Simple Tips To Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes
Blood sugar spikes occur when your blood sugar rises and then falls sharply after you eat.
In the short term, they can cause lethargy and hunger. Over time, your body may not be able to lower blood sugar effectively, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is a rising health problem. In fact, 29 million Americans have diabetes, and 25% of them dont even know they have it .
Blood sugar spikes can also cause your blood vessels to harden and narrow, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
This article looks at 12 simple things you can do to prevent blood sugar spikes.
Beware Of Low Blood Sugars
Remember, above all else, its very easy to over-treat a high blood sugar and wind up low. Then youll be tempted to binge-eat and wind up high again. This blood sugar roller coaster is exhausting and dangerous, too.
Frequently finding yourself on the blood sugar roller coaster means your approach to taking insulin and/or how you treat low blood sugars isnt working and needs some fine-tuning. Work with your healthcare team to reduce and prevent these wild swings to ensure your overall safety and quality of life!
Is Having High Blood Glucose Dangerous
In short, it can be. Zanini says that untreated high blood glucose can lead to a wide range of health issuesâsome of the most common being chronic inflammation, heart disease, vision impairment, kidney disease, nerve damage, tooth decay, damaged blood vessels, and periodontal disease.
Having high blood glucose also puts us at risk of mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. The former is a condition in which mitochondria fail to produce energy for cells. The latter occurs when free radicals outnumber antioxidants in the body and increase the risk of disease and other damage.
Phipps notes to avoid these risks, catching high blood glucose early on, then taking action to treat it is extremely important.
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What Causes Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar has many causes, including missing a meal, taking too much insulin, taking other diabetes medicines, exercising more than normal, and drinking alcohol. Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low.
Signs of low blood sugar are different for everyone. Common symptoms include:
Know what your individual symptoms are so you can catch low blood sugar early and treat it. If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms. Low blood sugar can be dangerous and should be treated as soon as possible.
Correcting High Blood Sugar Levels With Insulin
If you take insulin, one way to reduce blood sugar is to inject insulin.
However, be careful as insulin can take 4 hours or longer to be fully absorbed, so you need to make sure you take into account how much insulin you may already have in your body that is yet to be absorbed by the blood. Insulin that is yet to be absorbed by the blood is called active insulin.
If you decide to correct with insulin, watch you dont over correct as this can lead to hypoglycemia and can be dangerous, particularly so before bed.
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What High Blood Sugar Feels Like
The symptoms can include:
- Breath that smells like fruit
These are symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis . Your body burns glucose for energy. When your cells donât get enough of it, they burn fat. That produces chemicals called ketones. When these build up, your blood becomes more acid-like. This can be life-threatening if itâs not treated.
What To Eat To Better Regulate Your Blood Sugar
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.
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Tips To Lower Blood Sugar Naturally
Experts agree that individuals living with type 2 diabetes can improve their symptoms with a few simple lifestyle tweaks.
Its the Holy Grail for people with diabetes: Checking your blood sugar and seeing the numbers right in line. Can lifestyle changes help? Yes, says Jill Weisenberger, RDN, a diabetes nutrition expert based in Newport News, Virginia.
If you have diabetes, lowering blood sugar isnt just a short-term goal according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , it helps prevent or delay diabetes complications, including heart, kidney, eye, and nerve diseases. It can change the course of the disease entirely.
It’s 100 percent important that try and lower their blood sugars through dietary approaches first, says Jessica Crandall Snyder, RD, CDCES, with Vital RD in Denver. For some people, it not only can be preventive, but it can also help with reversal of the actual disease.
Crandall Snyder says making a few key lifestyle changes can sometimes eliminate the need for medication. Poking yourself with insulin isn’t fun, she says. Diabetes is a progressive disease, and you really have to figure out how to take control.
Here are 10 ways to do it, no prescriptions required.
How To Fix High Blood Sugars In The Morning
The Dawn Phenomenon
More than half of people with diabetes are thought to experience dawn phenomenon, and it can lead to significant increases in HbA1c.
The dawn phenomenon begins when your body secretes a surge of hormones, including growth hormone, cortisol, adrenaline and glucagon. These hormones start working very early each morning around the same time to prepare your body to wake. Basically, your body is starting the engine, releasing some fuel, and prepping to go for the day.
These hormones trigger the conversion of the livers glycogen stores into glucose which is then dumped into the blood in a process called glycogenolysis.
This general process occurs in all humans regardless of whether they have diabetes. In people without diabetes, the bodys natural insulin response prevents the blood sugars from rising. In people with diabetes, though, the body is unable to produce a healthy insulin response, and therefore blood glucose levels spike up.
