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.
What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels After Eating
Your blood sugar level is influenced by several factors, including the food you eat. During digestion, carbohydrates are converted into sugar which your body uses as an energy source. Excess sugar from any source is stored in your cells for later use. When your cells contain too much sugar, though, it can lead to type 2 diabetes. This is why eating a balanced diet to maintain a normal blood sugar range is important.
Blood sugar levels can vary based on many factors, including age and life expectancy, comorbidities like heart disease, stress, and lifestyle factors like physical activity, smoking, or drinking alcohol.
High Blood Sugar Prevention
- Learn about managing diabetes.
- Work with a certified diabetes educator. This person will have a CDE certification and may work in a diabetes education center or hospital.
- Check blood sugar as directed by a CDE and doctor or nurse.
- Know the symptoms and act quickly before blood sugars get out of control.
- Follow a diabetes diet plan. Adjust the plan as needed.
- Take medications for diabetes as directed by your healthcare professional.
- Exercise daily.
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Why You Shouldnt Lower Your A1c Too Quickly
It can be a good idea to approach lowering your A1c with a bit of caution. Just as crash dieting isnt healthy, there can be some serious health risks associated with lowering your A1c too quickly. I turned to Dr. Peters for an explanation:
If you lower your A1c too quickly, many bad things can happen. First, weight gain and total body swelling. Next, it can cause bleeding in the retina which can lead to blindness, and third, it can cause painful neuropathy that never goes away. Its slightly different for newly diagnosed patients, but, in general, no one should try to go from an A1c of 10% to 6% quickly. Take slow steps. Wanting to get to a low number very fast only causes harm. Diabetes is a long-term disease, so slow steps to establish new habits that can last a lifetime is the way to go. Anything too sudden and the body reacts badly.
How To Avoid High Morning Blood Sugar
Weve all been there before.
You wake up. Lay in bed for a few minutes before getting up. Check your blood sugar. 115 stares back at you.
You smile to yourself: life is good.
Forty minutes later, when you sit down to eat, your blood sugar meter or CGM tells you that you are now at 180 ! You have eaten NOTHING. All youve done is prepare for the day and prepare food. Now you face the grim potential of chasing your high blood sugars all day long.
What is going on??
Let me explain why your blood sugar sometimes can be high in the morning and what you can do about it
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You Did Not Take Your Insulin As Prescribed
Maybe you forgot. Maybe you were feeling rebellious or burnt out and you skipped it on purpose. Maybe you thought you took it, but you really didnt.
While missing a few units of insulin isnt going to lead to DKA, skipping multiple doses, skipping your background insulin, or eating a large amount of carbohydrates and skipping your insulin can all lead to DKA.
While you may hope you can simply take your insulin and fix it, if youre experiencing symptoms of DKA versus small to moderate ketones, youll likely need to visit an emergency or urgent care clinic immediately.
There Was A Malfunction In Your Insulin Pump
Technology is great but technology can fail. While most of todays insulin pumps and pods have safety features to alert patients when insulin isnt getting administered properly, it still happens.
Sometimes, the first warning youll have that your pump is malfunctioning is a sudden and extreme spike in your blood sugar levels. In addition to changing your pump site and potentially calling customer support, you may also want to take an injection insulin to ensure you get insulin properly into your system.
If youre experiencing symptoms of DKA versus small to moderate ketones, youll likely need to visit an emergency or urgent care clinic immediately.
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Your Body Is Struggling With A Severe Illness Or Infection
While the common cold might cause a small number of ketones, it isnt likely going to put you into DKA. However, the flu or a serious infection can create so much stress within your body that moderate to large ketones develop.
Any time a person with diabetes becomes sick especially someone who takes insulin it is critical that you communicate with your healthcare team to adjust your insulin needs. Illness can require more overall insulin while your body fights whatever youre sick with. And infections left untreated can become life-threatening or threaten the wellbeing of an entire limb if ignored.
What Should My Blood Sugar Level Be 4 Hours After Eating
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Normal and diabetic blood sugar ranges
|BLOOD SUGAR CHART|
|Below 7.8 mmol/l Below 140 mg/dl||7.8 to 11.0 mmol/l 140 to 199 mg/dl|
What is a normal blood sugar level 1 hour after eating?
Normal blood sugar levels are less than 100 mg/dL after not eating for at least eight hours. And theyâre less than 140 mg/dL two hours after eating.
