How Do You Feel When Your Blood Sugar Is Too High
Whether you are at risk for diabetes mellitus or already have it, its essential to listen to your body for signs of high blood sugar. The following symptoms can indicate that your blood sugar is higher than normal, a condition called hyperglycemia:
- Trouble thinking or concentrating
Its important to monitor your blood sugar because severely elevated blood sugar levels can lead to a life-threatening medical emergency and result in coma or other dangerous conditions. Elevated blood sugars over years can cause long-term effects such as poor wound healing, nerve, blood cell, and kidney damage, heart disease, stroke, and vision problems.
Keep in mind that, in many cases, low blood sugar follows an episode of high blood sugar, says M. Kara, MD, the founder of KaraMD. Repeat episodes are sometimes considered a precursor to diabetes.
Those with prediabetes may be prescribed medication to keep blood sugar levels in check. There are also ways to lower your blood sugar naturally. Keeping your blood glucose levels in the healthy range decreases your risk of diabetes complications. Those with Type 1 diabetes will need insulin regardless of their good habits.
Cottage Cheese + Peaches
“Cottage cheese, especially low-fat versions, are a great source of protein that, when paired with fruit like a peach, can help increase fiber intake and stabilize blood sugars,” Hembree says.6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e
Additionally, despite being known for their sweetness, peaches are considered a low-glycemic fruit, scoring a 42 on the glycemic index the system that ranks how carbohydrate-containing foods raise blood sugar levels. Foods that have a rating of 55 or lower are considered low-glycemic.
Packed with potassium, vitamin A, and C, this summertime staple fruit also has a slew of health benefits, including supporting heart health, , and improving digestion.
While they are on the sweeter side, carrots are a low-carb, non-starchy vegetable, which means they don’t have a significant impact on blood sugar levels.
Aside from offering a source of protein, chickpeasthe star ingredient in hummuscontain healthy fats. These fats help slow down the absorption of carbs, allowing sugar to be released into the bloodstream at a steadier rate.
“Using as a dip for a vegetable with good fiber content, like carrots, will help keep blood sugars level,” Hembree says.
In fact, a study published in Nutrition Journal found that white bread released four times more sugar into the blood than hummus diddespite the fact that both foods contain the same amount of carbs.
Not sure which hummus to get? Here are The Best and Worst Hummus BrandsRanked!.
Increase Your Fiber Intake
High fiber is key to the foods that lower blood sugar, so increasing your soluble fiber intake will help you lower your blood sugar. Focus on eating foods that stabilize blood sugar such as unrefined carbohydrates like whole grain bread or pasta, sweet potatoes, legumes, lentils, nuts, and non-starchy vegetables.
Another perk? High fiber foods can help you feel fuller. That can help you avoid overeating or craving foods that can negatively affect your blood sugar. Men should aim for 30 to 38 grams daily, and women 21 to 25 grams daily, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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It Can Imitate Insulin And Increase Insulin Sensitivity
In those with diabetes, either the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin or cells do not respond to insulin properly, leading to high blood sugar levels.
Cinnamon may help lower blood sugar and fight diabetes by imitating the effects of insulin and increasing glucose transport into cells .
It can also help lower blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity, making insulin more efficient at moving glucose into cells.
One study of seven men showed taking cinnamon increased insulin sensitivity immediately after consumption, with the effect lasting at least 12 hours .
In another study, eight men also demonstrated increases in insulin sensitivity following two weeks of supplementing with cinnamon .
Cinnamon can lower blood sugar by acting like insulin and increasing insulins ability to move blood sugar into cells.
When To See A Doctor
According to the University of Michigan, blood sugar levels of 300 mg/dL or more can be dangerous. They recommend calling a doctor if you have two readings in a row of 300 or more.
See your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar levels. Symptoms of this include:
- increased thirst
- high levels of sugar in urine
Ask your doctor how often to check your blood sugar and about your ideal blood sugar levels.
If you dont currently see a doctor who specializes in diabetes, known as an endocrinologist, you can find one by searching the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists website.
You can find a certified diabetes educator by visiting the American Diabetes Associations website and searching by zip code.
Talk to your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar readings or symptoms of chronic hyperglycemia.
Checking your blood sugar and then treating hyperglycemia early will help prevent any complications.
Health problems can arise when someone has high blood sugar regularly and without treatment.
Examples of complications include:
- nerve damage, called diabetic neuropathy, that may affect sensations in the feet and hands
- diabetic retinopathy, or damage to the blood vessels in the eyes that affects vision
- increased risks for kidney problems
- increased risks for heart problems
Taking steps to keep your blood sugar at target levels can help to minimize the likelihood that these complications will occur.
