood sugar level comes from the foods and beverages you consume, one of the most convenient methods to raise your blood sugar quick is to grab a quick treat. The American Diabetes Association advises the 15-15 rule if your blood sugar level dips below 70 mg/dL: Eat at most limited 15 grams of carbs, then wait 15 minutes to recheck your blood glucose. If youre still listed below 70 mg/dL, have another 15 grams of carbs, wait 15 minutes, and inspect your levels again.
Amongst the foods you can pursue a fast blood sugar boost are:. a piece of fruit, like a banana, apple, or orange. 2 tablespoons of raisins. 1/2 cup apple, orange, pineapple, or grapefruit juice. 1/2 cup regular soda . 1 cup fat-free milk. 1 tablespoon honey or jelly. 15 Skittles. 4 Starbursts. 1 tablespoon of sugar in water.
Foods that include protein or fat, such as peanut butterand ice cream, and chocolate, may be valuable if your blood sugar level has actually dropped but isnt listed below 70 mg/dL. These higher-fat foods, in addition to whole-grain bread and other high-fiber foods, take longer to take in into your bloodstream. Because of this, these foods will not raise your blood sugar as quickly as foods that have more basic carbohydrates.
Don’t Miss: What Can Raise Blood Sugar Levels
Best Bites To Boost Low Blood Sugar
Also known as hypoglycemia, low blood sugar is a diabetes complication that needs to be treated quickly. Here’s what to munch on if your blood sugar dips whether you’re at home or on the go.
Picture this: You’re in the mall, shopping with friends, chatting and having a great time when suddenly you start to feel a bit strange. You might become irritated or nervous, your skin may feel clammy or sweaty and your vision may even seem blurred. If you have diabetes, you’ll recognize these as the warning signs of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.
Hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar levels in the body drop too low, says Kelly O’Connor, RD, a dietitian and certified diabetes educator at LifeBridge Health’s Northwest Hospital in Baltimore. Glucose is your brains main energy or fuel source. If the level of glucose in the body is too low, it can begin to affect your brains functioning. The resulting symptoms are more or less your bodys warning system that you need to take quick action in order to correct the problem.
Low Blood Sugar Levels In Diabetes
People with diabetes can have low blood sugar levels because of the medicines they have to take to manage their diabetes. They may need a hormone called or diabetes pills to help their bodies use the sugar in their blood.
These medicines help take the sugar out of the blood and get it into the body’s cells, which makes the blood sugar level go down. But sometimes it’s a tricky balancing act and blood sugar levels can get too low.
People with diabetes need to keep their blood sugars from getting too highor too low. Keeping blood sugar levels in a healthy range means balancing when and what they eat, and when they exercise with when they take medicines.
You May Like: How To Gain Weight Without Sugar
Worst Fruits For Blood Sugar
These fruits tend to have a greater impact on blood sugar. Try to limit them in your diet or follow our suggestions to promote a more gradual rise in blood glucose.
Bananas, 1 medium fruit
- Levels zone score: 5.7
- Avg glucose rise: 34 mg/dL
Because a bananas starch is converted to sugar as it ripens, very ripe bananas have the most significant impact on blood sugar: Their GI can jump into the mid-range at 57, making them a bit more likely to trigger a spike. Eating a banana that hasnt browned yet with nut butter or after a meal containing protein and fats can help reduce this effect. And if you can handle the slightly bitter taste and firmer texture, green bananas are a good choice. They may contain up to 10 grams less sugar and a form of glycemic-friendly starch called resistant starch, which has been linked to improved insulin sensitivity and increased satiety. Since the small intestine doesnt digest resistant starch, it passes to the colon, where it functions as a prebiotic fiber, feeding good bacteria and leading to a slight rise in blood sugar.
- Levels Zone score: 5.5
- Avg glucose rise: 35 mg/dL
Given the high sugar content of just one date, these fruits arent meant for snacking. However, in the context of using a small number of dates as a natural sweetener in desserts, this fruit is a better choice than table sugar: it has a lower glycemic index, and its sugar comes packaged with a small amount of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Take Your Insulin As Prescribed
High blood sugar occurs when your body has too little insulin, or your body cant use insulin properly. Administering insulin can bring your blood sugar levels down.
Talk to your doctor about how much rapid-acting insulin you should administer when your blood sugar is high.
You may want to check your blood sugar about 1530 minutes after taking insulin to make sure your blood sugar is going down and that its not dropping too low.
You May Like: Is Sugar Good For Your Body
Natural Remedies To Lower Blood Sugar That Need More Evidence
Asterino-McGeean says to be careful about natural remedies promising to lower blood sugar. Unfortunately, when you read into a lot of them, theres no research backing their effectiveness and safety, she notes. Plus, it can be dangerous to take supplements or herbals said to lower sugar when youre on diabetes medications. Talk to your provider before starting any medications or natural remedies to be safe.
The Dangers Of Low Blood Glucose
At some time, most people with diabetes experience the sweating and shakiness that occurs when blood glucose levels fall below 70 mg/dl a condition known as hypoglycemia. The average person with type 1 diabetes may experience symptoms of low blood glucose up to two times a week. However, not all are aware that these symptoms can rapidly progress to seizures, coma and even death if hypoglycemia is severe. Though hypoglycemia can be common and occur repeatedly in some people with diabetes, symptoms of low blood glucose should always be taken seriously. People with diabetes and their families, friends or coworkers should be prepared to act quickly and responsibly at the earliest signs of low blood glucose.
Recommended Reading: What Is Sugar Levels In Blood Test
What To Eat To Better Regulate Your Blood Sugar
Dr. Danielle Weiss is the founder of the Center for Hormonal Health and Well-Being, a personalized, proactive, patient-centered medical practice with a unique focus on integrative endocrinology. She enjoys giving lectures and writing articles for both the lay public and medical audiences.