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What Happens If My Blood Glucose Level Becomes Too Low
Sometimes blood glucose levels drop below where they should be, which is called hypoglycemia. For most people with diabetes, the blood glucose level is too low when it is below 70 mg/dL.
Hypoglycemia can be life threatening and needs to be treated right away. Learn more about how to recognize and treat hypoglycemia.
Also Lets Be Clear About One Very Important Point: The Goal Of My Tests Is To See How High My Glucose Is Rising As A Result Of Eating This Or That
Since there is no way to know when I reach that high point, I just go with 1 hour. For me, that seems like its usually enough time to figure out approximately how bad something is.
So this is what goes on with MY body, which is to say that you might get entirely different results. If youre a Type 2 like me, maybe your insulin-resistant blood is more of an asshole than mine.
The only way to really find out is to do your own tests!
As for the internets claims that you should wait 2 hours after eating before you check the glucose, I did some googling. See what they say below and draw your own conclusions.
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A High Sugar Level After A Meal
It’s normal for your blood sugar level to rise after you eat, especially if you eat a meal high in refined carbohydrates. But if your blood sugar rises more than most people’s, you might have diabetes or pre-diabetes, a condition that indicates a strong risk for developing diabetes in the future. If you already have diabetes, you doctor will recommend keeping your blood sugar within a prescribed range. A glucose tolerance test, done one to three hours after you eat a high-carbohydrate meal, can check your blood sugar levels.
The Best Time To Check Blood Sugar
Kathi Valeii is a freelance writer covering the intersections of health, parenting, and social justice.
Living with diabetes includes monitoring your blood sugar levels. Most people do this by pricking their fingers with a blood sugar meter , which measures sugar in a small amount of blood.
Some people use a continuous glucose monitor , a sensor under the skin that checks blood sugar every few minutes. People who use a CGM must also use a blood sugar meter daily to ensure their CGM is accurate.
When you have diabetes, monitoring blood sugar levels is crucial because keeping blood sugar in a target range can help prevent complications, including:
- Kidney disease
- Vision problems
When you check your blood sugar matters. There are several times throughout the day that health experts recommend checking your blood sugar.
This article explains the importance of monitoring your blood sugar, how blood sugar is measured, and how to check it.
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Why Does Your Blood Sugar Rise
When you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks down the sugars they contain into glucose. Your body can’t absorb most sugars without breaking them down first. Simple sugars such as refined sugar break down very quickly you absorb them rapidly into your bloodstream, which raises your blood sugar. In healthy people, the levels don’t rise very high and they drop back to normal quickly. If you have diabetes, your levels after a meal will rise higher and stay high longer than levels in other people. This occurs because your pancreas either don’t release enough insulin, the hormone that helps cells absorb glucose, or because the cells don’t respond properly to insulin release.
Make A Few Changes To Your Diet
Eating a healthier diet doesnt mean you have to cut out all the things you love. Even making changes to one or two meals a day can have benefits.
For example, maybe you start eating a very green salad loaded with fresh veggies for lunch instead of that footlong sub-sandwich. Or perhaps you start limiting your soda consumption to one can per day instead of 4 cans per day.
Pick a couple of places to make changes so it isnt quite so overwhelming. Over time, you may find that you want to keep making improvements to other food choices, too. And remember, the goal doesnt have to be 100 percent perfection. The 80/20 Rule is great: choosing healthy, real food 80 percent of the time, with 20 percent left for less-than-perfect treats.
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High Blood Sugar Causes
Diabetes mellitus is one of several persistent conditions causing high blood sugar levels. For someone with diabetes, hyperglycemia has many possible causes:
- Carbohydrates: Eating food containing too many carbohydrates, a form of sugar. The body of a person with diabetes cannot process high levels of carbohydrates fast enough to convert it into energy. Blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes can rise within hours after eating.
- Insulin control: Not producing enough insulin action . People with diabetes must control blood sugar by a combination of dietary discretion, taking medication, and physical activity. When food, exercise, and insulin are not balanced, blood sugar levels rise.
- Stress: Emotions can play a role in causing hyperglycemia, but should not be used as an excuse for poor control of diabetes.
- Low levels of exercise: Daily exercise is a critical contributor to regulating blood sugar levels.
- Infection, illness, or surgery: With illness, blood sugar levels tend to rise quickly over several hours.
