Avoid Eating Large Meals
One way to keep carbs under control is by eating in moderation. I always tell my patients to spread their food out over the day, Weisenberger says. Dont eat small meals to save up for a big dinner. Feeding your body throughout the day helps regulate your blood sugar levels and prevents highs and lows, Crandall Snyder says.
Both Weisenberger and Crandall Snyder say to keep an eye on carbs, even while snacking. Classically, less than 15 g of carbs per snack is a good standard approach, Crandall Snyder says. Thats about whats found in 1 cup of fruit, she says.
What You Should Know About A1c
An A1C blood test is an essential tool for managing diabetes. But what exactly does it refer to? And how is it relevant to you? If these are some questions that you face, this article is perfect for you. Read on to understand more about A1C and what you need to know about this diagnostic test.
What is A1C?
A1C is short for glycated hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein in your red blood cells that carry oxygen. Glucose, or sugar, attaches to the hemoglobin and stays there for the life of the red blood cell . So, A1C gives us an indication of what your average blood sugar level has been over that three-month period.
The A1C test can be used to diagnose diabetes, as well as to monitor diabetes control. A normal A1C level is below 5.7%. If your A1C is 5.7% or higher on two separate occasions, you have diabetes.
If you already have diabetes, aim for an A1C level below 7%. A level of 7% or higher on two occasions indicates poor diabetes control. Good diabetes control is important because it can help prevent or delay the development of complications, such as heart disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, and eye problems.
How does A1C Compare to Your Glucose Meter?
Your A1C level is not the same as your blood sugar level at any given moment. A1C reflects your average blood sugar over time, whereas your glucose meter gives you a snapshot of your blood sugar at a specific point in time.
How Can You Use A1C to Improve Your Diabetes Management?
Tips to Manage Diabetes Effectively
What Do You Take To Lower Your Blood Sugar
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Keep An Eye On Your Carb Intake
Paying attention to carbohydrates is important for people with type 2 diabetes. Carbs are what cause your blood sugars to potentially fluctuate, Crandall Snyder says.
How many carbs per meal is ideal? Its tailored to each individual, says Weisenberger. How much you exercise, your weight, and your age can all affect how long sugars stay in your system, according to the CDC. A typical starting point for people with diabetes is to limit carb intake to 200 to 245 grams per day, which amounts to about one-half of your daily calories coming from carbs, according to the CDC. From there, make adjustments according to your blood glucose readings or as recommended by a dietitian, Crandall Snyder says.
And keep in mind that carbs arent only found in the usual culprits, like bread, potatoes, and pasta. They are also in fruits, vegetables, sweets, and dairy, so you have to take all of those into consideration as well, Crandall Snyder says.
Maintain An Active Lifestyle
Take breaks during a sedentary workday, add a walk around the block to your morning routine, or try a new form of exercise. These activities bring great benefit in both the short and long term while helping reduce your overall stress. Including regular strength training and aerobic exercise will help to lower glucose values, as well.
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All Carbs Are Created Equal
Phipps explains that, despite containing similar amounts of carbohydrates, one serving of pasta could have a hugely different effect on your blood glucose levels than one serving of rice. Likewise, that serving of pasta may have an entirely different effect on your blood glucose levels than your friendsâ or even family membersâ. âWeâre all unique,â Phipps says.
What Are The Complications Of Low Blood Glucose
Mild-to-moderate low blood glucose can be easily treated. But severely low blood glucose can cause serious complications, including passing out, coma, or death.
Repeated episodes of low blood glucose can lead to
- high blood glucose levels, if worry or fear of low blood glucose keeps you from taking the medicines you need to manage your diabetes8
- hypoglycemia unawareness, a condition in which you dont notice any symptoms of low blood glucose until your blood glucose level has dropped very low
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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.
Causes Related To Diet
Processed foods and sugar
Diet and how it relates to blood glucose values can vary immensely from person to person. But, research suggests that eating processed foods can increase blood glucose.
Overeating or grazing
Itâs a common belief that snacking throughout the day will keep blood glucose levels steady. But, a 2013 study found that eating two large meals per day helped reduce blood glucose more effectively than six small meals per day. Itâs also important to keep our meals to the right proportions, as overeating can raise blood glucose levels as well.
Some research has found a connection between low water intake and a greater risk of hyperglycemia. This is most likely because less water in the body means the concentration of glucose in the blood is higher.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Research into this cause is ongoing. Yet, studies suggest diets lacking micronutrients like chromium, magnesium, or vitamin D may contribute to high blood glucose.
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Talk To A Healthcare Provider
If you think you’ve been doing all you can to keep your blood sugar in control, but your readings are still high, it may be time to switch medications, if you are taking them. Diabetes is a progressive disease, and over time, the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin can stop making the hormone altogether.
Ultimately, a healthcare provider will look at the full picture and do additional testing to find out if there is a bigger problem.
High Blood Sugar Causes
Sometimes the cause of a blood sugar spike is clear . But other times, the cause is a little more mysterious.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, losing sleep, skipping breakfast, not drinking enough water, or drinking coffee can cause blood sugar instability.
Even weirder, sometimes a sunburn can cause a spike! The pain of a burn causes stress, and high levels of stress can mess up your blood sugar. So bust out the sunscreen for the sake of your pancreas!
Other causes include eating high-sugar/high-carb foods, drinking alcohol, getting sick, and changing medication. A diet low in fiber and high in refined carbs or sugars and a sedentary lifestyle also make high blood sugar more likely.
So, what can you do when your blood sugar gets too high? Here are some natural ways to get your sugar back into a safe zone.
