Act Quickly To Treat The Situation
If you suspect you have low blood sugar, Dr. Fruge recommends quickly treating the situation, which she says should include “eating healthy foods such as complex carbohydrates, beans or fruit.”
“At the Pritikin Longevity Center we serve a cup of fruit with a cup of veggies to prevent a spike in insulin, which can sometimes lead to a later drop in blood sugar again,” she explains. “Adjusting your diabetes medication as prescribed by your physician may also be necessary. It’s important to retest your blood sugar 20 minutes after eating to confirm it has improved.”
What Are The Risk Factors For Diabetic Coma
While anyone who has diabetes is at risk for a diabetic coma, the causes depend on the type of diabetes:
- People with Type 1 diabetes have a greater chance of going into a diabetic coma as a result of diabetic ketoacidosis or hypoglycemia. This is because people with Type 1 diabetes always need insulin and have a wider range in their blood glucose levels than people with Type 2 diabetes.
- People with Type 2 diabetes have a greater chance of going into a diabetic coma from diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome than from diabetic ketoacidosis or hypoglycemia.
Other risks that can lead to diabetic coma in anyone who has diabetes include:
Blood Glucose Levels And Diabetes
Your blood sugar level normally rises after you eat. Then it dips a few hours later as insulin moves glucose into your cells. Between meals, your blood sugar should be less than 100 milligrams per deciliter . This is called your fasting blood sugar level.
There are two types of diabetes:
- In type 1 diabetes, your body doesn’t have enough insulin. The immune system attacks and destroys cells of the pancreas, where insulin is made.
- In type 2 diabetes, the cells don’t respond to insulin like they should. So the pancreas needs to make more and more insulin to move glucose into the cells. Eventually, the pancreas is damaged and can’t make enough insulin to meet the body’s needs.
Without enough insulin, glucose can’t move into the cells. The blood glucose level stays high. A level over 200 mg/dl 2 hours after a meal or over 125 mg/dl fasting is high blood glucose, called hyperglycemia.
Too much glucose in your bloodstream for a long period of time can damage the vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your organs. High blood sugar can increase your risk for:
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Why Am I Having Lows
If you are experiencing low blood sugar and youre not sure why, bring a record of blood sugar, insulin, exercise and food data to a health care provider. Together, you can review all your data to figure out the cause of the lows.
The more information you can give your health care provider, the better they can work with you to understand whats causing the lows. Your provider may be able to help prevent low blood sugar by adjusting the timing of insulin dosing, exercise and meals or snacks. Changing insulin doses or the types of food you eat may also do the trick.
What Causes Dead In Bed Syndrome
A lack of detailed post-mortem notes has meant that the cause or causes of dead in bed syndrome have not been confirmed with certainty.
The evidence that has been available suggests that deaths could be caused by night time hypoglycemia triggering disturbances in heart rhythm or cardiac autonomic neuropathy .
Hypoglycemia-associated autonomic failure is also thought to play a part. HAAF means patients have a reduced counter-regulatory response to hypos and reduced hypo awareness
The reduced counter-regulatory response means that the body has reduced ability to produce the adrenaline or glucagon in response to a hypo. Glucagon is the bodys blood glucose raising hormone, and so a lack of glucagon response takes away a key life saving mechanism.
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How To Maintain A Healthy Blood Sugar Level
There are a number of lifestyle factors that must be taken into account, and changes to these made where necessary, in order to regulate and maintain a healthy blood sugar level. It is advised that you adopt a habit of making healthy food choices in order to maintain a healthy weight , on top of this, you will also need to get regular exercise.
If you are diabetic or suffer from hyperglycaemia or hypoglycaemia, then you will need to regularly consult with your healthcare professional in order for the correct form of treatment to prescribed and monitored. He/she will also be able to advise on the most appropriate levels of exercise required based on your current condition and overall health.
High Blood Sugar Causes
You may be thinking that hyperglycemia can happen just from eating a super-sugary food, but its not really as simple as that. Sure, eating a lot of sugar or carbs can elevate your blood sugar level, but thats typically when your pancreas kicks into gear and creates insulin to move that glucose into cells throughout the body.
But when someone has diabetes, this finely tuned system gets thrown out of whack. In type 2 diabeteswhich accounts for 90% to 95% of diabetes in adults, according to the CDCthe body either cant make enough insulin or cant utilize insulin well, according to the NIDDK. If someone has prediabetes, their blood glucose will be higher than normal but not quite in the type 2 diabetes range yet, per the NIDDK. And in type 1 diabetes, the body does not make insulin or makes very little.