- Other medications: Certain drugs, especially steroids, can affect blood sugar levels.
- Unconsciousness or coma
Ketoacidosis is life-threatening and demands immediate treatment.
Fasting Blood Glucose Level Test Preparation
What should you do if your doctor orders a fasting blood sugar test? The preparation is the same as when you take a fasting test for cholesterol. First, be sure to find out if you need to schedule an appointment for your test . Ask your doctor what time is best to take it.
- Schedule your test if necessary
- Ask your doctor if you need to change any of the medications you take on the morning of the test
- If you normally drink coffee or have caffeine, ask your doctor if that is okay. It may not be, since it affects blood sugar levels
- Fast for at least 8 hours before your test. Usually, an overnight fast is most convenient
- You can drink water
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What Is A Ketogenic Diet
Once upon a time, keto was the original diabetes diet prescribed to type 1 diabetes patients before the advent of insulin, as this would prolong their lives as it has less of an impact on blood sugar levels.
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb diet where you get only ~5% of your daily caloric intake from carbohydrates. By restricting your carbohydrate intake so severely, you force your body to get most of its energy from fat. A byproduct of this fat burning is the production of natural ketones in the body, hence the name of the diet.
Burning ketones supplies the body with an alternative form of energy rather than quickly accessible energy from carbs and is what makes the ketogenic diet work. . More about that later in this guide).
The two main reasons why a person with diabetes would follow a keto diet are:
In the rest of this guide, I will review the pros and cons of a keto diet and try to answer the obvious questions: Is a keto diet good for people with diabetes?
High Blood Sugar Treatment
- Medication change: High blood sugars may be a sign that the person with diabetes needs to take medication, to change medications, or to change the way it is given .
- Other illness: Other illnesses need to be diagnosed and treated if an illness is causing high blood sugar levels. Infection or illness may need to be treated in the hospital, where health professionals can adjust the plan of care.
- Other Medications: A number of medications are available to help control blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes. Insulin is also prescribed for people with diabetes .
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How To Prevent High Morning Blood Sugar
Do not fret, friends. There are ways to deal. Here are three simple ways:
1) Take insulin right when you wake up
If its 2 pm and you notice your blood sugar is shooting up for no apparent reason, youd take a correction dose of insulin to prevent that spike, right? .
The same concept applies here.
To determine how much insulin to take, wake up, record blood sugar values at 30 and 60-minute intervals, and record this for a few days . Then, you can use your insulin to carb ratio to determine a correction bolus.
2) Increase your basal rate around your wake up time
If you fight Dawn Phenomenon, whats a common strategy for success? Increasing basal rates in the wee hours of the morning to counteract that hormone-induced spike.
Well, if youre used to a particular morning routine and know itll take you a little while to prepare food and eat, consider increasing that basal rate during that time period. That additional insulin may overcome the liver dumping glucose and blunt your blood sugar spike, or ideally, prevent it in the first place.
3) If you skip breakfast, stop skipping it and EAT SOMETHING
As a registered dietitian, I can regurgitate all the information from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics about why breakfast is important. This isnt about that, but in all honesty here, try eating SOMETHING. Id love if it were healthy, but if youre just DYING to have Cinnamon Toast Crunch, by all means, have at it. If youre about the low-carb life, go for some eggs.
Target Glucose Ranges For Adults
- Fasting glucose range: 72-90 mg/dL or 4.0-5.0 mmol/L
- Before eating: Depends on what you ate, what you did, and what you plan to eat
- Glucose range 1-2 hours after eating: < 120 mg/dL or 6.7 mmol/L
Most blood sugar charts show recommended levels as a range, allowing for differences between individuals. People with diabetes will often have higher blood sugar targets or âacceptableâ ranges than those without the condition, although a standard treatment goal in diabetes is to keep your blood glucose in a normal range as much as possible.
For type 1 diabetics and type 2 diabetics, blood sugar ranges are higher than the averages and targets listed above. According to the American Diabetes Association, average blood sugar levels for diabetics are:
- Fasting plasma glucose: 126 mg/dL or higher
- Before eating: 80â130 mg/dL
- One to two hours after eating: < 180 mg/dL
Diabetes occurs when the pancreas cannot make enough insulin to clear glucose out of the blood. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that moves glucose from what we consume from the bloodstream and into the cells to make energy.
Abnormal blood sugar occurs when thereâs either too much or too little sugar in the blood.
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