The Mayo Clinic suggests several strategies you can try to combat the effects of dawn phenomenon:
- Use an insulin pump to administer extra insulin during early-morning hours.
- Avoid carbohydrates at bedtime.
- Adjust your dose of medication or insulin.
- Switch to a different glucose-lowering medication.
- Adjust the time when you take your medication or insulin from dinnertime to bedtime.
What Works for Some People
High Blood Sugars from the Night Before
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What Causes High Blood Sugar
There are many causes of blood sugar to spike, some of which include:
- Not taking enough insulin for the carbohydrates you eat
- Eating more than you planned
- Being inactive or exercising less than you usually do
- Drinking alcohol
- Emotional stress
- Skipping your insulin or oral glucose-lowering medications
- Other problems with insulin or insulin administration
Have you ever wondered why you sometimes have high blood sugars in the morning for no apparent reason? You might be suffering from something called the dawn phenomenon. Find out more about it and why it happens here.
Other Steps For How To Reduce Blood Sugar Level Immediately
While insulin is what will mainly help, there are other methods that can be used in both severe and less so severe cases of hyperglycemia. Alternative methods are especially helpful for those with non-insulin-dependent diabetes.
In severe cases , its advisable for healthcare professionals to take care of you.
First, they will likely inject insulin to your veins . In addition to this, they will rehydrate you with fluids, usually directly to your veins too. They will also give you nutrients at the same time, in the same manner.
This treatment gives some clues as to how to reduce blood sugar level immediately in less severe cases:
1) Stay hydrated drink water. Since being thirsty is a symptom of hyperglycemia/high blood glucose, youll probably want to be drinking plenty of water anyway. This helps with flushing out excess glucose.
2) Stay nourished. This is less straightforward, since eating food can often lead to even higher levels of blood glucose. But because youll be drinking a great deal of water , youll also be flushing out nutrients at the same time.
So, its worth considering eating something nourishing after youve lowered your blood sugar. Or, if you want to keep up your nutrients during hyperglycemia, consider drinking fluids without carbs and with electrolytes.
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Is Hyperglycaemia Serious
The aim of diabetes treatment is to keep blood sugar levels as near to normal as possible.
But if you have diabetes, no matter how careful you are, you’re likely to experience hyperglycaemia at some point.
It’s important to be able to recognise and treat hyperglycaemia, as it can lead to serious health problems if left untreated.
Occasional mild episodes are not usually a cause for concern and can be treated quite easily or may return to normal on their own.
But hyperglycaemia can be potentially dangerous if blood sugar levels become very high or stay high for long periods.
Very high blood sugar levels can cause life-threatening complications, such as:
- diabetic ketoacidosis a condition caused by the body needing to break down fat as a source of energy, which can lead to a diabetic coma this tends to affect people with type 1 diabetes
- hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state severe dehydration caused by the body trying to get rid of excess sugar this tends to affect people with type 2 diabetes
Regularly having high blood sugar levels for long periods of time can result in permanent damage to parts of the body such as the eyes, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels.
If you experience hyperglycaemia regularly, speak to your doctor or diabetes care team.
You may need to change your treatment or lifestyle to keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Losing weight helps control blood sugar levels. Being overweight is linked to increased incidents of diabetes and greater occurrences of insulin resistance.
Studies show that reducing weight by even only 7 percent can reduce the chances of developing diabetes by 58 percent.
It is important to note that a person does not need to achieve ideal body weight to benefit from losing 1020 pounds and keeping it off. Doing so will also improve cholesterol, reduce the risk of complications, and improve a persons general sense of well-being.
Eating a healthful diet full of fruits and vegetables and getting enough exercise can help a person lose weight or maintain their currently healthy weight.
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If My A1c Is Normal My Glucose Is Good
An A1C result thatâs below 5.7% is normal âs standards, but having a result below that number isnât the end of the story. Pregnancy, hemoglobin variants, anemia, liver disease, and certain medications can cause inaccurate A1C results.
Additionally, the A1C test is measuring your average glucose value over the past 3 months, but averages inherently do not capture highs and lows. So, you could have a normal average while also having abnormal glucose spikes. The A1C test should only supplement your regular blood sugar testing, not replace it completely.
Keep A Healthy Weight
At present, two out of three adults in the US are considered to be overweight or obese .
Being overweight or obese can make it more difficult for your body to use insulin and control blood sugar levels.
This can lead to blood sugar spikes and a corresponding higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The precise ways it works are still unclear, but theres lots of evidence linking obesity to insulin resistance and the development of type 2 diabetes .
Weight loss, on the other hand, has been shown to improve blood sugar control.
