Consequences Of Blood Sugar Levels
Whilst most symptoms of low and high blood sugar levels are mild, they can worsen if left untreated and sometimes have long term consequences and/or complications. Overtime, a high blood sugar level is what can cause consequences. Lack of treatment can cause severe damage to the blood vessels and lead to complications such as:
- Heart attack
Causes Of Blood Sugar Levels
Whilst the liver and muscles produce some glucose, most comes from the foods we eat. Food and drinks that are high in carbohydrates are most impactful on blood sugar level. What we eat provides us most of the nutrients our body needs and sometimes, does not need. That is not to say that food is a major cause of blood sugar level increasing or decreasing too dramatically.
Typically, if a person has health conditions or poor nutrition, this will lead to a spike or decline in blood sugar level. The causes differ from high to low blood sugar levels and are as follows:
Treatment For Diabetes Is Often The Cause
The conditions that cause hypoglycemia are different for everyone. Frequently, it occurs as a complication from the medications used to manage type 1 or type 2 diabetes. A person with diabetes may take insulin shots because their body is resistant to insulin or because it does not produce enough of this hormone. In people with diabetes, taking too much insulin can cause blood-sugar levels to drop too low. However, people who do not have diabetes can also experience hypoglycemia. Nondiabetic conditions that cause hypoglycemia are renal insufficiency/failure, alcoholism, hepatic cirrhosis/failure, other endocrine diseases, or recent surgery.
Many people with diabetes may be hypoglycemic but unaware of it because there are no obvious physical symptoms. This situation is known as hypoglycemia unawareness. Not being aware of low blood-sugar levels is a particularly dangerous situation because the person is not alerted to take action and improve his or her blood-sugar level. Severe hypoglycemia can be life-threatening if a person does not receive treatment, and severe, prolonged hypoglycemia may permanently damage the brain.
Treatments for hypoglycemia are focused on returning the blood sugar to safe levels. The first step is to check blood-glucose levels and determine the amount of carbohydrate that is needed to raise blood sugar back to a safe level.
Recommended Reading: Pedialyte For Diabetics
Normal And Diabetic Blood Sugar Ranges
For the majority of healthy individuals, normal blood sugar levels are as follows:
- Between 4.0 to 5.4 mmol/L when fasting
- Up to 7.8 mmol/L 2 hours after eating
For people with diabetes, blood sugar level targets are as follows:
- Before meals : 4 to 7 mmol/L for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- After meals : under 9 mmol/L for people with type 1 diabetes and under 8.5mmol/L for people with type 2 diabetes
Fasting Blood Glucose Level Test Preparation
What should you do if your doctor orders a fasting blood sugar test? The preparation is the same as when you take a fasting test for cholesterol. First, be sure to find out if you need to schedule an appointment for your test . Ask your doctor what time is best to take it.
- Schedule your test if necessary
- Ask your doctor if you need to change any of the medications you take on the morning of the test
- If you normally drink coffee or have caffeine, ask your doctor if that is okay. It may not be, since it affects blood sugar levels
- Fast for at least 8 hours before your test. Usually, an overnight fast is most convenient
- You can drink water
Recommended Reading: What Is Signs Of High Blood Sugar
What Causes A Drop In Blood Sugar Levels
Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose to enter the cells where it is used for energy. The pancreas releases insulin in response to high blood sugar levels. When glucose enters the cell, it leaves the bloodstream, causing a blood sugar drop.
There are several potential causes of low blood glucose levels, which well discuss below.
What Are Clinical Trials For Low Blood Glucose
Clinical trialsand other types of clinical studiesare part of medical research and involve people like you. When you volunteer to take part in a clinical study, you help doctors and researchers learn more about disease and improve health care for people in the future.
Researchers are studying many aspects of low blood glucose levels in diabetes, such as
- how to diagnose and treat low blood glucose among people with diabetes
- medicines that can treat symptoms of low blood glucose in people with hypoglycemia unawareness
- educational approaches to reduce fear of low blood glucose, which can make it harder for you to control your diabetes
Recommended Reading: Most Sugar Fruit
What To Do If Your Blood Sugar Is Too Low
You’ll need to test your blood sugar if you think you have hypoglycemia.
Although type 2 diabetes is characterized by blood sugar that is too high, some people take insulin and others medications that can occasionally drive blood sugar too low.
When blood sugar is too lowgenerally less than 70 mg/dLit’s called hypoglycemia, and it can become a medical emergency.
You can lose consciousnessHypoglycemia is more likely to occur when you start taking a new medication or if you exercise more than usual.
As blood sugar drops to low levels, you may feel:
Shaky Irritable Sweaty
This can occur within 10 to 15 minutes, and in extreme cases you can even lose consciousness and experience seizures if you don’t consume some glucose .
