How Can I Pay For Tests And Diabetes Supplies
Medicareexternal icon, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans pay for the A1C test and fasting blood sugar test as well as some diabetes supplies. Check your plan or ask your health care team for help finding low-cost or free supplies, and see How to Save Money on Diabetes Care for more resources.
Chronic Constipation Or Chronic Diarrhea
Both constipation and diarrhea can be caused by high blood glucose, acting on different sections of the bowel. When high blood glucose affects the small intestine, the result is often diarrhea when it affects the large intestine, the result is often constipation.
The two intestines have very different jobs, which helps to explain how high blood glucose can affect them differently. The job of the small intestine is to absorb nutrients from digested food, and the job of the large intestine is to absorb water from indigestible waste material.
When neuropathy from elevated blood glucose affects the enteric nerves the guts command and control system in the small intestine, the result can be dysfunctions in motility, leading to delayed emptying into the large intestine. This causes the stagnation of fluids in the small intestine, allowing bacterial overgrowth that causes bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Frequent diarrhea is seen in 22 percent of people with diabetes. Enteric neuropathy, in addition to laying the ground work for bacterial overgrowth, can in itself be a painful chronic condition similar to the foot pain suffered by people with peripheral neuropathy.
In a similar way, nerve damage can slow the movement of waste through the large intestine. Slow-moving waste is essentially dehydrated or dried out too much by the large intestine, resulting in constipation.
Home Blood Sugar Monitoring
Routine blood sugar monitoring with a blood glucose meter is the best way to be sure that your treatment plan is keeping your blood sugar within your target range. Check your blood sugar as often as your health care provider recommends.
If you have any symptoms of severe hyperglycemia even if they seem minor check your blood sugar level right away.
If your blood sugar level is 240 mg/dL or above, use an over-the-counter urine ketones test kit. If the urine test is positive, your body may have started making the changes that can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. Talk to your health care provider about how to lower your blood sugar level safely.
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What You Can Do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. If your health care provider is going to test your blood sugar, you may need to stop eating or drinking anything but water for up to eight hours before your appointment. When you’re making an appointment, ask if there are any restrictions on eating or drinking.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you take.
- Create a record of metered glucose values. Give your health care provider a written or printed record of your blood glucose values, times and medication. Using the record, your health care provider can recognize trends and offer advice on how to prevent hyperglycemia or adjust your medication to treat hyperglycemia.
- Write down questions to ask your health care provider. If you need more information about your diabetes management, be sure to ask.
- Check if you need prescription refills. Your health care provider can renew your prescriptions while you’re at the appointment.
For hyperglycemia, questions you may want to ask include:
- How often do I need to monitor my blood sugar?
- What is my target range?
- How do diet and exercise affect my blood sugar?
- When do I test for ketones?
- How can I prevent high blood sugar?
- Do I need to worry about low blood sugar? What are the symptoms I need to watch for?
- Will I need follow-up care?
Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome : When Hyperglycemia Becomes Severe For People With Type 2 Diabetes
Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome is very rare, but you should be aware of it and know how to handle it if it occurs.
HHNS is when your blood glucose level goes way too highyou become extremely hyperglycemic. HHNS affects people with type 2 diabetes.
HHNS is most likely to occur when you’re sick, and elderly people are most likely to develop it.
It starts when your blood glucose level starts to climb: when that happens, your body will try to get rid of all the excess glucose through frequent urination. That dehydrates your body, and you’ll become very thirsty.
Unfortunately, when you’re sick, it’s sometimes more difficult to rehydrate your body. For example, it might be difficult to keep fluids down.
When you don’t rehydrate your body, the blood glucose level continues to climb, and it can eventually go so high that it could send you into a coma.
To avoid hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome, you should keep close watch on your blood glucose level when you’re sick .
Talk to your health care professional about having a sick-day plan to follow that will help you avoid HHNS.
You should also be able to quickly recognize the signs and symptoms of HHNS, which include:
Extremely high blood glucose level
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Can Hyperglycemia Be Treated
Your doctor may recommend a low-impact exercise program as your first line of defense. If youre already following a fitness plan, they may recommend that you increase your overall level of activity.
Your doctor may also suggest that you reduce glucose-rich food intake. Its important to maintain a balanced diet and stick to healthy food portions. If you arent sure where to begin, your doctor can refer you to a dietician or nutritionist who can help you establish a diet plan.
If these changes dont help lower your high blood sugar, your doctor may prescribe medication. If you have diabetes, your doctor may prescribe oral medications or change the amount or type of insulin youve already been prescribed.
How To Lower Morning Blood Sugar
Whether a morning high is caused by the dawn phenomenon or something else, here are a few things you can try to lower your blood sugar levels:
Physical activity when you wake up can help bring your glucose level down. Even going for a walk can be helpful.
