How To Reduce Blood Sugar
You can take steps to reach your blood sugar goals as soon as you find out that it is high. This is how to reduce blood sugar if you have a single high reading that may be dangerous:
- Ask your doctor what to do if you missed a dose of insulin or another diabetes medication
- Ask your doctor if your medication types and doses are still appropriate for you
- Drink water to dilute the sugar
- Exercise for 15 minutes
- Eat a small protein snack, such as a hard-boiled egg, ½ ounce of peanuts or pistachios or other nuts, ½ cup of beans, or ½ cup of plain yogurt or cottage cheese
If you have chronically high blood sugar in prediabetes or diabetes, you can follow this treatment plan:
- Exercise regularly, assuming your doctor approves it
- Lose weight if you are overweight or obese
- Eat a higher proportion of vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and fruit
- Limit sugary foods and beverages, fried foods, refined starches, and processed and fatty red meats
- Beware of starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, which can spike your blood sugar. Check out our guide of which veggies to avoid!
Blood Sugar Level Chart By Age
Blood sugar levels tend to rise with age due to an increase in insulin resistance and decrease in insulin sensitivity. In one study by the National Health Institute , each extra decade of age was linked to a 2.7 mg/dl increase in fasting glucose, and a 4.5 mg/dl increase in 2-hour post-prandial glucose levels.
How Are Low Blood Sugar Levels Treated
Your diabetes health care team will give you guidelines for treating low blood sugar levels, depending on your symptoms. If you can, try to test your blood sugar levels to make sure that your symptoms are because of hypoglycemia. If you can’t test blood sugar immediately, don’t delay in treating your symptoms you can always check your blood sugar after you’ve taken steps to get your blood sugar back up into the normal range.
When blood sugar levels are low, the goal is to get them back up quickly. To do that, you should take in sugar or sugary foods, which raise the blood sugar level quickly. Your health care team might suggest that you:
- Eat, drink, or take something that contains sugar that can get into the blood quickly. Your doctor may tell you to have really sugary foods or drinks or might give you glucose tablets or gel to take all of these can help to raise your blood sugar level fast, which is what you need to do when it’s low.
- Wait about 10 minutes to let the sugar work.
- Recheck your blood sugar level with a glucose meter to see if blood sugar levels are back to normal.
- Get a glucagon shot , if your symptoms are severe or get worse after you eat, drink, or take glucose.
Sometimes, blood sugar levels can get so low that you may not be awake enough to eat or drink something to get them back up. When this happens, you may need a glucagon shot.
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How Often Should A Runner Check Their Blood Sugar
Checking glucose throughout the day can help to better understand glucose patterns and adjust medications accordingly. Eating a variety of foods helps to better understand glucose response and better dose for the meals/snacks youll need to fuel your workouts and your day.
Working with your diabetes team to learn the response to running at different times of day and planning nutrition and medications to optimize performance and glucose management is key, Kirpitch says.
If youre not wearing a CGM, it is good practice to check glucose at 30-minute intervals during exercise to assess patterns and make adjustments to management routine, Kirpitch says. It is best to catch a dropping glucose level before it goes low, so you can appropriately treat and continue activity. Once glucose is low, activity should stop until glucose returns to normal.
Keep in mind CGMs use interstitial fluid to monitor glucose, and there is a delay from blood glucose. Due to rapidly changing glucose during activity, it is good to recognize that glucose may be lower than value displayed on CGM.
Target Blood Sugar Levels For Pregnant Women With Diabetes
It’s possible for diabetes to cause problems during pregnancy. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who have uncontrolled blood sugar levels could experience an increased risk of having a premature baby, needing a C-section and more.
Gestational diabetes a type of diabetes that occurs in a pregnant woman who has never been diagnosed with diabetes before can also cause complications. These include giving birth to a baby who is larger than average and an increased risk of needing a C-section. The ADA suggests that pregnant women shoot for a target fasting blood sugar level of 95 mg/dL or less before a meal.
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Blood Sugar Fluctuations: Are They Normal
By Emily – Dietitian
Lets just get straight to the point, blood sugar fluctuations are normal for everyone, even people who do not have diabetes.
Sure, in a perfect world our blood sugar levels would stay a constant 100 mg/dL at all times, but in a real life situation that is completely unrealistic.
