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How Does Insulin Lower Blood Sugar

How To Lower Blood Sugar Immediately

How to Manage Very High Blood Sugar & Lower It fast with Insulin!

Michael Menna, DO, is a board-certified, active attending emergency medicine physician at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York.

If you have high blood sugar, a condition also known as hyperglycemia, theres too much sugar in your blood and not enough insulin in your body to lower it. In people with diabetes, hyperglycemia can be caused by things like eating too many carbohydrates, lack of physical activity, stress from an illness or infection, nondiabetes medications , or skipping or not taking enough glucose-lowering medication.

Hyperglycemia requires immediate treatment to prevent serious complications, including nerve, tissue, and organ damage diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome . While taking rapid-acting insulin is the quickest way to lower your blood sugar, there are other ways like exercising and staying hydrated that can help. In cases of an emergency, contact your doctor immediately.

What Else Can Diabetic Medicine Be Used To Treat

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How Is Metformin Different From Other Diabetes Drugs

Some diabetes drugs work by increasing insulin production, but metformin does not. Helping your body make more insulin can be helpful and could become necessary over time. But it can also increase your risk of having low blood sugar . While high blood sugar is dangerous, low blood sugar be dangerous, too. Since metformin does not increase insulin production, it does not significantly increase your risk of low blood sugar when taken on its own.

Theres another way metformin stands out from the crowd. Some diabetes drugs cause weight gain, but metformin generally does not. In fact, one of the reasons many healthcare providers like metformin is because it may help some people lose weight. Weight loss is one of the best ways to manage diabetes and keep blood sugar under control.

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What To Do If Your Blood Sugar Levels Are Lower Than Normal

Blood sugar levels that are below 70 mg/dL are known as hypoglycemia. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include heart palpitations and feeling lightheaded, jittery, irritable, fatigued, or sweaty.9

Low fasting blood sugar levels can occur if you have diabetes and your medication does not match your carbohydrate intake. So its very important to let your healthcare provider know youre following a low-carb diet so they can adjust your medication to match your carb intake.

In people who do not have diabetes, low fasting blood sugar levels may be the result of a serious underlying medical condition such as an eating disorder or a tumor. If your fasting blood sugar is low and you do not take diabetes medications, see your healthcare provider.

Low blood sugar levels after eating are often called reactive hypoglycemia. This can occur in people with diabetes, as well as those with normal fasting blood sugars. How it should be treated depends on what the underlying cause is. But if you have low blood sugar and experience symptoms, you can remedy this in the short term by eating something with carbs or sugar.

High-carb intake may cause reactive hypoglycemia in people who are very insulin sensitive or have experienced massive weight loss.10 A low-carb, high-protein diet has been found to improve reactive hypoglycemia in adults who have undergone weight-loss surgery.11

The Basics Of High Blood Sugar

At what glucose level is insulin released?

Diabetes is a problem with your body that causes blood sugar levels to rise higher than normal. This is also called hyperglycemia.

When you eat, your body breaks food down into sugar and sends it into the blood. Insulin then helps move the sugar from the blood into your cells. When sugar enters your cells, it is either used as fuel for energy right away or stored for later use. In a person with diabetes, there is a problem with insulin. But, not everyone with diabetes has the same problem.

There are different types of diabetestype 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. If you have diabetestype 1, type 2 or gestationalyour body either doesn’t make enough insulin, can’t use the insulin well, or both.

Learn more about blood sugar Learn more about insulin

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What Happens If I Have Too Little Insulin

People with diabetes have problems either making insulin, how that insulin works or both. The main two types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2 diabetes, although there are other more uncommon types.

People with type 1 diabetes produce very little or no insulin at all. This condition is caused when the beta cells that make insulin have been destroyed by antibodies , hence they are unable to produce insulin. With too little insulin, the body can no longer move glucose from the blood into the cells, causing high blood glucose levels. If the glucose level is high enough, excess glucose spills into the urine. This drags extra water into the urine causing more frequent urination and thirst. This leads to dehydration, which can cause confusion. In addition, with too little insulin, the cells cannot take in glucose for energy and other sources of energy are needed to provide this energy. This makes the body tired and can cause weight loss. If this continues, patients can become very ill. This is because the body attempts to make new energy from fat and causes acids to be produced as waste products. Ultimately, this can lead to coma and death if medical attention is not sought. People with type 1 diabetes will need to inject insulin in order to survive.

