Only Diabetics Get High Glucose Values
While a high glucose value can indicate diabetes, nondiabetics can also have higher values than normal. When researchers studied people wearing a continuous glucose monitor who did not have a diabetes diagnosis, they found 93% of individuals reached glucose levels that are considered dangerous, with 10% spending over 2 hours per day in these dangerous levels. Traditional glucose measurements, like a single point in time blood glucose value, are unable to capture these abnormalities.
There are actually several causes of high blood sugar unrelated to diabetes that the CDC recognizes. These include certain foods, like artificial sweeteners and coffee. Other factors like stress can do it, too. If you live with an endocrine or pancreatic condition, had surgery recently, or are experiencing intense physical stress , you may also see your glucose value rise.
Tricks For Cutting Down On Sugar
Reduce soft drinks, soda, and juice. For each 12 oz. serving of a sugar-sweetened beverage you drink a day, your risk for diabetes increases by about 15%. Try sparkling water with a twist of lemon or lime instead. Cut down on creamers and sweeteners you add to tea and coffee.
Dont replace saturated fat with sugar. Many of us replace saturated fat such as whole milk dairy with refined carbs, thinking were making a healthier choice. Low-fat doesnt mean healthy when the fat has been replaced by added sugar.
Sweeten foods yourself. Buy unsweetened iced tea, plain yogurt, or unflavored oatmeal, for example, and add sweetener yourself. Youll likely add far less sugar than the manufacturer.
Check labels and opt for low sugar products and use fresh or frozen ingredients instead of canned goods. Be especially aware of the sugar content of cereals and sugary drinks.
Avoid processed or packaged foods like canned soups, frozen dinners, or low-fat meals that often contain hidden sugar. Prepare more meals at home.
Reducethe amount of sugar in recipes by ¼ to . You can boost sweetness with mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla extract instead of sugar.
Find healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth. Instead of ice cream, blend up frozen bananas for a creamy, frozen treat. Or enjoy a small chunk of dark chocolate, rather than a milk chocolate bar.
Start with half of the dessert you normally eat, and replace the other half with fruit.
Be careful about alcohol
Prevent Low Blood Glucose
Because physical activity lowers your blood glucose, you should protect yourself against low blood glucose levels, also called hypoglycemia. You are most likely to have hypoglycemia if you take insulin or certain other diabetes medicines, such as a sulfonylurea. Hypoglycemia also can occur after a long intense workout or if you have skipped a meal before being active. Hypoglycemia can happen during or up to 24 hours after physical activity.
Planning is key to preventing hypoglycemia. For instance, if you take insulin, your health care provider might suggest you take less insulin or eat a small snack with carbohydrates before, during, or after physical activity, especially intense activity.4
You may need to check your blood glucose level before, during, and right after you are physically active.
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How To Check Blood Sugar At Home
If you aren’t sure whether your blood sugar is high or in the normal range, one thing you can do is test your sugar. This is especially helpful if you’re concerned about diabetes or prediabetes, but anyone can benefit from monitoring their sugar.
“There are easy ways to do this, and that will show you what your blood sugar responds to and how much of certain foods you can eat without disrupting your blood sugar. It is a great self-research experiment,” says Shaprio. Some types of blood glucose monitors require a prescription, but many are OTC and anyone can purchase one.
If you’re not quite ready for a monitor, you can still check in with yourself and take notes throughout the day of how certain foods and activities make you feel. “Otherwise you can monitor how you feel, your energy, how often you get hungry,” says Shapiro. “These are great measures of blood sugar levels.”
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
How Can I Treat High Blood Sugar
Talk to your doctor about how to keep your blood sugar levels within your target range. Your doctor may suggest the following:
- Be more active. Regular exercise can help keep your blood sugar levels on track. Important: dont exercise if ketones are present in your urine. This can make your blood sugar go even higher.
- Take medicine as instructed. If your blood sugar is often high, your doctor may change how much medicine you take or when you take it.
- Follow your diabetes meal plan. Ask your doctor or dietitian for help if youre having trouble sticking to it.
- Check your blood sugar as directed by your doctor. Check more often if youre sick or if youre concerned about high or low blood sugar.
- Talk to your doctor about adjusting how much insulin you take and what types of insulin to use.
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What’s The Best Diet For Diabetes
There isn’t a specific diet or meal plan that works for everybody. Your health care provider may have you see a registered dietician or a diabetes educator who can help design the best eating plan for you. The plan will consider:
- Any medicines that you take
- Your weight
- Any other health conditions you have
- Your lifestyle and tastes
- Your goals
All eating plans for diabetes have a few things in common, including eating the right foods in the right amounts at the right times.
