Lowering Blood Sugar Level Levels Through Way Of Living Changes
Reducing your blood sugar levels can be done by checking your blood sugar level degrees on a regular basis and also tracking measurements. This is especially essential for those with diabetes or people that are pre-diabetic. Decreasing blood glucose levels needs a disciplined technique to diet regimen and way of living changes.
The most effective way of lowering your blood sugar is via a mix of nutritional modifications, workout, and medications. Lowering your blood sugar level degrees can be tough but help is readily available if you adhere to a diet and comply with a day-to-day exercise routine. Decreasing blood sugar level levels may save your life in the future, so it is definitely well worth making changes in your lifestyle if you have a pre-diabetic problem or type two diabetes.
Blood Sugar Chart: Summary
The fasting blood sugar, 2-hour post-meal blood sugar, and HbA1C tests are important ways to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes, as well as indicate how well a persons diabetes is being managed. If you think you have diabetes, its important to not try and diagnose yourself by doing a finger-stick with a home blood glucose meter. There are strict standards and procedures that laboratories use for diagnosing diabetes therefore, you should get tested at your doctors office or at a laboratory.
Its also important to talk with your doctor to make sure you understand a) how often you should have certain tests, such as a fasting blood glucose or HbA1C test b) what your results mean and c) what your blood sugar and HbA1C targets are.
If you have not been previously diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes but your results are above normal, your doctor may recommend other tests and should discuss a plan of treatment with you. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, a healthy eating plan, and regular physical activity. You may need to start taking diabetes medications, including insulin. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, its recommended that you learn how to check your blood sugars with a meter so that you and your healthcare team can determine how your treatment plan is working for you.
What Should My Blood Sugar Level Be
When you’re first diagnosed with diabetes, your diabetes care team will usually tell you what your blood sugar level is and what you should aim to get it down to.
You may be advised to use a testing device to monitor your blood sugar level regularly at home.
Or you may have an appointment with a nurse or doctor every few months to see what your average blood sugar level is. This is known as your HbA1c level.
Target blood sugar levels differ for everyone, but generally speaking:
- if you monitor yourself at home with a self-testing kit a normal target is 4 to 7mmol/l before eating and under 8.5 to 9mmol/l 2 hours after a meal
- if your HbA1c level is tested every few months a normal HbA1c target is below 48mmol/mol
The Diabetes UK website has more about blood sugar levels and testing.
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Your Blood Sugar Isnt Just Because Of What You Eat
Mainstream media would have you believe that your blood sugar levels are impacted only by what you eat and how much you exercise, but people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who test their blood sugars frequently could tell you otherwise.
Its especially important to keep this mind when looking at your own blood sugars and your goals because there are certain variables and challenges that impact blood sugar levels that you cant always control.
- Menstrual cycles: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- Adrenaline rushes from competitive sports, heated arguments, rollercoaster rides: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- The common cold and other illnesses: usually raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- Hormonal changes due to puberty and healthy growth in young adults: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- An injury which raises overall inflammation levels: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- Glucogenesis during anaerobic exercise: raises blood sugar
While you cant necessarily prevent these factors that affect your blood sugar from occurring, you can work with your diabetes healthcare team to adjust your insulin, other diabetes medications, nutrition and activity levels to help compensate for them when they do occur.
For example, when engaging in anaerobic exercise like weightlifting many people with type 1 diabetes find it necessary to take a small bolus of insulin prior to or during their workout because anaerobic exercise can actually raise blood sugar.
Exercise And Blood Sugar
Exercise can have a big effect on your blood sugar levels because blood sugar is used for energy. When you use your muscles, your cells absorb sugar from the blood for energy.
Depending on the intensity or duration of exercise, physical activity can help lower your blood sugar for many hours after you stop moving.
If you exercise regularly, the cells in your body may be more sensitive to insulin. This will help keep blood sugar levels within normal ranges.
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.
When Things Go Awry
When we eat food, the pancreas goes to work, releasing enzymes that help to break down food and hormones that help the body handle the influx of glucose. One of these hormones is insulin, and it plays a key role in managing glucose levels in the blood.
And here is where things can go wrong. If the pancreas doesnt make enough insulin or stops making it altogether, in the case of type 1 diabetes glucose levels in the blood can rise too high. Another scenario is that the pancreas makes enough insulin but the cells have trouble using it properly, causing blood glucose levels to rise. This is called insulin resistance and is the hallmark of type 2 diabetes.
