How Is Blood Glucose Monitored
If youre diagnosed with diabetes, youll be asked to monitor your blood glucose levels daily to determine the amount of glucose in your blood. Your diabetes health care team will work with you to determine the best times during the day to test your blood glucose and to find the monitoring device that best suits your needs. There are many accurate blood glucose meters available, and theyre simple to operate. You prick your finger with a lancet and apply a drop of blood to a treated strip. A glucose meter then reads the strip and displays the value.
Monitoring blood glucose and making appropriate changes offers a more independent, self-sufficient approach to diabetes management. Research indicates that complications associated with diabetes may be reduced if blood glucose levels are kept near normal. Blood glucose monitoring can help you:
- Make changes in your daily diet, medications or activity
- Identify low blood glucose levels
- Control blood glucose during illness
Continuous glucose monitoring technology uses a wearable or implantable sensor to monitor blood sugar levels and communicate data via a phone app or receiver-style device. Personal CGM devices are considered the standard of care for patients with Type 1 diabetes and are increasingly common for those with Type 2 diabetes. CGM technology allows patients to view their results in real time and for those results to be shared with their doctor.
Signs Of High Blood Sugar In The Morning
High blood sugar is significant when its too high. Thats when its called hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia is usually defined as above 126 mg/dL or 7.0 mmol/L in a period of fasting . This will be the clearest sign of high blood sugar in the morning.
Before breakfast, you usually would have had a period of at least eight hours without eating . As such, hyperglycemia during a period of fasting is particularly important here: youll know that the high blood sugar wasnt caused by any recent meals.
Other signs of high blood sugar in the morning will be the usual symptoms of hyperglycemia:
- Increased urination
Of course, its normal to feel somewhat groggy and thirsty when waking. Its important to distinguish between hyperglycemia and the I-hate-Mondays morning tiredness. And the best way to do that is to test your blood sugar.
How Long After Waking Up Should I Check My Blood Sugar
Blood sugar testing at home In most cases, doctors ask people to measure fasting blood sugar immediately upon waking and before they have anything to eat or drink. It may also be appropriate to test blood sugar before eating or 2 hours after a meal, which is when blood sugar returns to normal levels.
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Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar In The Morning
If you wear a continuous glucose monitor , or if you routinely check your blood glucose every morning, you can see whether or not you are experiencing early morning hyperglycemia. In addition, you may also experience some of the signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia, which may include:
- Frequent and excessive urination
Treating And Managing Hyperglycaemia
If your blood sugar level is slightly high for a short time, emergency treatment wont be necessary. But if it continues to rise you may need to act fast to avoid developing diabetic ketoacidosis .
If your blood sugar level is 15 mmol/l or more, you should check your blood or urine for ketones. If ketones are present, it is likely that you do not have enough insulin in your body. This means you may need to increase your dose or give yourself an extra dose. Talk to your diabetes team about how to do this if you are unsure.
You should also try to drink plenty of sugar-free fluids to prevent dehydration. And if you are feeling unwell, especially if you are vomiting, you should follow any sick day rules you have been given and contact your diabetes healthcare team for advice.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar Levels
Signs of high blood sugar levels include:
- Peeing a lot: The kidneys respond by flushing out the extra glucose in urine. People with high blood sugar need to pee more often and in larger amounts.
- Drinking a lot: Someone losing so much fluid from peeing that often can get very thirsty.
- Losing weight even though your appetite has stayed the same: If there isn’t enough insulin to help the body use glucose, the body breaks down muscle and stored fat instead in an attempt to provide fuel to hungry cells.
- Feeling tired: Because the body can’t use glucose for energy properly, a person may feel unusually tired.
What Is The Somogyi Effect
A second possible cause of high blood sugar levels in the morning is the Somogyi effect, sometimes also called rebound hyperglycemia. It was named after the doctor who first wrote about it.
If your blood sugar drops too low in the middle of the night while you are sleeping, your body will release hormones in an attempt to rescue you from the dangerously low blood sugar. The hormones do this by prompting your liver to release stored glucose in larger amounts than usual. But this system isnt perfect in a person with diabetes, so the liver releases more sugar than needed which leads to a high blood sugar level in the morning. This is the Somogyi effect.
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What Are The Recommended Targets For Blood Glucose Levels
Many people with diabetes aim to keep their blood glucose at these normal levels:
- Before a meal: 80 to 130 mg/dL
- About 2 hours after a meal starts: less than 180 mg/dL
Talk with your health care team about the best target range for you. Be sure to tell your health care professional if your glucose levels often go above or below your target range.
