Surprising Things That Can Spike Your Blood Sugar
When you first found out you had diabetes, you tested your blood sugar often. Doing so helped you 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 roller coaster no one with diabetes wants to ride.
Do you know all these blood sugar triggers?
Knowledge is power! Look out for these surprising triggers that can send your blood sugar soaring:
How Do I Treat Hyperglycemia
You can often lower your blood glucose level by exercising. However, if your blood glucose is above 240 mg/dl, check your urine for ketones. If you have ketones, do not exercise.
Exercising when ketones are present may make your blood glucose level go even higher. You’ll need to work with your doctor to find the safest way for you to lower your blood glucose level.
Cutting down on the amount of food you eat might also help. Work with your dietitian to make changes in your meal plan. If exercise and changes in your diet don’t work, your doctor may change the amount of your medication or insulin or possibly the timing of when you take it.
Are Glucometer Readings Showing High Accurate
According to the FDA, glucose meter values should be:
- Within 15% of the results obtained from a lab 95% of the time
- Within 20% of lab measurements 99% of the time
That is, a glucometer reading of 100 mg/dL can vary as low as 80 mg/dL or high as 120 mg/dL, and then its considered accurate.
To better measure the accuracy of the glucometer, take it with you on your next visit to have a lab glucose test. Then check the blood just after the test and compare the accuracy with the lab test. For the best results, its recommended to request the lab to process the test within 30 minutes.
The FDA releases updated recommendations for blood glucose meters. This includes updated guidelines for measuring the accuracy of glucometers.
Don’t Miss: What Foods Stop Sugar Cravings
Youre Hungrier Than Usual But Losing Weight
Many people with uncontrolled high blood sugar find that theyre hungrier than usual, which signals a symptom called polyphagia, MedlinePlus notes. And although youre eating more, you may be losing weight for no apparent reason if your blood sugar levels are too high, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Since your body is not getting energy from the preferred source, glucose, it has to turn to muscle and fat, Zanini explains. When your body starts breaking down muscle and fat for energy, you experience unintentional and unhealthy weight loss. In addition to these changes in weight and appetite, you may notice weakness in your muscles and experience more frequent falls, Emanuele adds.
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 .
Also Check: What’s Good To Get Rid Of Sugar Ants
Signs That Your Blood Sugar Levels Are Too High
26 May, 2022
Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main source of energy for the cells in the body. This type of sugar is found in flours, honey, carrots, and rice, amongst other foods. While we use need it for daily living, its not good when your blood sugar levels are too high.
The specific purpose of this energy is to help you perform important bodily functions, such as digestion. It keeps the heart functioning, the synapses going, and fuels a host of other processes.
The sugar found in your blood must be kept between 70 and 110 mg/dL to make the most of its benefits. If it gets too high or low, you may suffer negative health consequences.
See Also: Fruits that Can Help Digestion
When your blood sugar levels are too high, this condition is called hyperglycemia. It can cause damage to various organs. Even further, when these levels are above 180 mg/dL its diagnosed as diabetes mellitus. Its important to keep this condition under strict medical observation, since it can cause many complications.
High Glucose And Diabetes
When you eat, your body breaks food down into glucose, a form of sugar, explains the American Diabetes Association . That glucose is carried through your bloodstream to your cells and tissues, which use it for energy.
The hormone insulin plays an important role in this process. It helps transfer sugar out of your bloodstream and into the cells that will use or store it, says ADA. A high blood glucose level means this process isnt working the way it should because your body cant make enough insulin, doesnt use it effectively or both.
Its not a situation to be ignored, even though you may not have any symptoms yet. Prediabetes â when your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes â can develop into diabetes if you dont make needed lifestyle changes, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Diabetes, undiagnosed or untreated, can lead to serious complications over time, including heart disease, blindness and kidney failure as a result of your blood sugar being too high all the time, according to the Mayo Clinic.
There are two main kinds of diabetes. Says Robert H. Eckel, MD, president of medicine and science at the ADA, 90 to 95 percent of diabetes is type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes develops most often in young people, the ADA notes, although it can also be diagnosed in adulthood. A third type, gestational diabetes, occurs during pregnancy.
You May Like: What To Eat If Your Sugar Is High
Should I Worry If My Glucometer Reading Is High
In most cases, when your glucometer reads high, you should be alerted and somewhat concerned, but you should remain calm and collected.
If your glucometer is reading high and you are experiencing symptoms of hyperglycemia, then you should call your doctor right away. Based on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor will instruct you on what steps you need to take to gain control over your blood sugar levels.
If your blood sugar levels continue to rise, then you are at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis . This is a life-threatening condition and should be treated immediately.
So, if your glucometer is reading high, then your best option is to recheck your blood sugar to make sure it was not a mistake or error. If the reading is the same, then call your doctor immediately.
All Carbs Are Created Equal
Phipps explains that, despite containing similar amounts of carbohydrates, one serving of pasta could have a hugely different effect on your blood glucose levels than one serving of rice. Likewise, that serving of pasta may have an entirely different effect on your blood glucose levels than your friendsâ or even family membersâ. âWeâre all unique,â Phipps says.
Also Check: How Does Blood Sugar Work
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.
