Thursday, November 24, 2022

What Can Cause Your Blood Sugar To Be High

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How Can I Track My Blood Glucose

5 Surprising Things That Can Cause High Blood Sugar

There are two ways to keep track of your blood glucose levels:

  • Using a blood glucose meter to measure your blood glucose level at that moment

  • Getting an A1C test at least twice a year to find out your average blood glucose for the past 2 to 3 months

This hand-out was published in Clinical Diabetes, Vol. 36, issue 2, 2018, and was adapted from the American Diabetes Associations Diabetes Advisor handout Factors Affecting Blood Glucose. Visit the Associations Patient Education Library at for hundreds of free, downloadable handouts in English and Spanish. Distribute these to your patients and share them with others on your health care team. Copyright American Diabetes Association, Inc., 2018.

American Diabetes Association

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

Conducted after fasting for eight hours, drinking a high-sugar glucose solution, and waiting two more hours a reading of at least 140 mg/dL is considered a sign of prediabetes. A reading of 200 mg/dL or higher is type 2 diabetes. For optimal health, you want to aim for a two-hour glucose of 110 mg/dL or lower.

Blood Sugar Level Rises Every Time You Eat

Your blood sugar level rises immediately after eating a meal or snack . In a healthy person, insulin then starts working, and the blood sugar level returns to the pre-meal level 2 hours after eating. In untreated diabetes patients, the blood sugar level does not return to the pre-meal level of its own accord. Some people’s blood sugar level remains high two hours after eating, even though on an empty stomach it would be at a normal level. As a result, the risk of developing diabetes increases as insulin is not properly secreted, or does not work properly in the body. In order to make sure insulin works properly, it is important not to overeat and to avoid becoming obese. Knowing which foods will not cause a sudden and extreme spike in blood sugar level and using this knowledge in your daily life will help you to prevent obesity and diabetes, and maintain good health.

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What Is The Dawn Phenomenon

Another reason for high nighttime blood sugar levels is the dawn phenomenon. The dawn phenomenon occurs early in the morning when the body naturally signals your liver to produce glucose, giving your body the energy it needs to wake up.

The hormonal changes associated with the dawn phenomenon happen to people with or without diabetes, though those without diabetes do not experience hyperglycemia. If you take insulin, you may need to try a new basal insulin or adjust the timing and amount of your basal dose or your nighttime basal rates to cover an early morning rise.

How To Prevent It

What a High Blood Sugar Feels Like

If you work to keep your blood sugar under control — follow your meal plan, exercise program, and medicine schedule — you shouldnât have to worry about hyperglycemia. You can also:

  • Know your diet — count the total amounts of carbs in each meal and snack.
  • Test your blood sugar regularly.
  • Tell your doctor if you have repeated abnormal blood sugar readings.
  • Wear medical identification to let people know you have diabetes in case of an emergency.

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Great Bedtime Snacks For People Living With Diabetes

For some people, a healthy bedtime snack helps to prevent glucose swings during the night. By eating a small snack that is full of protein and healthy fats , your body may be better able to avoid an overnight high but if you take insulin, be sure to cover the carbohydrates in your snack even if it only requires a small dose of insulin.

Here are some snack ideas:

  • Plain nuts or seeds try eating a small handful

  • Raw vegetables, such as carrots, celery, cucumbers, or tomatoes, with a small amount of hummus or peanut butter

  • Plain yogurt, and you can add berries or cinnamon

Remember, a bedtime snack is only helpful for some people. To see if it works for you, youll have to carefully monitor your glucose before bed, during the night, and when you wake up.

How Is It Treated

If you have diabetes and notice any of the early signs of high blood sugar, test your blood sugar and call the doctor. They may ask you for the results of several readings. They could recommend the following changes:

Drink more water. Water helps remove excess sugar from your blood through urine, and it helps you avoid dehydration.

Exercise more. Working out can help lower your blood sugar. But under certain conditions, it can make blood sugar go even higher. Ask your doctor what kind of exercise is right for you.

Caution: If you have type 1 diabetes and your blood sugar is high, you need to check your urine for ketones. When you have ketones, do NOT exercise. If you have type 2 diabetes and your blood sugar is high, you must also be sure that you have no ketones in your urine and that you are well-hydrated. Then your doctor might give you the OK to exercise with caution as long as you feel up to it.

Change your eating habits. You may need to meet with a dietitian to change the amount and types of foods you eat.

Switch medications. Your doctor may change the amount, timing, or type of diabetes medications you take. Donât make changes without talking to them first.

If you have type 1 diabetes and your blood sugar is more than 250 mg/dL, your doctor may want you to test your urine or blood for ketones.

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Is It Safe To Sleep With High Blood Sugar

Glucose levels that are occasionally a little high at night generally dont pose serious, immediate health concerns. Most people with diabetes cannot avoid some high glucose levels. However, frequent or long-term highs particularly extremely high levels can be dangerous. It is important for people with diabetes to reduce high blood sugar as much as possible for two key reasons:

  • Frequent hyperglycemia can lead to major health complications caused by damage to blood vessels and nerves, which can affect your eyes, heart, kidneys, and other organs. This occurs when glucose levels are too high over a long period of time.

  • Very high glucose levels can be a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis . This occurs mainly in people with type 1 diabetes and can be life-threatening. For more information on DKA, read Ketosis vs. Ketoacidosis: Whats the Difference.

