How To Stay Hydrated If Youre Managing Type 2 Diabetes
Even if scientists still have questions about how dehydration affects the body, staying hydrated is clearly important for good health especially if you have type 2 diabetes.
So how can you make sure youre getting enough water to manage diabetes? Rizza and Simos offer the following tips.
Have some salt but not too much. Too much salt can be bad for blood pressure, Rizza says, but you do need some to maintain proper hydration. When you eat salt, notes the U.S. National Library of Medicine, you help stabilize your electrolytes, which are charged substances that regulate essential functions in your body, helping you stay hydrated. If you already have high blood pressure, talk with your doctor about how much salt to consume.
Check your blood glucose levels in extreme heat, and drink water if they are elevated. When its hot, its easier to become dehydrated, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Staying well hydrated can help reduce your blood glucose levels, which helps you manage the hormone insulin, Simos explains. And make sure that your blood glucose test strips and insulin are stored in a cool, dry place, she says, so that they dont lose their potency and accuracy.
Reach for hydrating snacks if youre hungry. For example, choose a cold piece of melon or a few frozen grapes, Simos says. Drinking a glass of water isnt the only way to get your fix.
Staying Hydrated With Diabetes: A Balancing Act
Use these tips to avoid dehydration and keep your blood sugar level down, even in hot weather.
Dehydration can strike anyone when the sun is out and the temperature is high. But when you have diabetes, you’re even more prone to dehydration. That makes finding ways to lower blood sugar and stay hydrated critical for those with diabetes, especially during the warmer summer months.
Dehydration and diabetes often go hand in hand. Diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, creating extra sugar in your blood, and your kidneys work overtime to filter and absorb the excess sugar. If your kidneys are overworked, the Mayo Clinic says, your body expels the excess sugar in your urine, which in turn drags fluids from your tissues.
This makes you urinate more often, and that could leave you dehydrated. Drinking more fluids quenches your thirst, but it also makes you urinate even more, which could leave you even more dehydrated.
So how can you help prevent the problem of dehydration and diabetes and make sure your fluids remain at a healthy level? A few simple strategies can ensure that you stay hydrated, even when the weather is warm.
Staying Hydrated in Hot Weather
If you’re still learning to manage your diabetes or if you’re helping a loved one manage theirs, know that it’s important to take extra steps to keep hydrated when it’s hot out. Here are some tips:
What Is the Normal Range for Blood Sugar?
Ways to Lower Blood Sugar
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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How Dehydration Can Spike Your Blood Sugar
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Water accounts for 50 to 60 percent of your body weightand nearly 75 percent for newborn babies! For the average adult, 100 pounds of your body weight is water.
Clearly a critical part of your bodys ability to function, staying on top of your daily hydrationespecially during exerciseis an important part of diabetes management.
But nearly 75 percent of Americans are dehydrated on a regular basis.
Here, well discuss dehydration and its impact on your blood sugar as a person with diabetes.
What Are The Treatment Guidelines For Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Fluid replacement and insulin administration intravenously are the primary and most critical initial treatments for diabetic ketoacidosis. These therapies together reverse dehydration, lower blood acid levels, and restore normal sugar and electrolyte balance. Fluids must be administered wisely – not at an excessive rate or total volume due to the risk of brain swelling . Potassium is typically added to IV fluids to correct total body depletion of this important electrolyte.
Insulin must not be delayed and must be given promptly as a continuous infusion to stop further ketone formation and to stabilize tissue function by driving available potassium back inside the body’s cells. Once blood glucose levels have fallen below 300mg/dL, glucose may be co-administered with ongoing insulin administration to avoid the development of hypoglycemia .
People diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis are usually admitted into the hospital for treatment and may be admitted to the intensive care unit.
Some people with mild acidosis with modest fluid and electrolyte losses, and who can reliably drink fluid and follow medical instructions can be safely treated and sent home. Follow-up must be available with a health care practitioner. Individuals with diabetes who are vomiting should be admitted to the hospital or urgent care center for further observation and treatment.
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What Tests And Procedures Diagnose Diabetic Ketoacidosis
The diagnosis of diabetic ketoacidosis is typically made after the health care practitioner obtains a history, performs a physical examination, and reviews the laboratory tests. Blood tests will be ordered to document the levels of sugar, potassium, sodium, and other electrolytes. Ketone level and kidney function tests along with a blood gas sample are also commonly performed. Other tests may be used to check for conditions that may have triggered the diabetic ketoacidosis, based on the history and physical examination findings. These may include chest X-ray, electrocardiogram , urine analysis, and possibly a CT scan of the brain.