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Ramp Up Your Movement Each Day
Exercise helps improve blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity and the bodys ability to use glucose as energy, according to the American Diabetes Association. In type 2, exercise helps improve insulin resistance, says James G. Beckerman, MD, a cardiologist in Portland, Oregon. The end result is lower blood sugars.
Crandall Snyder tells patients that exercise is like spring cleaning for the body. It takes the stored form of glucose and uses it for energy so the next time you eat carbohydrates there’s a place to put it, she says.
Because exercise can immediately reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, work with your healthcare team to determine the right amount of activity and timing for you. A study published in September 2017 in Frontiers in Endocrinology found exercising 30 minutes after the start of a meal is usually best for maintaining blood sugar controls.
Learn more about managing your blood sugar in Diabetes Daily’s article “HbA1C: Everything You Need to Know.”
How To Lower Blood Sugar
Most people assume that lowering blood sugar levels is only related to the food you eat. But, there are many other things that can impact blood sugar levels. These include: activity level, stress levels, hormones, and more. The following strategies have been proven to help reduce blood sugar levels over time:
- Be physically active on a regular basis.
- Consistently eat fiber rich carbohydrates.
- Drink water throughout the day.
- Manage stress levels.
Letâs take a closer look at each of these foodsâ¦
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Eat Foods With A Low To Medium Gi Score
Look for foods with a low to medium glycemic index score. These are foods that your body absorbs slowly and decrease spikes in blood sugar. Some people pair low and high GI foods in order to balance their blood sugar. Another way to think about foods that lower blood glucose are ones that do not provide fast energy but give you more energy over a longer period of time. Foods with a low glycemic index have many health benefits besides their effects on blood sugar, so eating a diet high in protein, fatty acids, and fiber will benefit your whole family, not just those actively trying to achieve glycemic control.
Nuts Seeds And Nut/seed Butters
Nuts, seeds, and their respective butters offer quality sources of protein, plant based fat, and fiberâ¦ all three of our blood sugar balancing nutrients we look for! These foods have been shown to not only help promote healthy blood sugar levels, but also keep you more satisfied and full for longer.
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Broccoli And Broccoli Sprouts
Sulforaphane is a type of isothiocyanate that has blood-sugar-reducing properties.
This plant chemical is produced when broccoli is chopped or chewed due to a reaction between a glucosinolate compound called glucoraphanin and the enzyme myrosinase, both of which are concentrated in broccoli .
Test-tube, animal, and human studies have shown that sulforaphane-rich broccoli extract has powerful antidiabetic effects, helping enhance insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar and markers of oxidative stress .
Broccoli sprouts are concentrated sources of glucosinolates like glucoraphanin, and theyve been shown to help promote insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes when supplemented as a powder or extract (
Keep in mind that the best way to enhance the availability of sulforaphane is to enjoy broccoli and broccoli sprouts raw or lightly steamed, or to add active sources of myrosinase like mustard seed powder to cooked broccoli (
When To Avoid Exercise
People with blood sugar levels above 240 mg/dL should check their urine for ketones before engaging in physical activity. If ketones are present, do not exercise. Ketones are the result of stored fat being broken down for energy. Your liver starts breaking down fat when theres not enough insulin in your bloodstream to absorb blood sugar into cells. When too many ketones are quickly produced, they can cause DKA. In this state, ketones may actually make your blood sugar level go even higher and you may need intravenous fluids to rebalance.
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Eat Fewer Refined Carbs
Refined carbs, otherwise known as processed carbs, are sugars or refined grains.
Some common sources of refined carbs are table sugar, white bread, white rice, soda, candy, breakfast cereals and desserts.
Refined carbs have been stripped of almost all nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Refined carbs are said to have a high glycemic index because they are very easily and quickly digested by the body. This leads to blood sugar spikes.
A large observational study of more than 91,000 women found that a diet high in high-glycemic-index carbs was associated with an increase in type 2 diabetes .
The spike in blood sugar and subsequent drop you may experience after eating high-glycemic-index foods can also promote hunger and can lead to overeating and weight gain .
The glycemic index of carbs varies. Its affected by a number of things, including ripeness, what else you eat and how the carbs are cooked or prepared.
Generally, whole-grain foods have a lower glycemic index, as do most fruits, non-starchy vegetables and legumes.
Refined carbs have almost no nutritional value and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and weight gain.