You’ll need to test your blood sugar to confirm that you’re having hypoglycemiasome people become irritable if blood sugar is too high, so it’s not always obvious.
If you drink sugar-containing juice, or some other form of carbohydrate, it should bring blood sugar back into the normal range. You can also purchase glucose pills or gels in the pharmacy that can get blood sugar back on track.
You should always have a glucose source in the car, says Yvonne Thigpen, RD, diabetes program coordinator at Mount Clemens Regional Medical Center in Mt. Clemens, Mich. You never know when youll hit construction or get stuck in traffic, she says.
Signs That Blood Sugar Levels Are Low
There are a bunch of symptoms that someone with low blood sugar might have. It’s not the same for everybody. The symptoms are as minor as feeling hungry and as serious as having seizures or passing out. Have you ever had low blood sugar? If so, do you remember how it felt? Noticing those problems early can help you if it happens again.
If you have diabetes and you have low blood sugar, you may:
- feel hungry or have “hunger pains” in your stomach
- feel shaky or like you’re trembling
- have a rapid heart rate
- feel sweaty or have cold, clammy skin
- have pale, gray skin color
- have a headache
- be unsteady or stagger when walking
- have blurred or double vision
- feel confused
- have seizures
- pass out
If you think your blood sugar level could be low, tell a parent, teacher, or whoever is taking care of you. An adult can help you test your blood and get you treatment so you start feeling better.
You May Like: What Fruit Has The Highest Sugar
Causes And Risk Factors Of Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia occurs when your blood sugar levels are less than or equal to 70 mg/dL and certain symptoms are present. It can be caused by a number of factors, depending on whether or not you also have diabetes.
Verywell / Theresa Chiechi
Here’s what you need to know about the causes and risk factors of hypoglycemia:
Symptoms Of Blood Blood Sugar Levels
Symptoms of blood sugar levels differ depending on if it is high or low. To determine which way the blood sugar have moved, the symptoms for each are typically:
|High Blood Sugar Symptoms|
|Slow healing wounds||Turning pale|
If symptoms are left untreated, more extreme circumstances can happen such as fainting, weakness, disorientation, vomiting and dehydration. When you notice symptoms, usually more than one at one time, it is advised to see a doctor right away.
It is important to get the right treatment so that you can return to a healthy normal blood sugar level and inhibit it from occurring again.
Treatment methods vary from the severity of the blood sugar level, whether it is high or low and if the patient has existing medical conditions, such as diabetes. Here are ways in which blood sugar levels can be treated:
Recommended Reading: What Yogurt Has The Lowest Sugar
Who Should Do The Test
According to the American Diabetes Association, screening for diabetes is recommended in people over 45 , or at any age if you have certain risk factors, including :
- Being overweight, obese, or physically inactive
- Having a close relative with diabetes
- Belonging to a certain race/ethnic group
- Having signs of insulin resistance or conditions associated with insulin resistance, such as high blood pressure , low good cholesterol and/or high triglycerides , and polycystic ovary syndrome
- Having had diabetes in pregnancy
Understanding Your Blood Sugar
The best way to understand how your blood sugar changes day-to-day is to regularly use a blood glucose meter to check your blood sugar level. If youre newly diagnosed, its also helpful to keep a food journal in addition to a blood sugar log, as well as tracking any physical activity.
Your blood sugar patterns are unique to you. Over time youll have a better understanding of which foods raise your blood sugars the most, as well as how your blood sugar responds to different types of exercise.
Some people with diabetes choose to use a continuous glucose monitor to monitor their blood sugar trends.
A continuous glucose monitor is a device with a sensor worn under the skin which measures blood sugar levels every 5-15 minutes. This is useful for identifying trends in blood sugar levels and can help predict and identify hypoglycemia sooner.
Using a CGM can reduce the amount of finger prick glucose tests needed each day, which is an added benefit.
Can You Prevent Low Blood Sugar
Hypoglycemia might sound a little scary, so you might wonder if you can avoid it. No matter how well they take care of themselves, kids with diabetes will sometimes have low blood sugar levels. But taking these steps can help:
- Try to eat all your meals and snacks on time and don’t skip any.
- Take the right amount of insulin.
- If you exercise longer or harder than usual, have an extra snack.
- Don’t take a hot bath or shower right after an insulin shot.
- Stick to your diabetes management plan.
What else can you do? Wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace that says you have diabetes. Then, if you are not feeling well, whoever’s helping you even if the person doesn’t know you will know to call for medical help. Medical identification also can include your doctor’s phone number or a parent’s phone number. The quicker you get help, the quicker you’ll be feeling better.
Does Blood Sugar Level Change With Age
Many factors changes with age and even sometimes co-morbidities gets added. To adopt with these certain conditions, optimum levels of different substances in blood also changes. So the same goes for the blood sugar. It has been confirmed by different studies that fasting blood sugar level increases with age considering different factors like obesity.
