Surprising Things That Can Spike Your Blood Sugar
When you first found out you had diabetes, you tested your blood sugar often to understand how food, activity, stress, and illness could affect your blood sugar levels. By now, youve got it figured out for the most part. But thenbam! Something makes your blood sugar zoom up. You try to adjust it with food or activity or insulin, and it dips really low. Youre on a rollercoaster no one with diabetes wants to ride.
Do you know all of these blood sugar triggers?
Knowledge is power! Look out for these surprising triggers that can send your blood sugar soaring:
Why Do Blood Sugar Spikes Happen At Night
There are a few explanations behind why your blood sugar spikes at night. If youre on diabetes medication, you may not be taking the right dose or at the right time. The food you eat at night also plays a role. Eating a high-carb late-night meal or snack can instigate a blood sugar spike at night. Additionally, eating a high-carb dinner that is also high in fat can delay blood sugar absorption, causing blood sugars to rise several hours after eating.
If its not one of these reasons, your night-time blood sugar spikes could be due to the dawn phenomenon or the Somogyi effect.
The dawn phenomenon usually occurs between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. It is caused by your body releasing sugar into your bloodstream so that you have enough energy to start the next day. These hormones raise your blood sugar to give you energy. Simultaneously, a hormone called cortisol is released to prepare your body to wake up, but it can reduce your bodys sensitivity to insulin. This causes excess blood sugars to remain in the blood rather than being used for energy.
The Somogyi effect, also known as rebound hyperglycemia, happens when your blood sugars drop overnight and your body releases hormones that prompt your blood sugars to rise. Sometimes this is an overcorrection, and can actually lead to hyperglycemia and a spike in your blood sugar.
If you suspect blood sugar spikes at night, pay attention to how you feel overnight or in the morning. You may wake up with some of these symptoms:
Nighttime Low Blood Sugars
You may experience a low blood sugar night. The low blood sugar might wake you up and your symptoms might be similar to those you have during the day. However, the symptoms may be different. You might have nightmares, sleep poorly, perspire, or feel hot and cold. In the morning you may have a headache, feel nauseated, or feel confused. Notify your doctor if this happens. Check your blood sugar at the time you have the symptoms.
Treatment for a low blood sugar that occurs at night is the same as described earlier.
Your doctor may request that you check a 3:00 a.m. blood sugar 1 to 2 times per week in order to detect any low blood sugars during the night.
Disclaimer: This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information provided is intended to be informative and educational and is not a replacement for professional medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.
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Why Blood Sugar Goes Up And Down
If you’re one of the 21 million people in the U.S. living with diabetes, you may have days when everything goes as expected with your blood sugar and days when, no matter what you do, you just cant make sense of the highs and lows. Many factors can contribute to blood sugar levels. Weve examined a number of them in detail here.
Causes Of High Blood Sugar At Night
There are many causes of high blood sugar at night, including:
- A dinner or bedtime snack high in carbohydrates: Eating starchy or high-sugar foods late in the day can lead to high blood sugar at night, as well as high blood sugar in the morning.
- Illness or injury: Trauma can trigger a hypermetabolic response , leading to high blood sugar.
- Too little exercise: Exercise helps the body more effectively use insulin, so lack of exercise could contribute to high blood sugar.
- Too little insulin or diabetes medicine: When the body does not produce insulin or does not use insulin effectively and you dont properly take your injectable insulin or diabetes medicine, glucose can accumulate in the bloodstream.
- Menstruation: Estradiol and progesterone are two hormones linked to a decreased production of insulin, which affects glucose metabolism and can potentially lead to high blood sugar.
- Pregnancy: Hormone levels fluctuate during pregnancy. Diabetes that occurs during pregnancy is known as gestational diabetes.
- Stress: Stress, as measured by levels of a hormone called cortisol, is linked to decreased insulin production. When your body doesn’t have enough insulin, glucose cannot get into your cells and be used for energy. As a result, glucose builds up in the bloodstream, leading to high blood sugar. When people are stressed, they may also overeat sugary foods or adopt other unhealthy eating habits.
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Treatment For Blood Sugar Level Fluctuations / Brittle Diabetes
Controlling your blood sugar levels is the primary way to manage the condition. It requires careful management and regular monitoring of the blood sugar levels and treating the conditions such as kidney diseases, pancreas diseases, thyroid and adrenal diseases that are causing fluctuation. Based on the cause, diet and lifestyle modifications with that medication or surgical intervention will help if treating the brittle diabetes.
Blood sugar level fluctuations can lead to neurological disorders, thyroid diseases, kidney diseases and obesity. Managing it at early stage can prevent future complications and diabetic coma.
It is to be noted that people have persistent and unexplained hypoglycaemia should consultdiabetologistfor further evaluation.
Request an appointment in case of having blood sugar level fluctuations / brittle diabetes
How Do I Treat Low Blood Glucose
If you begin to feel one or more symptoms of low blood glucose, check your blood glucose level. If your blood glucose level is below your target or less than 70 mg/dL, follow these steps
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This Means Sugar Doesnt Get Taken Up By The Fat Cells
Now in the big picture of things, fat cells are actually not considered big sugar consumers. After alltheyre fat cells. What they do or dont do with THE FAT, is considerably more important. But, it turns out, the wee amounts of glucose being delivered to the fat cells, are important for asprosin.
