Why Does Your Blood Sugar Rise
When you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks down the sugars they contain into glucose. Your body can’t absorb most sugars without breaking them down first. Simple sugars such as refined sugar break down very quickly you absorb them rapidly into your bloodstream, which raises your blood sugar. In healthy people, the levels don’t rise very high and they drop back to normal quickly. If you have diabetes, your levels after a meal will rise higher and stay high longer than levels in other people. This occurs because your pancreas either don’t release enough insulin, the hormone that helps cells absorb glucose, or because the cells don’t respond properly to insulin release.
What Causes High Morning Blood Sugars
Two main culprits prompt morning highs: the dawn phenomenon and waning insulin. A third, much rarer cause, known as the Somogyi effect, may also be to blame.
The occasional morning high will have little impact on your A1C, a measure of your average blood sugar levels over time that indicates how well managed your diabetes is. But if those highs become consistent, they could push your A1C up into dangerous territory.
Levels In The Morning
The best time to check blood sugar levels in the morning is right when you wake up and before you eat anything. This gives you a glimpse of what may be happening overnight, and it gives you a baseline for the day.
These are goal levels, according to The Joslin Diabetes Center:
- Under 70 mg/dl if you do not have diabetes.
- 70 to 130 mg/dl if you have diabetes.
The dawn effect can often lead to a high morning measurement in diabetes. This is your bodys tendency to get ready for the day by raising blood sugar by increasing levels of counter-regulatory hormones the ones that counteract insulin as in normal blood sugar. For people with diabetes, you do not have the capacity to counterbalance this rise in blood sugar, so levels can be dangerously high.
Ways to lower your morning blood sugar value include:
- Eating dinner earlier
- Checking your medications making sure you are taking them properly and asking your doctor if they are correct
- Going for a walk after dinner
- Including protein with your dinner
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How Is It Determined If The Dawn Phenomenon Or Somogyi Effect Is Causing The High Blood Sugar Levels
Your doctor will likely ask you to check your blood sugar levels between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. for several nights in a row. If your blood sugar is consistently low during this time, the Somogyi effect is suspected. If the blood sugar is normal during this time period, the dawn phenomenon is more likely to be the cause.
Some additional clues that the Somogyi effect may be the cause include nightmares, restless sleep and overnight sweating as these are all signs of low blood sugar levels.
Normal Blood Sugar Levels In Children
Younger than 6 years old mg/dL
Adults who are 20 years or older will have blood sugar levels that range between less than 100-180 mg/dL over the course of a day. When you wake up in the morning, your fasting blood sugar should be at its lowest because you havent consumed food for about eight hours. If youre an adult and struggling with glucose control, your healthcare provider can help you develop a treatment plan to manage your blood sugar better.
Blood glucose levels outside the ranges listed above are categorized as either high or low blood sugar. Blood sugar levels are considered high if theyre over 130 mg/dL before a meal or 180 mg/dL within one to two hours after a meal. Many people wont start to experience symptoms from high blood sugar until their levels are at 250 mg/dL or higher. The highest blood sugar level thats considered safe will depend on the person and whether they have diabetes, but will typically be between 160 to 240 mg/dL.
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When To Call For Medical Advice
It is important to note that very high blood glucose levels can be dangerous and it is important to be aware of the symptoms and risk factors of the following conditions:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis a short term complication most commonly associated with type 1 diabetes
- Hyperosmolar Hyperglycaemic State a short term complication most commonly associated with type 2 diabetes
If you are struggling to keep your blood glucose levels under control, speak to your GP or consultant who can advise you or refer you onto a diabetes education course.
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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Planning For Sick Days
Your body releases stress hormones when you are sick, which can cause hyperglycemia. Keep taking your insulin and other diabetes medications, even if you are throwing up. If you have ketones and your blood sugar is above 240 mg/dL, call your doctor. They might also want you to call if:
- You have diarrhea that lasts more than 6 hours
- You are throwing up
- You have a high fever or trouble breathing
- You feel very sleepy or confused
Continue checking your blood sugar levels and keep track of the results.
So Whats Making You High
As diabetics we are constantly striving to maintain a perfect blood glucose level. Having a high fasting reading constantly is a cause for major concern and can definitely affect your hbA1c and by extension your health if not corrected. For 3 or 4 days in a row, plan specific blood glucose testing times. You should also prepare your own meals during this testing period so that you are certain of the carbohydrate content. Try to have your last meal at least 2 hours before bedtime. Check your blood glucose at bedtime, wake up around 3 a.m to test again, and take the final reading at your usual wake-up time. Comparing these results can identify what is the underlying cause of your high blood glucose level in the morning. Sometimes it can also be a combination of issues. The table below is a guideline to follow to assist in identifying the problem. Always seek medical advice from your doctor pertaining to medication dosages and modifications.
|Find the Culprit of your Fasting High Blood Glucose Level|
If your 2 hour post dinner time is close to your bedtime there is no need to test again. If it is more than an hour apart include both tests. These are quite a lot of test which will be done over a couple day. Your fingers will be sore but it will lead to discovering your underlying problem.
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Blood Sugar Level 200
Blood sugar level 200-250 mg/dl is considered as diabetes. If having such increased glucose level, you should start immediately anti-diabetic treatment.
You should understand how your sugar levels change depending on the time you get the test.
NORMAL or DANGEROUS & nbsp& #160Type Your Blood sugar Level: & nbsp& #160
High Blood Sugar At : What Causes It
Poor diet and lack of medication are the biggest culprits of high blood sugar. Well be covering diet more below.
There are a few other causes for high blood sugar that may explain your high reading.
- Illness, such as having the flu, also raises stress hormones
- General stress, which is why its not good to panic when your blood sugar is high
- Certain medications, such as steroids
Work with your healthcare team to address any of the above concerns to optimize your glucose control.
