Blood Sugar Testing Options
Specific recommendations for testing blood sugar depend on your type of treatment. “If its oral treatment, stagger the tests because this gives us a better idea of blood sugars through the day. It allows us to tailor medication better. But people on insulin have to be tested at regular times every day, Kassem explains.
From self-tests to lab tests, from daily testing to testing every few months, these different blood sugar tests can give you a more complete picture of your diabetes and how to go about managing it best:
Testing Strips and Glucose Monitors These are fingertip blood sample tests you can do at home. Depending on the status of the diabetes and your doctors recommendations, you may need to test multiple times a day to keep tabs on your blood sugar levels. Get to know your condition better by keeping a diary of your meals and activities and the blood sugar levels that result.
Use these self-check blood sugar testing tools to find out how your body responds to changes in your diet, exercise, and overall health. There are many brands of monitors, each with their own lancets and testing strips, so talk to your doctor about which design is best for you and about how often you should be checking your blood sugar levels at home.
Lab Work Your doctor will often order lab-drawn blood sugar tests as part of your regular office visits to monitor how well youre managing diabetes and other chronic health conditions.
Choose The Right Insulin
The right insulin program can make or break your ability to control after-meal spikes. In general, insulins and other medicines that work quickly and for a short time will work better than those that work slowly over a prolonged period.
For instance, rapid-acting insulin analogs , which start working 1015 minutes after injection and peak in about an hour, will cover the after-meal blood glucose rises much better than Regular insulin, which takes 30 minutes to begin working and 23 hours to peak.
Newer ultra-rapid insulins, such as Fiasp , works even faster, with an onset and peak occurring 810 minutes earlier than traditional rapid-acting insulins.
The way insulin is administered can dramatically affect its speed of action. Afrezza is an inhaled insulin formulation that can be used at mealtimes. Because the dry powder is absorbed through the lungs , its onset and peak are much earlier than injected insulin .
Research has also shown that injected insulin can work much faster when the injection site is warmed. This can be accomplished by rubbing the site, immersing in warm water or exercising the muscle near the site. Warming the site causes the blood vessels near the skin to dilate, which allows the insulin to absorb more quickly. By the way, smoking causes the blood vessels to constrict, so quitting smoking might improve your post-meal blood sugar .
Type 2 Diabetes: How Long Does It Take For Insulin To Work
If you have been living with type 2 diabetes for a while, then you may be on a medication regimen that includes insulin. Youve probably noticed that your type 2 diabetes is a bit different from other peoples. Every persons body is different, and this is just one reason why the response to insulin treatments can vary from person to person.
Read on to ease your confusion about insulin and learn how it supports blood sugar management on the individual level.
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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.
Where Can I Find Help Acquiring Or Paying For Insulin
The ADA has a dedicated page for helping people who need insulin get it, regardless of finances: .
JRDF has a page with a variety of links to organizations who also supply insulin assistance:
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The Effects Of Protein And Fat
The rate at which food leaves your stomach, called gastric emptying, affects the amount of sugar in your blood after you eat. Protein and fat both slow down gastric emptying, which helps keep blood sugar lower shortly after a meal. In a study published in 2016 in the journal Diabetologica, people who ate high protein-foods before eating carbohydrates , experienced a rise in glucagon, which is thought to play a role in slowing down gastric emptying.
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Plus, says Palinski-Wade, “if you’re eating a meal that has a large amount of fat or protein, the fat, the protein or the fiber will slow down the absorption and conversion of the sugar, so the peak might be a bit delayed.” She suggests eating carbs with at least one good source of fiber, protein or fat. “Not only is it going to help with the release of blood sugar,” she says, “but it’s also going to help keep you more satisfied.”
Low Blood Sugar Levels In Diabetes
People with diabetes can have low blood sugar levels because of the medicines they have to take to manage their diabetes. They may need a hormone called or diabetes pills to help their bodies use the sugar in their blood.
These medicines help take the sugar out of the blood and get it into the body’s cells, which makes the blood sugar level go down. But sometimes it’s a tricky balancing act and blood sugar levels can get too low.
People with diabetes need to keep their blood sugars from getting too highor too low. Keeping blood sugar levels in a healthy range means balancing when and what they eat, and when they exercise with when they take medicines.