What Are The Drawbacks To Insulin Treatment For Diabetes

The biggest issue with insulin right now is unaffordability. A box of rapid-acting insulin can cost $400 without insurance. As so many people continue to lose their health coverage, its becoming an enormous problem, Dr. Zilbermint says.

Consistently rising costs have led some patients to ration their insulin, which can be dangerous and even deadly. The cost of testing strips is also an issue, and both have led to a black market in testing strips and insulin. Its illegal, says Dr. Zilbermint, but its happening.

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Why Its Important To Keep A Daily Log

This is one of the reasons its important to keep a daily log that details your blood sugar readings, insulin given, and carbs eaten at meals and snacks, as well as moods, illness, anxiety/stress etcall of which can play a very important role in blood sugar control.

Apart from this, we dont have any data to work with and it will be difficult to tell if what you are currently doing is working. The best way to establish how well your I:C ratio is covering your meals is to use a time when your pre-meal blood glucose is in goal range.

So lets say before breakfast, your blood sugar is 100 . Thats great! Now be very diligent about the number of carbs you eat, and follow your estimated or physician ordered I:C ratio .

Check your blood sugar 2 hours after the first bite of that meal and that number should be very telling as to whether your ratio is on or off. If it is in goal range , your ratio is probably spot on if it is elevated , it may mean you need to lower the ratio whereas if you come near to bottoming out , chances are you are more sensitive to insulin and you may need to increase the ratio .

You may also find over time that you respond differently at different meals and with different meal composition.

When calculating insulin/ carb ratio, its always best to err on the side of caution, estimating lower rather than higher to avoid hypoglycemia.

Feel free to leave your questions and comments below.

Ideal Blood Sugar Levels

Insulin Questions: How do I treat my low blood sugar?

A range of factors, including insulin resistance, diabetes, and an unbalanced diet, can cause blood sugar levels to spike or plummet.

The standard measurement units for blood sugar levels are milligrams per deciliter . Ideal blood sugar ranges are as follows:


Insulin and glucagon do not take immediate effect, particularly in people whose blood sugar levels are extremely high or low.

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What To Do If Your Blood Sugar Levels Are Higher Than Normal

If your fasting or post-meal blood sugar readings are consistently higher than normal, you may have prediabetes or diabetes. If you suspect you have diabetes or prediabetes, you should see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Symptoms of diabetes, beyond elevated blood sugars, may include increased thirst and urination, severe fatigue and excessive hunger. For more details, see our guide to common .

Blood Sugar Level Rises Every Time You Eat

Your blood sugar level rises immediately after eating a meal or snack . In a healthy person, insulin then starts working, and the blood sugar level returns to the pre-meal level 2 hours after eating. In untreated diabetes patients, the blood sugar level does not return to the pre-meal level of its own accord. Some people’s blood sugar level remains high two hours after eating, even though on an empty stomach it would be at a normal level. As a result, the risk of developing diabetes increases as insulin is not properly secreted, or does not work properly in the body. In order to make sure insulin works properly, it is important not to overeat and to avoid becoming obese. Knowing which foods will not cause a sudden and extreme spike in blood sugar level and using this knowledge in your daily life will help you to prevent obesity and diabetes, and maintain good health.

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Regulation And Mechanisms Of Insulin Secretion At The Cellular Level

Synthesis and secretion of insulin is regulated by both nutrient and non-nutrient secretagogues, in the context of environmental stimuli and the interplay of other hormones. Nutrient secretagogues such as glucose appear to trigger insulin secretion from the cell by increasing intracellular ATP and closing of K+-ATP channels as outlined above. Generation of cyclic AMP and other cellular energy intermediates is also augmented, further enhancing insulin release. Glucose does not require insulin action to enter the cell . Non-nutrient secretagogues may act via neural stimuli such as cholinergic and adrenergic pathways, or through peptide hormones and cationic amino acids.