In one study, 35 obese people lost an average of 14.5 pounds over 12 weeks while they were on a diet of 1,600 calories a day. Their blood sugar dropped by an average of 14% .
In another study of people without diabetes, weight loss was found to decrease the incidence of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% .
Being overweight makes it difficult for your body to control blood sugar levels. Even losing a little weight can improve your blood sugar control.
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Blood Sugar Spike Causes
Blood sugar levels fluctuate all day long. When you eat food, particularly those foods that are high in carbohydrates like bread, potatoes, or pasta, your blood sugar will immediately begin to rise.
If your blood sugar is consistently high, you need to talk to your doctor about improving your diabetes management. Blood sugar rises when:
- youre not taking enough insulin
- your insulin isnt lasting as long as you think it is
- youre not taking your oral diabetes medication
- your medication dosage needs adjusting
- youre using expired insulin
- youre not following your nutritional plan
- you have an illness or infection
- youre using certain medications, like steroids
- youre under physical stress, such as an injury or surgery
- youre under emotional stress, such as trouble at work or home or with money problems
If your blood sugar is usually well-controlled, but youre experiencing unexplained blood sugar spikes, there might be a more acute cause.
Try keeping a record of all the food and drinks you consume. Check your blood sugar levels according to your doctors recommendations.
Its common to record your blood sugar reading first thing in the morning, before youve eaten, and then again two hours after eating. Even a few days of recorded information can help you and your doctor discover whats causing your blood sugar spikes.
Common culprits include:
How Does High Blood Sugar Affect The Body
Monitoring your blood sugar is essential if you have diabetes. Symptoms will get worse if treatment is not provided, and serious health complications can arise as a result. The signs of high blood sugar to look for include fatigue, blurred vision, and headaches along with:
- Frequent urination and thirst: Excess sugar in the blood is passed through the kidneys and into urine. This draws more water into the urine which means more frequent urination. High glucose levels cause thirst even when you are drinking enough fluids.
- Weight loss: Elevated blood sugar levels over time can lead to unexplained weight loss as a result of cells not getting the glucose they need. As a result, they start burning fat instead.
- Numbness: High blood sugar can cause tingling and numbness in the extremities. It is important to note that this is a complication of long-term diabetes and uncontrolled blood sugar levels.
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Stick To Your Medication And Insulin Regimen
Skipping a dose of medication or insulin can be harmful to your body and increase your blood sugar levels.
Its important to stick to your treatment plan and follow your doctors instructions for taking your medication.
Healthful lifestyle habits can help people manage their blood sugar levels over the long term, such as eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, staying hydrated, and getting good sleep.
Can Drinking A Lot Of Water Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels
Although feeling very thirsty is a symptom of a hyper, drinking a lot of water will not bring your blood sugar levels down. It will only help to reduce your risk of dehydration.
Its important that you take your diabetes medication to bring your blood sugar levels down. If you have consistently high blood sugar levels, you will need to follow the advice below and speak to your diabetes healthcare team.
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Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome
This mostly affects elderly people. As glucose builds up in your blood, your body tries to get rid of it through your urine.
At first, you pee a lot. Over time, you pee less, but when you do, itâs very dark. This condition can lead to dehydration, coma, and death.
Get medical help right away if you have any of these warning signs:
- Blood sugar level over 600 mg/dL
- Extreme thirst that may later go away
- Warm, dry skin that doesnât sweat
- Fever over 101 F
- Weakness on one side of your body
- Vision loss
You can avoid many of these problems by keeping your blood sugar under control. Follow your doctorâs advice about diet and exercise, take your medicine, keep up with your doctor visits, and check your levels often.
Causes Of High Blood Sugar
The leading causes of high blood sugar or hyperglycemia include:
Diet: Glucose comes from food, so what you are eating causes high blood sugar. Carbohydrates are the most common culprit as they are broken down into glucose very quickly in the body. High-sugar foods, high-fat foods, and processed foods also cause blood glucose spikes and should be replaced with healthier options.
Stress: When you are stressed, more stress hormones and chemicals are released, which drives blood sugar levels up too. If the stress is only temporary, this is not a serious issue, but if you experience chronic stress or an anxiety disorder, you may experience high blood sugar levels more often.
Metabolic Syndrome: These are a collection of conditions that occur at the same time and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. High blood pressures, excess fat around the waist, and high cholesterol or triglycerides are examples of these conditions. When these occur in the body together, your risk for diabetes increases as does your blood sugar and the risk for potential complications.
Physical Inactivity: A lack of physical activity contributes to elevated blood sugar. When you are physically active each day, insulin works more efficiently, and your blood sugar can be maintained.
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