In the short term, high blood glucose levels can make you feel downright bad. Thirst, frequent trips to the bathroom, fatigue and weight loss are all symptoms of high blood glucose . If not treated, more serious issues can occur, such as diabetic ketoacidosis. Chronic high blood glucose levels can lead to complications such as heart, kidney and eye disease, as well as nerve damage. So, its all about the blood glucose.
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Reduced Blood Sugar Level Levels Through Workout
Reduced blood sugar levels by exercising can be done by enhancing exercise throughout the day. Reduced blood sugar degrees is a fundamental part of dealing with diabetes due to the fact that it assaults the trouble at its resource a high quantity of glucose in the blood. Reducing blood sugar levels permits diabetics to better manage how much or just how little insulin their body produces.
When To Get Urgent Medical Attention
Contact your diabetes care team immediately if you have a high blood sugar level and experience the following symptoms:
- feeling or being sick
- a fever for more than 24 hours
- signs of dehydration, such as a headache, dry skin and a weak, rapid heartbeat
- difficulty staying awake
These symptoms could be a sign of a more serious complication of hyperglycaemia, such as diabetic ketoacidosis or a hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state, and you may need to be looked after in hospital.
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Recommended Blood Sugar Targets For Most People With Diabetes*
Your targets may not be the same as the examples in this chart. Your targets are important and should be specific to you.
|4.0 to 7.0||5.0 to 10.0|
* This information is based on the Diabetes Canada 2018 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada and is a guide.** A1C is a measurement of your average blood sugar control for the last two to three months and approximately 50 per cent of the value comes from the last 30 days.
What To Expect After Meals
Food affects blood sugars, and most people who monitor their blood sugars notice their readings rise — and can be more challenging to control — after meals. If you do not have diabetes or prediabetes, your blood sugars may rise only slightly after meals — typically not exceeding 140 mg/dL when checked 2 hours after the start of a meal. If you have diabetes, ADA recommends post-meal blood sugars stay below 180 mg/dL. If your readings exceed this, you may be able to improve them. For instance, blood sugar can often be reduced by eating smaller meals, choosing healthful, high fiber foods, increasing physical activity, and by taking prescribed diabetes medications on time. If your readings are consistently above target, work with your doctor and diabetes care team to discuss solutions.
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What To Do If Your Blood Sugar Levels Are Higher Than Normal
If your fasting or post-meal blood sugar readings are consistently higher than normal, you may have prediabetes or diabetes. If you suspect you have diabetes or prediabetes, you should see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Symptoms of diabetes, beyond elevated blood sugars, may include increased thirst and urination, severe fatigue and excessive hunger. For more details, see our guide to common signs and symptoms of diabetes.
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
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What Is A Normal Blood Sugar Level
The answer to the question what is a normal blood sugar level is as follows:
Fasting normal blood sugarNormal for person without diabetes: 7099 mg/dl Official ADA recommendation for someone with diabetes: 80130 mg/dl
Normal blood sugar 2 hours after mealsNormal for person without diabetes: Less than 140 mg/dl Official ADA recommendation for someone with diabetes: Less than 180 mg/dl
Normal for person without diabetes: Less than 5.7%Official ADA recommendation for someone with diabetes: Less than 7.0%
Source: American Diabetes Association
Fasting Glucose Goal: 72
Why? Previously we discussed that the ADA considers normal fasting glucose as anything < 100 mg/dl. However, multiple research studies show that as fasting glucose increases, there is an increased risk of health problems like diabetes and heart disease even if it stays within the normal range. The highlights of some of the study results include:
- Men whose fasting blood glucose was greater than 85 mg/dl had a significantly higher mortality rate from cardiovascular diseases than men with blood sugars less than 85 mg/dl.
- People with fasting glucose levels in the high normal range had significantly increased cardiovascular disease risk than people whose levels remained below 80 mg/dl.
- Children with fasting glucose levels 86-99 mg/dl had more than double the risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes as adults when compared with children whose levels were less than 86 mg/dl.
- People with fasting glucose levels between 91-99 mg/dl had a 3-fold increase in type 2 diabetes risk compared to those with levels less than 83 mg/dl.
- Among young, healthy men, higher fasting plasma glucose levels within the normal range constitute an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes. This means that as fasting glucose increases, even if the level is still considered normal, it could indicate a significantly higher risk of developing diabetes, and this is particularly pronounced if BMI is greater than 30. .
