What To Do When Blood Sugar Is High
There are several signs of high blood sugar or a blood sugar spike, including:
- Increased thirst and dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
If you start to notice any of these symptoms of high blood sugar or notice that your levels are too high through a blood sugar reading, there are several things that you can do to help bring down your blood sugar quickly.
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Causes Of High Blood Sugar
You must rein in your blood sugar if you have Type 2 diabetes. Not doing so will lead to a potentially fatal condition known as the hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome , when your body cannot process blood sugar any longer. You may be unable to urinate because you are completely dehydrated.
To avoid hyperglycemia, you must know its causes. Your blood sugar may spike if you miss your insulin injections or eat too many carbohydrates. You may also develop hyperglycemia if you are ill, under stress or do not exercise enough.
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.
Treatment For High Ketone Levels
Treating high ketone levels can immediately help you avoid hospitalization for DKA. Work with your doctor to decide what you need to do to help manage moderate ketone levels. If youre unable to treat at home or if your levels continue to rise, youll need to receive medical treatment. Treatments can include:
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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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.
What Are The Risks Of Hyperglycemia
Hyperglycemia can be a sign that your body isnt getting enough insulin. It is normal for patients with T1D to get hyperglycemia, and most of the time this is simply treated with insulin. If the body does not have insulin for approximately 8 hours, you could develop a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA.
In DKA, your body breaks down fat for energy because it doesnt have enough insulin to use the sugar in your blood. This produces chemicals called ketones, which make your blood more acidic.
DKA is dangerous. Too much acid in your blood can make you pass out or even cause death.
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How To Lower Blood Sugar Naturally
Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is the main sugar in your blood and your bodys main source of energy. Blood sugars vary all day. A normal fasting blood sugar is less than 100 mg/dl. Blood sugars anytime of day regardless of when or what the last meal was should always be under 200 mg/dl. Blood sugars exceeding these two levels could signal prediabetes or Type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot produce enough insulin or use insulin properly to correct blood sugars to safe levels.
High Blood Sugar Over Time Leads To:
- Kidney damage and kidney failure
- Blood vessel damage that can cause heart attacks and strokes
- Eye disease that can cause poor vision or blindness
- Nerve damage that can cause pain like pins and needles in the feet
- Sores on the feet or legs that do not heal and could lead to removal of a toe, foot, or leg
- Sexual problems, such as not being able to get an erection
Taking care of your diabetes and keeping most of your blood sugars near the normal range throughout your life lowers your chance for these long-term problems.
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Maintain A Healthy Weight
Losing weight helps control blood sugar levels. Being overweight is linked to increased incidents of diabetes and greater occurrences of insulin resistance.
Studies show that reducing weight by even only 7 percent can reduce the chances of developing diabetes by 58 percent.
It is important to note that a person does not need to achieve ideal body weight to benefit from losing 1020 pounds and keeping it off. Doing so will also improve cholesterol, reduce the risk of complications, and improve a persons general sense of well-being.
Eating a healthful diet full of fruits and vegetables and getting enough exercise can help a person lose weight or maintain their currently healthy weight.
Natural Ways To Lower Blood Sugar
Whether you have symptoms of high blood sugar or youve been diagnosed with diabetes, you may be wondering how to lower blood sugar naturally. While blood sugar may be improved with home remedies, people with diabetes should not stop taking their medication or change their dosage without talking to their healthcare provider. But in addition to medication, you can try these natural remedies for lowering your blood sugar. Also consider the opposite, if you do not follow these healthful ways to lower blood sugar, the medication that your physician prescribes may never effectively control your blood sugars.
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Only Diabetics Get High Glucose Values
While a high glucose value can indicate diabetes, nondiabetics can also have higher values than normal. When researchers studied people wearing a continuous glucose monitor who did not have a diabetes diagnosis, they found 93% of individuals reached glucose levels that are considered dangerous, with 10% spending over 2 hours per day in these dangerous levels. Traditional glucose measurements, like a single point in time blood glucose value, are unable to capture these abnormalities.
There are actually several causes of high blood sugar unrelated to diabetes that the CDC recognizes. These include certain foods, like artificial sweeteners and coffee. Other factors like stress can do it, too. If you live with an endocrine or pancreatic condition, had surgery recently, or are experiencing intense physical stress , you may also see your glucose value rise.
Best Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Quickly
When treated early, you can bring high blood sugar levels down and prevent complications, including DKA.
Some sources suggest that drinking water or eating a high protein snack can quickly lower your blood sugar levels, though there isnt enough research to support this.
If you have high blood sugar and need to lower it fast, try the following methods:
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Causes Related To Lifestyle
Exercising prompts your body to burn more energy than usual, and, as a result, consume more glucose. Maintaining a low level of physical activity, on the other hand, means more glucose will remain in the bloodstream. This raises your overall blood glucose values in the process.
Exercise also makes our body more insulin sensitive, which means we will require less insulin for the rest of the day to control glucose levels.
Part of the bodyâs fight-or-flight response to stress is to produce additional glucose. Another facet of that response is an increase in the hormone cortisol. High cortisol can reduce the bodyâs sensitivity to insulin. As a result, blood glucose levels may also increase.
A lack of quality sleep can inhibit how much insulin your body can release. It can also cause the production of cortisol, which makes it harder for insulin to work. When your bodyâs insulin cannot properly metabolize the glucose in your blood, the glucose remains there and your glucose levels rise.
Get better insight into your glucose levels
Want to gain a better understanding of how your body responds to glucose? Try monitoring your glucose levels in real time with the Nutrisense Continuous Glucose Health Program.
What Is High Blood Glucose
To fully understand your blood glucose levels, itâs important to know: a) what values are actually considered high, and b) factors that can cause your elevated reading in the first place.