Main Symptoms Of High Blood Glucose
While an individual can have no noticeable symptoms and still have high blood glucose, knowing what kinds of symptoms tend to accompany high blood glucose helps us take the right action before things get worse. If for no other reason, keeping these markers of high blood glucose in mind can help you identify it more quickly in yourself.
The most common symptoms to be aware of are:
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Can Dehydration Affect Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Although dehydration can lead to serious health issues, not much research has looked at whether chronic dehydration and the associated higher blood sugar may increase the risk of prediabetes and full-blown type 2 diabetes.
There have been a variety of things dehydration has been suggested to contribute to, but not diabetes, Rizza says.
But there may be a connection, says Anna Simos, MPH, a certified diabetes care and education specialist with the Stanford Health Care Diabetes Education and Prevention Program in Palo Alto, California. Indeed, according to a previous study, which monitored healthy adults over nine years, peoples self-reported water intake was inversely associated with a risk of developing high blood sugar. This means that people who reported drinking less than ½ a liter of water per day were more at risk of elevated blood sugar than people who reported more than 1 liter.
Scientists theorize that dehydration can lead to an increase in the hormone vasopressin, which prompts the kidneys to retain water and the liver to produce blood sugar, potentially affecting the bodys ability to regulate insulin over time.
The bottom line: More research is needed to fully understand the relationship between dehydration and diabetes, but hydration likely keeps blood glucose levels a little more stable, Simos says.
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Avoiding High Blood Sugar And Dka
No matter how well they take care of themselves, people with diabetes will sometimes have high blood sugar levels. But the best way to avoid problems is to keep your blood sugar levels as close to your desired range as possible, which means following your diabetes management plan. Checking your blood sugar levels several times a day will let you know when your blood sugar level is high. Then you can treat it and help prevent DKA from happening.
High blood sugar levels don’t always cause symptoms, and a person who isn’t testing regularly might be having blood sugar levels high enough to damage the body without even realizing it. Doctors may use the HbA1c test to find out if someone has been having high blood sugar levels over time, even if the person has not had obvious symptoms.
Here are some other tips for avoiding high blood sugar levels and preventing DKA:
- Try to eat all your meals and snacks on time and not skip any.
- Take the right amount of insulin.
- Check your blood sugar levels regularly and your ketone levels when your diabetes management plan recommends it.
- Stick to your diabetes management plan.
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Clinical And Biochemical Measures
Detailed methods have been reported previously . Smoking, dietary habits, degree of physical activity, and alcohol consumption were assessed using a self-administered questionnaire. Mean daily intake of water, wine, beer or cider, and sweet beverages was categorized in the questionnaire into six mutually exclusive levels: none, < 0.5, 0.5 to 1, 1 to 1.5, 1.5 to 2.0, and > 2 L. In the present analyses, the levels were grouped into three classes: < 0.5, 0.5 to 1, and > 1 L. Other clinical and biological measurements are presented in the Supplementary Methods.
Is Having High Blood Glucose Dangerous
In short, it can be. Zanini says that untreated high blood glucose can lead to a wide range of health issuesâsome of the most common being chronic inflammation, heart disease, vision impairment, kidney disease, nerve damage, tooth decay, damaged blood vessels, and periodontal disease.
Having high blood glucose also puts us at risk of mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. The former is a condition in which mitochondria fail to produce energy for cells. The latter occurs when free radicals outnumber antioxidants in the body and increase the risk of disease and other damage.
Phipps notes to avoid these risks, catching high blood glucose early on, then taking action to treat it is extremely important.
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Causes Related To Lifestyle
Exercising prompts your body to burn more energy than usual, and, as a result, consume more glucose. Maintaining a low level of physical activity, on the other hand, means more glucose will remain in the bloodstream. This raises your overall blood glucose values in the process.
Exercise also makes our body more insulin sensitive, which means we will require less insulin for the rest of the day to control glucose levels.
Part of the bodyâs fight-or-flight response to stress is to produce additional glucose. Another facet of that response is an increase in the hormone cortisol. High cortisol can reduce the bodyâs sensitivity to insulin. As a result, blood glucose levels may also increase.
A lack of quality sleep can inhibit how much insulin your body can release. It can also cause the production of cortisol, which makes it harder for insulin to work. When your bodyâs insulin cannot properly metabolize the glucose in your blood, the glucose remains there and your glucose levels rise.
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Dehydration And Blood Pressure: How You Could Be Affected
Dehydration occurs when the human body loses more fluid and electrolytes than it takes in. When you dont get enough water and the proper ratio of electrolytes, your blood pressure can be negatively impacted. This can lead to dangerous side effects and have long-term implications for the health of your organs.