In any case, the result is extra sugar hanging around the bloodstream, making you feel like total crap in the short term and putting your health at risk in the long term.
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How High Can Blood Sugar Go Before Death
As said earlier, there are some engaging exceptions recorded around the world.
The highest blood sugar recorded till date was on 23 March 2008. A person of the USA named Michael Patrick Buonocore survived a blood sugar level of 147.6 mmol/L that is 2,656 mg/dl.
Exceptionally, some people sustained life even after their sugar level raised over and beyond 1600-1900 mg/dl. Conversely, it is worth noted that not everyone is so fortunate.
How Can I Pay For Tests And Diabetes Supplies
Medicareexternal icon, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans pay for the A1C test and fasting blood sugar test as well as some diabetes supplies. Check your plan or ask your health care team for help finding low-cost or free supplies, and see How to Save Money on Diabetes Care for more resources.
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What Are Some Tips To Prevent Nighttime Blood Sugar Level Dips
Signs Of High Blood Sugar
Someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes will be familiar with how it feels to have hyperglycemia. But for the millions of people who have diabetes or prediabetes and are unaware of it, knowing the signs of high blood sugar could prompt them to seek care and get a diagnosis as soon as possible.
While type 1 diabetes symptoms can come on suddenly and severely, its important to note that type 2 diabetes symptoms can creep up gradually and be so mild that theyre not noticeable, the NIDDK explains. And most people with prediabetes actually have no symptoms, per the NIDDK. So its extremely important to get screened if you have risk factors, like having a family history, being overweight, or being over age 45, the NIDDK says.
Still, there are many potential signs of high blood sugar in the short and long term that it doesnt hurt to be conscious of, especially if you are at elevated risk.
Early on, hyperglycemia can make you feel off in a variety of ways:
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Reflect On The Amount Of Sugar In Your Diet
This might sound like an obvious one, but scoffing high sugar foods will have an impact on your blood sugar levels.
Lots of foods can be high in sugar without us knowing and many processed or refined foods are often high in sugar.
Speaking to The Sun, dietitian Dr Carrie Ruxton said managing blood sugars is all about limiting fast carbs such as sugary drinks, white rice, confectionery and white bread – and going for higher protein or fibre-rich options which slow the rate of carbohydrate absorption in your gut.
She explained: “Try snacking on yogurt or fromage frais, such as Petits filous, instead of toast or biscuits as dairy foods are high in protein.
“Also choose a cup of tea instead of a sugary cordial or fizzy drink.”
New research just published in the Nutrition and Food Technology Journal shows that regular tea drinking whatever age improves cardiovascular health, hydration, cognitive function, weight management and metabolic health.
Dr Ruxton added: “There is also growing data showing an important role for tea in supporting mental wellbeing, gut health and bone density.
“In addition, another study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that hesperidin, a polyphenol found in oranges and a small glass of 100 per cent orange juice, delays the absorption of fruit sugars leading to a smaller rise in blood sugars.
Keeping Blood Sugar In Control
Stephenson-Laws said healthy individuals can keep their blood sugar at the appropriate levels using the following methods:
Maintaining a healthy weight
Talk with a competent health care professional about what an ideal weight for you should be before starting any kind of weight loss program.
Look for and select whole, unprocessed foods, like fruits and vegetables, instead of highly processed or prepared foods. Foods that have a lot of simple carbohydrates, like cookies and crackers, that your body can digest quickly tend to spike insulin levels and put additional stress on the pancreas. Also, avoid saturated fats and instead opt for unsaturated fats and high-fiber foods. Consider adding nuts, vegetables, herbs and spices to your diet.
A brisk walk for 30 minutes a day can greatly reduce blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
Getting mineral levels checked
Research also shows that magnesium plays a vital role in helping insulin do its job. So, in addition to the other health benefits it provides, an adequate magnesium level can also reduce the chances of becoming insulin-tolerant.
Get insulin levels checked
Many doctors simply test for blood sugar and perform an A1C test, which primarily detects prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Make sure you also get insulin checks.
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Its All About Balance Moderation And Consistency
The sugar high is all fun and games until the resulting sugar crash affects the quality of your day.
The term refers to the sudden drop in energy levels after consuming a large amount of carbohydrates. This can include pastas and pizza but is usually more common after eating simple carbohydrates, also known as simple sugars, such as desserts.
