Food Is Turned Into Glucose
It can be helpful to understand what exactly glucose is. When you eat food, your body needs to convert it into the simplest form of energy, which is glucose, to utilize it, says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, certified diabetes educator , and author of 2-Day Diabetes Diet. Carbohydrates are the easiest food to convert into glucose, which is why they have the greatest impact on blood glucose levels. When we eat carbs, theyre broken down into glucose as theyre digested. Then, glucose is absorbed by the cells lining the small intestine, into the bloodstream and delivered throughout the body, explains Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, a New York City-based registered dietitian, bestselling author, and founder of The F-Factor Diet.
Top 10 Reasons For Blood Sugar Swings
If you or someone you know has diabetes I am sure you may have wondered what causes high blood sugars other than food. Have you struggled with your blood sugar control, but dont know why? Do you say to yourself, but Im eating healthy and watching the types and amounts of carbohydrates Im eating, why do my sugars still go on a roller coaster ride sometimes?
There are actually several other factors that impact our blood sugars that arent related to the food we eat, and most of them are out of our control. The key point is to understand that these factors exist, to try to account for them in our diabetes management plan as much as possible, and to recognize what else could be going on when we are frustrated that we just cant figure things out.
Take the time to think about what has been going on in your life, what has changed and what is impacting you differently than before. This can help you get to the bottom of what causes high blood sugars other than food.
I Feel Fine So I Dont Need To Test My Levels
Zanini points out that having high blood glucose can come as a surprise to anyone. âIt’s possible they didn’t notice any symptoms or were simply feeling ‘more tired than usual,ââ she says. âIt’s easy to attribute being tired to many other things. . .so this is why regular physicals with your healthcare provider are important.â The bottom line? Listen to your body, take note of symptoms as they arise, and consider monitoring your continuous glucose values.
Recommended Reading: Does Low Blood Sugar Cause Confusion
How Can I Treat And Manage Hyperglycemia
People with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can manage hyperglycemia by eating healthy, being active, and managing stress. In addition, insulin is a critical part of managing hyperglycemia for people with type 1 diabetes, while people with type 2 diabetes may need oral medications and eventually insulin to help them manage hyperglycemia.
If you dont have diabetes and have any of the signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia, call your healthcare provider. Together you can work to manage your hyperglycemia.
What About The Glycemic Index
Your daily carb total, spread steadily across the day, is one key to good blood sugar control. Some people also use the glycemic index , a rating of how individual foods raise blood sugar levels. Beans and whole-grain breads and cereals have a lower GI than white bread and regular pasta. Juice has a higher GI than whole fruit. Craving a high-GI food? Eat it along with a lower-GI choice to help control your levels.
David McGlynn / Photographer’s Choice David Malan / Photographer’s Choice RF Maximilian Stock Ltd. / Photographer’s Choice Peter Dazeley/ Photographer’s Choice Paul Poplis / FoodPix Jeffrey Hamilton / Lifesize, Thinkstock Nick Daly / The Image Bank Ailbhe O’Donnell / Flickr Open Ross M Horowitz / Stone John Slater / The Image Bank Yo Thinkstock
You May Like: How Long To Wait After Eating To Check Blood Sugar
Symptoms Of A Low Blood Sugar Level
A low blood sugar level can affect everyone differently. You’ll learn how it makes you feel, although your symptoms may change over time.
Early signs of a low blood sugar level include:
- a fast or pounding heartbeat
- becoming easily irritated, tearful, anxious or moody
- turning pale
If a low blood sugar level is not treated, you may get other symptoms, such as:
- unusual behaviour, slurred speech or clumsiness
- feeling sleepy
- seizures or fits
- collapsing or passing out
A low blood sugar level, or hypo, can also happen while you’re sleeping. This may cause you to wake up during the night or cause headaches, tiredness or damp sheets in the morning.
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.
