The #1 Snack To Lower Blood Sugar According To A Dietitian
Though you might have heard the phrase before, you might not be as familiar with the basics of how blood sugar works. After you eat or drink anything that contains calories, your body breaks down the food into simple glucose molecules. This is the form of energy that all of the cells in your body can use, and the hormone insulin acts like a key to allow glucose to get into our cells. To get the energy to your cells, glucose must travel through your blood, hence the term “blood glucose” . Therefore, after you eat, your blood sugar will go up. And if your body runs out of glucose from that meal, your blood sugar will fall. This is natural and happens in all of our bodies.
Certain foods can affect our blood sugar levels more than others. For example, foods high in simple or added sugars like soda, candy and highly processed foods can lead to a sharp increase in blood sugar that quickly burns up and falls just as rapidly. Consistent steep spikes and falls of blood glucose can make it harder and harder for the body to produce insulin. Without enough insulin, our blood glucose can be dangerously high which can damage cells. This is what can lead to type 2 diabetes over time.
The Big Picture: Checking Your Blood Sugar
Blood sugar monitoring is the primary tool you have to find out if your blood glucose levels are within your target range. This tells you your blood glucose level at any one time.
Its important for blood sugar levels to stay in a healthy range. If glucose levels get too low, we can lose the ability to think and function normally. If they get too high and stay high, it can cause damage or complications to the body over the course of many years.
The logging of your results is vital. When you bring your log to your healthcare provider, youll have a good picture of your body’s response to your diabetes care plan. To help keep track of your levels, we have a glucose log. We also have a blood glucose log available for purchase that is smaller so you can carry it with you.
What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis
If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms.
When too many ketones are produced too fast, they can build up in your body and cause diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. DKA is very serious and can cause a coma or even death. Common symptoms of DKA include:
- Fast, deep breathing.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Stomach pain.
If you think you may have DKA, test your urine for ketones. Follow the test kit directions, checking the color of the test strip against the color chart in the kit to see your ketone level. If your ketones are high, . DKA requires treatment in a hospital.
DKA happens most in people with type 1 diabetes and is sometimes the first sign of type 1 in people who havent yet been diagnosed. People with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but its less common.
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What Are The Target Ranges
Blood glucose targets are individualized based on:
- duration of diabetes
- conditions a person may have
- cardiovascular disease or diabetes complications
- hypoglycemia unawareness
- individual patient considerations
The American Diabetes Association suggests the following targets for most nonpregnant adults with diabetes. A1C targets differ based on age and health. Also, more or less stringent glycemic goals may be appropriate for each individual.
- A1C: Less than 7%A1C may also be reported as eAG: Less than 154 mg/dL
- Before a meal : 80130 mg/dL
- 1-2 hours after beginning of the meal *: Less than 180 mg/dL
How Often Should I Check My Blood Sugar
The number of times that you check your blood sugar will depend on the type of diabetes that you have and the type of medicine you take to treat your diabetes. For example, people who take insulin may need to check more often than people who do not take insulin. Talk with your health care team about how often to check your blood sugar.
The common times for checking your blood sugar are when you first wake up , before a meal, 2 hours after a meal, and at bedtime. Talk with your health care team about what times are best for you to check your blood sugar.
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Who Should Monitor Blood Sugar Levels
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, monitoring your blood sugar regularly will help you understand how medication like insulin, food, and physical activity affect your blood glucose. It also allows you to catch rising blood sugar levels early. It is the most important thing you can do to prevent complications from diabetes such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation.
Other people who may benefit from checking their blood glucose regularly include those:
- Taking insulin
Other Tips For Checking:
- With some meters, you can also use your forearm, thigh, or fleshy part of your hand.
- There are spring-loaded lancing devices that make sticking yourself less painful.
- If you use your fingertip, stick the side of your fingertip by your fingernail to avoid having sore spots on the frequently used part of your finger.
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How To Diagnose Blood Sugar Level
Its possible to check your glucose level without a glucose meter by pricking your finger with a clean needle and putting the drop of blood on a strip that has been dipped in a special liquid. The strip will show your blood sugar level in both mg/dL and mmol/L.
A fasting blood glucose level is the amount of glucose in a persons blood after they have not eaten for about 8 hours. The level is usually around 100 milligrams per deciliter . Its possible to measure it using a glucose meter. 80-99 mg/dL is the right amount of sugar to be present in the blood.
