Treating Low Blood Glucose If You Take Medicines That Slow Down Digestion
Some diabetes medicines slow down the digestion of carbohydrates to keep blood glucose levels from rising too high after you eat. If you develop low blood glucose while taking these medicines, you will need to take glucose tablets or glucose gel right away. Eating or drinking other sources of carbohydrates wont raise your blood glucose level quickly enough.
How To Prevent Low Blood Sugar
Small changes to your diet and physical activity habits can help prevent blood sugar spikes and decreases.
- Take smaller portions of high-carb foods, such as bread, pasta, potatoes, desserts, soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages, and rice.
- Include a source of protein, fat, and/or dietary fiber when you eat carbohydrates.
- Choose less-processed versions of foods, such as whole fruit instead of juice, whole grains instead of refined, and pasta al dente instead of very well-cooked pasta.
- Instead of exercising on an empty stomach, have a small snack an hour or two before you start, or a larger snack or small meal three hours before.
- Have a snack or your next scheduled meal as soon as possible after exercising.
These changes can help prevent blood sugar swings.
What Symptoms To Watch For
Hypoglycemia can be a challenging diabetes compications, as you ask yourself, why does my sugar keep dropping? There are several common low blood sugar symptoms to look out for. These symptoms arise due to the adrenal glands releasing both epinephrine and cortisol in response to hypoglycemia.
However, not everyone will experience all of thesehypoglycemia symptoms , and low blood sugar reactions can change. If you suspect you have low blood sugar, the best thing to do is check your blood sugar to confirm.
People who have had diabetes for a long time or who have experienced hypoglycemia frequently may develop hypoglycemia unawareness.
Hypoglycemia unawareness is a diabetes complication where people dont experience the usual warning signs of low blood sugar before it occurs. Up to 40% of people with type 1 diabetes experience hypoglycemia unawareness.
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When Is The Best Time To Test Blood Sugar
The preferred time to test blood sugar isnt before breakfast any more. Researchers looking at studies of hundreds of people with type 2 diabetes suggest that high blood glucose levels after meals has a greater effect on A1C levels among people who have their diabetes under good control than among those with poor control.
When A1C results are low less than 7.3 percent mealtime glucose contributes about 70 percent of the A1C. However, when A1C results are high greater than 10.2 percent fasting blood glucose contributes 70 percent of the A1C value.
If your A1C levels are above 7.0 percent, you run a much greater risk of complications. That means getting your diabetes under control needs to be your top priority. After you do that, you can concentrate on testing after meals.
But do we start counting from the beginning, the middle, or the end of the meal? And should we test one, two, or more hours after eating?
There is a great variation in the length of a meal. So it is more precise to start counting from the time of the first bite. Another reason to start counting from the beginning of a meal is because our glucose levels begin to rise about 10 minutes after the start of a meal.
Both organizations recommend that most of us test two hours after eating. While your blood glucose level could be highest one hour after a meal, there are good reasons to wait until two hours after the first bite. Writing on a diabetes mailing list, someone called Helen said it best:
Why Did My Blood Sugar Level Drop After A High
People who later on develop diabetes may before that develop hypoglycemia due to an overshoot of insulin release as a reaction to high sugar intake, maybe because already having some insulin resistance thus the pancreas releasing more insulin to compensate for that. So not a high intake of insulin like you wroteâ¦ Pre-diabetes causes no symptoms, what do you mean by having pre-diabetes symptoms? Elevated fasting blood sugars or 2 hours after meals blood sugar levels ? 1 mmol/L = 18 mg/dL. If so, there have been many large trials showing that by exercising and losing weight the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in pre-diabetics can be lowered by 20 – 40%, for an overview see Implementation Science and of which the US DPP Trial are the best known.Continue reading > >
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What Extreme Conditions Can Occur If Hypoglycemia Is Left Untreated
Although severe episodes which can trigger potentially life-threatening comas are rare, they require immediate emergency room care, so its best to make sure you are tracking your blood sugar so that you never have to worry about getting to that point. A drop in blood sugar means less fuel for your brain, so its critical for your body to receive enough glucose. Hypoglycemia that leads to extended, reduced brain function is the biggest concern, as this can lead to seizures and loss of basic bodily functions controlled by the brain, which can ultimately lead to death, explains Dr. Dyer.
Blood Sugar And Insulin Response
When you eat carbohydrates, your blood sugar, or blood glucose level, goes up. When your blood sugar level goes up, it sends signals to your pancreas to release the hormone insulin. Insulin then attaches to the sugar, or glucose, molecules and either carries them into your cells where theyre used for immediate energy or stored in the liver for use later. As insulin carries glucose out of your blood, your blood sugar levels go down. When your blood sugar levels go down, it signals your pancreas to release less insulin.