While high blood sugar is the characteristic symptom of diabetes, your blood sugar can also be high even if you dont have the condition. To avoid making high blood sugar worse, it is important to make good dietary choices and choose foods that can help you regulate your blood sugar.
Verywell / Danie Drankwalter
How Are Low Blood Sugar Levels Treated
Your diabetes health care team will give you guidelines for treating low blood sugar levels, depending on your symptoms. If you can, try to test your blood sugar levels to make sure that your symptoms are because of hypoglycemia. If you can’t test blood sugar immediately, don’t delay in treating your symptoms you can always check your blood sugar after you’ve taken steps to get your blood sugar back up into the normal range.
When blood sugar levels are low, the goal is to get them back up quickly. To do that, you should take in sugar or sugary foods, which raise the blood sugar level quickly. Your health care team might suggest that you:
- Eat, drink, or take something that contains sugar that can get into the blood quickly. Your doctor may tell you to have really sugary foods or drinks or might give you glucose tablets or gel to take all of these can help to raise your blood sugar level fast, which is what you need to do when it’s low.
- Wait about 10 minutes to let the sugar work.
- Recheck your blood sugar level with a glucose meter to see if blood sugar levels are back to normal.
- Get a glucagon shot , if your symptoms are severe or get worse after you eat, drink, or take glucose.
Sometimes, blood sugar levels can get so low that you may not be awake enough to eat or drink something to get them back up. When this happens, you may need a glucagon shot.
Read Also: What Type Of Diabetes Is High Blood Sugar
Q& a: Why Does My Doctor Measure My Waist
Abdominal girth is one of the strongest determinants of your risk for type 2 diabetes. Doctors call it central adiposity , and it indicates a dangerous level of fat around your central organs.
A person may not be overweight all over, but if you have extra weight around the middle, such as a beer belly or a potbelly shape, you are at increased risk for diabetes. Thats why in addition to body-mass index , doctors recommend that patients have your waist circumference checked.
Upswing: Steroids And Water Pills
People take corticosteroids, such as prednisone, to treat rashes, arthritis, asthma, and many other conditions. But they can boost your blood sugar, and may even trigger diabetes in some people. Diuretics that help high blood pressure, also called water pills, can do the same. Some antidepressants also raise or lower blood sugar.
Also Check: How To Stop Eating Too Much Sugar
Be A Glucose Detective
If youve been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, monitoring your sugar levels can help you problem-solve when you have a blood sugar spike. It can also shine a light on your overall blood sugar trends and their causes.
Use a glucometer to make sure youre in the targeted range your healthcare provider recommends. Asterino-McGeean says to check with your insurance to see if these monitors are covered. You can also buy inexpensive ones over the counter at most grocery stores and pharmacies, she adds.
Symptoms Of A Low Blood Sugar Level
A low blood sugar level can affect everyone differently. You’ll learn how it makes you feel, although your symptoms may change over time.
Early signs of a low blood sugar level include:
- a fast or pounding heartbeat
- becoming easily irritated, tearful, anxious or moody
- turning pale
If a low blood sugar level is not treated, you may get other symptoms, such as:
- unusual behaviour, slurred speech or clumsiness
- feeling sleepy
- seizures or fits
- collapsing or passing out
A low blood sugar level, or hypo, can also happen while you’re sleeping. This may cause you to wake up during the night or cause headaches, tiredness or damp sheets in the morning.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Fastest Way To Bring Down Blood Sugar
Being Dehydrated When You Have Diabetes
Having a temperature or being sick can lead to dehydration. In some cases, severe dehydration and very high blood sugar levels can mean that you need to go into hospital.
So its important to be prepared and follow our advice on coping when you’re sick. You might want to give this information to a friend or family member, so they can help you if you get sick.
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.
Recommended Reading: Is Brown Sugar Oatmeal Good For You
What If I Have Severe Low Blood Glucose And Cant Treat Myself
Glucagona hormone that raises blood glucose levelsis the best way to treat severely low blood glucose. Available as an injection or a nasal spray, glucagon will quickly raise your blood glucose level. Your doctor can prescribe you a glucagon kit for use in case of an emergency.
If your blood glucose level drops very low, you wont be able to treat it by yourself. Be prepared to address severely low blood glucose by
- talking with your doctor or health care team about when and how to use a glucagon emergency kit. If you have an emergency kit, regularly check the date on the package to make sure it hasnt expired.
- teaching your family, friends, and coworkers when and how to give you glucagon. Tell them to call 911 right away after giving you glucagon or if you dont have a glucagon emergency kit with you.
- wearing a medical alert identification bracelet or pendant. A medical alert ID tells other people that you have diabetes and need care right away. Getting prompt care can help prevent the serious problems that low blood glucose levels can cause.
How To Improve Blood Sugar Levels
This article was co-authored by Claudia Carberry, RD, MS. Claudia Carberry is a Registered Dietitian specializing in kidney transplants and counseling patients for weight loss at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She is a member of the Arkansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Claudia received her MS in Nutrition from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 2010.There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 50,072 times.
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Nearly thirty million Americans have diabetes, which for them means a daily effort to control their blood sugar or glucose levels.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Diabetes AssociationHealth-based nonprofit focused on preventing and researching diabetesGo to source If you have diabetes, it is important to learn about your condition and how to bring it under better control. There are ways, challenging though they be, to do this. You may need insulin therapy, you may need to improve your eating habits or exercise regimen, or you may, perhaps, need to change your lifestyle as a whole.
Also Check: How Do You Feel If You Have Low Blood Sugar