But, now the question comes, how much increment will be considered as normal? Obviously not random! It has a specific level but the increment varies depending on various conditions.
It is said that the ideal level of blood sugar increases with the passing of decade through your adult years due to benign physiological changes which decrease the glucose tolerance.
Basically, if you are quite healthy then, 2mg per 100 ml rise is considered as normal through the advancing years. But this issue is seen to bewilder both clinicians and investigations alike.
However, this small extent is only for fasting. Besides this, you may notice that your postprandial sugar levels are also escalating. Be conscious! Because it must not increase more than 4mg per 100ml. Again, sugar level may elevate up to 8 to 13mg per 100 ml per decade following a glucose challenge.
The above-mentioned levels are for those who are comparatively healthy and are not suffering from any other disease apart from diabetes.
Don’t Miss: What Vitamin Stops Sugar Cravings
How To Get Your Blood Sugar Up
A quick way to do it is the 15-15 rule:
But donât eat too much — That could send your blood sugar sky-high. Stick with repeat doses of 15 grams until youâre back to normal.
If your blood sugarâs very low or the 15-15 method doesnât work, you may need a shot of glucagon. This is a hormone your body makes that raises your blood sugar fast. Ask your doctor if you should have a glucagon rescue kit on hand. Be sure the people in your life know how to use it if you faint.
Tell your diabetes team any time you have low blood sugar, especially if itâs serious. They can suggest things to do so it doesnât happen as often.
What To Do When Your Blood Sugar Levels Drop Too Low
People who use insulin and other diabetes medications are at risk for hypoglycemia. Keep this action plan handy so you’re prepared.
If you take insulin or diabetes medication, you may be at risk of developing hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Without quick attention, hypoglycemia can lead to serious complications, so its important to know what to do if it happens to you or someone close to you.
In very severe cases, hypoglycemia can lead to seizures or loss of consciousness, says a clinical assistant professor of medicine, endocrinology, gerontology, and metabolism at Stanford Health Care, and chief of the Stanford Endocrine Clinic.
It’s possible to have hypoglycemia but have no symptoms, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases . On the other hand, symptoms can also come on rapidly. While symptoms vary from person to person, if you develop mild to moderate low blood sugar you may:
- Feel shaky or jittery
- Have a headache or be lightheaded
- Turn pale
- Be irritable or combative
- Have blurred vision or see double
Some people feel tingling or numbness in their extremities too, says Rodolfo Galindo, MD, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology, metabolism, and lipids at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and chair of the inpatient diabetes taskforce.
You May Like: What Is Signs Of High Blood Sugar
How To Calculate Your Blood Sugar Level: The Complete Guide
To get an accurate reading of your blood sugar level, the best and most effective method is using a glucose meter. This will involve a small prick in your finger so receive a blood sample. The strip is then inserted into the meter and tested.
You may be wondering what your reading should be. There is no normal reading, an ideal reading differs from person to person. Everyone will get different readings at different times of the day. However, there is a rough range to determining a low, normal and high blood sugar level. Blood sugar level is read in mmol/L, which stands for millimoles per liter. Here is a guide as to what an ideal reading is for each diabetic type and non-diabetic patients:
|4 5.9 mmol/L< 7.8 mmol/L||4 5.9 mmol/L< 7.8 mmol/L|
It is advised to check it regularly if you are concerned, show regular symptoms or have diabetes. You should check before meals, exercise, before bedtime and after driving. Everyone is different so it is best to ask your doctor if you are unsure how many times and when you should check your blood sugar levels.
Research shows that over 50% who try to estimate their blood sugar level reading are incorrect. This may be due to over underlying medical conditions that did not know they had or poor lack of judgement. Therefore, this suggests it is very important to test at home to check in on your levels regularly to avoid any unnecessary future complications.
What Causes Low Blood Sugar In People With Diabetes
In diabetes, the body is either not producing insulin or not using it efficiently . Insulin is a hormone that is normally released by the pancreas to help the body take the sugar ingested from food and move it into cells to be used for energy. When this process doesnt work properly, sugar cannot be absorbed into the cells, and it starts to build up in the blood.
So if people with diabetes have high blood sugar, why is hypoglycemiathe oppositeso common? The major reason is overcompensation of insulin, or when people with diabetes take too much of their insulin or oral medications. Other reasons may include not eating enough or exercising too hard after taking insulin, waiting too long between meals, and drinking too much alcohol.
For people with diabetes, symptoms of hypoglycemia also may occur at higher blood sugar levels for instance, they may start feeling poorly at a blood sugar level closer to 100 mg/dL .
Recommended Reading: 15-15-15 Rule Hypoglycemia