How Does It Work
A sensor the size of a £2 coin sits on the back of the arm with a probe just under the skin.
An overview of flash-GM
- Flash-GM requires an interstitial sensor the size of a £2 coin and a receiver. The sensor is self-inserted into the upper arm and lasts up to 14 days. It is attached to the body with clinical adhesives. It transmits glucose data to a receiver when it is scanned. The receiver may be a handset or the users mobile phone and it stores and displays their data.
- Various apps and software are available to present this data to the user and clinician using the cloud. They can then review and respond to glucose patterns.
- Interstitial glucose lags behind capillary blood glucose by 5-7 minutes. This means that when blood glucose is changing rapidly the measurements will differ. For this reason during episodes of hypoglycaemia patients and clinicians must revert to finger-prick testing.
- A new version of flash-GM has an optional alarm connected via Bluetooth to warn the wearer if their blood glucose is going too low. Scanning is still required to see the actual blood glucose level and trend arrow.
Monitor Blood Sugar Levels Closely
High blood sugar levels often do not cause symptoms until they run well over 200 mg/dL. As such, it is essential for a person with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar several times a day. Doing so will mean that blood sugar levels never get that high.
A person with diabetes can use a home glucose monitor to check blood sugar levels. These are available for purchase online.
Recommendations for how frequently to check glucose levels during the day will vary from person to person. A doctor can make the best recommendations regarding blood sugar monitoring to a person with diabetes.
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.
Get More Quality Shuteye
Poor or limited sleep affects body chemistry, and getting more slumber helps with blood sugar control, Weisenberger says. Chronic lack of sleep may contribute to the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a small study published in Diabetologia in February 2015. Healthy volunteers who slept only four hours for three nights in a row had higher levels of fatty acids in their blood, which reduced insulins ability to regulate blood sugar by about 23 percent, the researchers found. Lack of sleep is also linked with other health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, and stroke, according to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends aiming for seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
Having sleep troubles? Follow these recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation:
- Sleep in a cool, dark room.
- Avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine in the hours before bed.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends.
- Dont look at screens for at least a half hour before bedtime, including TV, tablets, cell phones, and computers.
What Should My Blood Sugar Level Be
When you’re first diagnosed with diabetes, your diabetes care team will usually tell you what your blood sugar level is and what you should aim to get it down to.
You may be advised to use a testing device to monitor your blood sugar level regularly at home.
Or you may have an appointment with a nurse or doctor every few months to see what your average blood sugar level is. This is known as your HbA1c level.
Target blood sugar levels differ for everyone, but generally speaking:
- if you monitor yourself at home with a self-testing kit a normal target is 4 to 7mmol/l before eating and under 8.5 to 9mmol/l 2 hours after a meal
- if your HbA1c level is tested every few months a normal HbA1c target is below 48mmol/mol
The Diabetes UK website has more about blood sugar levels and testing.
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Increase Your Fiber Intake
High fiber is key to the foods that lower blood sugar, so increasing your soluble fiber intake will help you lower your blood sugar. Focus on eating foods that stabilize blood sugar such as unrefined carbohydrates like whole grain bread or pasta, sweet potatoes, legumes, lentils, nuts, and non-starchy vegetables.
Another perk? High fiber foods can help you feel fuller. That can help you avoid overeating or craving foods that can negatively affect your blood sugar. Men should aim for 30 to 38 grams daily, and women 21 to 25 grams daily, according to the Mayo Clinic.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperglycemia
The signs and symptoms include the following:
- High blood sugar
- High levels of sugar in the urine
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
Part of managing your diabetes is checking your blood sugar often. Ask your doctor how often you should check and what your blood sugar levels should be. Checking your blood and then treating high blood sugar early will help you avoid problems associated with hyperglycemia.
