Causes Related To Diet
Processed foods and sugar
Diet and how it relates to blood glucose values can vary immensely from person to person. But, research suggests that eating processed foods can increase blood glucose.
Overeating or grazing
Itâs a common belief that snacking throughout the day will keep blood glucose levels steady. But, a 2013 study found that eating two large meals per day helped reduce blood glucose more effectively than six small meals per day. Itâs also important to keep our meals to the right proportions, as overeating can raise blood glucose levels as well.
Some research has found a connection between low water intake and a greater risk of hyperglycemia. This is most likely because less water in the body means the concentration of glucose in the blood is higher.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Research into this cause is ongoing. Yet, studies suggest diets lacking micronutrients like chromium, magnesium, or vitamin D may contribute to high blood glucose.
Control Your Blood Sugar To Help Avoid Diabetic Neuropathy
Theres a direct relationship between blood sugar level and damage to the nerve cells, says Tillett. Out-of-control blood sugar leads to neuropathy, and the better you are at controlling your blood sugar, the healthier your feet will be over the long term. Remember, if you already have an infection, high blood sugar levels can make it hard for your body to fight it.
Managing Stomach Viruses The Flu And Repeated Vomiting
If you are a person with type 1 diabetes and you get a stomach virus that causes you to repeatedly vomit which means you are unable to keep food or water down you need to visit an emergency room immediately. If you have a glucagon kit, consider using it to prevent severe low blood sugar until you are being cared for in an emergency room.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Dka
The symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis usually don’t develop all at once they usually come on slowly over several hours. People who have DKA may:
- feel really tired
- feel really thirsty or pee way more than usual
- have a dry mouth and signs of dehydration
These symptoms are caused by the high blood sugar levels that usually happen before someone develops DKA. If the person doesn’t get treatment, these signs of DKA can happen:
- abdominal pain
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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Low Blood Sugar: Warning Signs Ways To Treat And When To Call The Doctor
Physicians explain how to tell when your blood sugar is dangerously low, and how to take action to prevent complications.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2020 National Diabetes Statistics Report, 34 million people living in the United States had diabetes in 2018 — and amazingly, 21% of adults with diabetes did not even know they had it. The scariest part is that, if left untreated, diabetes can be deadly. In fact, it was the seventh leading cause of death in the year 2017.
And while normally associated with high blood sugar , diabetic folks can also experience hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, alongside its own bevy of problems — including more severe and/or long-term effects like seizures, loss of consciousness, dementia and even death. Further, according to the Mayo Clinic, hypoglycemia can also cause low blood sugar in folks without diabetes due to a variety of conditions and medications.
So, needless to say, it’s important to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. But how is this done, especially if you don’t know the first thing about blood sugar?
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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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What Causes Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes occurs when your immune system, the bodys system for fighting infection, attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. Scientists think type 1 diabetes is caused by genes and environmental factors, such as viruses, that might trigger the disease. Studies such as TrialNet are working to pinpoint causes of type 1 diabetes and possible ways to prevent or slow the disease.
Does Not Having Symptoms Mean Diabetes Is Being Managed Well
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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Overweight Obesity And Physical Inactivity
You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are not physically active and are overweight or obese. Extra weight sometimes causes insulin resistance and is common in people with type 2 diabetes. The location of body fat also makes a difference. Extra belly fat is linked to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and heart and blood vessel disease. To see if your weight puts you at risk for type 2 diabetes, check out these Body Mass Index charts.
You Notice Tingling And Numbness In Your Hands Or Feet
As mentioned, uncontrolled blood sugar can cause nerve damage, also known as diabetic neuropathy. What you may notice is a tingling sensation or even numbness in your hands and feet. Some people experience pain in their hands and feet as well. Though neuropathy is most common in people who have had diabetes for a long time, it can occur in anyone with poorly controlled diabetes.
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Treating And Managing Hyperglycaemia
If your blood sugar level is slightly high for a short time, emergency treatment wont be necessary. But if it continues to rise you may need to act fast to avoid developing diabetic ketoacidosis .
If your blood sugar level is 15 mmol/l or more, you should check your blood or urine for ketones. If ketones are present, it is likely that you do not have enough insulin in your body. This means you may need to increase your dose or give yourself an extra dose. Talk to your diabetes team about how to do this if you are unsure.
