Tips For Keeping Blood Sugar Steady
The best way to address your personal concerns and needs is to discuss your diet, medication, and lifestyle with your healthcare team. They can diagnose any underlying conditions, adjust or change your medications, and advise you on the best ways to prevent hypoglycemia.
Tips that apply across the board to keep blood sugar stable include:
- Eating a balanced diet
- Planning meals
- Getting adequate sleep
People with diabetes may face more challenges when managing blood sugar levels, but it is possible to stay healthy.
A Low Blood Sugar Level And Driving
You may still be allowed to drive if you have diabetes or you’re at risk of a low blood sugar level for another reason, but you’ll need to do things to reduce the chance of this happening while you’re driving.
You also need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and your car insurance company about your condition.
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Prevention Of Low Blood Sugar
Do not skip or delay meals. If your diet plan includes snacks, make sure to take these.
Measure insulin dosage carefully and inject it properly. If you cannot see well, a family member or a visiting nurse can prepare your insulin injections for you.
Take only the prescribed amount of insulin or oral medication for diabetes that your doctor has ordered.
Keep exercise consistent from day to day. Eat a snack or reduce your insulin prior to unusual exercise.
If you are taking insulin, notify your doctor if you have low blood sugars four or more times per week or if you have a severe low blood sugar. Severe low blood sugars are those less than 40 mg., those requiring help from another person, or those which cause you to have a convulsion or become unconscious.
If you are taking oral medication for your diabetes notify your doctor or nurse if blood sugars are running less than 80 mg. or if you have a severe low blood sugar.
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How Can I Help My Child Live With Hypoglycemia
Children with type 1 diabetes or other conditions that may cause hypoglycemia need to follow their care plan. Its important to test blood glucose often, recognize symptoms, and treat the condition quickly. It’s also important to take medicines and eat meals on a regular schedule.
Work with your child’s healthcare provider to create a plan that fits your child’s schedule and activities. Teach your child about diabetes. Encourage them to write down questions they have about diabetes and bring them to healthcare provider appointments. Give them time to ask the provider the questions. Check that the answers are given in a way your child can understand. Work closely with school nurses, teachers, and psychologists to develop a plan that’s right for your child.
Faqs Alcohol Consumption And Blood Sugar Levels
Does alcohol lower blood sugar in non-diabetics?
Possibly. Alcohol may lower blood sugar levels in non-diabetics if they are in the fasting state. This means they have not eaten. However, the effects of alcohol on blood sugar levels will vary. Each person is unique.
How long does alcohol affect blood sugar?
The amount of time that alcohol affects blood sugar levels varies according to the amount of alcohol consumed and the type of alcoholic drink. The higher the sugar content of the alcoholic beverage, the longer it affects blood sugar levels.
On an average, one alcoholic drink can stay in the blood for 12 hours.
What is the best alcohol to drink for a diabetic?
Due to the potential effects of alcohol on blood sugar levels, people with diabetes face a higher risk of health problems. Alcohol may interact with diabetes medications and even worsen side effects associated with such drugs. People living with diabetes who would like to drink alcohol should speak with their doctors first. Healthcare professionals can best determine the options available.
Can people with diabetes drink whiskey?
A standard drink of whiskey may not have any serious effect on blood sugar levels. However, it is best to consult a healthcare professional before consuming alcohol. Avoid mixing whiskey with juices or soda with sugar content. This can cause serious hypoglycemia.
Digestive Endocrine And Circulatory Systems
After you eat, your digestive system breaks down carbohydrates and turns them into glucose. Essentially, glucose is your bodys fuel source.
As your sugar levels rise, your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin, which helps glucose get taken up and used by cells throughout your body. If you have insulin-dependent diabetes, you must take the right about of insulin to get the job done.
Any excess glucose goes to your liver for storage.
When you go a few hours without eating, blood sugar levels go down. If you have a healthy pancreas, it releases a hormone called glucagon to make up for the absence of food. This hormone tells your liver to process the stored sugars and release them into your bloodstream.
If everything works as it should, your blood sugar levels should remain in the normal range until your next meal.
Insufficient blood sugar levels can cause a rapid heartbeat and heart palpitations. However, even if you have diabetes, you may not always have obvious symptoms of low blood sugar. This is a potentially dangerous condition called hypoglycemia unawareness. It happens when you experience low blood sugar so often that it changes your bodys response to it.