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Will Too Much Protein Kick Me Out Of Ketosis
therapeutic ketosisIf you are managing a condition that benefits from high levels of ketosis then limiting protein may be necessary to ensure continuously elevated ketone levels and reduce insulin to avoid driving growth in tumour cells and cancer. exogenous ketosisendogenous ketosis
- Endogenous ketosis occurs when a person eats less than the body needs to maintain energy homeostasis and we are forced to up the glycogen in our liver and then our body fat to make up the difference.
- Exogenous ketosis occurs when we eat lots of dietary fat , and we see blood ketones build up in the blood. We are burning dietary fat for fuel.
|Low total energy||High total energy|
|Stored energy taken from body fat for fuel||Ingested energy used preferentially as fuel|
|Stable ketone production all day||Sharp rise of ketones for a short duration. Need to keep adding fat or exogenous ketones to maintain elevated ketones.|
|Insulin levels are low which allows the release of glycogen from our liver and fat stores||Insulin levels increase to hold glycogen in liver and fat in adipose tissue|
|Mitochondrial biogenesis, autophagy, increase in NAD+, increase in SIRT1||Mitochondrial energy overload, autophagy turned off, decrease in NAD+|
|Body fat and liver glycogen used for fuel||Liver glycogen refilled and excess energy in the bloodstream stored as fat.|
When Your Blood Sugar Gets Low
Check your blood sugar whenever you have symptoms of low blood sugar. If your blood sugar is below 70 mg/dL, treat yourself right away.
1. Eat something that has about 15 grams of carbohydrates. Examples are:
- 3 glucose tablets
- One half cup of fruit juice or regular, non-diet soda
- 5 or 6 hard candies
- 1 tablespoon or 15 mL of sugar, plain or dissolved in water
- 1 tbsp of honey or syrup
2. Wait about 15 minutes before eating any more. Be careful not to eat too much. This can cause high blood sugar and weight gain.
3. Check your blood sugar again.
4. If you do not feel better in 15 minutes and your blood sugar is still lower than 70 mg/dL , eat another snack with 15 g of carbohydrates.
You may need to eat a snack with carbohydrates and protein if your blood sugar is in a safer range — over 70 mg/dL — and your next meal is more than an hour away.
Ask your provider how to manage this situation. If these steps for raising your blood sugar do not work, call your doctor right away.
Overdose Of Diabetes Medication
A common cause of hypoglycaemia is taking too much insulin for your current needs. Insulin is a medication that helps control your blood glucose levels. It’s commonly used to treat type 1 diabetes and is also recommended for some people with type 2 diabetes.
A fall in blood glucose levels can also occur after taking too much oral hypoglycaemia medication, such as sulphonylurea, which causes a release of insulin. This medication is often used to lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
What Causes Low Blood Glucose
- Symptoms occur when blood glucose levels fall below 70 mg/dl a condition known as hypoglycemia.
- In most cases, low blood glucose results from overtreatment: Either taking too much diabetes medication or not eating enough food. Higher doses of medicine than the person actually requires can also lead to hypoglycemia.
- People who aim for too-low values on their A1C test tend to experience more frequent drops in blood glucose.
- Vigorous exercise doesn’t just burn calories, it also burns blood glucose! Hypoglycemia can occur unless blood glucose levels are carefully monitored during and after exercise.
- Not eating on a regular basis can deprive the body of glucose and make it difficult to prevent hypoglycemia. Eat balanced meals throughout the day and always keep a snack on hand.
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Causes Of Low Blood Sugar
There are many reasons why you may have low blood sugar, including:
- Taking too much insulin.
- Not eating enough carbs for how much insulin you take.
- Timing of when you take your insulin.
- The amount and timing of physical activity.
- Drinking alcohol.
- How much fat, protein, and fiber are in your meal.
- Hot and humid weather.
- Unexpected changes in your schedule.
- Spending time at a high altitude.
- Going through puberty.
Using The Same Finger All The Time
People choose to use the same finger and the same spot in part because everyone has a favorite, says Uelmen, and also because calluses build up and cut down on the discomfort. But varying your fingers is better.
The solution for better diabetes control: âThe goal is to use a different finger each day or each time,â she says. Switching fingers allows the pricked finger to heal and also helps to avoid pain caused by repeat jabs.
If your blood sugar readings are generally consistent, you can even try alternate site testing, such as using the palm of your hand, if you want to get away from your fingers periodically. But simply using different spots on the same finger can also prevent soreness.
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Nighttime Low Blood Sugar
While low blood sugar can happen at any time during the day, some people may experience low blood sugar while they sleep. Reasons this may happen include:
- Having an active day.
- Being physically active close to bedtime.
- Taking too much insulin.
- Drinking alcohol at night.