  • Levels In The Morning

    10 Alarming Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Too High

    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:

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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:

    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.

    What Else Can I Do To Help Manage My Blood Sugar Levels

    Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular physical activity can all help. Other tips include:

    • Keep track of your blood sugar levels to see what makes them go up or down.
    • Eat at regular times, and dont skip meals.
    • Choose foods lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.
    • Track your food, drink, and physical activity.
    • Drink water instead of juice or soda.
    • Limit alcoholic drinks.
    • For a sweet treat, choose fruit.
    • Control your food portions .

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    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:

    What Should My Blood Sugar Level Be

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    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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    Symptoms Treatments And Prevention

    Hyperglycemia means high glucose in the blood . Your body needs glucose to properly function. Your cells rely on glucose for energy. Hyperglycemia is a defining characteristic of diabeteswhen the blood glucose level is too high because the body isn’t properly using or doesn’t make the hormone insulin.

    Eating too many processed foods may cause your blood sugar to rise.

    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.

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    Managing Blood Sugar Levels

    Many people with diabetes must check their blood sugar levels daily with a glucose meter. This device takes a drop of blood, usually from a finger, and displays the sugar level within a few seconds.

    People with type 1 diabetes will need to take insulin as their doctor recommends, usually several times a day.

    Those with type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes may need to change their diet and exercise habits. They may also need to take oral medications or insulin.

    A number of strategies can help prevent hyperglycemia.

    People should:

    • check their blood sugar levels as their doctor advises and take the correct amount of insulin, if they have type 1 diabetes
    • speak to their healthcare provider or dietitian about which foods to eat or avoid, how much to eat, and how often
    • take precautions to avoid infections, for example, through regular hand washing, as illness, such as a cold, can trigger a rise in blood pressure
    • plan their food intake and exercise to balance blood sugar levels
    • minimize stress, as far as possible, for example, through exercise, getting enough sleep, and stress-reducing activities such as meditation or yoga

    Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can happen when a person:

    • has certain medical conditions
    • does a lot of exercise
    • skips meals or eats too little

    It can also be a side effect of diabetes medicines. Taking too much insulin can result in low blood sugar levels.

    Symptoms of low blood sugar may include:

    • visit a doctor regularly

    What Are Normal Blood Glucose Levels In Healthy Individuals

    Alcohol and Diabetes: What To Know

    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
    • Alcohol

    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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    Risk Factors For High Blood Sugar

    Doctors do not know exactly what causes diabetes. Some factors may increase the risk, however.

    Type 1 diabetes

    Researchers believe certain genetic or environmental factors may make people more likely to get type 1 diabetes.

    The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases say certain genes play a role, and other factors such as viruses and infections may have an impact.

    The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation say that there is nothing a person can do to prevent type 1 diabetes. Eating, exercise, or other lifestyle choices will not change the outcome.

    Type 1 diabetes usually begins during childhood or early adulthood, but it can happen at any age.

    Type 2 diabetes

    The following risk factors may make developing type 2 diabetes more likely:

    • having certain genes

    People who have high blood sugar should discuss their target levels with their doctor.

    They may need regular testing to keep these within a healthy range. Each person is different and levels can vary between individuals.

    To find out their blood sugar levels, the person may need to fast for 8 hours, 2 hours after a meal, or at both times.

    Some people may also take a glucose tolerance test, in which they drink a sugary liquid and have a blood test after.

    The American Diabetes Association recommend a pre-meal blood sugar level of 80130 milligrams per deciliter . Around 1 to 2 hours after the beginning of a meal, blood sugar should be less than 180 ml/dL.

    What Causes Blood Sugar To Be High

    Many things can cause high blood sugar , including being sick, being stressed, eating more than planned, and not giving yourself enough insulin. Over time, high blood sugar can lead to long-term, serious health problems. Symptoms of high blood sugar include:

    • Feeling very tired.
    • Having blurry vision.
    • Needing to urinate more often.

    If you get sick, your blood sugar can be hard to manage. You may not be able to eat or drink as much as usual, which can affect blood sugar levels. If youre ill and your blood sugar is 240 mg/dL or above, use an over-the-counter ketone test kit to check your urine for ketones and call your doctor if your ketones are high. High ketones can be an early sign of diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately.

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    Avoiding High Blood Sugar And Dka

    No matter how well they take care of themselves, people with diabetes will sometimes have high blood sugar levels. But the best way to avoid problems is to keep your blood sugar levels as close to your desired range as possible, which means following your diabetes management plan. Checking your blood sugar levels several times a day will let you know when your blood sugar level is high. Then you can treat it and help prevent DKA from happening.

    High blood sugar levels don’t always cause symptoms, and a person who isn’t testing regularly might be having blood sugar levels high enough to damage the body without even realizing it. Doctors may use the HbA1c test to find out if someone has been having high blood sugar levels over time, even if the person has not had obvious symptoms.

    Here are some other tips for avoiding high blood sugar levels and preventing DKA:

    • Try to eat all your meals and snacks on time and not skip any.
    • Take the right amount of insulin.
    • Check your blood sugar levels regularly and your ketone levels when your diabetes management plan recommends it.
    • Stick to your diabetes management plan.

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