High Blood Sugar: 13 Reasons Your Glucose Levels Are Rising
May 2, 2021
Itâs a fact of life that blood sugar fluctuates throughout the day. These ups and downs depend on a handful of factors, like when you wake up, what you eat, the medications you take, and how you manage stress. So, some variation is normal, to the point that you might not even notice it.
Ignoring blood sugar level changes altogether, though, means youâre ignoring a valuable marker of your health. Especially if you start to have new or unfamiliar symptoms like fatigue, thirst, or brain fog . Learning these symptoms and their causes will give you the tools to better understand your own body, then take the right actions for better long-term metabolic health.
If My A1c Is Normal My Glucose Is Good
An A1C result thatâs below 5.7% is normal âs standards, but having a result below that number isnât the end of the story. Pregnancy, hemoglobin variants, anemia, liver disease, and certain medications can cause inaccurate A1C results.
Additionally, the A1C test is measuring your average glucose value over the past 3 months, but averages inherently do not capture highs and lows. So, you could have a normal average while also having abnormal glucose spikes. The A1C test should only supplement your regular blood sugar testing, not replace it completely.
The Inner Ear And Balance
Inside the inner ear is a series of canals filled with fluid. These canals are oriented at different angles and, as the head moves, the movement of the fluid inside these canals tells the brain how far, how fast and in what direction the head is moving.This information is then used by the brain to move the eyes an equal and opposite amount, so that the image that is seen by the eyes does not blur and remains clear.
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How Does High Blood Sugar Affect The Body
Monitoring your blood sugar is essential if you have diabetes. Symptoms will get worse if treatment is not provided, and serious health complications can arise as a result. The signs of high blood sugar to look for include fatigue, blurred vision, and headaches along with:
- Frequent urination and thirst: Excess sugar in the blood is passed through the kidneys and into urine. This draws more water into the urine which means more frequent urination. High glucose levels cause thirst even when you are drinking enough fluids.
- Weight loss: Elevated blood sugar levels over time can lead to unexplained weight loss as a result of cells not getting the glucose they need. As a result, they start burning fat instead.
- Numbness: High blood sugar can cause tingling and numbness in the extremities. It is important to note that this is a complication of long-term diabetes and uncontrolled blood sugar levels.
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.
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Managing Blood Sugar Levels
Many people with diabetes must check their blood sugar levels daily with a glucose meter. This device takes a drop of blood, usually from a finger, and displays the sugar level within a few seconds.
People with type 1 diabetes will need to take insulin as their doctor recommends, usually several times a day.
Those with type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes may need to change their diet and exercise habits. They may also need to take oral medications or insulin.
A number of strategies can help prevent hyperglycemia.
- check their blood sugar levels as their doctor advises and take the correct amount of insulin, if they have type 1 diabetes
- speak to their healthcare provider or dietitian about which foods to eat or avoid, how much to eat, and how often
- take precautions to avoid infections, for example, through regular hand washing, as illness, such as a cold, can trigger a rise in blood pressure
- plan their food intake and exercise to balance blood sugar levels
- minimize stress, as far as possible, for example, through exercise, getting enough sleep, and stress-reducing activities such as meditation or yoga
Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can happen when a person:
- has certain medical conditions
- does a lot of exercise
- skips meals or eats too little
It can also be a side effect of diabetes medicines. Taking too much insulin can result in low blood sugar levels.
Symptoms of low blood sugar may include:
- visit a doctor regularly
Not Regularly Communicating With Your Healthcare Team
Your diabetes care team can help you determine the right low-carb approach for you, but it can also help to avoid any bad, potentially dangerous, or life-threatening side effects of going low-carb to help manage type 2 diabetes.
You and your doctor may need to lower or change your meds to avoid low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia cardiovascular complications and diabetic ketoacidosis , which is a health emergency. This is especially true for people taking insulin, insulin-promoting drugs, or blood pressure medications, Urbanski says. Additionally, SGLT2 inhibitors, oral medications that assist the kidneys in lowering blood glucose levels, push some people into potentially fatal DKA, with low-carb intake further exacerbating that risk, she says. Its recommended that someone on SGLT2 inhibitors should not go on a low-carb diet or should first discontinue and change medications under their doctors supervision, she says. According to the Food and Drug Administration, examples of SGLT2 inhibitors include canagliflozin, dapagliflozin, and empagliflozin.
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How Are You Sweetening Your Coffee What You Add To Your Cup May Affect Your Blood Sugar Levels
Whether you were recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or have been living with the condition for several years, you know how fickle blood sugar levels can be, and how important it is that they stay controlled.