Drink Water And Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water could help you keep your blood sugar levels within healthy ranges.
In addition to preventing dehydration, it helps your kidneys flush out any excess sugar through urine.
One review of observational studies showed that those who drank more water had a lower risk of developing high blood sugar levels (
You can do so at home using a portable blood glucose meter, which is known as a glucometer. You can discuss this option with your doctor.
Keeping track allows you to determine whether you need to adjust your meals or medications. It also helps you learn how your body reacts to certain foods .
Try measuring your levels regularly every day and keeping track of the numbers in a log. Also, it may be more helpful to track your blood sugar in pairs for example, before and after exercise or before and 2 hours after a meal.
This can show you whether you need to make small changes to a meal if it spikes your blood sugar, rather than avoiding your favorite meals altogether. Some adjustments include swapping a starchy side for non-starchy veggies or limiting them to a handful.
Checking your blood glucose and maintaining a daily log enables you to adjust foods and medications when necessary to better manage your blood sugar levels.
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What Is The Normal Blood Sugar Level For Seniors
We, humans, get our energy from food. Our body converts food into a sugar called glucose with the help of insulin and supplies the necessary energy required to continue our daily activities.
Is it okay to have a random level of blood glucose? No! Definitely not!
Blood sugar has also got an optimum level. What is it then? Thus, this is our topic today. Here in this article, I will give you a brief idea about the normal blood sugar levels in our body. But my main focus will be on the geriatric or older adult citizens as altered blood glucose level or diabetes is the most prevalent amongst them. So, let dig into the topic quickly!
Table of Content
What Is A Healthy Blood Sugar Level
As the number of people diagnosed with diabetes continues to rise the question of what is a healthy blood sugar level has become one of the most frequently asked questions in doctors offices all around the world. While there are no hard and fast rules, normal blood glucose is generally thought to be between 60 and 100 milligrams per deciliter.
Though this the normal rule in some cases blood sugar levels can be affected by other underlying medical conditions, including the age, weight, and overall health condition of the patient, the only one who can determine what is a healthy blood sugar level for the individual is the individuals physician.
If you are a diabetic, the best way to keep your diabetes in control and in check is by regularly checking your blood sugar level and maintaining them as close to normal as possible. Only by maintaining a healthy blood sugar level can the worst of the health effects of diabetes be headed off.
A healthy blood sugar level is the only way to prevent diabetes related neuropathy, blindness, kidney disease and other long term effects of abnormal blood sugar levels. Whether you have type one or type two diabetes, whether you control your blood sugar by diet alone, or with a combination of diet and medication, the blood sugar is the key to the prevention of long term detrimental health effects.
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Target Blood Sugar Ranges For Pregnant People With Diabetes
Blood sugar targets during pregnancy are lower due to hormonal influences. The ADA, AACE, and Joslin Diabetes Center have slightly different guidelines for target blood sugar levels during pregnancy. In general, pregnant women with diabetes will want to follow individual guidelines provided by their endocrinologist.
The ADA recommends maintaining blood sugar levels of 95-140 mg/dL for pregnant women. However, some providers recommend an even tighter goal of blood glucose levels below 89 mg/dL before a meal and below 120 mg/dL after a meal.
To keep close tabs on levels, most diabetes specialists recommend that women with diabetes during pregnancy check their blood sugar:
- First thing in the morning
- Before all meals
Agree On Specific Target Ranges With The Diabetes Team
Sit down with a member of your diabetes health care team and discuss a range of blood glucose targets that are considered reasonable and realistic, given age, lifestyle and health considerations.
You should have a clear understanding of which numbers are considered too high or too low. It should also be clear what actions need to be taken if these numbers occur.
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Why Are Morning Figures Between 115
One common cause of high morning blood sugar is known as the Dawn Phenomenon.
Around 3-4 am your body naturally produces several hormones including, glucagon, epinephrine, growth hormone, and cortisol, that result in a rise in blood glucose. This phenomenon occurs in every individual, but as someone with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, you lack the ability to counteract these hormones and lower your blood glucose.