To learn about exercise guidelines and glucose management strategies, click here.
Read Adam Browns take on walking the most underrated diabetes exercise strategy.
Eating a light breakfast can help keep a morning high from increasing even more. Taking your mealtime insulin will help lower your blood sugar.
Adam Brown suggests eating a breakfast that is low in carbs, and notes that sometimes mealtime insulin has to be adjusted in the morning. One of his favorite breakfasts is chia pudding, since it has little impact on glucose levels see what else he eats for breakfast here.
Catherine Newman has six popular, low-carb, delicious recipes in The Morning Meal.
Intermittent fasting and time-restricted feeding approaches to meal timing can also help people keep morning blood sugar levels in range. Read Justine Szafrans Intermittent Fasting: Stabilizing My Morning Blood Sugars to learn more.
For additional ways to navigate mornings, read seven strategies from Adam Brown in A Home Run Breakfast with Diabetes.
This article is part of a series on time in range.
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What Is A Dangerous Blood Sugar Reading And What Should You Do About It
How high is high and how low is low find out so that next time you know how to handle an emergency.
Your blood sugar levels dont stay constant throughout the day. They vary, rising and falling before and after you have a meal, exercise, or take your medication. People who do not have diabetes dont feel the difference very much, as their variations remain within a certain range. But if you have diabetes, you may unexpectedly experience blood glucose levels that are acutely higher or lower than usual, which can be dangerous.It is important for you to be able to recognise the symptoms of high blood sugar hyperglycaemia, and low blood sugar hypoglycaemia, and know how to treat them quickly before they can lead to disastrous complications. The best way to do this is to frequently self-monitor blood glucose levels with a glucometer.
According to Dr Ketan K Mehta, Consulting Physician, CardioPulmonologist & Diabetologist at Health Harmony, Mumbai, Blood sugar levels are a marker of diabetes complications. Too high or too low levels of blood sugar values are detrimental. An important aspect of managing diabetes is self-monitoring of blood sugar levels. But do more than only monitoring blood sugar levels. Go the extra mile and usesmartphone app-based programmes to keep track of your blood sugar levels and learn to get them under control by managing your diet, activity levels and weight.
Controlled Means Different Things To Different People
Theres no one-size-fits-all recommendation for blood sugar control.
The ADA says that a reasonable goal for many nonpregnant adults is to aim for an A1C level of less than 7. Yet some patients may be given a more stringent goal by their healthcare providers, such as 6.5, if thats reachable without harmful side effects, including hypoglycemia.
On the other hand, if you are elderly, managing other health complications, or reliant on insulin, you may be given less stringent goals. It really becomes more important to just keep in the same place, says Rahil Bandukwala, DO, an endocrinologist at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California. Keeping A1C between 7.5 and 8.5 may be very reasonable for such a patient, Dr. Bandukwala adds, echoing the ADAs recommendations.
Because elderly people are more likely to have blood sugar that swings too far downward, with fewer warning signs, managing their glucose too tightly can put them at greater risk for hypoglycemia, says Bandukwala. When you have low blood sugar, youre at a higher risk for becoming dizzy and falling or passing out, notes the ADA.
A number of things can cause hyperglycemia:
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Several Factors May Cause A Persons Postprandial Blood Sugar To Remain Elevated
Smoking after the meal: Studies show that smoking raises blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Extreme stress: Stress produces the bodys fight-or-flight response triggering the release of stress hormones such as cortisol. These hormones cause the body to release the glucose it has previously stored for energy. Eating or drinking after the meal and before testing the blood sugar: Continuing to eat will keep blood sugars closer to their immediate post-meal levels.
Studies show that 15 to 20 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, shortly after a meal may improve glucose metabolism and reduce postprandial glucose levels.
Why Your Blood Sugar Level May Be High
Based on the ADA guidelines above, if your blood sugar is above 180 mg/dL two hours after a meal, it is considered above the normal range. What might cause your glucose or blood sugar to rise? Consider the following factors:
- Consuming more carbohydrates or a larger meal than usual
- Not taking enough insulin or oral diabetes medication based on carbohydrates or activity levels
- Reduced physical activity
- Side effects from medications like steroids or antipsychotics
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What Factors Affect Blood Sugar
You can guess that carbohydrate intake and insulin production are at least partly responsible for your blood sugar levels. But the list is much longer — almost every lifestyle choice you make can affect your blood sugar. Here’s just a partial list.
- Exercise can affect insulin sensitivity, leading to lower blood sugar for up to 48 hours.
- Alcohol intake increases insulin production, causing low blood sugar.
- Stress hormones like cortisol can raise blood sugar, because your body wants access to energy in order to escape what it perceives as a dangerous situation.
