Sudden Death In Young People With Type 1 Diabetes
A link between hypoglycemia and sudden death was raised in the 1960s, but the first detailed description appeared in 1991 after investigation of a series of deaths of young adults with type 1 diabetes . The survey was commissioned by the British Diabetic Association after concern that insulin of human origin might cause fatal hypoglycemia. After deaths from definite causes were excluded, the authors identified 22 individuals with type 1 diabetes aged < 50 years, who despite being previously well had a very similar manner of death. Most were found lying in an undisturbed bed, a scenario that prompted the label dead in bed syndrome . These observations have been followed by several epidemiological surveys that have confirmed both the mode of death and its increased frequency in individuals with type 1 diabetes . An autopsy study from Australia suggested that sudden unexpected deaths are four times more frequent than in a comparable nondiabetic population and, of these, many are found dead in an undisturbed bed.
How Does Your Body Regulate Blood Pressure
Your body has complex feedback mechanisms to regulate blood pressure, including dedicated nerves and hormones that are part of the sympathetic nervous system, which is involved in the fight-or-flight reflex. Special nerve receptors in major blood vessels signal a drop in blood pressure and alert your sympathetic nervous system to boost its activity, increasing heart rate and constricting blood vessels. If anything impairs these mechanisms, your blood pressure can drop.
Caution: Birth Control Pills
Types that have estrogen can affect the way your body handles insulin. Still, oral contraceptives are safe for women with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association suggests a combination pill with norgestimate and synthetic estrogen. The group also says birth control shots and implants are safe for women with the condition, though they can affect your blood sugar levels.
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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 Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
Different people may feel low blood sugar levels differently. People with low blood sugar may:
- feel hungry or have “hunger pains” in their stomach
- feel shaky or like they’re trembling
- have a rapid heart rate
- feel sweaty or have cold, clammy skin
- have pale, gray skin color
- have a headache
- have seizures or convulsions
- lose consciousness
If you have diabetes, try to remember how your body reacts when your blood sugar levels are low. It may help you figure out when you’re having a low blood sugar level more quickly the next time.
What Puts People With Diabetes At A Higher Risk Of Bouts Of Low Blood Pressure
Diabetes and age-related changes can result in damage to your nerves involved in monitoring blood pressure as well as your reflexes that help constrict blood vessels and increase heart rate to compensate for standing up or eating a meal. Your nerve sensors in your arteries that monitor blood pressure may not work as effectively if you have diabetes especially if you have poor blood sugar control making them more prone to a drastic drop in blood pressure.
High Blood Pressure: Sugar Vs Salt
Typically, people think of salt as bad for blood pressure. However, sugar is actually also responsible for high blood pressure and is a leading cause of it.
Fructose, a type of simple sugar, raises the levels of uric acid in the blood, which in turn inhibits the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is what helps your blood vessels maintain flexibility, so when levels of NO are lowered, you can experience a rise in blood pressure.
In addition, increased sugar consumption can lead to weight gain. Obesity is also a contributor to elevated blood pressure.
Sugar in processed foods is considered a main driver of hypertension, as well. Some sugars are worse than others. In particular, “added sugar,” such as table sugar and syrups used to prepare and process foods, is thought to be more harmful than naturally occurring sugars like those in fruit and milk.
Furthermore, research suggests that sugar intake can actually increase salt sensitivity, leading to the enhanced negative effects of sodium on blood pressure. A 2017 research study, in fact, discovered an association between sugar intake and high blood pressure in older women.
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Dash Diet Meal Ideas For Hypertension
Here are a few examples of the DASH diet-friendly meals that help promote low blood sugar and low blood pressure:
- Breakfast: For a DASH diet breakfast, try making quinoa porridge! Its basically a heartier version of oatmeal, with more high-quality protein and essential amino acids. Add cinnamon, sliced banana, raisins, and plant-based milk to hot, cooked quinoa. Top with a generous dollop of low-fat, low-sugar Greek yogurt. Serve with a side of brewed coffee and unsweetened almond milk for a liver-friendly, low-sugar beverage.