Normally, low blood sugar causes your body to release stress hormones, such as epinephrine. Epinephrine is responsible for those early warning signs, like hunger and shakiness.
Who Is At Risk For An Insulinoma
Insulinomas are rare. Most are small and measure less than 2 centimeters in diameter. Only 10 percent of these tumors are cancerous. Cancerous tumors tend to occur more often in people who have multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1. This is an inherited disease that causes tumors in one or more hormonal glands. The risk for insulinoma also seems to be higher for those with von Hippel-Lindau syndrome. This inherited condition causes tumors and cysts to form throughout the body.
Insulinomas also tend to affect women more than men. They most commonly develop in people who are between ages 40 and 60.
Your doctor will perform a blood test to check your blood sugar and insulin levels. A low blood sugar level with a high insulin level indicates the presence of an insulinoma.
The test can also check for:
- proteins that block the production of insulin
- medications that cause the pancreas to release more insulin
- other hormones that affect insulin production
Your doctor may order a 72-hour fast if the blood test indicates that you have an insulinoma. Youll stay in the hospital while you fast so your doctor can monitor your blood sugar levels. Theyll measure your blood sugar levels every six hours at least. You wont be able to eat or drink anything except water during the fast. Youll likely have very low blood sugar levels within 48 hours of starting the fast if you have an insulinoma.
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How Does Alcohol Lower Blood Sugar
A standard alcoholic drink from time to time should not cause any serious effect on blood sugar levels.
A standard alcoholic drink tends to be:
- 12 ounces of beer
- 5 ounces of wine
- 1.5 ounces of whiskey or other spirits
Whether blood sugar levels rise or fall will depend on different factors. For example, how much food you’ve eaten and the amount of alcohol consumed.
A fall in blood sugar may arise from various causes. One leading cause is alcohols effect on the liver.
A primary function of the liver is to metabolize alcohol. It takes approximately one hour for the organ to break down a standard size alcoholic beverage.
However, if there is too much alcohol in the body, the liver has trouble performing other organ functions, including:
When these two liver processes do not occur due to alcohol metabolism, the body does not have glucose to help bring blood sugar levels back to normal. This means that someone can develop hypoglycemia .
Serious consequences may arise, including:
What About The Glycemic Index
Your daily carb total, spread steadily across the day, is one key to good blood sugar control. Some people also use the glycemic index , a rating of how individual foods raise blood sugar levels. Beans and whole-grain breads and cereals have a lower GI than white bread and regular pasta. Juice has a higher GI than whole fruit. Craving a high-GI food? Eat it along with a lower-GI choice to help control your levels.
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How Can I Prevent Hypoglycemia
You may need to change what and when you eat to prevent low blood sugar levels. Follow the meal plan that you and the dietitian have planned. The following guidelines may help you keep your blood sugar levels under control.
- Eat 5 to 6 small meals each day instead of 3 large meals. Eat the same amount of carbohydrate at meals and snacks each day. Most people need about 3 to 4 servings of carbohydrate at meals and 1 to 2 servings for snacks. Do not skip meals. Carbohydrate counting can be used plan your meals. Ask your healthcare provider or dietitian for information about carbohydrate counting.
- Limit refined carbohydrates. Examples are white bread, pastries , regular sodas, syrups, and candy.
- Do not have drinks or foods that contain caffeine. Examples are coffee, tea, and certain types of sodas. Caffeine may cause you to have the same symptoms as hypoglycemia, and may cause you to feel worse.
- Limit or do not drink alcohol. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day. Men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1Â½ ounces of liquor. Do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Drink alcohol with meals to avoid hypoglycemia.
- Include protein foods and vegetables in your meals. Some foods that are high in protein include beef, pork, fish, poultry , beans, and nuts. Eat a variety of vegetables with your meals.
Long Term Resolutions Doctor Might Suggest
Changing your diet is one of the best long-term resolutions to having high blood sugar levels. Your body actually wants to change and be healthy, and your cells cry out for help from you. Your body was made wonderfully and had the capability to reverse illnesses to a large degree but you have to help it do this.
Limiting your carbohydrate intake to one starchy food per meal such as ½ cup black beans or lentils, ½ cup yam, two small red potatoes , 1/3 cup chickpeas, or ½ acorn squash is a big key to keeping blood sugar levels lower, yet not too low.
Of course, this starchy food is not your only food for the meal. It’s balanced with 4-5 ounces of protein and a whole half plate of non-starchy vegetables with sugar-free dressing.