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How Do You Feel When Your Blood Sugar Is Too High
Whether you are at risk for diabetes mellitus or already have it, its essential to listen to your body for signs of high blood sugar. The following symptoms can indicate that your blood sugar is higher than normal, a condition called hyperglycemia:
- Trouble thinking or concentrating
Its important to monitor your blood sugar because severely elevated blood sugar levels can lead to a life-threatening medical emergency and result in coma or other dangerous conditions. Elevated blood sugars over years can cause long-term effects such as poor wound healing, nerve, blood cell, and kidney damage, heart disease, stroke, and vision problems.
Keep in mind that, in many cases, low blood sugar follows an episode of high blood sugar, says M. Kara, MD, the founder of KaraMD. Repeat episodes are sometimes considered a precursor to diabetes.
Those with prediabetes may be prescribed medication to keep blood sugar levels in check. There are also ways to lower your blood sugar naturally. Keeping your blood glucose levels in the healthy range decreases your risk of diabetes complications. Those with Type 1 diabetes will need insulin regardless of their good habits.
How To Prevent Hyperglycaemia
There are simple ways to reduce your risk of severe or prolonged hyperglycaemia:
- Be careful what you eat be particularly aware of how snacking and eating sugary foods or carbohydrates can affect your blood sugar level.
- Stick to your treatment plan remember to take your insulin or other diabetes medications as recommended by your care team.
- Be as active as possible getting regular exercise can help stop your blood sugar level rising, but you should check with your doctor first if you’re taking diabetes medication, as some medicines can lead to hypoglycaemia if you exercise too much.
- Take extra care when you’re ill your care team can provide you with some “sick day rules” that outline what you can do to keep your blood sugar level under control during an illness.
- Monitor your blood sugar level your care team may suggest using a device to check your level at home so you can spot an increase early and take steps to stop it.
Page last reviewed: 08 August 2018 Next review due: 08 August 2021
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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
Need To Exercise Regularly:
Making the habit of exercising on regular basis will help you to lose the weight and also increase insulin sensitivity. This means that your cells are better able to use the available sugar in your bloodstream. It would also be helping out your muscles to use blood sugar for the sake of the energy and muscle contraction.
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Whats My Target Range
You might be asking, what’s the normal range for blood sugar levels? The answer is, there is a healthy range that you should ideally be aiming for. The infographics above show the general guidelines, but your individual target range for your blood sugar levels may be different. Youll healthcare team will agree with you what it is.
Youll get different readings at different times of the day, depending on things like what youve eaten and how much you are moving around. Heres a guide to help you get started on finding your target range:
If youre a child with Type 1 diabetes
- when you wake up and before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
- after meals: 5 to 9mmol/l
If youre an adult with Type 1 diabetes
- when you wake up and before meals: 5 to 7mmol/l
- before meals at other times of the day: 4 to 7mmol/l
If you have Type 2 diabetes
- before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
- two hours after meals: less than 8.5mmol/l
When Blood Sugar Is Too Low
Glucose is a sugar that comes from the foods we eat, and it’s also formed and stored inside the body. It’s the main source of energy for the cells of our body, and is carried to each cell through the bloodstream. Our brains depend on glucose to function, even when we’re sleeping.
The is the amount of glucose in the blood. When these levels drop too low, it’s called hypoglycemia . Very low blood sugar levels can cause serious symptoms that need to be treated right away.
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How Do I Treat Hyperglycemia
You can often lower your blood sugar level by exercising. However, if your blood sugar is above 240 mg/dl, check your urine for ketones. If you have ketones, do not exercise.
Exercising when ketones are present may make your blood sugar level go even higher. You’ll need to work with your doctor to find the safest way for you to lower your blood sugar level.
Cutting down on the amount of food you eat might also help. Work with your dietitian to make changes in your meal plan. If exercise and changes in your diet don’t work, your doctor may change the amount of your medication or insulin or possibly the timing of when you take it.
Treatment For Type 2 Diabetes
It is possible for a person to initially control the symptoms of type 2 diabetes by following a healthy diet, taking regular exercise and keeping their blood glucose levels within an agreed target range. Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition so they may eventually need to take diabetes medication which will usually be in tablet form. A treatment programme will be tailored to suit the person’s needs by the diabetes team and will typically include one or a combination of the following:
- changing to a healthier diet
- medication such as metformin
- injectable GLP-1
- insulin therapies.