Blood sugar levels can fluctuate from day to day, from hour to hour and even from minute to minute this is all normal!
Blood sugar fluctuations can occur for a variety of reasons, some of which we have more control over than others. And of course, large fluctuations could be a concern.
So lets talk about normal blood sugar levels, how much of a fluctuation to expect, and what you can do to regulate your levels a bit more.
Ramp Up Your Physical Activity
A growing number of studies have found that being in ketosis may be beneficial for some types of athletic performance, including endurance exercise. In addition, being more active can help you get into ketosis.
When you exercise, you deplete your body of its glycogen stores. Normally, these are replenished when you eat carbs, which are broken down into glucose and then converted to glycogen.
However, if carb intake is minimized, glycogen stores remain low. In response, your liver increases its production of ketones, which can be used as an alternative fuel source for your muscles.
One study found that at low blood ketone concentrations, exercise increases the rate at which ketones are produced. However, when blood ketones are already elevated, they do not rise with exercise and may actually decrease for a short period. In addition, working out in a fasted state has been shown to drive up ketone levels.
In a small study, nine older women exercised either before or after a meal. Their blood ketone levels were 137314% higher when they exercised before a meal than when they exercised after a meal. Keep in mind that although exercise increases ketone production, it may take one to four weeks for your body to adapt to using ketones and fatty acids as primary fuels. During this time, physical performance may be reduced temporarily.
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What Is Blood Glucose Anyway
Blood glucose, or sugar, is sugar that is in your blood . It comes from the food that you eat foods that contain carbohydrate, such as bread, pasta and fruit are the main contributors to blood glucose. The cells in our bodies need glucose for energy and we all need energy to move, think, learn and breathe. The brain, which is the command center, uses about half of all the energy from glucose in the body.
Long Distance Running & Low Blood Sugar
While running a marathon or long-distance event, your body first will burn through your stored carbohydrates and then burn stored body fat to maintain the energy you’ll need. Over time, this will cause your blood sugar levels to drop, so it’s important to ensure your blood glucose doesn’t fall to a level that will bring about hypoglycemia. There are a variety of different strategies you can use to ensure this doesn’t happen so that you can safely, successfully complete your long-distance run.
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Tips For Managing Blood Sugar During Runs
Regular exercise has health benefits for those with type 1 diabetes, including increased cardiovascular fitness, greater muscle strength, and improved insulin sensitivity. While physical activity is very important in managing type 1 diabetes, understanding exactly how it impacts blood sugars can be difficult and worrisome, particularly for those who are newly diagnosed.
Typically, exercise can help to lower blood sugars by increasing insulin sensitivity and burning glucose. For some people, running can cause hypoglycemia during, after, or later in the day or overnight after exercise. But sometimes, certain people with type 1 diabetes can experience the opposite, their blood sugar goes up. This shouldn’t discourage you from running, because once you understand how your body responds to running you’ll be able to manage your blood sugar better.
The type of exercise, duration, frequency, and how trained a person is can also affect your blood sugar. Amanda Kirpitch MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is a nutrition and diabetes expert in New Jersey and weighed in on the topic. She says, “Running can encompass everything from a sprint to a marathon to high-intensity interval training workouts potentially utilizing both aerobic and anaerobic fueling systems. Understanding that these variances are normal and when to expect them can reduce some of the frustration and allow for more targeted insulin and nutrition strategies.”
Normal And Diabetic Blood Sugar Ranges
For the majority of healthy individuals, normal blood sugar levels are as follows:
- Between 4.0 to 5.4 mmol/L when fasting
- Up to 7.8 mmol/L 2 hours after eating
For people with diabetes, blood sugar level targets are as follows:
- Before meals : 4 to 7 mmol/L for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- After meals : under 9 mmol/L for people with type 1 diabetes and under 8.5mmol/L for people with type 2 diabetes
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Choose The Right Insulin
The right insulin can make or break your ability to control those after-meal spikes. In general, insulin that works quickly and for a short period of time will work better than those that work slowly over a long period of time.
For instance, rapid-acting insulin analogs will cover the post-meal blood sugar rise much better than regular insulin. Newer ultra-rapid insulins, such as Fiasp, work even faster.