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The Effects Of Low Blood Sugar On Your Body
Every cell in your body needs energy to function. The main source of energy might come as a surprise: Its sugar, also known as glucose. Blood sugar is essential to proper brain, heart, and digestive function. It even helps keep your skin and vision healthy.
When your blood sugar levels fall below the normal range, its called hypoglycemia. There are many identifiable symptoms of low blood sugar, but the only way to know if you have low blood sugar is by taking a blood glucose test.
Learn more about the symptoms of low blood sugar, as well as the long-term effects on the body.
most common reasons for low blood sugar are some medications used to treat diabetes, such as insulin.
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas can no longer produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas doesnt make enough insulin, or your body cant use it properly. Too much insulin or oral diabetic medication can lower the blood sugar level, leading to hypoglycemia.
However, contrary to popular belief, low blood sugar isnt exclusive to diabetes, though it is rare. It can also happen if your body makes more insulin than it should.
Another possible cause of low blood sugar is drinking too much alcohol, especially over long periods of time. This can interfere with the livers ability to create a buildup of glucose and then release it into your bloodstream when you need it.
Other causes include:
Do Not Drive When You Have Low Blood Sugar
It’s very dangerous. If you’re driving and you have hypoglycemia symptoms, pull off the road, check your blood sugar, and eat a sugary food. Wait at least 15 minutes, check your blood sugar, and repeat these steps if necessary. Eat a protein and carbohydrate source before you drive on.
Be prepared. Keep a sugar source in your car at all times for emergencies.
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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.
Why Does My Blood Glucose Drop After Eating
When you feel hungry, eating should make you feel better. But for some people, eating makes them feel worse, due to a drop in blood sugar that occurs within one to three hours after they eat certain types of meals, according to Frank Jackson, M.D. of Jackson/Siegelbaum Gastroenterology. This reaction, called reactive hypoglycemia, can cause a number of unpleasant side effects. Reactive hypoglycemia can also indicate insulin resistance, often considered a forerunner of diabetes, the National Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders states.
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Low Blood Sugar Levels In Diabetes
People with diabetes can have low blood sugar levels because of the medicines they have to take to manage their diabetes. They may need a hormone called or diabetes pills to help their bodies use the sugar in their blood.
These medicines help take the sugar out of the blood and get it into the body’s cells, which makes the blood sugar level go down. But sometimes it’s a tricky balancing act and blood sugar levels can get too low.
People with diabetes need to keep their blood sugars from getting too highor too low. Keeping blood sugar levels in a healthy range means balancing when and what they eat, and when they exercise with when they take medicines.
Can Alcohol Cause Diabetes
There is debate on whether light to moderate amounts of alcohol use can increase the risk of diabetes. However, in general alcohol use is known to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. There are several ways that alcohol may do this, including:
- Damaging your pancreas where insulin is made
- Increasing your weight, a known risk factor for diabetes
- Impairing the liver, which helps regulate blood sugar levels
The safest way to avoid any of the potential risks of alcohol and diabetes is to avoid using alcohol altogether.
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How Is Hypoglycemia Treated In A Child
Treatment will depend on your childs symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
For children with diabetes, the goal of treatment is to maintain a safe blood glucose level. This is done by:
Testing blood glucose often
Learning to recognize symptoms
Treating the condition quickly
To treat low blood glucose quickly, your child should eat or drink something with sugar such as:
A hard candy
Don’t use carbohydrate foods high in protein such as milk or nuts. They may increase the insulin response to dietary carbohydrates.
Blood glucose levels should be checked every 15 to 20 minutes until they are above 100 dg/dL.
If hypoglycemia is severe, your child may need a glucagon injection. Talk with your childs healthcare team about this treatment.
Your Diabetes Devices And Hypoglycemia
Several insulin pumps are now available that make managing blood sugar levels easier, particularly when connected to a glucose meter or a CGM.
Some of the most important advantages of CGM devices are the improved insulin control and the ability to detect trends and lows early. With improved technology, it is now possible for parents to track blood sugar trends in their kids even when they are hundreds of miles apart .
In addition, automated insulin delivery systems, also known an artificial pancreas or a hybrid closed-loop system, will automatically adjust insulin to match your bodys need to help you spend more time in your target range.
Resources that provide people with T1D and their families with more detailed information about pumps and CGM devices are available through JDRF here. For people looking for a deeper understanding of technology that helps people with T1D better manage their blood sugar, JDRF resources are available here.
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