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High Blood Glucose: Diabetic Ketoacidosis
If your insulin level is too low, your blood glucose could become so high that it is unsafe. You might develop a serious problem called diabetic ketoacidosis . This usually happens in people with Type 1 diabetes and those with glucose levels over 500.
If you have DKA, chemicals called ketones start to make a lot of acid in your body. The acid and high blood glucose can make you very sick. You might also become dehydrated . You can prevent DKA by carefully giving yourself the correct insulin dose every day.
If you have any of the following symptoms of DKA, get to your local emergency department right away. You need to be treated with insulin and fluids that are given to you through an IV :
- Blurry vision
- Dry mouth, eyes or skin
- Fast breathing
- Feeling very weak or tired
- Fruity-smelling breath
- Stomach pain, nausea or vomiting
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.
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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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How To Treat Hyperglycemia
Just as there are immediate complications of hyperglycemia and long-term complications of hyperglycemia, there are also immediate and long-term treatment recommendations.
If you or someone you know are showing signs of either DKA or HHS, emergency treatment is required either via the emergency room or admission into the hospital.
Most instances of hyperglycemia are not emergent, though and can be treated at home in a variety of ways.
- Fast-acting insulin: Individuals with type I diabetes and those with type II diabetes on sliding scale insulin can use a bolus of fast-acting insulin to correct hyperglycemia. Insulin injection is the only way to immediately treat high blood sugar. You should start to see the blood sugar drop within about one hour, but you will not see the full effect for about 3-4 hours after injection. If your blood sugar does not start to come down after 3 hours, consider checking your insulin vile to make sure that it has not passed the expiration date or that there is nothing floating in the bottle that might have contaminated the medication. Contact your doctor if thereâs no improvement in blood sugar. Oral medications work in a variety of ways, but none of them are used to treat high blood sugar in the moment.
A diagnosis of diabetes can be overwhelming and it can be difficult to know where to start. Take things one step at a time. Set SMART goals and check in with your progress frequently. Treating hyperglycemia is just one part of managing diabetes.
Drink Drink Drink Some Water
Dehydration can cause high blood sugars, which means getting hydrated can help prevent and reduce high blood sugars.
Your blood consists partly of water. When you dont drink enough water throughout the day, the other things in your blood become more concentrated! And thus, higher blood sugar levels.
You know that uncomfortable thirst you feel when your blood sugars are high? Give in to it. This is how your body helps flush excess sugar out through your urine, and how you replenish the necessary fluid balance in your bloodstream.
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Managing Your Diabetes Devices
If you are using an insulin pump, talk to your diabetes team about how to best manage hyperglycemia. In general, be sure to check your pump first. Make sure all parts are connected and working correctly. Check your bolus history and temporary basal rate. Also check your insulin to make sure it has not expired or gotten too warm.
If you use a CGM, try not to react to it too often. You might be tempted to give another dose of insulin too soon, before the first one finishes working, which is known as stacking insulin this can cause low blood sugar .
Long Acting Insulin Not Working For The Entire 24 Hours
THIS WAS THE CULPRIT FOR ME! I would normally go to sleep with a blood sugar of between 6.5 mmol/L and 7.5 mmol/L. Between 3:00 a.m and 4:00 a.m I would have a reading of between 12 mmol/L and 16 mmol/L. I normally took my basal insulin in the morning around 7:00 a.m. Lantus is supposed to be active for 24 hours controlling your blood sugar levels when you are not eating. However, in some individuals like myself, it only lasts about 18 to 20 hours. During long periods of time when we are not eating , the liver releases glucose to fuel the body. In my case, there was no long acting insulin in my body to handle this glucose, resulting in my high fasting blood sugars.
Also note that not eating will not help the issue. One may tend to not want to eat if they have a high fasting blood sugar. Eating and taking insulin will signal to the body that the fasting period is over and there is no need for the liver to release glucose into the bloodstream.
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Blood Sugar Levels During Pregnancy
The NIDDK states that gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that occurs during pregnancy if you were not diabetic before getting pregnant. Healthy blood sugar during pregnancy can help lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes later. It can also lower the risk of your baby being born prematurely, at a high birth weight, and having respiratory problems.
Blood sugar and insulin levels during the first trimester of pregnancy tend to be lower than usual, but they rise during the late second and early third trimesters. You can be diagnosed with an oral glucose tolerance test .
These are the steps for the 2-step strategy.
- Drink a solution with 50 grams of glucose about the amount in 1 16-oz. bottle of a soft drink
- Get your blood drawn after 1 hour. IF the value is high, retest
- Fast overnight
- Drink a solution with 100 grams of glucose about the amount in 12 peanut butter cups
- Get your blood drawn immediately and after 1, 2, and 3 hours
Or, your doctor might use the 1-step strategy with a 2-hour OGTT:
- Fast overnight
- Drink a solution with 75 grams of glucose
- Get your blood drawn immediately and after 1 and 2 hours
These are some values to know from NIDKK related to gestational diabetes and healthy blood sugar in pregnancy.
|Time or Situation|
|Baseline: at least 105 mg/dl1 hour: at least 190 mg/dl2 hours: at least 165 mg/dl3 hours: at least 145 mg/dl|
Why Does Blood Sugar Go Up At Night
There are many factors that can cause your blood sugar to increase at night. For example: what food you ate during the day, how much and when you exercised, whether you ate snacks before bed, the timing of your insulin doses, and your stress level. You can experience different patterns of high blood sugar at night. You may start with high glucose when you go to bed, start the night in range but go high several hours later, or spend most of the night in range until the hours just before you wake up. By identifying your bodys patterns, you can figure out what is causing your high blood sugar and how to address it.
Common causes of a glucose increase at night include:
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