When Should I Test My Blood Sugar
You may need to check your blood sugar several times a day, such as before meals or exercise, at bedtime, before driving, and when you think your blood sugar levels are low.
Everyone is different, so ask your doctor when and how often you should check your blood sugar. If youre sick, youll probably need to test your blood sugar more often.
Your Brain Feels Foggy
Your whole bodyâincluding your brainâuses carbs, including sugar, as its main fuel source. So when blood sugar drops after a high-sugar meal, that can result in brain fog. “When your blood sugar drops, your energy is dropping, so your ability to stay focused and alert can drop too,” says Zeitlin. Swapping the cookie for an apple with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter will give you sustained energy to face down a 3 p.m. slump.
Results Of Poor Blood Sugar Control
Letting your blood sugar get too high has serious consequences. If your blood sugar is too high for too long, you may have:
Circulation problems. Diabetes keeps the blood vessels in your body from working properly. This can lead to heart attack and stroke. Poor blood supply can also lead to vision problems, kidney problems, and nerve damage. Hyperglycemia is a risk factor for these problems even if blood sugar is not high enough to be considered diabetes.
Mood problems. Balanced blood sugar is important for mood regulation. Those with diabetes have an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.
Reproductive issues. About one in six pregnant women worldwide have a form of dysglycemia. Blood sugar problems increase the risk of death for the mother and child. It also raises the risk of miscarriage and birth defects.
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Complications Of High Blood Sugar
Diabetes is one of the main causes of high blood sugar levels, but there are other causes that can impact your blood glucose and your risk for hyperglycemia.
Hyperglycemia is the medical term for high blood sugar levels. You can have temporary spikes in blood sugar after eating a large meal or as a result of medication side effects. Chronically elevated blood sugar levels are dangerous and common in those with diabetes. Without treatment, you run the risk of a diabetic coma.
Ketoacidosis is a condition that develops when elevated blood glucose levels go untreated. Without glucose to use for fuel, your body begins to burn fat instead and produces ketones. When there are too many ketones in the blood, it will turn acidic, which can very quickly lead to ketoacidosis, a diabetic coma, and even death.
People without diabetes can develop a similar condition known as ketosis, but they can tolerate a certain level of ketones because inulin is still effectively working.
Diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome is another serious complication of high blood sugar. This is more common among individuals with type 2 diabetes and is triggered by an infection or illness.
As a result of the high blood sugar, your body tries to push out the excess glucose by passing it through your urine. Without treatment, this can result in life-threatening dehydration so prompt medical attention would be necessary.
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Why Is It Important To Recognize A Low Blood Sugar Level
Low blood sugar levels can happen with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Low levels are more likely to happen if you use insulin. Hypoglycemia can cause you to have falls, accidents, and injuries. A blood sugar level that gets too low can lead to seizures, coma, and death. Learn to recognize the symptoms early so you can get treatment quickly.
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How Do I Check For Ketones
There are two ways to check for ketones:
Steps to check for urine ketones:
- Gather the supplies
- Urine ketone strips
- Small paper cup to pee in
- Timer or watch with a second hand
- Dip the test end of the strip into the cup of fresh urine.
- Take it out right away.
- Remove extra urine by drawing it along the rim of the cup.
- Exactly 15 seconds after dipping it in the urine, compare the ketone strip with the color chart on the bottle of ketone strips.
- If you have ketones, follow these instructions.
Ketone strip storage
- Keep ketone strips at room temperature between 59Â° and 86Â° F. Keep them out of direct sunlight.
- Step 8 After opening the first time, write the date on the bottle.
- Always put the lid back on right away after opening.
- Do not keep them in the bathroom because the moisture could ruin the strips.
- Throw the ketone strips away 6 months after first opening if they are not gone.
- Do not use them after the expiration date. Call your pharmacy for a refill.
Steps to check for blood ketones:
- Gather the supplies:
You’re Breaking Out Around Your Mouth And Chin
While experts say that severe acne has nothing to do with diet for the vast majority of people, somestudies have linked breakouts to eating too many sugary foods. In theory, says Ansel, sugar increases the production of hormonesâparticularly androgensâthat are linked to inflammatory hormonal acne, which usually appears around the jawline and the mouth, says Bruce Robinson, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.
“If you’re struggling with breakouts and don’t know why, it can be helpful to cut out added sugars in your diet,” says Ansel.
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Why Is Added Sugar Bad For You
It’s important to note that when we talk about too much sugar, we’re talking about added sugar, not naturally-occurring sugar in food.