Ways To Lower Your Blood Sugar With Breakfast
Say goodbye to spikes and crashes before lunchtime.
High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, can affect those with type 1 and 2 diabetes as well as prediabetes. It can happen when you eat something with too much sugar or too many simple carbs, forget to take your insulin, or even when youre sick or stressed.
Whatever the reason, everyone can agree the signs and symptoms of high blood sugar are no fun. According to the American Diabetes Association, indications that your blood sugar is too high include extreme thirst, a frequent need to urinate, and exhaustion. And if left untreated, high blood sugar can quickly develop into a life-threatening condition called ketoacidosis. Yikes!
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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
Will Supplements And Vitamins Help My Diabetes
No clear proof exists that taking dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, or spices can help manage diabetes.1 You may need supplements if you cannot get enough vitamins and minerals from foods. Talk with your health care provider before you take any dietary supplement since some can cause side effects or affect how your medicines work.2
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When Should I Check My Blood Sugar
How often you check your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes you have and if you take any diabetes medicines.
Typical times to check your blood sugar include:
- When you first wake up, before you eat or drink anything.
- Before a meal.
- Two hours after a meal.
- At bedtime.
If you have type 1 diabetes, have type 2 diabetes and take insulin, or often have low blood sugar, your doctor may want you to check your blood sugar more often, such as before and after youre physically active.
Check Your Blood Sugar
If you take medication that may cause low blood sugar , its highly advisable to check your blood sugar levels before you try to bring your sugar levels down.
This is just in case your blood sugar is normal or low, which can be the case in some situations.
Testing of blood sugar before bringing your levels down is particularly important if you take insulin.
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Broccoli And Broccoli Sprouts
Sulforaphane is a type of isothiocyanate that has blood-sugar-reducing properties.
This plant chemical is produced when broccoli is chopped or chewed due to a reaction between a glucosinolate compound called glucoraphanin and the enzyme myrosinase, both of which are concentrated in broccoli .
Test-tube, animal, and human studies have shown that sulforaphane-rich broccoli extract has powerful antidiabetic effects, helping enhance insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar and markers of oxidative stress .
Broccoli sprouts are concentrated sources of glucosinolates like glucoraphanin, and theyve been shown to help promote insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes when supplemented as a powder or extract (
Keep in mind that the best way to enhance the availability of sulforaphane is to enjoy broccoli and broccoli sprouts raw or lightly steamed, or to add active sources of myrosinase like mustard seed powder to cooked broccoli (
Don’t Sit On The Couch Or Lie Down Right After A Meal
While you may want to plop on the couch and turn on the television after a long day of work and a satisfying meal, you should resist the urge to become sedentary.
“Sitting on the couch or laying down after a meal will likely make blood sugar worse because you are sedentary and your muscles aren’t burning off the extra glucose in your bloodstream,” Harris-Pincus explains.
Plus, it is a common GERD trigger, so be wary if you are prone to indigestion after eating a meal, especially one containing trigger foods, like acidic tomato sauce on pizza or pasta, for example. Wait a bit before nestling under the covers.
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When To See A Doctor
According to the University of Michigan, blood sugar levels of 300 mg/dL or more can be dangerous. They recommend calling a doctor if you have two readings in a row of 300 or more.
See your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar levels. Symptoms of this include:
- increased thirst
- high levels of sugar in urine
Ask your doctor how often to check your blood sugar and about your ideal blood sugar levels.
If you dont currently see a doctor who specializes in diabetes, known as an endocrinologist, you can find one by searching the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists website.
You can find a certified diabetes educator by visiting the American Diabetes Associations website and searching by zip code.
Talk to your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar readings or symptoms of chronic hyperglycemia.
Checking your blood sugar and then treating hyperglycemia early will help prevent any complications.
Health problems can arise when someone has high blood sugar regularly and without treatment.
Examples of complications include:
- nerve damage, called diabetic neuropathy, that may affect sensations in the feet and hands
- diabetic retinopathy, or damage to the blood vessels in the eyes that affects vision
- increased risks for kidney problems
- increased risks for heart problems
Taking steps to keep your blood sugar at target levels can help to minimize the likelihood that these complications will occur.