A sugar crash often causes undesired symptoms that can disrupt productivity and energy levels throughout the day.
Kelsey Herrick, senior dietitian at Sanford Health, suggests balance, moderation and consistency are the most effective ways to avoid these crashes. Herrick shares her knowledge on sugar crashes, how to avoid them and what to do if you get one.
What Extreme Conditions Can Occur If Hypoglycemia Is Left Untreated
Although severe episodes which can trigger potentially life-threatening comas are rare, they require immediate emergency room care, so its best to make sure you are tracking your blood sugar so that you never have to worry about getting to that point. A drop in blood sugar means less fuel for your brain, so its critical for your body to receive enough glucose. Hypoglycemia that leads to extended, reduced brain function is the biggest concern, as this can lead to seizures and loss of basic bodily functions controlled by the brain, which can ultimately lead to death, explains Dr. Dyer.
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Correcting High Blood Sugar Levels With Insulin
If you take insulin, one way to reduce blood sugar is to inject insulin.
However, be careful as insulin can take 4 hours or longer to be fully absorbed, so you need to make sure you take into account how much insulin you may already have in your body that is yet to be absorbed by the blood. Insulin that is yet to be absorbed by the blood is called active insulin.
If you decide to correct with insulin, watch you dont over correct as this can lead to hypoglycemia and can be dangerous, particularly so before bed.
Keep Blood Sugar Levels Under Control
For a person with diabetes, the main focus of treatment is to control the amount of glucose in the body so that blood sugar levels stay as close to normal as possible.
People with type 1 diabetes need insulin shots as part of their care plan to control their blood sugar levels. Some people with type 2 diabetes can manage their blood sugar levels with a healthy diet and exercise. However, most people with type 2 diabetes will need to include diabetes pills, insulin shots, or both in their diabetes care plans.
People with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes need to pay close attention to how blood sugar levels change at various times throughout the day to keep them as close to their target range as possible. When blood sugar levels are close to normal, it means the body is getting the energy it needs to work, play, heal, and stay healthy.
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Other Causes Of Low Blood Sugar
While low blood sugar is often associated with diabetes, it can also be affected by other factors. According to Dr. Danine Fruge, Medical Director of the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida, the causes of blood sugar problems can include not only “diabetes, prediabetes , reactive hypoglycemia or other health issues, but also by not eating enough, taking too much insulin or even taking certain diabetes medications.”
Other medications can also cause hypoglycemia, like quinine, or Qualaquin, which is used to treat malaria, or various medications for kidney failure. Exercising more than usual can also cause it, especially while taking such medications.
Some other potential causes for low blood sugar include:
- Heavy drinking without eating
- Eating without ingesting enough carbohydrates
- Eating fewer carbs than usual without reducing insulin amounts, or improper balancing of liquid/solid carbs and timing of insulin
- Hormone deficiencies due to adrenal or pituitary tumor disorders, or in children without sufficient growth hormone
- Long-term starvation, such as that which can occur with anorexia nervosa
- Serious illness like hepatitis, kidney disorders and liver disease
- Pancreatic tumors that make the body secrete too much insulin
When It’s Time To Call A Doctor
If any of the symptoms mentioned have begun to impact your life, such as fatigue so severe you can’t stay awake through the day, it’s a good idea to consult your physician. Dr. Fruge warns that “unstable blood sugar levels could put you at higher risk of heart disease and stroke and it is a red flag for serious health issues” — so blood sugar issues should be taken seriously.
You should also see a doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia and haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes or any other underlying condition.
If you do have diabetes and your hypoglycemia isn’t responding to the treatments described above, that’s another good cue to call your health care provider.
If testing reveals you have Type 1 diabetes, you’ll need to continue to test your blood sugar levels as often as instructed by your physician, take insulin regularly and participate in regular exercise. This may mean you will need a new glucose monitoring system, so ask your doctor what they recommend. If you’re diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you’ll most likely need to do the same as for Type 1, as well as working with health care professionals to make lifestyle changes such as improving nutrition and planning workouts. Medication may be necessary as well.
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Causes Symptoms Diagnosis Treatments And Support
With Elena Christofides and Jennifer Shine Dyer MD, MPH
When youre diabetic, a severe drop in blood sugar can strike even when youre doing everything right. Glucose is your bodys main source of energy and fuels your brain, so its critical to recognize the early signs of an episode before it becomes severe enough to cause you to pass out or worse. Were here to empower you with clear answers to all your pressing Qs.
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