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
Read Also: How Much Sugar Is In Halo Top
Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar
Learning to recognize the symptoms of hyperglycemia can help you successfully manage your diabetes.
Some people with diabetes immediately feel the symptoms of high blood sugar. Others dont because their symptoms are mild or vague.
Symptoms of hyperglycemia typically begin when your blood glucose goes above per deciliter . Symptoms can worsen the longer its untreated.
Symptoms of a blood sugar spike may include:
- frequent urination
Can You Have Hypoglycemia Without Having Diabetes
If you dont have diabetes, hypoglycemia can happen when you dont have enough sugar in your blood or if your body cant stabilize your blood sugar level. This occurs when your level drops below 70 milligrams per deciliter .
Low blood sugar means your body doesnt have enough energy to properly function or carry out its activities.
The underlying cause of nondiabetic hypoglycemia varies. Sometimes its due to an imbalanced or unhealthy diet.
You receive glucose from food. Therefore, you might experience a drop in blood sugar after going several hours without food or if you dont eat before a workout. In both cases, eating can help stabilize your blood sugar.
On the other hand, ongoing problems with nondiabetic hypoglycemia might indicate a decrease in insulin production. This may be related to issues with your:
Hypoglycemia in people who dont have diabetes is less common than hypoglycemia that occurs in people who have diabetes or related conditions.
Although rare, a tumor of the pancreas can cause the body to make too much insulin or an insulin-like substance, resulting in hypoglycemia. Hormone deficiencies can also cause hypoglycemia because hormones control blood sugar levels.
Read Also: Can Too Much Sugar Cause Blood In Stool
Complications Of High Blood Sugar
Diabetes is one of the main causes of high blood sugar levels, but there are other causes that can impact your blood glucose and your risk for hyperglycemia.
Hyperglycemia is the medical term for high blood sugar levels. You can have temporary spikes in blood sugar after eating a large meal or as a result of medication side effects. Chronically elevated blood sugar levels are dangerous and common in those with diabetes. Without treatment, you run the risk of a diabetic coma.
Ketoacidosis is a condition that develops when elevated blood glucose levels go untreated. Without glucose to use for fuel, your body begins to burn fat instead and produces ketones. When there are too many ketones in the blood, it will turn acidic, which can very quickly lead to ketoacidosis, a diabetic coma, and even death.
People without diabetes can develop a similar condition known as ketosis, but they can tolerate a certain level of ketones because inulin is still effectively working.
Diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome is another serious complication of high blood sugar. This is more common among individuals with type 2 diabetes and is triggered by an infection or illness.
As a result of the high blood sugar, your body tries to push out the excess glucose by passing it through your urine. Without treatment, this can result in life-threatening dehydration so prompt medical attention would be necessary.
What Does It Mean If Your Blood Sugar Is High But You Are Not Diabetic
Nondiabetic hyperglycemia means your blood glucose level is high even though you do not have diabetes. Hyperglycemia may happen suddenly during a major illness or injury. Instead, hyperglycemia may happen over a longer period of time and be caused by a chronic disease.
Is it important to check blood sugar levels for non diabetics?
Diabetes is a deceptive disease and may not show any symptoms for a long time before it is actually diagnosed. Therefore, knowing the normal blood sugar levels for non-diabetic individuals, especially those at risk of diabetes and keeping a regular check on blood sugar levels is very important.
Why does blood sugar in diabetes go up without eating?
Medically reviewed by Lucille Hughes, RN. Its strange that blood sugar in a diabetic can rise despite not having eaten anything, since typically, eating causes blood sugar to go up. But its no uncommon occurrence that in diabetes, glucose or blood sugar levels can actually rise in the absence of eating.
Are there blood sugar spikes in non diabetics?
Something millions of people dont realize is that non-diabetics do experience blood glucose spikes after meals. Yes, non-diabetics get blood sugar highs, believe it or not. They just dont know it and this phenomenon has implications for your health. Your doctor wont tell you how important your blood glucose control is as a non-diabetic. I will.
Youre Developing Blisters Dryness Or Other Skin Changes
Small pieces of extra skin, called skin tags, may form in the creases of skin, especially if you have diabetes and youre trying to find ways to manage your weight, notes the ADA. Dark, thick areas of soft skin may form on the back of the neck or hands, armpits, face, or other areas. These can be a sign of insulin resistance, Zanini says. Blisters, infections, dryness, itchiness, discolorations, and abnormalities of the skin can all be warning signs of high blood sugar. Check with your doctor if these skin changes develop.
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.
You May Like: What Can Kill Sugar Ants
What Happens During A Blood Glucose Test
A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out.
For some types of glucose blood tests, you will drink a sugary liquid and wait for an hour before your blood sample is taken:
- A glucose challenge test is used to test for gestational diabetes in pregnancy. If your blood glucose level is higher than normal, you may have gestational diabetes. You’ll need an oral glucose tolerance test to get a diagnosis.
- An oral glucose tolerance test is used to diagnose gestational diabetes, and type 2 diabetes and prediabetes in people who aren’t pregnant. A blood sample will be taken before you have a sugary drink and then again, every hour for the next 2 or 3 hours.