Treating Low Blood Sugar
You are at risk of having a low blood sugar reaction if you:
- Skip or delay a meal or snack
- Take too much insulin or eat too few carbohydrates
- Drink alcohol, especially without eating carbohydrates
Check your blood sugar if you have any of these symptoms:
- Weakness and/or fatigue
If your blood sugar is less than 70 milligrams per deciliter :
- Eat 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate
- Wait 15 minutes and then recheck your blood sugar
- If your blood sugar is still less than 100 mg/dl, take another 15 grams of carbohydrate and retest your blood sugar in another 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
Important: If you have frequent low blood sugars speak to your doctor. You may need changes in your medication and/or meal plan.
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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.
Changes In Diet Patterns Or Food Content Can Cause Blood Sugar Fluctuations
Changes in Diet can fluctuate blood sugar.
All other people know that high carbohydrate content in the food will spike blood sugars. However, not everybody is aware of the glycemic index. The Glycemic index is an indicator of how fast the blood sugar will spike with the same amount of carbohydrates. For example at 30 g of carbohydrates in apple have a much lower glycemic index and 30 g of carbohydrates in the breakfast cereal. Blood sugar may spike twice or 3 times faster with the breakfast cereal compared to apple with the same amount of carbohydrates.
Another point that You have to be aware of is the fat content in the food. Anytime you eat carbohydrates with high animal fat content your blood sugars may spike much higher and the spike may come delayed many hours after a high fat, high carb meal.
On the contrary, if you eat very healthy and eat very little carbs the medications you have been taking for your regular diet may be too much especially if you are on sulfonylureas or short-acting insulins.
In summary, to prevent blood sugars go up and down or fluctuate too much you have to pay attention to the glycemic index and fat content in your diet in addition to paying attention to carbohydrates.
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What If I Have Severe Low Blood Glucose And Cant Treat Myself
Glucagona hormone that raises blood glucose levelsis the best way to treat severely low blood glucose. Available as an injection or a nasal spray, glucagon will quickly raise your blood glucose level. Your doctor can prescribe you a glucagon kit for use in case of an emergency.
If your blood glucose level drops very low, you wont be able to treat it by yourself. Be prepared to address severely low blood glucose by
- talking with your doctor or health care team about when and how to use a glucagon emergency kit. If you have an emergency kit, regularly check the date on the package to make sure it hasnt expired.
- teaching your family, friends, and coworkers when and how to give you glucagon. Tell them to call 911 right away after giving you glucagon or if you dont have a glucagon emergency kit with you.
- wearing a medical alert identification bracelet or pendant. A medical alert ID tells other people that you have diabetes and need care right away. Getting prompt care can help prevent the serious problems that low blood glucose levels can cause.
What Is Low Blood Glucose
Low blood glucose, also called low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, occurs when the level of glucose in your blood drops below what is healthy for you. For many people with diabetes, this means a blood glucose reading lower than 70 milligrams per deciliter .1 Your number might be different, so check with your doctor or health care team to find out what blood glucose level is low for you.
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How To Treat A Low Blood Sugar Level Yourself
Follow these steps if your blood sugar level is less than 3.5mmol/L or you have hypo symptoms:
You do not usually need to get medical help once you’re feeling better if you only have a few hypos.
But tell your diabetes team if you keep having hypos or if you stop having symptoms when your blood sugar level is low.
I Feel Fine So I Dont Need To Test My Levels
Zanini points out that having high blood glucose can come as a surprise to anyone. âIt’s possible they didn’t notice any symptoms or were simply feeling ‘more tired than usual,ââ she says. âIt’s easy to attribute being tired to many other things. . .so this is why regular physicals with your healthcare provider are important.â The bottom line? Listen to your body, take note of symptoms as they arise, and consider monitoring your continuous glucose values.
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Why Does Blood Sugar Go Up At Night
There are many factors that can cause your blood sugar to increase at night. For example: what food you ate during the day, how much and when you exercised, whether you ate snacks before bed, the timing of your insulin doses, and your stress level. You can experience different patterns of high blood sugar at night. You may start with high glucose when you go to bed, start the night in range but go high several hours later, or spend most of the night in range until the hours just before you wake up. By identifying your bodys patterns, you can figure out what is causing your high blood sugar and how to address it.
Common causes of a glucose increase at night include:
Blood Sugar Spike Symptoms
Learning to recognize the symptoms of hyperglycemia can help you keep your diabetes in control. Some people with diabetes immediately feel the symptoms of high blood sugar, but others go undiagnosed for years because their symptoms are mild or vague.
Symptoms of hyperglycemia typically begin when your blood glucose goes above 250 milligrams per deciliter . Symptoms get worse the longer you go untreated.
Symptoms of a blood sugar spike include:
- frequent urination
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What Causes High Blood Sugar Levels In The Morning
Commonly known reasons why your blood sugar may be high in the morning include high-carb bedtime snacks and not enough diabetes medications.
Yet two lesser-known reasons may be causing your morning blood sugar woes: the dawn phenomenon and the Somogyi effect. These causes of high morning blood sugar levels are a result of body changes and reactions that happen while you are sleeping.
How High Blood Sugar Impacts Sleep
The symptoms you may experience with high blood sugar at night could make it difficult for you to sleep, including falling and staying asleep. Depending on when you eat prior to bedtime, your digestive system may wake you up at odd hours.
A related issue is known as the dawn phenomenon, which is when you wake up with high blood sugar in the morning. This can also be caused by overeating foods in the evening that cause high blood sugar.
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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.