Proper blood sugar control is key for warding off potential diabetes complications, such as kidney disease, nerve damage, vision problems, stroke, and heart disease, according to the National Institutes of Health . Plus, keeping your levels in check on a daily basis can help you stay energized, focused, and in a good mood, explains Lisa McDermott, RD, CDCES, a diabetes specialist with the Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Health Network.
According to the American Diabetes Association , proper medication, effective meal planning, regular exercise, and regular blood sugar checks can all help you keep your levels within a healthy range. The ADA recommends blood glucose stay within 80 to 130 milligrams per deciliter before meals and below 180 mg/dL two hours after the start of a meal. Furthermore, the organization recommends getting an A1C test, which measures your average blood glucose over the past two to three months, at least twice per year if your levels are stable and you are meeting treatment goals.
Can Dehydration Cause High Blood Pressure And Heart Rate
There is a link between dehydration and blood pressure and heart rate in addition to the link between dehydration and heart disease. Dehydration strains the heart and the quantity of blood passing through the body or blood volume lessens during dehydration and to compensate, the heart beats with increased rate thereby increasing blood pressure and heart rate.
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Complications Of Type 2 Diabetes
Itâs important to get your blood sugar under control to avoid these serious conditions:
- Hypoglycemia. If your blood sugar falls below 70 milligrams per deciliter , it can lead to accidents, coma, and death.
- Hyperglycemia. Blood sugar that goes above 180 to 200 mg/dL can give you heart, nerve, kidney, and vision problems. Over the long term, it also can cause coma and death.
Over time, people with type 2 diabetes may have other health problems:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis. When you donât have enough insulin in your system, your blood sugar rises, and your body breaks down fat for energy. Toxic acids called ketones build up and spill into your urine. It can cause coma and death if you donât treat it.
- Heartand blood vessel diseases. People with diabetes are more likely to have conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which play a role in heart disease. Also, high blood sugar can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart.
- High blood pressure. Diabetes doubles your risk of high blood pressure, which makes you more likely to have heart disease or stroke.
- Nerve damage. This can cause tingling and numbness, most often in your feet and legs. But it can also affect your digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels, and heart.
- Eyedamage. Diabetes can cause:
- Glaucoma, a buildup of pressure in your eyes
- Cataracts, a cloudiness of your lens
- Retinopathy, which is damage to the blood vessels in your eyes
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Should I Keep Taking Insulin When Im Sick
You should keep taking your insulin, even if you are too sick to eat. Your body needs insulin even if youre not eating. Ask your doctor whether its necessary to adjust your dose or take extra insulin.
If you use an insulin pump, keep a variety of supplies on hand. Make sure that you have short-acting insulin, long-acting insulin, and needles in case your pump is not working right. You also should have an emergency phone number to call for help with your pump.
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Why Your Fasting Blood Sugar Might Still Be High On Low Carb
Its not too uncommon to have slightly high fasting blood sugar on low carb and keto diets. Is this a problem? It depends on your insulin levels, as outlined by Dr. Ted Naiman below. If youre insulin sensitive, and have slightly higher fasting blood glucose, its likely just fine. More The dawn phenomenon why are blood sugars high in the morning? Insulin Advanced low-carb topics Diabetes Dr. Naiman Earlier with Dr. Naiman All earlier posts about Dr. NaimanContinue reading > >
You shouldnt cut carbohydrates out completely. Here, a registered dietitian offers tips and a well-balanced recipe to try.
When you think of carbohydrates, you probably think of bread, pasta and potatoes. But carbs are also in grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, milk, yogurt and fruit. Theyre one of the three main energy sources in our food and they provide the bodys preferred fuel source for the brain, nervous system, and exercising muscle: glucose.
Unfortunately, patients with diabetes have difficulty converting that glucose into energy.
The body needs the hormone insulin to convert glucose into energy, but for patients with diabetes, they either dont make enough insulin or the insulin they make doesnt work properly, says nutritionist Joyce Patterson, M.P.H., R.D.N., B.C.-A.D.M.
So if fat and protein are energy sources for the body too, why not just eliminate carbs from your diet? Well, theres a lot of reasons, actually.
How To Prevent It
If you work to keep your blood sugar under control — follow your meal plan, exercise program, and medicine schedule — you shouldnât have to worry about hyperglycemia. You can also:
- Know your diet — count the total amounts of carbs in each meal and snack.
- Test your blood sugar regularly.