Keeping blood glucose levels under control is vital in reducing the risk of diabetes complications. If a person is overweight, weight loss can often help to reduce the extent of diabetes symptoms. Type 2 diabetes is effectively controlled when a person is involved in the management of their own programme of treatment. Effective ‘self-management’ is essential to successfully achieving their healthy targets for HbA1c, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A person with type 2 diabetes may need medication that reduces high levels of blood glucose. In the first instance this will usually be glucose-lowering tablets and it may also include injectable insulin. Some oral medications for lowering blood glucose levels can cause hypoglycaemia for example, Gliclazide, Glipizide and Glimpiride.
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Add Probiotics To Your Diet
Probiotics have significant effects on reduction of glucose, HbA1c, insulin levels and insulin resistance in diabetics, according to research. Probiotics encourage a healthy gut microbiome, which improves glucose metabolism. This positively benefits lipid profile, glycemic control, inflammation and blood pressure in diabetes type 2 patients.
High Blood Sugar Symptoms
The most common symptoms of hyperglycemia are:
- Increased thirst and/or hunger
“If someone has hyperglycemia, it would mean they would be very thirsty, tired, they might be urinating more frequently and basically not feeling well,” says Sam Zager, M.D. a family medicine physician in Maine.
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Why Is Sugar In Urine
It’s normal and healthy for there to be glucose in the blood, and the normal range for blood glucose is around 70 mg/dL110 mg/dL, and it can fluctuate throughout the day. When your blood is filtered through the kidneys it carries with it the sugar that is normally in your bloodstream.
Your kidneys are then responsible for filtering blood by removing wastes and excess fluid and returning the cleaned blood back to the body, filtering the rest to the bladder to be excreted in your urine.
Most of the sugar is reabsorbed by the kidneys and put back into the bloodstream. However, some sugar remains and travels with the rest of the fluid to the bladder, leaving the body with your urine.
Checking For Low Blood Sugar Levels
The warning signs of hypoglycemia are the body’s natural response to low blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels fall too low, the body releases the hormone adrenaline, which helps get stored glucose into the bloodstream quickly. This can make someone:
- start shaking
- have an increased heart rate
If the hypoglycemia isn’t treated, more serious symptoms may happen, such as drowsiness, confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
The only way to know for sure if you’re having a low blood sugar level is to test. Blood sugar levels can be tested with a . This computerized device measures and displays the amount of glucose in a blood sample. But if you can’t quickly check your blood sugar level, it’s important to treat yourself for hypoglycemia immediately to prevent symptoms from getting worse.
Sometimes a person with diabetes may have symptoms of low blood sugar levels, but blood sugar levels are not actually low. This is a called a false reaction. The hormone adrenaline is not just released when blood sugar drops too low it’s also released when blood sugar levels fall quickly when they’re too high. If you’re having a false reaction, you might actually have blood sugar levels in a healthy range but feel as if you have low blood sugar. Testing blood sugar levels before treating yourself for hypoglycemia can help you figure out if you’re having a false reaction.
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How To Lower Blood Sugar Immediately
Michael Menna, DO, is a board-certified, active attending emergency medicine physician at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York.
If you have high blood sugar, a condition also known as hyperglycemia, theres too much sugar in your blood and not enough insulin in your body to lower it. In people with diabetes, hyperglycemia can be caused by things like eating too many carbohydrates, lack of physical activity, stress from an illness or infection, nondiabetes medications , or skipping or not taking enough glucose-lowering medication.
Hyperglycemia requires immediate treatment to prevent serious complications, including nerve, tissue, and organ damage diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome . While taking rapid-acting insulin is the quickest way to lower your blood sugar, there are other ways like exercising and staying hydrated that can help. In cases of an emergency, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
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.
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