The Biggest Risk For Diabetes: Belly Fat
Being overweight or obese is the biggest risk factor for type 2 diabetes. However, your risk is higher if you tend to carry your weight around your abdomen as opposed to your hips and thighs. A lot of belly fat surrounds the abdominal organs and liver and is closely linked to insulin resistance. You are at an increased risk of developing diabetes if you are:
- A woman with a waist circumference of 35 inches or more
- A man with a waist circumference of 40 inches or more
Calories obtained from fructose are more likely to add weight around your abdomen. Cutting back on sugary foods can mean a slimmer waistline as well as a lower risk of diabetes.
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What Is High Blood Sugar
Elevated blood sugar levels are known as hyperglycemia. Blood sugar levels are measured using a small sample of blood that is tested in a lab. Blood sugar can also be tested using at home devices such as a handheld glucometer. Levels that indicate hyperglycemia are indicative of prediabetes and both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Normal ranges of blood sugar will vary depending on the test being done. In general, a normal fasting glucose level will be between 70-100 mg/dL. After a meal, these levels are expected to rise slightly around 1 to 2 hours after the beginning of a meal, but should be less than 180 ml/dL.
Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is important not only for metabolic health, but heart health too. Over time, high blood sugar can damage blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart. People with diabetes are also more likely to have other conditions that raise the risk for heart disease:
- High blood pressure increases the force of blood through your arteries and can damage artery walls. Having both high blood pressure and diabetes can greatly increase your risk for heart disease.
- Too much LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream can form plaque on damaged artery walls.
What Are Blood Sugar Targets
A blood sugar target is the range you try to reach as much as possible. These are typical targets:
- Before a meal: 80 to 130 mg/dL.
- Two hours after the start of a meal: Less than 180 mg/dL.
Your blood sugar targets may be different depending on your age, any additional health problems you have, and other factors. Be sure to talk to your health care team about which targets are best for you.
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What To Eat To Keep Your Blood Sugar In Check
Swap difficult diets for good and simple healthy foods. Hereâs how.
You need to eat wisely to keep your diabetes in check. The key is to choose healthy foods and portion sizes so that you can control both your weight and blood sugar levels.
The first step: Learn whatâs good for you, says diabetes educator Emmy Suhl, RD, CDE, of Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
âThereâs no such thing as a diabetes diet,â Suhl says. âThe best diet for someone with diabetes is your basic, healthy diet.â
Causes Related To Personal Health
This condition occurs when the cells in your muscles, fat, and liver are unable to use the glucose in your bloodstream for energy. Your pancreas responds to this increase in glucose by producing more insulin to help your body process it. This excess amount of insulin in the bloodstream can eventually cause your body to lose insulin sensitivity or build resistance to it, leading to higher blood glucose levels.
Bodyweight and body fat
Research connects being overweight and having a higher body fat percentage with high blood glucose levels. In fact, a high body fat percentage might be a clearer indicator of high blood sugar and diabetes than weight or body mass index .
Other health conditions
Certain conditions could make you more likely to have high blood glucose. These include Cushingâs disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome , and gestational diabetes. Blood glucose may also rise as the result of common illnesses like a head cold or the flu.
It isnât just stress and sleep that can cause fluctuations in hormones. Illness, physical pain and trauma, menopause or menstruation can as well. In any of these instances, your blood glucose levels may rise due to the changes in your hormone levels.
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Don’t Shortchange Your Sleep
Getting enough sleep at night is crucial for overall health and wellbeing, but especially for blood sugar control. Sure, one night of shortened or interrupted sleep may not have a detrimental effect, but don’t kid yourself that you can get away with too little shut-eye regularly without it causing an imbalance in blood sugar levels.
“It’s recommended that we snooze for seven to nine hours per night, and missing out on quality sleep can trigger stress hormones that increase blood sugar levels,” Harris-Pincus explains.
Plus, stress is unhealthy in general, and it can lead to an increase in cravings, moodiness, physical discomfort, GI distress, and higher risk of disease, among other various concerns.
What Else Do I Need To Know About Diabetic Diets
If you have diabetes, it’s important to eat the right amount of food every day. Your eating plan will include how much to eat, so that you get the right amount of carbs in each meal or snack. You’ll learn how to count carbs and measure your food.
Eating at the right times is also important. You will want to plan for regular, balanced meals to avoid high or low blood sugar levels. Eating about the same amount of carbs at each meal can be helpful.
Your eating plan will also teach you how to stick with your plan at home and when you eat out.
Eating healthy to control your blood sugar does take some effort. But the reward is a chance to live your healthiest life with diabetes.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
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