What To Look For When Shopping
According to D’Angelo, the word “whole” is a great place to start, such as “whole-wheat flour” or another grain like “whole oats.”6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e
The next thing you can look for is how many carbohydrates are in each serving, as well as the added sugars.
“Everyone is different in terms of how many carbs they need, so talk to a nutritionist or dietitian about your specific amount,” says D’Angelo. “The key here is to get the right amount of carbohydrates because it will improve blood sugar management. And of course, check and see if there are any added sugars to the whole wheat bread that you’re choosing. Some brands use added sugars to help make the bread taste better, but be careful with too much of it as it can spike blood sugar levels.”
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Women With Diabetes: Heart Disease Risk
Anyone with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes faces an elevated risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular problems, but women who are younger than 60 a group often thought of as having a lower danger of heart problems actually have up to four times the risk of heart disease when they have type 2 diabetes, recent Johns Hopkins research shows.
For this reason, women with high blood glucose levels should take the condition particularly seriously. Adults with poorly controlled diabetes are never too young to have a heart attack or stroke, the experts say.
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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Blood Sugar And Exercise
There are a few ways that exercise lowers blood sugar:
- Insulin sensitivity is increased, so your muscle cells are better able to use any available insulin to take up glucose during and after activity.
- When your muscles contract during activity, your cells are able to take up glucose and use it for energy whether insulin is available or not.
This is how exercise can help lower blood sugar in the short term. And when you are active on a regular basis, it can also lower your A1C.
What Else Can I Do To Help Manage My Blood Sugar Levels
- 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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Keep An Eye On Your Carb Intake
Paying attention to carbohydrates is important for people with type 2 diabetes. Carbs are what cause your blood sugars to potentially fluctuate, Crandall Snyder says.
How many carbs per meal is ideal? Its tailored to each individual, says Weisenberger. How much you exercise, your weight, and your age can all affect how long sugars stay in your system, according to the CDC. A typical starting point for people with diabetes is to limit carb intake to 200 to 245 grams per day, which amounts to about one-half of your daily calories coming from carbs, according to the CDC. From there, make adjustments according to your blood glucose readings or as recommended by a dietitian, Crandall Snyder says.
And keep in mind that carbs arent only found in the usual culprits, like bread, potatoes, and pasta. They are also in fruits, vegetables, sweets, and dairy, so you have to take all of those into consideration as well, Crandall Snyder says.
High Blood Sugar Causes
Sometimes the cause of a blood sugar spike is clear . But other times, the cause is a little more mysterious.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, losing sleep, skipping breakfast, not drinking enough water, or drinking coffee can cause blood sugar instability.
Even weirder, sometimes a sunburn can cause a spike! The pain of a burn causes stress, and high levels of stress can mess up your blood sugar. So bust out the sunscreen for the sake of your pancreas!
Other causes include eating high-sugar/high-carb foods, drinking alcohol, getting sick, and changing medication. A diet low in fiber and high in refined carbs or sugars and a sedentary lifestyle also make high blood sugar more likely.
So, what can you do when your blood sugar gets too high? Here are some natural ways to get your sugar back into a safe zone.
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Importance Of Diet In Diabetes
Much of the food you eat is broken down into sugar , which gets released into the bloodstream. When blood sugar increases, the pancreas, an organ responsible for digestion and blood sugar regulation, releases the hormone insulin. Insulin then helps cells absorb the sugar to be used for energy or stored.
In diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin to enable the cells to absorb enough sugar from the blood. Or the body might have enough insulin, but the cells do not respond to it. In both cases, this leads to there being too much sugar in the blood, which, over time can lead to serious health issues, such as vision loss, heart disease, and kidney disease.
Reducing sugar and other simple carbohydrates in your diet plays an important role in keeping blood sugar levels down, which can slow the progression of the disease and stave off such complications.
Why You Should Create A Healthy Lifestyle Plan
Nutrition is the biggest priority in maintaining blood sugar. Monitoring diet alone, though, doesnÃ¢t cover everything you need for optimal blood sugar control.
In addition to an improved diet, you can support healthy blood sugar levels by:
- Drinking water to stay hydrated
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Managing your stress levels
- Monitoring your glucose levels
Setting up a diet for healthier blood sugar levels is all about finding foods that work for you.
The 13 foods below can be your easy starting point to build a meal plan that keeps your blood sugar under control.
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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.