Eating regular meals and not skipping them can help you avoid nighttime low blood sugar. Eating when you drink alcohol can also help. If you think youre at risk for low blood sugar overnight, have a snack before bed.
You may wake up when you have low blood sugar, but you shouldnt rely on that. A continuous glucose monitor can alert you with an alarm if your blood sugar gets low while youre sleeping.
What Are Blood Sugar Levels
Your blood sugar levels, also known as blood glucose levels, are a measurement that show how much glucose you have in your blood. Glucose is a sugar that you get from food and drink. Your blood sugar levels go up and down throughout the day and for people living with diabetes these changes are larger and happen more often than in people who dont have diabetes.
You can check your sugar levels yourself by doing a finger-prick test, by using a flash glucose monitor or with a continuous glucose monitor . You can do this a number of times a day helping you keep an eye on your levels as you go about your life and help you work out what to eat and how much medication to take. Find out your ideal target range.
But not everyone with diabetes needs to check their levels like this. Youll need to if you take certain diabetes medication. Always talk to your healthcare team if youre not sure whether thats you theyll give you advice on whether to check them yourself and how often.
And theres also something called an HbA1c, which measures your average blood sugar level from the previous few months. Everyone with diabetes is entitled to this check.
High blood sugar levels increase your risk of developing serious complications. However you manage your diabetes, stay in the know about your blood sugar levels.
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What If Im Experiencing Hypoglycemic Episodes Even Though My Doctor Has Confirmed That I Dont Have Diabetes Or Prediabetes
If you have low blood sugar and dont have diabetes or , it can be a sign of another serious health issue such as a tumor, hormone deficiency, kidney disorder, anorexia, or other eating disorder, all of which can cause dangerously low blood sugar.
Anorexia has an extremely high mortality rate compared with other psychiatric disorders, according to the NIHs National Institute of Mental Health , and the cause of death can be hypoglycemia. So take your illness seriously and seek help if you suspect your eating disorder may be progressing to the point where it is causing you to faint or experience other signs and symptoms of dangerously low blood sugar. The National Eating Disorders Association has resources on how to identify the signs that you may have an eating disorder, a hotline for help, as well as easily accessible information on everything from how to know when you need help to how to find quality treatment options in your zip code.
People who are not diabetic don’t spontaneously have hypoglycemia for no reason, explains Dr. Christofides. Its often an indication of another underlying issue, such as a hormone deficiency or eating disorder, so its important to schedule an appointment with your doctor to determine the cause in order to prevent complications.
Common causes of hypoglycemia in people without diabetes include:
Anorexia and other eating disorders
Not Eating Enough Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are a type of nutrient found in foods like grains, starchy vegetables, fruit, and some dairy products. Carbohydrates turn into blood sugar when digested, so they significantly impact blood glucose levels than proteins and fats.
Not eating enough carbohydrates, especially while also taking blood sugar-lowering medications, can cause hypoglycemia.
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Complications From Spells Of Hypoglycemia
Mildly low blood sugar levels are somewhat common for people with diabetes. However, severely low blood sugar levels can be life threatening. They may lead to seizures and nervous system damage if left untreated long enough. Immediate treatment is critical.
Its important to recognize your symptoms and treat them quickly. For people at risk for low blood sugar, having a glucagon kit a medication that raises blood sugar levels is important. Talk with your doctor for more information.
You may also want to talk with friends, family members, exercise partners, and co-workers about how to care for you if your blood sugar drops too low.
Its important for them to recognize low blood sugar symptoms and to know how to use the glucagon kit, as well as understand the importance of calling 911 if you lose consciousness.
Wearing a medical identification bracelet is a good idea. It can help emergency responders care for you properly if you need urgent medical attention.
Treat low blood sugar as soon as possible. Avoid driving if you are experiencing low blood sugar, as it can increase your risk for having an accident.
There are several ways you can prevent low blood sugar. Well look at each of these prevention methods in more detail below.
What Is Reactive Hypoglycemia
Reactive hypoglycemia occurs when your body experiences low blood sugar after a meal. It typically occurs about 2 hours after a meal, says Zumpano, and can sometimes even happen up to 4 hours after eating.
Its important to note that its different than hypoglycemia, too. Hypoglycemia is related to a fasting state when you havent eaten anything for an extended period, she adds. And your blood sugar naturally drops below whats considered a normal range. People who have diabetes or impaired fasting glucose are more prone to experiencing hypoglycemia.
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Listen To Your Doctor
If you follow a meal plan or take medications that increase insulin to manage low blood sugar, its important to stick to the plan your doctor prescribed to help prevent drops in your blood sugar level.
Not eating the right foods or taking the right medications at the correct times can cause your blood sugar to drop. Check in often with your doctor so they can adjust your treatment plan if and when necessary.