- Tell your doctor if you have repeated abnormal blood sugar readings.
- Wear medical identification to let people know you have diabetes in case of an emergency.
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I Eat Almost No Carbs And My Blood Sugar Is Still High Charlottes Story
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Meet Charlotte Faith.
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 14, Charlotte weighed only 83 pounds.
Even though she ate large amounts of food, she found herself ravenously hungry and began gaining weight rapidly. Only 1.5 years following her diagnosis, Charlotte gained about 70 pounds, weighing over 150 pounds.
Soon after, Charlotte embarked on a journey to lose weight and fully control type 1 diabetes, which involved eliminating heavily processed foods and eating a low-carbohydrate paleo diet.
In combination with moderate exercise, Charlotte began losing weight. As a paleo food blogger, she made sugar-free, low carb treats to satisfy her cravings for carbohydrate-rich food and was able to lose about 32 pounds.
Charlotte limited her carbohydrate intake to no more than 50 grams per day, yet still experienced high blood glucose values after eating a banana or half a sweet potato.
She often complained to herself: I eat almost no carbs and my blood sugar is still high! How is this possible?
In addition, Charlotte developed hypothyroidism and lost her period for 7 years.
Dehydration And Blood Glucose Levels
If our blood glucose levels are higher than they should be for prolonged periods of time, our kidneys will attempt to remove some of the excess glucose from the blood and excrete this as urine.
Whilst the kidneys filter the blood in this way, water will also be removed from the blood and will need replenishing. This is why we tend to have increased thirst when our blood glucose levels run too high
If we drink water, we can help to rehydrate the blood. The other method the body uses is to draw on other available sources of water from within the body, such as saliva, tears and taking stored water from cells of the body.
This is why we may experience a dry mouth and dry eyes when our blood glucose levels are high.
If we do not have access to drink water, the body will find it difficult to pass glucose out of the blood via urine and can result in further dehydration as the body seeks to find water from our bodys cells.
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A Word About Lada Latent Autoimmune Diabetes In Adults
If all of the information in this post does not help you understand your rising blood glucose on the low-carb diet, and your blood glucose continues to rise higher and higher, not only in the morning but at other times of day, there may be a potential issue of latent autoimmune diabetes in adults , also sometimes called type 1.5 diabetes.11
Both Dr. Hallberg and Dr. Fung say they see LADA regularly among their patients who may have been misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes and have LADA instead.
LADA is like type 1 diabetes in that antibodies are attacking the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, but it arises in adulthood, not childhood or adolescence. Diabetes researchers note that LADA also has features of type 2 diabetes, but the patients usually are thinner and progress to needing insulin faster because their insulin producing beta cells have been attacked by antibodies. The highest rates of LADA are found in Northern Europe, with up to 14% of type 2 diabetics actually having it.12
I test serum C-peptide and insulin in everybody in my Intensive Dietary Management program, notes Dr. Fung. I re-check them over time and it often takes 6 months to 1 year to clinch the diagnosis. I would suspect about 5-10% of my type 2s are actually LADA. Dr. Naiman has similar experiences and routines.13
How Much Water Should You Drink With Diabetes
Keeping your blood sugar within a normal range helps your body maintain a healthy fluid balance. But it also helps to stay hydrated. Drinking water not only fights dehydration, it can also help your body get rid of excess glucose.
If youre living with diabetes, you should drink plenty of fluids about 1.6 liters or 6.5 cups per day for women and 2 L or 8.5 glasses per day for men.
But although water is a great all-around drink and highly recommended for increasing fluid intake and preventing dehydration, other drinks are effective for dehydration, too.
To add flavor to plain water, add a few squeezes of fresh lime or lemon juice. You can also stay hydrated by drinking caffeine-free herbal teas, skim milk, and sugar-free coffee.
You should, however, avoid energy drinks, fruit juices, and sodas. These beverages contain a lot of sugar and can further increase your blood sugar. Sparkling water is okay, as long as its sugar-free.
Keep in mind, too, that dehydration associated with diabetes doesnt always cause symptoms. Sometimes, symptoms arent apparent until the point of severe dehydration.
Common symptoms of mild dehydration include:
- dry mouth
If you have severe dehydration, you might experience low blood pressure, a weak pulse, and confusion.
Some factors can worsen dehydration or increase your risk too. This includes exposure to hot, humid weather and strenuous exercise. Dehydration can also worsen when you drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages.
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Reasons Why Dizziness Happens With Diabetes
There are several reasons why you might experience dizziness with diabetes.