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Diagnosing Prediabetes Type 2 And Type 1 Diabetes
Depending on which country or medical organization you ask, the qualifying numbers for normal versus prediabetes versus diagnosed type 1 or type 2 diabetes can vary slightly. The following blood sugar and A1c the general results are used to diagnosed prediabetes and diabetes according to sources including the American Diabetes Association and Diabetes UK:
- HbA1c: 5.7 to 6.4 percent
- Fasting: 100 to 125 mg/dL
- 2 hours after a meal: 140 mg/dL to 199 mg/dL
Type 1 or 2 diabetes
- HbA1c: 6.5 percent or higher
- Fasting: 126 mg/dL or higher
- 2 hours after a meal: 200 mg/dL or higher
Please note: Type 1 diabetes tends to develop very quickly which means that by the time symptoms are felt, blood sugar levels are generally well above 200 mg/dL all the time. For many, symptoms come on so quickly they are dismissed as the lingering flu or another seemingly ordinary virus.
By the time blood sugar levels are tested, many newly diagnosed type 1 patients will see levels above 400 mg/dL or higher. If you do suspect that you or a loved-one has type 1 diabetes, visit your primary care or urgent care immediately and ask for a urine test to measure ketones in addition to testing blood sugar levels and A1c.
Read more about ketones at diagnosis in Diabetes StrongsDiabetic Ketoacidosis Guide.
Why Your A1c Matters
In a nutshell: your A1c is one of the clearest indicators of your risk for developing diabetes complications like neuropathy , retinopathy , nephropathy , and severe infection in any part of your body that requires healing.
For instance, a small cut on your toe could become infected due to high blood sugars, struggle to heal, and become severe enough that the infection could lead to an amputation.
The general guidelines from the American Diabetes Association recommend an A1c at or below 7.0 percent for the best prevention of diabetes complications. Your risk of developing a diabetes complication continues to drop as your A1c drops closer to 6 percent.
Some people with diabetes aim for A1c levels in the 5s and lower especially those who follow strict low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet and the Bernstein diet. However, this hasnt been proven in research as especially necessary, nor is it reasonably achievable for the larger population of people with diabetes.
Its also important to remember that your blood sugar levels and your A1c are just information that tells you whether your body needs more or less of factors like insulin, other diabetes medications, changes in your nutrition, and changes in your exercise.
If you dont like the number youre seeing on your glucose meter or your A1c results, use that number as motivation to make changes in how you safely manage your diabetes in order to get different results.
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Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
- Weight fluctuations
If your blood sugar is too low, the best thing to do is to eat a balanced meal based on the data youve collected since you started tracking your blood sugar after eating.
If you dont have enough data just yet, start with something thats moderate in carbohydrate and also contains some protein and healthy fats. An apple with some nut butter is a good option, as is meat or seafood with some vegetables cooked in olive oil.
Clearly, theres a huge range in the effects different types of food have on your blood sugar.
Thats why tracking your blood sugar 1 hour after eating and your blood sugar 3 hours after eating over a few weeks can be such a valuable tool.
When youre learning how to improve your blood test results and optimize your long term health and longevity, you must have data as the foundation.
Your blood sugar is one of the fundamental indicators of your current and future health, and if you focus on this one metric alone, all the other biomarkers in your annual labs are likely to improve as well.
Ready to get to work on improving your own blood sugar levels? Interested with working with an online functional medicine doctor? The Mini Health Review as an easy first step to getting started: .
How Do I Detect Spikes In My Sugar Levels
The exact timing of blood sugar spikes can vary from person to person and meal to meal. However, on average, the post-meal peaks tend to be about one hour and 15 minutes after starting a meal.
The best way to measure post-meal patterns is by using a continuous glucose monitor or Flash monitors. These devices can give you a clear view, including graphs, of what happens with the glucose levels after meals without the need for finger pricking . You can ask your diabetes health team if they are available for you as they are not available to everybody.
If you are not using a CGM, then please speak to your healthcare team about the best way to do this for you with finger prick testing.
How do I know it is a spike?
There is no universal answer or specific guidelines on when a sugar level is too high after meals. However, if post-meal readings are consistently above your target range , then you should discuss whether it would be beneficial for you to address these spikes and how to do this, with your healthcare team .
If you are reviewing your post-breakfast sugar levels, you should also be aware of changes in your hormones in the morning, which cause increases in sugar levels . This Digibete video may help.
Some ways to reduce blood sugar spikes after meals
1. Choose low glycaemic index foods
When blood sugar levels are low or hypoglycaemic we need high glycaemic index foods , such as dextrose tablets or juice, that are absorbed quickly to raise our levels and to treat the hypo.
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