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Studies On Blood Sugar And Fasting
Not all studies show that intermittent fasting is a magic wand when it comes to reducing your blood sugar levels. Research indicates daily caloric restriction and diets that mimic fasting also have a positive effect on blood glucose levels.
A 12-month study that compared alternate-day fasting to daily caloric restriction found both methods of calorie reduction lowered fasting glucose levels. Other studies also support the theory that its the caloric restriction that reduces fasting glucose and the risk for atherosclerosis.
However, intermittent fasting may still be among the easiest ways to restrict your caloric intake. You may find its easier to limit your calories for a few hours or a few days per week versus every day.
If you already have insulin resistance, or if your intermittent fasting protocol causes you to stress, fasting can cause an increase in your blood sugar.
A Brazilian study suggests the stress of fasting might increase the production of free radicals. These stress-induced free radicals can harm the cells in your pancreas, which is the organ responsible for insulin production. Damage to your pancreas can inhibit your ability to reduce glucose in your bloodstream and can lead to an increase in your belly fat. The Brazilian study, however, is an outlier.
What Should I Do If My Glucose Levels Are Too High
You should establish a treatment plan with your doctor. You may be able to manage your glucose levels through diet and other lifestyle changes, like weight loss. Exercise can also help lower your glucose levels.
Medications may be added to your treatment if needed. Most people with type 2 diabetes will start on metformin as their first medication. There are many different types of diabetes medications that act in different ways.
Injecting insulin is one way to quickly reduce your glucose levels. Your doctor may prescribe insulin if you need help managing your glucose levels. Your doctor will determine your dosage and go over with you how to inject it, and when.
Let your doctor know if your glucose levels are consistently high. This could mean you need to take regular medication or make other changes to your diabetes treatment plan. Working with your doctor to get your glucose levels under control is important. Consistently high levels can lead to serious complications, like diabetic neuropathy or kidney failure.
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Planning For Sick Days
Your body releases stress hormones when you are sick, which can cause hyperglycemia. Keep taking your insulin and other diabetes medications, even if you are throwing up. If you have ketones and your blood sugar is above 240 mg/dL, call your doctor. They might also want you to call if:
- You have diarrhea that lasts more than 6 hours
- You are throwing up
- You have a high fever or trouble breathing
- You feel very sleepy or confused
Continue checking your blood sugar levels and keep track of the results.
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 .
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Take A Pass On The Bread Bowl
Its obvious that sugary stuff leads to an increase in blood sugar, but starchy foods can do the same thing. Your body processes simple carbs quickly and turns them into sugar, and it needs a lot of insulin to absorb them. That means a bag of Doritos is as likely as a candy bar to cause a spike.
If youre in the middle of a blood sugar spike, its best to curtail your carb intake. Check the glycemic index if youre not sure about a food.
Surprisingly, popcorn and white potatoes are worse than ice cream, according to the index. If you stick to low-carb/low-glycemic-index foods, your blood sugar will return to normal much more quickly.
Ultimately, its best to limit your carb intake. A 2004 study found that a diet of 20 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, and 50 percent fat lowered fasting blood sugar and kept blood sugar from spiking after meals.
This was a very small study, but the results suggest that lower carb intake can lead to generally lower blood glucose. In general, most people with diabetes eat 40 to 45 percent of their calories in the form of carbohydrates. Choosing nutrient-rich sources of carbs is best.
Another promising study found that after two years on a low-carb diet, many participants with type 2 diabetes were able to manage their condition without medication or resolve it entirely.
The occasional baked potato isnt a problem, but frequent trips to the drive-through are not a good idea. Find a few veggie-and-protein-heavy meals and make them your go-tos.
Who Can Help Me Reverse Diabetes
People with diabetes should start with their primary care provider for guidance on reversing the condition and diabetes care. Their provider may refer them to a Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support service. A DSMES healthcare team includes diabetes educators such as doctors, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers with special training and experience. The team helps diabetes patients to learn more about the condition and diabetes management.
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The Facts About Diabetes And Blood Sugar
As the American Diabetes Association explains, your body needs sugar for fuel, and theres a fairly complicated process that makes it possible for your body to use that sugar. Insulin, which is made by the pancreas, is the hormone that enables the cells in your body to take advantage of sugar.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body isnt able to remove sugar from your blood. This can happen if your body stops being sensitive to insulin or if it starts to respond in a delayed or exaggerated way to changes in your blood sugar.