The main difference between sugar and added sugar is simply whether or not the sugar is added to a food or it’s naturally found in that food. For example, honey is simply called sugar if eaten on its own. Once you use honey to sweeten a product, whether it’s yogurt or cookies, the honey is considered “added sugar.” Added sugar can be either natural or processed sugar, explains Karen Ansel, RD, author of Healing Superfoods for Anti-Aging.
When it comes to the natural sugars found in a whole sweet potato or an apple, “most of us don’t come even close to overdoing it,” says Zeitlin. Experts aren’t worried about the sugar content because you’re getting so many other benefits, like vitamins and fiber to slow down and how your body absorbs and uses sugar. As a general guideline, she suggests limiting yourself to about two cups of whole fruit a day.
Why Does Blood Sugar Go Up And Down
When we eat, carbohydrates break down into sugar molecules, including glucose. Glucose fuels our bodies, but it needs to get into the cells to do it. Insulin is a hormone that unlocks the cells so glucose can get in. When insulin doesn’t work as it should, glucose will stay in the blood. This creates high blood sugar, known as hyperglycemia.
Blood sugar can also go too low. This is a condition known as hypoglycemia. This usually happens when you go too long without eating. It can also happen when those with diabetes take too much medication. A few other conditions can cause hypoglycemia, but they are relatively rare. Hyperglycemia and diabetes are much greater problems than hypoglycemia.
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How Is Dka Treated
DKA is very serious, but it can be treated if you go to the doctor or hospital right away. To feel better, a person with DKA needs to get insulin and fluids through a tube that goes into a vein in the body .
Let your parents or someone on your diabetes health care team know if you have any of these symptoms or are sick and don’t know what to do to take care of your diabetes.
Always wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace that says you have diabetes. Then, if you are not feeling well, whoever’s helping you will know to call for medical help. Medical identification can also include your doctor’s phone number or a parent’s phone number.
How Do You Treat Hypoglycemia
Low blood sugar levels happen when theres too little glucose left in the bloodstream to continue supplying fuel to your organs, muscles, and tissues. It most often occurs when you dont eat enough food, especially carb-containing foods, given your blood-sugar-lowering medications and physical activity levels, ONeill says. Levels can decrease gradually or suddenly.
When the amount of glucose in the bloodstream drops to too-low levels, the body reacts by releasing epinephrine, also called adrenaline or the fight or flight hormone. Epinephrine revs your heart rate and can cause sweating, shaking, anxiety, and irritability. If not enough glucose is able to reach the brain, the result may be difficulty concentrating, confused thinking, and slurred speech. In extreme cases, a lack of glucose within the brain can lead to seizures, coma, and even death, she says.
People with low glucose levels can use the ADAs 15-15 Rule, which advises people consume 15 g of carbs, wait 15 minutes, and check their levels again. If the number is still low, repeat until reaching at least 70 mg/dL.
You can find 15 g of carbs in:
- 1 slice of bread
- 1 small piece of fresh fruit
- cup of yogurt
- Three to four hard candies
- Glucose tablets as indicated on the label
- Glucose gel as indicated on the label
Once your glucose levels are back to normal, the ADA suggests going ahead and eating your next scheduled meal or snack, which will help prevent levels from dropping again.
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You Notice Tingling And Numbness In Your Hands Or Feet
As mentioned, uncontrolled blood sugar can cause nerve damage, also known as diabetic neuropathy. What you may notice is a tingling sensation or even numbness in your hands and feet. Some people experience pain in their hands and feet as well. Though neuropathy is most common in people who have had diabetes for a long time, it can occur in anyone with poorly controlled diabetes.
How Often Should I Check My Blood Sugar
The number of times that you check your blood sugar will depend on the type of diabetes that you have and the type of medicine you take to treat your diabetes. For example, people who take insulin may need to check more often than people who do not take insulin. Talk with your health care team about how often to check your blood sugar.
The common times for checking your blood sugar are when you first wake up , before a meal, 2 hours after a meal, and at bedtime. Talk with your health care team about what times are best for you to check your blood sugar.
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High Blood Sugar Levels
Different targets have been set by various health organizations, but the American Diabetes Association has stated that fasting blood sugar should be between 80-130mg/dL, and two hours after a meal it should be less than 180mg/dL.
Some people experience high blood sugar in the mornings for several common reasons, like the Dawn Phenomenon. Fasting blood sugar is important to note, as it can give an idea of where your blood sugar naturally settles after a period without intervention.
Blood sugar rises after a meal, and then comes back down . Postprandial blood sugar is where it lands at the end of the trend line, which is generally two hours after the meal. If blood sugar is 180 mg/dL two hours after a meal, it could mean mis-calculating carb intake. Knowing the range your doctor has identified as a healthy rise is important in being aware of your bodys processes. Any number above your specific ranges is considered to be high.