Get More Quality Shuteye
Poor or limited sleep affects body chemistry, and getting more slumber helps with blood sugar control, Weisenberger says. Chronic lack of sleep may contribute to the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a small study published in Diabetologia in February 2015. Healthy volunteers who slept only four hours for three nights in a row had higher levels of fatty acids in their blood, which reduced insulins ability to regulate blood sugar by about 23 percent, the researchers found. Lack of sleep is also linked with other health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, and stroke, according to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends aiming for seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
Having sleep troubles? Follow these recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation:
- Sleep in a cool, dark room.
- Avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine in the hours before bed.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends.
- Dont look at screens for at least a half hour before bedtime, including TV, tablets, cell phones, and computers.
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How Do I Measure Blood Sugar
If you have diabetes, you probably already keep a watchful eye on your blood sugar through the use of a continuous glucose monitor or a blood sugar meter . Blood sugar measurement is also typically included in routine lab work for people without diabetes — your physician will usually order a glycated hemoglobin test, which measures your average blood sugar over the past two to three months.
Say your A1C test comes back with no sign of diabetes — constantly measuring your blood sugar can still be helpful. For instance, some people experiment with using a CGM to see how their body responds to different types of food. However, it’s good to note that this is a fairly cost-intensive way of figuring out your nutrition, and writing down a food diary that includes how you felt after each meal will also help you figure out what to eat.
Check out these blood sugar monitors if you’re looking for recommendations on how to keep track of your levels at home.
Bump Up Your Exercise Intensity
Exercise is a great way to boost your body’s ability to manage blood sugar, but making sure it’s a heart-pumping workout will help even more. Performing brief spurts of high-intensity exercise improved blood glucose levels in diabetics and healthy people for one to three days, per a 2013 review of research. Muscles soak up glucose during exercise to burn for energy, and the higher-intensity movements may aid this process even more.
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How To Treat Low Blood Sugar
If you think you have low blood sugar, be sure to check it.
Keeping your blood sugar levels on target as much as possible can help prevent or delay long-term, serious health problems. While this is important, closely managing your blood sugar levels also increases your chance for low blood sugar . Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low. If you think you have low blood sugar, check it. If you arent able to check it, go ahead and treat it.
Untreated low blood sugar can be dangerous, so its important to know what to do about it and to treat it immediately.
The Role Of Insulin In Diabetes
To understand why insulin is important in diabetes, it helps to know more about how the body uses food for energy. Your body is made up of millions of cells. To make energy, these cells need food in a very simple form. When you eat or drink, much of your food is broken down into a simple sugar called “glucose.” Then, glucose is transported through the bloodstream to the cells of your body where it can be used to provide some of the energy your body needs for daily activities.
The amount of glucose in your bloodstream is tightly regulated by the hormone insulin. Insulin is always being released in small amounts by the pancreas. When the amount of glucose in your blood rises to a certain level, the pancreas will release more insulin to push more glucose into the cells. This causes the glucose levels in your blood to drop.
To keep your blood glucose levels from getting too low , your body signals you to eat and releases some glucose from storage kept in the liver.
People with diabetes either don’t make insulin or their body’s cells are resistant to insulin, leading to high levels of sugar circulating in the blood, called simply high blood sugar. By definition, diabetes is having a blood glucose level of 126 milligrams per deciliter or more after an overnight fast .
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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.
Women: How Controlling Blood Sugar Benefits Your Heart
Controlling your blood sugar is one of the best things for womens heart health, along with maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
In many patients with diabetes who have no symptoms, diabetes, particularly when poorly controlled, is already harming their blood vessels and leading to hardening of the arteries, a precursor to heart disease. People may not even realize that they have diabetes until the disease progresses to the point where they have a heart attack.
Thats why its important to be aware of your blood glucose numbers, along with monitoring your overall weight and body fat.
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Probiotic Packed Dairy Foods
If you add any diary to your diet, make sure that its packed with healthy probiotics for the biggest benefits to your health. Greek yogurt is a great option since its low in sugar and high in probiotics. In studies done, Greek yogurt was found to improve blood sugar control and even reduce heart disease risks.3 Aim for unflavored Greek yogurt as the flavored versions are much higher in sugar and more processed, therefore may contribute to an increase in blood sugar.
What Are The Symptoms Of Diabetes
The symptoms of type 1 diabetes often occur suddenly and can be severe. They include:
- Increased thirst
Pregnancy makes most women have to urinate more often and feel hungrier, so these symptoms donÃ¢â¬â¢t always mean you have gestational diabetes. But it is important to get tested, because high blood sugar can cause problems for both you and your baby.Ã
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