Treating Low Blood Sugar
You are at risk of having a low blood sugar reaction if you:
- Skip or delay a meal or snack
- Take too much insulin or eat too few carbohydrates
- Drink alcohol, especially without eating carbohydrates
Check your blood sugar if you have any of these symptoms:
- Weakness and/or fatigue
If your blood sugar is less than 70 milligrams per deciliter :
- Eat 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate
- Wait 15 minutes and then recheck your blood sugar
- If your blood sugar is still less than 100 mg/dl, take another 15 grams of carbohydrate and retest your blood sugar in another 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
Important: If you have frequent low blood sugars speak to your doctor. You may need changes in your medication and/or meal plan.
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Can Oral Mediations Help A High Blood Sugar
While any oral medications you take to help manage your diabetes do improve your blood sugar levels, they are not something you would take an extra dose off to correct an occasional high blood sugar level.
However, if you realize that you forgot to take your dose of a daily medication, this should be part of the process of bringing your high blood sugar down.
Some medications can be taken late, and some medications may need to wait until your next normally scheduled dose. Contact your healthcare team to determine if the diabetes medication you take can be taken late after missing your usual dose.
If you have been skipping this medication altogether for days or weeks its very likely a significant contributor to the reason your blood sugar is high. These medications are designed to improve your blood sugar levels in a variety of different ways.
Talk to your healthcare team to better understand the medications youve been prescribed and the issues youre having in taking them as directed.
The 17 Best Foods To Lower Your Blood Sugar
For people with prediabetes, diabetes, or other conditions that affect blood sugar, diet is a major part of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
Although factors like body weight, activity, stress, and genetics also play a role in blood sugar maintenance, following a healthy diet is critical for blood sugar control .
While some foods, including items high in added sugar and refined carbs, can contribute to blood sugar fluctuations, others can optimize blood sugar control while promoting overall health (
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Preventing High Blood Sugars
Everyone with diabetes experiences high blood sugars sometimes there are simply too many variables in the human body out of your control to prevent them altogether.
That being said, there are a few guidelines we can all follow to minimize the frequency of high blood sugars:
- Avoid full-sugar beverages including soda, juice, coffee drinks, iced tea, etc.
- Choose your carbohydrates carefully starchy carbs from pasta, candy, bread, desserts, etc. will spike your blood sugar the most
- Take your medications as prescribed and contact your healthcare team if you miss a dose to determine if you can take it late
- Exercise daily even a 20-minute walk makes a big difference on a daily basis
- Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration
And of course, if youre experiencing high blood sugars are a daily basis and youre unsure of the cause, talk to your healthcare team about making adjustments in your diabetes management regimen. A slight increase in your medications can have a big impact!
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Make Physical Activity Part Of Your Daily Routine
Set a goal to be more physically active. Try to work up to 30 minutes or more of physical activity on most days of the week.
Brisk walking and swimming are good ways to move more. If you are not active now, ask your health care team about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you. Learn more about being physically active with diabetes.
Following your meal plan and being more active can help you stay at or get to a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, work with your health care team to create a weight-loss plan that is right for you.
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Check Your Blood Glucose Levels
For many people with diabetes, checking their blood glucose level each day is an important way to manage their diabetes. Monitoring your blood glucose level is most important if you take insulin. The results of blood glucose monitoring can help you make decisions about food, physical activity, and medicines.
The most common way to check your blood glucose level at home is with a blood glucose meter. You get a drop of blood by pricking the side of your fingertip with a lancet. Then you apply the blood to a test strip. The meter will show you how much glucose is in your blood at the moment.
Ask your health care team how often you should check your blood glucose levels. Make sure to keep a record of your blood glucose self-checks. You can print copies of this glucose self-check chart. Take these records with you when you visit your health care team.
Broccoli Or Broccoli Sprouts
Sulforaphane is a sulfur-containing compound naturally found in cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli and broccoli sprouts. Sulforaphane can help lower blood sugar by increasing glucose uptake from the bloodstream by regulating signaling proteins that control liver cells and their response to insulin.
Liver cells produce ceramides, fatty lipid molecules that can cause insulin resistance. Sulforaphane has been shown to block an enzyme involved in the synthesis of ceramides. By inhibiting this gene, sulforaphane can decrease ceramide levels and improve insulin sensitivity by decreasing insulin resistance. When insulin sensitivity is increased, the body has an improved ability to release insulin when blood sugar is high to bring levels back down.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli also contain glucosinolates, sulfur, and nitrogen compounds that can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce glucose levels in the blood.
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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.