Neural Stimuli

1. Cholinergic Transmission

It has been well recognised that vagus nerve stimulation results in pancreatic insulin secretion. This is thought to mediate the so-called cephalic phase of insulin secretion, occurring when food is seen, smelled or acutely ingested. Islet cell cholinergic muscarinic receptors activate phospholipase C, with subsequent intracellular events activating protein kinase C, phospholipase A2 and mobilizing intracellular calcium. Insulin secretion by these mechanisms does not occur in the fasting state or if blood glucose levels are low, but may augment the anabolic response to feeding.

2. Adrenergic Pathway

Peptide Hormones

Amino Acids

Schematic presentation of insulin secretory pathways. Adapted from references: & .

Footnotes: Figure Abbreviations

DAG = diacylglycerol

The Important Roles Of Insulin And Glucagon: Diabetes And Hypoglycemia

Diabetes Preventive: why does insulin lower blood sugar

The human body wants blood glucose maintained in a very narrow range. Insulin and glucagon are the hormones which make this happen. Both insulin and glucagon are secreted from the pancreas, and thus are referred to as pancreatic endocrine hormones. The picture on the left shows the intimate relationship both insulin and glucagon have to each other. Note that the pancreas serves as the central player in this scheme. It is the production of insulin and glucagon by the pancreas which ultimately determines if a patient has diabetes, hypoglycemia, or some other sugar problem.

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How Much Does Lantus Lower Blood Sugar

Lantusblood sugar levelsLantusLantusblood sugar levels

. In this way, how long does it take for Lantus to lower blood sugar?

Lantus is a long-acting insulin that works slowly over about 24 hours. You may have to use Lantus in combination with another type of insulin or with a type of oral diabetes medicine to keep your blood sugar under control.

Also Know, why is Lantus given at night? Lantus is approved only for bedtime dosing. That’s because the pre-approval studies were conducted only using bedtime dosing, therefore the FDA approved the drug that way. But from experience, patients can also use Lantus in the morning. That way, Lantus wears off at night when insulin requirements are lower.

Also Know, how much does 1 unit of insulin bring down blood sugar?

Generally, to correct a high blood sugar, one unit of insulin is needed to drop the blood glucose by 50 mg/dl. This drop in blood sugar can range from 30-100 mg/dl or more, depending on individual insulin sensitivities, and other circumstances.

How much Lantus should I take?

The usual starting dose of Lantus for people with type 2 diabetes is 0.2 units/kg. The maximum starting dose of Lantus is 10 units a day. The drug is given once a day, as an injection just under your skin .

What To Eat To Lower Your Blood Sugar Fast

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A Brief Overview Of The Ketogenic Diet The Real Type 2 Diabetes Diet

Lower Blood Sugar & A1C Levels & Improve Insulin Sensitivity ASAP

For those who dont know, the ketogenic diet restricts daily carbohydrates to around 20-30g of net carbs . Restricting carbohydrates to this degree forces your body to burn fat for fuel a process called ketosis. Once your body is in ketosis, your blood sugar levels will decrease and your A1C levels will drop.

For more information on how to start a ketogenic diet to lower blood sugar read our beginners guide to the ketogenic diet.

Here is a brief list of what you should and should not eat on a ketogenic diet:

Do Not Eat:

  • Meats fish, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, etc.
  • Leafy Greens spinach, kale, etc.
  • Above ground vegetables broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
  • High Fat Dairy hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
  • Avocado and berries raspberries, raspberries, and other low glycemic impact berries
  • Sweeteners stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and other low-carb sweeteners
  • Other fats coconut oil, high-fat salad dressing, saturated fats, etc.

If youre new to keto, you can always see our more detailed ketogenic food list >

Before you start, it is important to know that your blood sugar wont drop instantly. Some studies suggest that you may have to stay on a ketogenic diet for 16 weeks before your blood sugar is under control.

However, this doesnt mean that you will have to wait that long. You can lower your blood sugar today especially if you eat the ten foods that lower your blood sugar naturally.

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