Another point to remember is that your body produces glucose 24/7 because certain cells in your body require a constant fuel source. Even if you are sleeping or have skipped a meal, your liver will still break down glycogen to produce glucose and cause a rise in blood sugar.
The good news is that there are things you can do to help mitigate this rise in blood sugar.
One small study found that consuming 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar with 1 ounce cheddar cheese prior to bed effectively lowered morning sugars. The lowering effect was greatest in those people with the highest fasting blood glucose which is great news for those with significant rises overnight.
Alternatively, consuming a bedtime snack containing both protein and healthy fat can also help lower morning blood sugar. Suggestions include a spoonful of peanut butter or a small portion of chicken with olives.
What Should I Do If My Blood Sugar Gets Too Low
Low blood sugar is also called hypoglycemia . It means your blood sugar level drops below 70. Having low blood sugar is dangerous and needs to be treated right away. Anyone with diabetes can have low blood sugar. You have a greater chance of having low blood sugar if you take insulin or certain pills for diabetes.
Carry supplies for treating low blood sugar with you. If you feel shaky, sweaty, or very hungry, check your blood sugar. Even if you feel none of these things, but think you may have low blood sugar, check it.
If your meter shows that your blood sugar is lower than 70, do one of the following things right away:
- chew 4 glucose tablets
- drink 4 ounces of fruit juice
- drink 4 ounces of regular soda, not diet soda or
- chew 4 pieces of hard candy
After taking one of these treatments, wait for 15 minutes, then check your blood sugar again. Repeat these steps until your blood sugar is 70 or above. After your blood sugar gets back up to 70 or more, eat a snack if your next meal is 1 hour or more away.
If you often have low blood sugar, check your blood sugar before driving and treat it if it is low.
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How Much Weight Do I Need To Lose Until My Blood Sugar Levels Are Normal
Experts typically recommend initial weight loss between 5-10% of your body weight.
For example, if a 240 pound man wants to lose 5% of his body weight then he would need to lose about 12 pounds initially. . Of course, long term goals should include losing any excess weight until you reach a healthy BMI.
Setting a S.M.A.R.T goal can help make your goal more achievable and realistic.
In a weight loss intervention study published by the American Diabetes Association participants lost an average of 8.6% of their weight, which on average lowered their A1c from 7.3% to 6.6%. Another study confirms modest weight loss significantly improves cardiovascular risk.
However, just keep in mind, weight loss alone wont bring blood sugar levels down your diet will have the greatest impact on your numbers, especially your carbohydrate intake.
High Blood Sugar In The Morning: Is It The Dawn Phenomenon
If you have high blood sugar levels in the morning, you may be experiencing the dawn phenomenon, the name given to an increase in blood sugar that usually occurs between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m., according to the Mayo Clinic. One reason this occurs: During the early hours of the morning, our bodies secrete higher levels of a hormone called cortisol, says Dr. Spratt. When cortisol levels are high, it can make you more resistant to insulin, a hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar levels.
“Some people have a striking dawn phenomenon,” says Dr. Spratt. “You can look at their continuous glucose tracing and see that their blood sugar level suddenly goes up at 3 a.m.” If this is the case for you, your doctor may adjust your insulin medication or suggest you use an insulin pump .
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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 .
Low Blood Sugar: What To Watch Out For
Hypoglycemia can occur in people with diabetes who:
- Take too much medication or insulin
- Are late eating a meal or snack
- Have increased physical activity
- Drink too much alcohol
Symptoms of low blood sugar include feeling weak, sweaty or clammy, confused, hungry and/or irritable. Sometimes people experience a fast heartbeat and some symptoms may make a person appear to be drunk. A severely low blood sugar can result in unconsciousness, seizures, coma or death especially when a low occurs during the night.
Low blood sugar affects many parts of the body, but the most frustrating part can be that hypoglycemia can happen anytime and anywhere even when you think you are closely following the plan for your diabetes care. If low blood sugar is severe, people may need to go to the hospital to help raise their glucose level or miss work due to the side effects.
It can happen during a date, during a business meeting, or even while driving, which is the most dangerous scenario if there is confusion or loss of consciousness while behind the wheel. Its important to use your blood glucose meter to check your blood sugar before you drive to keep yourself and others safe. Frequent testing with your blood sugar meter and taking action when blood sugar is trending low can prevent a severe low and keep your life on track.
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