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When Should You See A Doctor
Your yearly doctorâs appointment is an excellent time to check in on your blood glucose levels. This is especially true if your age , weight, or family history put you at higher risk for developing diabetes in general.
If you suspect you may have high blood glucose already, Zanini says that any changes in your health count as cause to see your doctor. Make an appointment to undergo the diagnostic tests listed above and to discuss treatment options with your provider. If you have high blood glucose and experience trouble breathing, vomiting, confusion, extremely high thirst, or other symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis, seek medical attention right away. This condition occurs when your body burns fat too quickly and converts it into ketones, which make your blood acidic. It can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Youre Noticing Skin Tags And Other Skin Issues
Skin tags and other skin issues can be a sign that something is wrong with your blood glucose levels. People with diabetes frequently have to deal with these types of things because high glucose levels affect the way cells produce collagen, making it difficult for the body to heal itself properly after an injury or wound occurs.
In addition, high glucose levels can cause blood vessels to become damaged, which leads to skin issues such as spider veins and rosacea. Its important that you make sure youre getting enough Vitamin A in your meal plan, so the body has what it needs to keep itself strong and healthy.
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When Should I Go To The Hospital For Blood Sugar
Certain symptoms of blood sugar levels signal when you should seek medical help. Typically, if you feel extremely fatigued, notice increased thirst and urination, or weight loss, you should seek help right away. These symptoms can signify an abnormal blood sugar level and/or other health conditions. A routine health check is also advised, even if you do not show any symptoms.
Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Too High
Did you know that too high blood sugar can lead to serious health problems? If you suffer from diabetes, then your blood sugar levels might be too high.
If youre worried that yours is and dont know where to start, this blog post will delve into some of the early signs and symptoms of high blood sugar and offer tips on lowering your blood sugar if needed.
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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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How Can I Pay For Tests And Diabetes Supplies
Medicareexternal icon, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans pay for the A1C test and fasting blood sugar test as well as some diabetes supplies. Check your plan or ask your health care team for help finding low-cost or free supplies, and see How to Save Money on Diabetes Care for more resources.
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Add More Resistant Starch To Your Plate
Not all carbohydrates are equal. Simple sugars digest quickly, and the glucose hits your blood fast, causing a spike in blood sugars. Resistant starches with complex carbohydrates take longer to break down. Your blood sugar levels will rise slowly and not get quite as high.
Some examples of resistant starches include:
- Rice and potatoes, served cooked but cold
- Whole grains such as barley and oats
- Plantains, underripe bananas
How We Reviewed This Article:
- Diabetes & DKA . . https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/dka-ketoacidosis-ketones
- Ketones. . dtc.ucsf.edu/types-of-diabetes/type2/understanding-type-2-diabetes/how-the-body-processes-sugar/ketones/
- Ketone testing. . joslin.org/patient-care/diabetes-education/diabetes-learning-center/ketone-testing-0
- Urbain P. . Monitoring for compliance with a ketogenic diet: what is the best time of day to test for urinary ketosis? ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5097355/
- Hu, Cheng, et al. Biomarkers of Metabolic Disorders: Diagnostic and Prognostic Values, and Insights into the Pathogenesis. BioMed Research International, vol. 2014, 2014, pp. 12., retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/586272.
- Misra, S., and N. S. Oliver. Utility of Ketone Measurement in the Prevention, Diagnosis and Management of Diabetic Ketoacidosis. Diabetic Medicine, vol. 32, no. 1, 2014, pp. 1423., retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/dme.12604.
Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
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Dark Chocolate For Flavonoids
Limiting sugar is important when managing diabetes, so it may sound surprising to learn that dark chocolate can be part of a diabetes-friendly diet. But consider this: A review looked at studies involving more than 114,000 people and found that those who ate the most chocolate had a 31 percent lower risk of diabetes and a significantly reduced risk for heart disease and stroke compared with people who ate the least. And a that having about 10 g of flavonoid-rich cocoa powder a day could lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people with diabetes.
Look for dark chocolate ideally with at least 85 percent cacao, Acharya says. One ounce of 85 percent dark chocolate contains 136 calories, 1 g of protein, 14 g of fat, and 12 g of carbs, according to the USDA. Dark chocolate has a GL of 2.76, based on a glycemic index of 23, according to Beyond Type 1.
Be sure to keep in mind that chocolate also contains fat and sugar, so limit yourself to one small square a day, Smithson cautions.
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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How To Prevent Hyperglycaemia And Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels
Testing your blood sugar levels regularly can help you spot the signs of hyperglycaemia. But there are some steps you can take to either prevent a hyper from happening or to bring down your blood sugar levels.
You can start by making sure you are aware of your carbohydrate portions and how they may be affecting your blood sugar levels after eating. Carb countingis one of the ways you can manage this. Avoid foods that have a high glycemic index and choose low GI foods that can help manage your blood sugar levels more effectively. Increase the fibre in your diet. This can help slow down carbohydrate digestion, which can help limit the rise in your blood sugars.
Try to maintain a healthy weight as this promotes regular blood sugar levels in the body. Be as active as possible, regular exercise can help your body process more of the sugar.
Remember to take your insulin and other diabetes medication, and always take them correctly. Continue to take your diabetes medication even if you are ill and not eating.
Concentrate on your emotional wellbeing, get a quality nights sleep and find ways to manage your stress. Stress can cause hormones to be released, which keep your blood sugar levels high.
If your blood sugar levels continue to be high, or youre unsure of what to do, contact your doctor for further guidance.