What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis
When the body doesn’t have enough insulin, glucose stays in the blood and can’t get into the body’s cells to be used for energy. This can happen, for example, when someone skips doses of insulin or when the need for insulin suddenly increases and the doses are not adjusted.
When the body can’t use glucose for fuel, it starts to use fat. When this happens, chemicals called ketones are released into the blood. Some of these ketones, like extra glucose, pass out of the body through the urine.
High levels of ketones in the blood can be a problem because they cause the blood to become acidic. Too much acid in the blood throws off the body’s chemical balance and causes the symptoms listed below. In people with diabetes, this problem is called diabetic , or DKA. DKA is a very serious condition that can lead to coma or death if it’s not treated. The good news, though, is that it’s preventable and can be treated.
DKA happens more often in people with type 1 diabetes, but can sometimes also happen to those with type 2 diabetes.
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What Causes High Morning Blood Sugars
Two main culprits prompt morning highs: the dawn phenomenon and waning insulin. A third, much rarer cause, known as the Somogyi effect, may also be to blame.
The occasional morning high will have little impact on your A1C, a measure of your average blood sugar levels over time that indicates how well managed your diabetes is. But if those highs become consistent, they could push your A1C up into dangerous territory.
What Is The Normal Range For Blood Sugar Levels And What Blood Sugar Level Constitutes A True Emergency
Dr. Horton answers the question: ‘Normal Range For Blood Sugar Levels?’
& #151 — Question:What is the normal range for blood sugar levels, and what blood sugar level constitutes a true emergency?
Answer:Now, in a normal individual we measure blood sugar under different circumstances. What we call fasting blood sugar or blood glucose levels is usually done six to eight hours after the last meal. So it’s most commonly done before breakfast in the morning and the normal range there is 70 to 100 milligrams per deciliter.
Now when you eat a meal, blood sugar generally rises and in a normal individual it usually does not get above a 135 to 140 milligrams per deciliter. So there is a fairly narrow range of blood sugar throughout the entire day.
Now in our diabetic patients we see both low blood sugar levels that we call hypoglycemia, or elevated blood sugars, hyperglycemia. Now, if the blood sugar drops below about 60 or 65 milligrams per deciliter, people will generally get symptoms, which are some shakiness, feeling of hunger, maybe a little racing of the heart and they will usually be trenchant or if they eat something, it goes away right away. But if blood sugar drops below 50 and can get down as low as 40 or 30 or even 20, then there is a progressive loss of mental function and eventually unconsciousness and seizures. And of course that is very dangerous and a medical emergency.
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Can Drinking A Lot Of Water Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels
Although feeling very thirsty is a symptom of a hyper, drinking a lot of water will not bring your blood sugar levels down. It will only help to reduce your risk of dehydration.
Its important that you take your diabetes medication to bring your blood sugar levels down. If you have consistently high blood sugar levels, you will need to follow the advice below and speak to your diabetes healthcare team.
Diabetes And Kidney Stones
Some people even see a connection between diabetes and kidney or gall bladder stones. According to the expert, insulin is an important hormone that keeps the blood sugar levels in a healthy range, and high blood sugar can cause issues all over the body, including your kidneys.
He shared that studies have shown that having diabetes more than doubles the chances of having kidney stones, and research also suggested that using insulin to treat diabetes makes those chances even higher. He shared that kidney stones are even more likely for people who have severe diabetes, where blood sugar levels are highest.
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Low Insulin Levels During The Night
You may experience low insulin levels during the night if you take supplemental insulin, either from a pump or daily injections. Most often, there are three reasons that insulin levels might be too low overnight, leading to raised morning blood sugar:
Your insulin pump is not set to give you a high enough dose of background insulin overnight.
Your injection of long-lasting insulin doesnt provide a high enough dose.
You injected the long-lasting insulin too early in the day, and its effects have reduced overnight.
High Blood Sugar And Its Symptoms
High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, occurs when your blood sugar levels are higher than the normal range. The problem begins when you get more glucose than your body â especially your insulin â can take. If you consistently fill your body with an overabundance of carbs, your body will gradually become resistant to insulin. When your body becomes resistant to insulin, it fails to utilize glucose as an energy source.
This can lead to a host of health problems and symptoms, including:
- Frequent urination
- Tingling in your hands and feet
It is important to see a doctor if you are worried that the amount of glucose in your body is high. In the long run, this can lead to Type 2 diabetes and even further complications such as gestational diabetes, inflammation of the pancreas, diabetic ketoacidosis, and more.
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How To Check Blood Sugar Levels
Blood glucose testing is easier, less painful, and more accurate than ever. Blood sugar levels can be tested with a blood glucose meter, a computerized device that measures and displays the amount of glucose in a blood sample.