Glucose is needed by your body, but when it rises too high over an extended period of time, it can have lasting detrimental effects. Its important that you regularly monitor your blood sugar levels so that youre aware of how your body is responding to your diabetes care plan.
Ask Your Doctor How Often You Should Be Checking Your Blood Sugar
Blood sugar control is crucial when youre living with type 2 diabetes. Dips and spikes can not only make you feel cranky and sluggish, but they can also wreak havoc on your personal health.
The most serious effects of blood sugar swings are a higher risk for diabetes-related health complications such as stroke, heart disease, and nerve damage .
For the record, the American Diabetes Association notes that you have diabetes if one of the following applies to you:
- Your blood glucose after fasting is 126 milligrams per deciliter or higher.
- Your blood glucose two hours after eating a meal is 200 mg/dl or higher.
- Your hemoglobin A1C is 6.5 or higher.
The tricky part is that with type 2 diabetes you may not feel it when blood sugar levels are too high, according to the ADA. It feels different for everyone. Not everyone will have the same symptoms, and some individuals will have no symptoms at all, says Lori Zanini, RD, CDE, a Los Angelesbased former spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Because blood sugar management is so important to your overall health with type 2 diabetes, you need to take action if you think your levels may be out of control, even if youre feeling totally fine.
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What Drinks And Foods Raise Blood Sugar Fast
- 4 teaspoons of sugar
- 1/2 can of regular soda or juice
Many people like the idea of treating low blood sugar with dietary treats such as cake, cookies, and brownies. However, sugar in the form of complex carbohydrates or sugar combined with fat and protein are much too slowly absorbed to be useful in acute treatment.
Once the acute episode has been treated, a healthy, long-acting carbohydrate to maintain blood sugars in the appropriate range should be consumed. Half a sandwich is a reasonable option.
If the hypoglycemic episode has progressed to the point at which the patient cannot or will not take anything by mouth, more drastic measures will be needed. In many cases, a family member or roommate can be trained in the use of glucagon. Glucagon is a hormone that causes a rapid release of glucose stores from the liver. It is an injection given intramuscularly to an individual who cannot take glucose by mouth. A response is usually seen in minutes and lasts for about 90 minutes. Again, a long-acting source of glucose should thereafter be consumed to maintain blood sugar levels in the safe range. If glucagon is not available and the patient is not able to take anything by mouth, emergency services should be called immediately. An intravenous route of glucose administration should be established as soon as possible.
Hypoglycaemia Means Low Blood Glucose Levels
An abnormally low glucose level in the blood is called hypoglycaemia. Some of the conditions that can cause hypoglycaemia include:
- Taking insulin and oral hypoglycaemic medication usually for diabetes. Hypoglycaemia is a common result of treatment for diabetes, especially when the diabetes is well controlled. Occasionally, oral hypoglycaemic tablets are prescribed or given by mistake to people who do not have diabetes this causes hypoglycaemia
- Insulinoma a tumour of the pancreas that triggers the overproduction of insulin
- Liver failure loss of the livers capacity to produce glucose can cause hypoglycaemia.
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How Does Hypoglycemia Occur Without Diabetes
Hypoglycemia usually happens to people living with diabetes, but its possible to have low blood sugar without diabetes.
Blood sugar, or glucose, is what your body uses for energy. After eating a meal or drinking a beverage, the hormone insulin allows sugar to enter your bodys cells, where its used for energy. Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas.
Hypoglycemia occurs when you have too much insulin in your bloodstream. This might happen if you dont eat for several hours, such as 8 hours or more. A drop in blood sugar means there isnt enough glucose in your bloodstream to fuel your brain and body.
Low blood sugar without diabetes can also occur if you take a medication that lowers your blood sugar. These include pain relievers like:
- some antibiotics
Other causes of low blood sugar without diabetes include binge-drinking and increased physical activity.
Plus, some medical conditions can increase the amount of insulin your pancreas produces. These include a pancreatic tumor, adrenal gland disorders, and hepatitis.
You could also experience low blood sugar if you have prediabetes, or if you eat a lot of refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, and pastries.
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Check Your Blood Sugar Often
Talk with your provider about when you should check your blood sugar every day. People who have low blood sugar need to check their blood sugar more often.
The most common causes of low blood sugar are:
- Taking your insulin or diabetes medicine at the wrong time
- Taking too much insulin or diabetes medicine
- Taking insulin to correct high blood sugar without eating any food
- Not eating enough during meals or snacks after you have taken insulin or diabetes medicine
- Waiting too long after taking your medicine to eat your meals
- Exercising a lot or at a time that is unusual for you
- Not checking your blood sugar or not adjusting your insulin dose before exercising
- Drinking alcohol
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