High blood glucose, also known as hyperglycemia, occurs when there is too much sugar in the bloodstream. Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, is the result of too little glucose in the bloodstream. Hyperglycemia usually occurs because your body doesnât produce enough insulin or canât properly use the available insulin to remove the glucose from the bloodstream.
Using milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood for measurement, high blood glucose readings after a meal indicating prediabetes can fall between 140 and 199 mg/dL. Levels reaching 200 mg/dL two hours after eating indicate you may already be insulin resistant or diabetic, though that diagnosis will need to come from your doctor. By comparison, the typical standard for normal glucose readings is to remain under 140 mg/dL throughout the day and under 100 mg/dL after eight hours of fasting.
A range of lifestyle factors, habits, and health conditions can cause high blood sugar. To debunk common hyperglycemia myths, review causes and symptoms, and discuss the best ways to address them, we spoke with two experts on high blood sugar levels: registered dietitian and For The Love of Diabetes creator Lori Zanini and registered dietitian nutritionist and diabetes management expert .
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What Is Considered A High Blood Sugar Level
If you just received a diabetes diagnosis, you may be wondering what blood sugar levels mean and how you should be creating goals based off of your blood glucose tracking. One of the most important things for you to know is what blood sugar levels are and when theyre considered to be high. Learning what steps to take if you find your levels are too high will help you stay safe.
Because diabetes is such an individual condition, the best first step is to consult your doctor about what is a healthy range for your blood sugar. Once youve gotten advice from your medical expert, you can begin to modify your lifestyle and continue to do additional research to improve your health and benefit your diabetes management journey. Before researching online, its important to remember that blood sugar levels are an individual, personal reaction to many factors, and can vary while still being within an acceptable range. Generalized numbers are often not a 100% accurate measure of personal health and there may be other factors that are affecting your blood sugar, resulting in confusing numbers when you check.
Make sure that you carefully follow the instructions your doctor has created for you. Diabetes can have negative effects if not managed properly. By understanding healthy blood sugar ranges, you can take steps to reduce or avoid added diabetes complications, and better understand what changes in blood sugar may be reflecting about your bodys health.
Moderate To Severe High Blood Sugar
Moderate to severe symptoms of high blood sugar include:
- Blurred vision.
- Flushed, hot, dry skin.
- Restlessness, drowsiness, or difficulty waking up.
If your body produces little or no insulin , you also may have:
- Rapid, deep breathing.
- A fast heart rate and a weak pulse.
- A strong, fruity breath odour.
- Loss of appetite, belly pain, and/or vomiting.
If your blood sugar levels continue to rise, you may become confused and lethargic. You also may become unconscious if your blood sugar levels are very high.
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How To Lower High Blood Sugar
With careful monitoring and control of your blood sugar levels, you can live a healthy life. There are a number of ways you can lower and prevent high blood sugar.
Learn to count carbohydrates: When you count carbs or keep track of what you are eating, you can control your blood sugar more efficiently. Set a maximum amount you can have each day for your meal,s and keep track to make sure you do not go past the limit. This helps to stabilize blood sugar and prevent dangerous spikes. Portion control is important too, so make sure your meals are not too large, as these can cause temporary spikes.
Try meal planning: To help keep track of your carbohydrate intake, start planning your meals. Based on the amount of carbohydrates you can have, plan meals accordingly, so you do not risk going above the set limit. When your meals are planned, you also avoid eating out or getting convenience food, which contains more sugar and fat, and will negatively affect your blood sugar.
Start a weight loss program: Obesity contributes to diabetes and impairs your bodys ability to process energy efficiently. Losing weight helps your body to use insulin more efficiently, and it reduces fat storage, which can trigger inflammation in the body.
Monitor Your Carbohydrate Intake
What and how you eat is a very important factor in keeping your blood sugar levels in the healthy range. Choosing foods that stabilize your blood sugar and keep high blood sugar spikes to a minimum will help you stave off a diabetes diagnosis or help control existing diabetes. Some diets oversimplify a comprehensive food intake, and simply tell you to limit carbs or focus on low-carb foods. Its more complicated than that.
However, tracking your intake of foods that contribute to high blood sugar levelssuch as baked goods, processed foods, fried foods, and sweeteners can be a good place to start modifying your diet to balance your blood sugar.
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High Blood Sugar Facts
- Low high blood sugar is abnormally high blood levels of insulin in the blood. Hyperglycemia is a hallmark sign of diabetes and prediabetes, and diabetes is the most common cause of it. Severely elevated glucose levels can result in a medical emergency like diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome .
- The primary symptom of hyperglycemia is excessive amounts of sugar in the urine. Other symptoms and signs of high blood sugar levels in the blood are blurred vision, hunger , and headaches.
- Other conditions that can cause high blood sugar are pancreatitis, Cushing’s syndrome, unusual hormone-secreting tumors, pancreatic cancer, certain medications, and severe illnesses.
- Insulin is the treatment for people with type 1 diabetes, and life-threatening increases in glucose levels. People with type 2 diabetes may be managed with a combination of different oral and injectable medications. Hyperglycemia due to medical conditions other than diabetes is generally treated by treating the underlying condition responsible for the elevated glucose.
Easy Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Levels Naturally
High blood sugar occurs when your body doesnt make enough or effectively use insulin, a hormone that regulates blood glucose and helps it enter your cells for energy.
High blood sugar is associated with diabetes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 13% of U.S. adults live with diabetes, and 34.5% have prediabetes (
This means close to 50% of all U.S. adults have diabetes or prediabetes.
Here are 15 easy ways to lower blood sugar levels naturally:
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