- Lunch: Make a salad bowl with a serving of whole-grain buckwheat pasta, soybeans, and sliced red pepper, carrots, cucumber, basil, and any other fresh vegetables and herbs of your choice for a powerful punch of antioxidants. Drizzle with a low-sodium, low-sugar peanut sauce or dressing of your choice.
- Dinner: For an anti-inflammatory dinner that promotes low blood pressure, try oven-baked salmon for healthy fats and optimal ratios of essential amino acids. Be sure to use a marinade thats low in salt and sugar. Serve with loads of veggies on the side by topping a bed of lettuce with chopped beets, roasted asparagus, and steamed broccoli, and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette.
Can A Person With High Blood Pressure Also End Up With Bouts Of Low Blood Pressure
Dr. Laffin explains that treatment of hypertension can sometimes result in episodes of low blood pressure. In other words, the medication prescribed may lower blood pressure too much. Additionally, certain blood pressure medications have an increased effect if you’re dehydrated, says Dr. Laffin. For example, ARBs and ACE-inhibitors will have more of a blood pressure lowering effect if you’re dehydrated.
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How Does Sugar Contribute To Metabolic Syndrome
Sugary beverages and processed foods that contain lots of added sugar that are immediately broken down by the digestive system, entering the bloodstream in high amounts. This causes a spike in blood sugar levels. Lots of glucose is coursing through the blood vessels and in response, the pancreas releases insulin that signals to body tissues to use available glucose to power cellular processes. Though some glucose is vital for survival and normal energy levels, excess glucose causes inflammation and is stored as fat throughout the body and in the liver.
Over time, chronic consumption of excess glucose can cause inflammation that damages the pancreas and makes insulin unresponsive to glucose in the bloodstream. This results in hallmarks of metabolic syndrome, including insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a fairly common problem these days. Many people who suffer from high blood pressure have no overt symptoms. Only during a routine check-up, their high pressure is detected. For this reason it is very important that a person gets his blood pressure checked regularly. Some people experience certain symptoms if their blood pressure increases above the normal level. They are as follows:
Waiting for these symptoms to appear is quite risky. Moreover, they might not be good markers of high blood pressure as well. These symptoms generally appear in case of a hypertensive crisis which can be life threatening. A hypertensive crisis is when the systolic blood pressure is above 180 and the diastolic blood pressure is above 110. If this is the case then the person needs emergency medical care.
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Hypoglycemia As A Potential Risk Factor For Sudden Death In Diabetes
Cumulating clinical and experimental evidence has shown that hypoglycemia can cause abnormal electrical activity in the heart and has strengthened the premise that hypoglycemia can provoke sudden death. High-resolution electrocardiography, which measures the QT interval precisely, in conjunction with hypoglycemic clamps to control the depth of hypoglycemia, has demonstrated lengthening of the QT interval both in diabetic and nondiabetic individuals . Clinical episodes of hypoglycemia have been shown to cause QT lengthening, measured using ambulatory ECG monitoring and simultaneous measurement of blood glucose .
Activation of the sympathoadrenal system probably drives these changes. Epinephrine infusion increases QT intervals , and -blocking drugs attenuate QT lengthening during experimental hypoglycemia . However, hypoglycemia induces a fall in serum potassium via sympathoadrenal activation and a direct effect of insulin, and hypoglycemia per se may have an effect by directly inhibiting cardiac ion channels that are responsible for potassium efflux during cardiac repolarization .
Keep In Mind That Not All Sugar Raises Blood Pressure
Keep in mind that natural sugar that comes from fruit is healthy when consumed as part of the whole fruit. Sugar in fresh fruit is combined with loads of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support healthy blood pressure levels and metabolic functioning. The sugar in whole fruits is digested slowly due to the high fiber content, supplying your body with a steady stream of fuel without blood sugar spikes.
The problem with fruit sugar comes when it is isolated from the whole fruit and added to processed ingredients. So, when avoiding sugar to benefit blood pressure, make sure to watch out for added sugars! But feel free to consume fresh fruit in abundance.