When left untreated, dehydration can be life-threatening and may cause cell death or brain damage. The effects of dehydration on blood pressure can result in complications for people with underlying medical conditions.
Here, well go over the connection between dehydration and blood pressure. Plus, well show you the best way to remedy dehydration using DripDrop ORS.
What Is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the measurement of the force of blood against the walls of arteries. Blood pressure is measured using two numbers: diastolic and systolic blood pressure. The top number, or systolic blood pressure, indicates the force your blood exerts on arteries when your heart muscle contracts. The diastolic blood pressure, or the bottom number, refers to the force of blood when your heart is in between beats.
According to the American Heart Association, normal blood pressure is around 120/80 mm Hg. When blood pressure numbers are consistently above 130/80 mm Hg, you may have hypertension a condition known as high blood pressure. When blood pressure numbers are lower than 120/80 mm Hg, you have low blood pressure.
The Connection Between Dehydration and Blood Pressure
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Complications Of High Blood Sugar
Diabetes is one of the main causes of high blood sugar levels, but there are other causes that can impact your blood glucose and your risk for hyperglycemia.
Hyperglycemia is the medical term for high blood sugar levels. You can have temporary spikes in blood sugar after eating a large meal or as a result of medication side effects. Chronically elevated blood sugar levels are dangerous and common in those with diabetes. Without treatment, you run the risk of a diabetic coma.
Ketoacidosis is a condition that develops when elevated blood glucose levels go untreated. Without glucose to use for fuel, your body begins to burn fat instead and produces ketones. When there are too many ketones in the blood, it will turn acidic, which can very quickly lead to ketoacidosis, a diabetic coma, and even death.
People without diabetes can develop a similar condition known as ketosis, but they can tolerate a certain level of ketones because inulin is still effectively working.
Diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome is another serious complication of high blood sugar. This is more common among individuals with type 2 diabetes and is triggered by an infection or illness.
As a result of the high blood sugar, your body tries to push out the excess glucose by passing it through your urine. Without treatment, this can result in life-threatening dehydration so prompt medical attention would be necessary.
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.
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Lowering Blood Glucose Levels
The bodies of people with diabetes require more fluid when blood glucose levels are high. This can lead to the kidneys attempting to excrete excess sugar through urine
Water will not raise blood glucose levels, which is why it is so beneficial to drink when people with diabetes have high blood sugar, as it enables more glucose to be flushed out of the blood.
What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis
A person with diabetes developing diabetic ketoacidosis may have one or more of these symptoms excessive thirst or drinking lots of fluid, frequent urination, general weakness, vomiting, loss of appetite, confusion, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, a generally ill appearance, and dry skin or mouth, increased heart rate, low blood pressure , increased rate of breathing, and a distinctive fruity odor on the breath.
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What Causes Hyperglycemia In People With Diabetes
- The dose of insulin or oral diabetes medication that you are taking is not the most helpful dose for your needs.
- Your body isnt using your natural insulin effectively .
- The amount of carbohydrates you are eating or drinking is not balanced with the amount of insulin your body is able to make or the amount of insulin you inject.
- You are less active than usual.
- Physical stress is affecting you.
- Emotional stress is affecting you.
- You are taking steroids for another condition.
- The dawn phenomenon is affecting you.
Other possible causes
- Pancreatic diseases such as pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and cystic fibrosis.
- Certain medications .
- Gestational diabetes, which happens in 4% of pregnancies, and is due to decreased insulin sensitivity.
- Surgery or trauma.
Is Hyperglycaemia Serious
The aim of diabetes treatment is to keep blood sugar levels as near to normal as possible.
But if you have diabetes, no matter how careful you are, you’re likely to experience hyperglycaemia at some point.
It’s important to be able to recognise and treat hyperglycaemia, as it can lead to serious health problems if left untreated.
Occasional mild episodes are not usually a cause for concern and can be treated quite easily or may return to normal on their own.
But hyperglycaemia can be potentially dangerous if blood sugar levels become very high or stay high for long periods.
Very high blood sugar levels can cause life-threatening complications, such as:
- diabetic ketoacidosis a condition caused by the body needing to break down fat as a source of energy, which can lead to a diabetic coma this tends to affect people with type 1 diabetes
- hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state severe dehydration caused by the body trying to get rid of excess sugar this tends to affect people with type 2 diabetes
Regularly having high blood sugar levels for long periods of time can result in permanent damage to parts of the body such as the eyes, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels.
If you experience hyperglycaemia regularly, speak to your doctor or diabetes care team.
You may need to change your treatment or lifestyle to keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range.
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