You May Like: Are Bananas Bad For Blood Sugar
How Are High Blood Sugar Levels Treated
Treating high blood sugar levels involves fixing what caused them in the first place. Your diabetes health care team will give you specific advice on how to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range. But here are some ways to manage the common causes of high blood sugar levels:
|Reason for High Blood Sugar Level||What to Do|
|Not getting enough insulin or other diabetes medicine|
|Not following the meal plan|
|Not getting enough exercise|
|Illness or stress|
|Use of other medicines that can increase blood sugar|
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 you’re supposed to or not taking the right amounts
- not following the meal plan
- not getting enough exercise
- 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 isn’t 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 isn’t working right. Whatever the case, make sure you get help so you can get your blood sugar levels back under control.
Read Also: What To Do To Bring Sugar Level Down
Causes Of High Blood Sugar
The leading causes of high blood sugar or hyperglycemia include:
Diet: Glucose comes from food, so what you are eating causes high blood sugar. Carbohydrates are the most common culprit as they are broken down into glucose very quickly in the body. High-sugar foods, high-fat foods, and processed foods also cause blood glucose spikes and should be replaced with healthier options.
Stress: When you are stressed, more stress hormones and chemicals are released, which drives blood sugar levels up too. If the stress is only temporary, this is not a serious issue, but if you experience chronic stress or an anxiety disorder, you may experience high blood sugar levels more often.
Metabolic Syndrome: These are a collection of conditions that occur at the same time and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. High blood pressures, excess fat around the waist, and high cholesterol or triglycerides are examples of these conditions. When these occur in the body together, your risk for diabetes increases as does your blood sugar and the risk for potential complications.
Physical Inactivity: A lack of physical activity contributes to elevated blood sugar. When you are physically active each day, insulin works more efficiently, and your blood sugar can be maintained.
How Does Hyperglycemia Happen
Insulin is a hormone that lets your body use the sugar in your blood, which comes primarily from carbohydrates in the food that you eat. Hyperglycemia happens when your body has too little insulin to use the sugar in your blood.
People with type 1 diabetes can have episodes of hyperglycemia every day. Although this can be frustrating, it rarely creates a medical emergency. Not taking enough insulin can lead to hyperglycemia .
Other things that can cause hyperglycemia include:
- Having trouble seeing or concentrating
- Experiencing stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting
- Having sweet-smelling or fruity breath
- Cuts or sores that do not heal, infections, and unexplained weight loss may also be signs of long-term hyperglycemia.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should check your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is very high, you should also test for ketones in either your blood or urine.
You May Like: Hyper Glycemic Diet
Insulin Resistance Can Cause Blood Sugar To Be Too High
Blood glucose levels are controlled by two pancreatic hormones: insulin and glucagon, Zuckerbrot says. The pancreas makes insulin to help the body absorb glucose . The pancreas secretes insulin at low levels in between meals and while we sleep, says Idie Clement, RN, certified diabetes educator of Piedmont Atlantas Diabetes Resource Center. When we eat, insulin is secreted quickly and takes the sugar from the blood stream so it can create energy and keep the blood sugars in normal range.
Basically, insulin helps the body absorb glucose. But with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, the bodys insulin resistance leads to a buildup of glucose in the blood. People with type 2 diabetes can combat insulin resistance and control their blood sugar with a combination of diet, exercise, oral medication, and sometimes injecting additional insulin. People with type 1 diabetes, however, always need to take insulin to survive because its an autoimmune condition that destroys the insulin-producing cells in the body.
How Are You Sweetening Your Coffee What You Add To Your Cup May Affect Your Blood Sugar Levels
Whether you were recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or have been living with the condition for several years, you know how fickle blood sugar levels can be, and how important it is that they stay controlled.
Proper blood sugar control is key for warding off potential diabetes complications, such as kidney disease, nerve damage, vision problems, stroke, and heart disease, according to the National Institutes of Health . Plus, keeping your levels in check on a daily basis can help you stay energized, focused, and in a good mood, explains Lisa McDermott, RD, CDCES, a diabetes specialist with the Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Health Network.
According to the American Diabetes Association , proper medication, effective meal planning, regular exercise, and regular blood sugar checks can all help you keep your levels within a healthy range. The ADA recommends blood glucose stay within 80 to 130 milligrams per deciliter before meals and below 180 mg/dL two hours after the start of a meal. Furthermore, the organization recommends getting an A1C test, which measures your average blood glucose over the past two to three months, at least twice per year if your levels are stable and you are meeting treatment goals.