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Does Coffee Raise Blood Sugar And Insulin Levels
I know this topic is about coffee drinking and blood pressure but a quick word about coffee and blood sugar wouldnt go amiss for completeness. The reason is most people who have concerns about their BP reading when they drink coffee also worry about the effect of coffee on their blood sugar levels too.
Not to mention that they may be concerned about coffee and their insulin level.
Truth be told, just like coffee and blood pressure studies, the results for coffee and blood sugar are mixed.
For instance, this meta-analysis tells us that caffeine intake increases blood glucose levels. Not just that, in majority of the studies they pooled together, the study results suggest that caffeine intake whether it be from coffee or tea prolongs the period of high blood sugar levels.
Some other reports like this one did not make any significant association either way, so long as the intake of coffee or caffeine was limited to 2.5 mg/kg body weight per day.
The same could be said for relationship between caffeine and insulin levels and insulin sensitivity. Some studies suggest caffeine will raise insulin levels, other say coffee or caffeine has no effect on insulin.
Others like this one however indicate caffeine or coffee is good for type 2 diabetes. Meaning coffee has a protective effect and actually improves insulin sensitivity. So, consuming coffee means you need less insulin to drop your blood glucose levels.
Blood Pressure Meds That Raise Blood Sugar
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Added Sugar Intake Increases Blood Pressure
Its becoming common knowledge that added sugar plays a causal role in chronic diseases like insulin resistance, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes. What few people realize is that, just like high salt intake, high sugar intake directly contributes to high blood pressure. So, eating excess sugar is a significant and direct causal factor for both diabetes and hypertension.
The mechanism for sodium-induced high blood pressure and sugar-induced high blood pressure differ. Salt increases blood pressure by causing you to retain water, which increases blood volume and increases the pressure exerted on vessel walls.
Research published in Open Heart and conducted by researchers at Saint Lukes Mid America Heart Institute in Missouri and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York examines the impact of added sugar on cardiovascular health. Results showed that added sugars negatively impact blood pressure by increasing inflammation, increasing salt retention, and decreasing nitric oxide. Consuming too much sugar also activates the nervous system and increases heart rate.
The impact of sugar on nitric oxide a powerful vasodilator in the body is particularly compelling. Nitric oxide is a critical molecule for the healthy functioning of the endothelium, the lining of cells that control constriction or dilation of blood vessels.
Swap Out Added Sugars For Nitrate
In addition to cutting sugar out of your diet, you can add foods that support endothelial function. Natural nitrates are found in many vegetables like beets, spinach, broccoli, arugula, tomato, and mustard greens.
The body can convert nitrates from vegetables into biologically relevant nitric oxide, which helps aid vasodilation.
On the other hand, avoid nitrites and nitrates that are added to meats as preservatives. Though these added compounds play a role in keeping meat fresh, they interact with meat proteins during the cooking process that leads to the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines.
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Preventing Low Blood Sugar Levels
Here are some other tips to help you avoid low blood sugar levels:
- Eat all your meals and snacks on time and try not to skip any.
- Take the right amount of insulin.
- If you exercise longer or harder than usual, have an extra snack.
- Don’t take a hot bath or shower right after an insulin shot.
- Stick to your diabetes management plan.
- Check your blood sugar levels regularly, so you can tell if your blood sugars are running too low and your treatment plan needs adjustment.
- Carry something containing sugar with you at all times and take it right away if you have symptoms. Don’t wait to see if the symptoms will go away they may get worse!
Alcohol and drugs can cause major problems with your blood sugar levels, so avoiding them is another way to prevent diabetes problems. Drinking can be particularly dangerous even deadly for people with diabetes because it messes up the body’s ability to keep blood glucose in a normal range. This can cause a very rapid drop in blood glucose in people with diabetes. Drug or alcohol use is also dangerous because it may affect someone’s ability to sense low blood sugar levels.
Learning how to recognize the signs of low blood sugar levels and get them back to normal is an important part of caring for diabetes. Keeping track of your blood sugar levels and recording lows when they occur will help you and your diabetes health care team keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range.
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