The way insulin is administered can dramatically affect its speed of action. Afrezza is an inhaled insulin that can be used at mealtimes. Because the dry powder is absorbed through the lungs, its onset and peak are much earlier than injected insulin. For those who dont mind a twinge of pain, injecting insulin into muscle will also make it absorb and act much quicker than injecting it into the fat layer below the skin.
Research has also shown that injected insulin can work much faster when the injection site is warmed by rubbing the site, immersing in warm water, or exercising the muscle near the site. Warming the site causes the blood vessels near the skin to dilate, which allows the insulin to absorb more quickly. By the way, smoking causes the blood vessels to constrict, so quitting smoking might improve your post-meal blood sugar .
When Should I Be Measuring My Blood Sugar Levels Throughout The Day
According to the Diabetes Canada clinical practice guidelines, the schedules for testing blood sugar should be as follows:
|Situation||How often to check blood sugar|
|Type 1 diabetes using multiple daily insulin injections or using an insulin pump||Check four or more times per day|
|Type 2 diabetes, taking diabetes medication known to cause hypoglycemia||Check at times when symptoms of hypoglycemia occur, or at times when hypoglycemia has occurred previously|
|Type 2 diabetes, and meeting your blood sugar targets||Check once or twice per week, to ensure that your blood sugar targets are being met between A1C tests|
|Type 2 diabetes and not meeting your blood sugar targets|
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Think Before You Stink
Exercise and other physical activities are meant to be enjoyed. Managing your blood sugars effectively before, during, and after physical activity will ensure that you feel good, stay safe and perform your best. Its worth a few moments to plan out your blood sugar management strategies before exercise, because nothing will screw up a good workout like a high or a low. And if you would like some expert coaching in this area, drop me a line! There is nothing I like more than helping athletes to succeed.
Except maybe a fresh bagel.
Editors note: Gary Scheiner MS, CDE is Owner and Clinical Director of Integrated Diabetes Services, a private consulting practice located near Philadelphia for people with diabetes who utilize intensive insulin therapy. He is the author of several books, including . He and his team of Certified Diabetes Educators work with people throughout the world via phone and the internet. An exercise physiologist by trade, Gary has had type 1 diabetes for 25 years and serves on the Board of Directors for the Diabetes Exercise & Sports Association. He can be reached at , or toll-free at 877-735-3648.
Can Hyperglycemia Be Treated
Your doctor may recommend a low-impact exercise program as your first line of defense. If youre already following a fitness plan, they may recommend that you increase your overall level of activity.
Your doctor may also suggest that you eliminate glucose-rich foods from your diet. Its important to maintain a balanced diet and stick to healthy food portions. If you arent sure where to begin, your doctor can refer you to a dietician or nutritionist who can help you establish a diet plan.
If these changes dont help lower your high blood sugar, your doctor may prescribe medication. If you have diabetes, your doctor may prescribe oral medications or change the amount or type of insulin youve already been prescribed.
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What Are Optimal Blood Sugars
You can use your average blood sugar values from a home blood glucose metre to see how youre tracking compared to optimal.
Paul Jaminet notes that the optimal range for blood sugar is between 70 and 100mg/dL . Doctor Richard Bernstein recommends an ideal blood sugar of 83mg/dL for Type 1 Diabetics.
The conversion between HbA1c and average blood sugar is shown in the table below. The risk levels are based on cardiovascular disease and stroke data above.
|> 7.8||> 140|
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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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.
How Do You Know What Your Blood Glucose Level Is
For the most part, you cant feel what your blood glucose level is unless its fairly high or its low. You may not even always have symptoms of either high or low blood glucose in fact, many people with type 2 diabetes dont have the usual symptoms of high blood glucose, and for this reason, its not uncommon for people to go undiagnosed for many years.
The best way to know your blood glucose level is to check it with a glucose meter. This means doing a fingerstick with a lancet and getting a drop of blood onto a test strip, then inserting the strip into the meter for a reading. Your doctor may be able to give you a meter free of charge, but youll likely need to pay for test strips and lancets. But check with your health plan, as there are likely one or two preferred meters that they want you to use.
Another way to know what your glucose levels are up to is to use a continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, which reads glucose in the interstitial fluid about every 5 minutes. Continuous glucose monitoring is expensive and may or may not be covered by your health plan.
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