- Medications, especially statins and diuretics, can raise blood sugar. Statins are used to treat cholesterol, and diuretics for high blood pressure.
- Diet is a major player in blood sugar. Eating too many simple carbs at once can cause levels to skyrocket, while protein intake leads to a slower increase in blood sugar.
- Dehydration raises blood sugar, because with less water in your body the glucose concentration will be higher.
Other surprising factors can affect your blood sugar, like a sunburn or gum disease, so if you’re dealing with a blood sugar issue and can’t figure out what’s causing your spikes and dips, talk to a health care professional.
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How Are High Blood Sugar Levels Treated
To treat high blood sugar, it helps to know what is causing it. You might need to take more insulin or diabetes pills because youre growing and eating more food, or you might need to get more exercise each day.
Having high blood sugar levels every once in a while isnt a big deal. It happens to everyone with diabetes from time to time. But if your blood sugar levels are high a lot, your diabetes health care team will have to help you figure out how to get them back to a healthy level.
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What Is The Dawn Phenomenon
Your body uses glucose for energy and it is important to have enough extra energy to be able to wake up in the morning. So for a period of time in the early morning hours, usually between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m., your body starts churning out stored glucose to prepare for the upcoming day.
At the same time, your body releases hormones that reduce your sensitivity to insulin. In addition, these events may be happening while your diabetes medication doses taken the day before are wearing off.
These events cause your body’s blood sugar levels to rise in the morning .
High Blood Sugar And The Brain
People with high blood sugar can get confused, weak, and dizzyjust like people experiencing low blood sugarbut for a completely different reason. Its not the lack of fuel for the brain its the pollution that comes from burning fat. When the rest of the body is burning fat, byproducts known as ketones are released into the bloodstream. Ketones are very acidic and the brain is finicky it cant work in an environment with too much acid and begins to malfunction. Its a dangerous condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis .
Note that diabetic ketoacidosis differs from nutritional ketosis, which is the aim of the ketogenic or keto diet. In the keto diet, levels of ketones are much lower than in DKA.
It takes an excessive amount of ketones in the blood to affect the brain, so high blood sugar levels dont often affect the brain for dayssometimes weeks. In that time, the actual sugar levels can go up or down. Its the lack of insulin and the burning of fat rather than the presence of extra sugar that causes the problem.
So, giving sugar to people with high blood sugar isnt going to helpthey already have too much. But its not going to hurt, either.
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How Can I Check My Blood Sugar
Use a blood sugar meter or a continuous glucose monitor to check your blood sugar. A blood sugar meter measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip. A CGM uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. If you use a CGM, youll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.
What Are Normal Blood Glucose Levels In Healthy Individuals
Blood sugar levels can either be normal, high, or low, depending on how much glucose someone has in their bloodstream. Glucose is a simple sugar thats present in the bloodstream at all times. Normal blood glucose levels can be measured when someone fasts, eats, or after theyve eaten. A normal blood glucose level for adults, without diabetes, who havent eaten for at least eight hours is less than 100 mg/dL. A normal blood glucose level for adults, without diabetes, two hours after eating is 90 to 110 mg/dL.
Many factors affect blood sugar levels throughout the day:
- Type of food consumed, how much, and when
- Physical activity
- Menstrual periods
An ideal blood sugar level for anyone without diabetes or prediabetes, regardless of age, in the morning should be less than 100 mg/dL. Remember, blood sugar levels can fluctuate throughout the day as a result of the factors previously mentioned.
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Your Collars Too Tight
Carotid sinus syncope, or tight-collar syndrome, happens when something pushes on nerves at a wide part of your carotid artery in your neck. This interferes with blood flow to the brain and makes you faint. It happens quickly and without other symptoms like nausea, paleness, and sweating. In some cases, if it hasnt happened before, it may be a sign of narrowed arteries that need treatment.
Fainting: What Makes You Faint?
- American Diabetes Association: Hypoglycemia .
What Causes High Blood Sugar Levels
Managing diabetes is like a three-way balancing act because you have to watch:
All three need to be balanced. If any one of these is off, blood sugar levels can be too. In general, higher than normal blood glucose levels can be caused by:
- not taking your diabetes medicine when youre supposed to or not taking the right amounts
- having an illness, like the flu
- taking other kinds of medicines that affect how your diabetes medicines work
A single high blood sugar reading usually isnt cause for alarm it happens to everyone with diabetes from time to time. But if you have high blood sugar levels a lot, let your parents and your diabetes health care team know. Insulin or meal plans may need adjusting, or you may have an equipment issue, like an insulin pump that isnt working right. Whatever the case, make sure you get help so you can get your blood sugar levels back under control.
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