You should also try to drink plenty of sugar-free fluids to prevent dehydration. And if you are feeling unwell, especially if you are vomiting, you should follow any sick day rules you have been given and contact your diabetes healthcare team for advice.
Diabetic Ketoacidosis: A Complication Of Severe Hyperglycemia In Type 1 Diabetes
In addition to the complications above, severe hyperglycemia in people with type 1 diabetes can lead to a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis, mentioned above. This condition develops when toxic acids called ketones build up in the blood. It can become serious and lead to diabetic coma or even death. According to the American Diabetes Association, ketoacidosis affects people with type 1 diabetes, but it rarely affects people with type 2 diabetes.
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Being Extra Thirsty And Having To Urinate More Than Usual
This is a common but not-so-obvious sign of blood sugar that is too high: feeling really thirsty and needing to drink more than usual. Excessive urination, known as polyuria, occurs when glucose builds up in your blood, and your kidneys begin working harder to get rid of the extra glucose, says Zanini. If your kidneys cant keep up and adjust blood sugar so that it returns to a normal level, the excess sugar is flushed out of your body through urine, she adds. You may become dehydrated and get dizzy.
How To Effectively Manage High Blood Sugar
While diabetes is a dangerous disease, it is often possible to manage it and control blood sugar levels.
Recognizing the symptoms of high blood sugar is critical. When blood glucose levels are high, a person must take appropriate action. This is the case with both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
The patient should start by discussing the high blood sugar level with their doctor. The doctor will be able to perform a few tests to give them a better view of the patients diabetes.
It also helps the doctor determine what type of diabetes the patient has. This may be type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes in some cases. Patients also need to be aware that insulin resistance can develop into diabetes. Thus, if the patient is insulin resistant, they need to take action.
There are medications that can help. Some drugs help to ensure there is enough insulin in the body. Others rather have a direct effect on blood sugar levels. This can help to reduce the risk of a blood sugar spike. Failure to manage high blood sugar levels can lead to dangerous problems, such as diabetic coma.
A healthy diet is also critical for a person with diabetes. Carbohydrate counting is important, and you should learn what an appropriate portion size is for you. Meals should be balanced to avoid low blood sugar levels and a spike in blood glucose. It is also important that you take your medication with food.
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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 eliminate glucose-rich foods from your diet. 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 Is Hyperglycemia Diagnosed
If you have diabetes and notice a sudden change in your blood sugar levels during your home monitoring, you should alert your doctor of your symptoms. The increase in blood sugar may affect your treatment plan.
Regardless of whether you have diabetes, if you begin experiencing any symptoms of hyperglycemia, you should speak to your doctor. Before going to your appointment, you should note what symptoms youre experiencing. You should also consider these questions:
- Has your diet changed?
- Have you had enough water to drink?
- Are you under a lot of stress?
- Were you just in the hospital for surgery?
- Were you involved in an accident?
Once at your doctors appointment, your doctor will discuss all of your concerns. Theyll perform a brief physical exam and discuss your family history. Your doctor will also discuss your target blood sugar level.
If youre age 59 or younger, a safe blood sugar range is generally between 80 and 120 milligrams per deciliter . This is also the projected range for people who dont have any underlying medical conditions.
People who are age 60 or older and those who have other medical conditions or concerns may have levels between 100 and 140 mg/dL.
Your doctor may conduct an A1C test to determine what your average blood sugar level has been in recent months. This is done by measuring the amount of blood sugar attached to the oxygen-carrying protein hemoglobin in your red blood cells.
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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 aren’t usually a cause for concern and can be treated quite easily or may return to normal on their own. However, 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.
Tingling Hands And Feet
Over the years, hyperglycemia can begin to impact nerve function and eventually cause nerve damage, called neuropathy, Dr. Hatipoglu says. The most common kind of neuropathy is peripheral, according to the NIDDK, which affects the extremities. You might start noticing feelings of tingling, numbness, or burning in your hands, feet, arms, and legs, per the Mayo Clinic.
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When To Get Urgent Medical Attention
Contact your diabetes care team immediately if you have a high blood sugar level and experience the following symptoms:
- feeling or being sick
- a fever for more than 24 hours
- signs of dehydration, such as a headache, dry skin and a weak, rapid heartbeat
- difficulty staying awake
These symptoms could be a sign of a more serious complication of hyperglycaemia, such as diabetic ketoacidosis or a hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state, and you may need to be looked after in hospital.
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.
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