To get a blood sample, a small needle called a lancet is used to prick the skin to draw a drop of blood. The drop of blood is placed on a testing strip that goes into the glucose meter, and the blood glucose reading appears on a screen within a few seconds.
Many types of glucose meters are available with different features. But most people choose the type of equipment covered by their insurance plans.
When choosing a glucose meter, consider:
Finding The Cause Of Your Morning Blood Sugar High
Though the three most likely causes of high morning blood sugar can all be treated, first you have to know which one is the source of your condition. If youre not sure, you might have to take the somewhat inconvenient step of waking up to check your blood sugar levels in the middle of your sleep pattern suggests Amori. Heres why:
- Consistent blood sugar from bedtime until about 3 a.m. and then a rise suggests the dawn phenomenon.
- Low blood sugar at 3 a.m. suggests the Somogyi effect.
- Blood sugar that increases from bedtime to 3 a.m. and then is even higher when you wake is probably due to waning insulin.
Using a continuous glucose monitor enables you to get this information without having to wake up for it. These monitors potentially help identify patterns and severity of high and low blood sugars, explains Amori.
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Why Blood Sugar Levels Rise Overnight
When you go to bed, your blood sugar reading is 110, but when you wake up in the morning, it has shot up to 150. Why does this happen?
To understand how blood sugar levels can rise overnight without your eating anything, we have to look at where glucose comes from and where it goes while we sleep.
During the day, the carbohydrates we eat are digested into glucose and absorbed into the bloodstream. Some of this glucose goes to the liver, where it is stored for later use.
At night, while we are asleep, the liver releases glucose into the bloodstream. The liver acts as our glucose warehouse and keeps us supplied until we eat breakfast. The amount of glucose being used is matched by the amount of glucose being released by the liver, so blood sugar levels should remain constant.
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How Is Dka Treated
DKA is very serious, but it can be treated if you go to the doctor or hospital right away. To feel better, a person with DKA needs to get insulin and fluids through a tube that goes into a vein in the body .
Let your parents or someone on your diabetes health care team know if you have any of these symptoms or are sick and don’t know what to do to take care of your diabetes.
Always wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace that says you have diabetes. Then, if you are not feeling well, whoever’s helping you will know to call for medical help. Medical identification can also include your doctor’s phone number or a parent’s phone number.
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Does The Time Of Day Affect Blood Sugar
Most often than not, people notice a spike in their blood sugar levels in the morning between 2 am to 8 am. This is due to the Dawn phenomenon wherein the body releases certain hormones to prepare to wake up. This is why doctors recommend a 3 am testing of blood sugars on random days to assess the effect of the Dawn phenomenon
How Do I Pick A Glucose Meter
Your doctor will make a recommendation. Check with your health insurance plan to see if it will pay for your BGM, its supplies, or a CGM. If so, your plan may only pay for a certain meter.
Shop around and compare costs. Consider what features are important to you. For example, some meters are made for people who have poor eyesight. If you want to pay a little more money, you can get a BGM that stores the results in its memory. This allows you to compare results from several days at one time.
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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.
What Is Considered A High Blood Sugar Level For A Diabetic
Without diabetes, your blood sugar should stay within the range of 70 to 120 milligrams per deciliter. But if you are diagnosed with diabetes, a more normal range for you may be between 80 and 180 milligrams per deciliter, according to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Clearly, anything outside of this range is dangerous for a diabetic, and when it gets to a certain level, you may require immediate medical attention.
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Low Blood Sugar Symptoms
Hypoglycemia happens when blood glucose levels drop too low. Low blood sugar can be caused by many things including the two different types of diabetes, certain medications, alcohol, endocrine disorders, eating disorders, pregnancy , and disorders of the liver, kidneys, or heart.
Here are some of the most common symptoms that someone with low blood sugar might experience:
If your blood sugar is low you might start to feel some of the first signs of hypoglycemia like dizziness, lightheadedness, or sweating. The only way to know for sure if your blood sugar is low is to test it with a glucose meter or other glucose monitoring device.
If you dont have access to these tools and start to feel the symptoms of low blood sugar, consume 15 grams of carbs or take a quick dissolve glucose tablet to raise your blood sugar levels and avoid further symptoms, according to the American Diabetes Association . Once your blood sugar is back in its target range, you can have a snack or meal to make sure it doesnt drop again.
Here are some other lifestyle and medicinal treatments that can help treat hypoglycemia:
- Eat a healthy diet full of whole foods that are minimally processed.
- Take prediabetes or diabetes medications as recommended by your healthcare provider.
- Use a glucagon kit in emergencies. Glucagon is a hormone that raises blood sugar levels quickly.