Read Also: Can Sugar Cause Afib
Surprising Things That Can Spike Your Blood Sugar
When you first found out you had diabetes, you tested your blood sugar often to understand how food, activity, stress, and illness could affect your blood sugar levels. By now, youve got it figured out for the most part. But thenbam! Something makes your blood sugar zoom up. You try to adjust it with food or activity or insulin, and it dips really low. Youre on a rollercoaster no one with diabetes wants to ride.
Do you know all of these blood sugar triggers?
Knowledge is power! Look out for these surprising triggers that can send your blood sugar soaring:
Fruit Which Can Send Blood Sugar Soaring When Overeaten
Yes, its true that fruit can spike blood sugar levels, but thats no reason to strip it from your diet entirely. After all, fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, all of which are great for your health and management of type 2 diabetes, Thomas says.
Your approach: Make sure that you count any fruit consumed as a carb, with one tennis-ball-sized piece of fruit counting as one serving, she says. Opt for whole fresh or frozen options when possible because theyre unprocessed and dont come with the addition of any sugars. If you prefer canned, make sure the fruit is packed in water, not sugary syrup. Last, even if you do manage to find dried fruits that dont contain added sugar, know they will still drastically spike your blood sugar. Thats because these fruits have been dehydrated, meaning they contain just as much sugar as a whole fruit, but in a single bite, she says. For example, according to the USDA, while a whole apricot has just over 3 g of sugar, only 2 tbsp of dried apricots has that same amount.
Don’t Miss: Is Grapefruit Bad For Diabetes
What Causes Blood Sugar To Rise In Non
Dr. Danielle Weiss is the founder of the Center for Hormonal Health and Well-Being, a personalized, proactive, patient-centered medical practice with a unique focus on integrative endocrinology. She enjoys giving lectures and writing articles for both the lay public and medical audiences.
High blood sugar or glucose, also called hyperglycemia, occurs when there is too much sugar in the blood. High blood sugar is the primary symptom that underlies diabetes, but it can also occur in people who dont have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, either because of stress or trauma, or gradually as a result of certain chronic conditions.
It is important to manage high blood sugar, even if you dont have diabetes, because elevated blood glucose can delay your ability to heal, increase your risk of infections, and cause irreversible damage to your nerves, blood vessels, and organs, such as your eyes and kidneys. Blood vessel damage from high blood sugar also increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
How Common Is Low Blood Glucose
Low blood glucose is common among people with type 1 diabetes and among people with type 2 diabetes who take insulin or some other diabetes medicines. In a large global study of people with diabetes who take insulin, 4 in 5 people with type 1 diabetes and nearly half of those with type 2 diabetes reported a low blood sugar event at least once over a 4-week period.2
Severely low blood glucose, defined as when your blood glucose level drops so low you cant treat it yourself, is less common. Among U.S. adults with diabetes who take insulin or some diabetes medicines that help the pancreas release insulin into the blood, 2 in 100 may develop severely low blood glucose each year.3
Read Also: Is Pedialyte Good For Diabetics
Avoid: Other Refined Grains
Of course, this isnt just limited to rice. White bread, pasta, and other products made with refined grains can contribute to elevated blood sugar levels. Because of that, youll want to avoid them when you can. There are some varieties that do contain dietary fiber, therefore always be sure to check the nutrition label.
Spring Allergies: Nip Them In The Bud
Did you know that the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates that some 50 million Americans suffer from allergies? While pollen, weeds, mold and grasses associated with this season do not directly affect blood sugar levels, various treatments and allergy-related triggers can.
4. Some eyedrops used to reduce itching and keep eyes moist and some nose sprays to clear breathing pathways can contain steroids that spike blood sugars.
5.Antihistamines for sneezing can lead to drowsiness or napping, then missing a meal or meal time, and waking to low blood sugars.
6. Smoking not only exacerbates allergy symptoms but also, on its own, blood sugar levels. Over time, the nicotine changes your bodys cells so that they no longer respond properly to insulin, further increasing blood sugar levels.
Read Also: Dangers Of High Blood Sugar