Diabetes is signaled by an elevated blood sugar level of more than 126 milligrams per deciliter for a fasting blood test, or more than 200 mg/dL at any time during the day. It can also be indicated by a hemoglobin A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher, a measure of the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin in the blood during the past two to three months.
Unchecked high blood sugar gradually damages the blood vessels in your body. Over the long term, this slow, progressive harm can lead to a dangerous loss of sensation in your legs and feet, a loss of eyesight and kidney function, and an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
The Story Of The Pima Indians
Research has found3 that the Pima Indians are a perfect example of how powerfully our environment can dictate who gets obese and diabetic, and who doesnt.
Today, two main groups of Pima Indians live on earth. The first group lives high in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico a rural environment. The second group lives in Arizona on the Gila River reservation. Both groups are thought to be genetically identical. Scientists estimate they were separated about 700 to 1,000 years ago. For DNA evolutionary development, thats a mere pittance of time.
But physically, the two groups today could not be more different.
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How To Lower Blood Sugar Immediately Without Medication
Several of these options can work to get blood sugar immediately without medication in the short-term without additional medication. These solutions are meant to be implemented on days when life just doesnt go as planned, maybe you eat something you werent supposed to or forget to take your medicine. But, if you are correctly managing your blood sugar you should not need to be constantly chasing highs and lows. With the correct combination of healthy lifestyle choices and medication, you can maintain a stable blood sugar level most of the time. Additionally, checking your levels frequently and keeping a log of your numbers, can help you learn how your body reacts to stress, food, exercise, and whatever life throws your way.
General Tips On How To Keep You Blood Sugar Levels In Control
- Foods to eat
You should eat foods that are high in protein, fiber, and lower in carbohydrates. You should aim at having around 45 to 60 carbs for each meal. Consistency throughout the day is key to keeping blood sugar levels in control. Foods low in fat and high in nutrients should be picked to maximize your nutrition.
Vegetables and fruits are great as well as eggs, fish, beans, and oatmeal. There is also research that shows cinnamon and apple cider vinegar can help lower your sugar.
- Foods to avoid
Avoiding foods like soda, juice, pasta, candy, and other desserts can help keep your sugar from climbing too high. These foods are high in sugars and fat but low in other nutrients.
Avoiding excess alcohol is also better for you. Read the following article that I wrote about drinking alcohol when you have diabetes to learn more about this topic:
- Signs and symptoms
Signs of high blood sugar include: increased thirst and hunger, blurred vision, irritability, dry mouth, tired, and urinating a lot.
- Look for patterns
Patterns can be great because they help you figure out what is causing undesirable blood sugar values. A good way to track of it is to keep a journal of all of the food you eat, activities you do and your blood sugar levels for 1 week. During this week, check your sugar before and after you eat, as well as in between meals. Also document any insulin that you give yourself.
- Test sugar levels regularly
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Check Your Blood Sugar
If you take medication that may cause low blood sugar , its highly advisable to check your blood sugar levels before you try to bring your sugar levels down.
This is just in case your blood sugar is normal or low, which can be the case in some situations.
Testing of blood sugar before bringing your levels down is particularly important if you take insulin.
How Do You Take Insulin Without A Syringe
- Insulin pens look like large writing pens and can help prevent under- and overdosing. They also dont require refrigeration, are conveniently prefilled, and are more durable than syringes.
- Insulin pumps are attached to a thin tube thats implanted under your skin. Pumps are computerized or motorized, and some models also act as glucose monitors. They deliver insulin before each meal along with small amounts through the course of the day. In the US, about 60% of people with diabetes use some form of insulin pump.
- Jet injection devices are a good option if you hate needles. A jet injector holds several doses of insulin. After placing it against your skin, you press a button, and the insulin is pushed through.
- Inhalable insulin comes in a premeasured inhaler and was first approved in 2014. Its short-acting and usually not covered by insurance, which makes it more cost prohibitive than other types of insulin for most people with diabetes.
Unless you have an insulin pump that also works as a glucose monitor, insulin dosing is based on self-monitoring your blood glucose levels. You can check them by doing finger pricks or wearing a device that continuously monitors them for you.
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