What Causes High Morning Blood Sugars
Two main culprits prompt morning highs: the dawn phenomenon and waning insulin. A third, much rarer cause, known as the Somogyi effect, may also be to blame.
The occasional morning high will have little impact on your A1C, a measure of your average blood sugar levels over time that indicates how well managed your diabetes is. But if those highs become consistent, they could push your A1C up into dangerous territory.
When Should I Check My Blood Sugar
How often you check your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes you have and if you take any diabetes medicines.
Typical times to check your blood sugar include:
- When you first wake up, before you eat or drink anything.
- Before a meal.
- Two hours after a meal.
- At bedtime.
If you have type 1 diabetes, have type 2 diabetes and take insulin, or often have low blood sugar, your doctor may want you to check your blood sugar more often, such as before and after youre physically active.
Easy Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Levels Naturally
High blood sugar occurs when your body doesnt make enough or effectively use insulin, a hormone that regulates blood glucose and helps it enter your cells for energy.
High blood sugar is associated with diabetes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 13% of U.S. adults live with diabetes, and 34.5% have prediabetes (
This means close to 50% of all U.S. adults have diabetes or prediabetes.
Here are 15 easy ways to lower blood sugar levels naturally:
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Wait Why Is Your Blood Sugar Up In The Morning
Why is it that your blood sugar levels will rise overnight? You dont eat anything, so how can you possibly add any glucose to your system?
Well, those who suffer from type II diabetes will find this is most problematic. The body still creates glucose throughout the night. It needs to, whether youve eaten something or not. This natural process is called gluconeogenesis, and there is nothing you can do to stop it nor would you want to. In a healthy person, this process doesnt cause a major problem.
Those with diabetes will find the gluconeogenesis process is increased. That means your body produces more glucose naturally than it would if you were healthy.
Lets not forget that the stress hormone cortisol also plays a part. This increases slowly on a morning until it reaches a peak early in the morning. The cortisol will elevate the blood sugar levels, so you end up with naturally higher levels on a morning.
To keep your blood sugar levels down, you need to keep your cortisol and gluconeogenesis levels down. Theres no need for extra medication when you follow the seven tips that will follow.
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.
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What Causes A Low Blood Sugar Level
In people with diabetes, the main causes of a low blood sugar level are:
- the effects of medicine especially taking too much insulin, medicines called sulfonylureas , medicines called glinides , or some antiviral medicines to treat hepatitis C
- skipping or delaying a meal
- not eating enough carbohydrate foods in your last meal, such as bread, cereals, pasta, potatoes and fruit
- exercise, especially if it’s intense or unplanned
- drinking alcohol
Sometimes there’s no obvious reason why a low blood sugar level happens.
Very occasionally, it can happen in people who do not have diabetes.
Reflect On The Amount Of Sugar In Your Diet
Hyperglycemia occurs when there is too much glucose in the blood.
Therefore, one way of reducing your blood glucose levels is reflecting on where sugar may be consumed in the diet. Think about any refined and processed foods that may be in your diet as these are often high in sugar. This can be achieved through a low carbohydrate diet.
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Other Steps For How To Reduce Blood Sugar Level Immediately
While insulin is what will mainly help, there are other methods that can be used in both severe and less so severe cases of hyperglycemia. Alternative methods are especially helpful for those with non-insulin-dependent diabetes.
In severe cases , its advisable for healthcare professionals to take care of you.
First, they will likely inject insulin to your veins . In addition to this, they will rehydrate you with fluids, usually directly to your veins too. They will also give you nutrients at the same time, in the same manner.
This treatment gives some clues as to how to reduce blood sugar level immediately in less severe cases:
1) Stay hydrated drink water. Since being thirsty is a symptom of hyperglycemia/high blood glucose, youll probably want to be drinking plenty of water anyway. This helps with flushing out excess glucose.
2) Stay nourished. This is less straightforward, since eating food can often lead to even higher levels of blood glucose. But because youll be drinking a great deal of water , youll also be flushing out nutrients at the same time.
So, its worth considering eating something nourishing after youve lowered your blood sugar. Or, if you want to keep up your nutrients during hyperglycemia, consider drinking fluids without carbs and with electrolytes.
Find out more nutritional info on specific food items with our food database. Meanwhile, get advice from our Nutrition Consultant with Food and Diabetes!
What Should I Do If My Blood Sugar Is Over 300
A reading above 300 mg/Dl is considered severe, and if it remains persistent for two days, you should inform your doctor. Blood sugar above 300 may cause nausea, blurred vision, confusion, and dizziness. To treat this condition, make sure you are taking your medication timely, avoid carbohydrates, or eliminate and exercise regularly.
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Only You Can Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes
Its annoying but true: The best way to lower your blood sugar is to avoid a spike in the first place.
Eating whole foods that are low in sugar and exercising regularly will help keep your blood sugar in check. This can be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes, but medications may also be necessary to keep blood sugar in a healthy range.
To avoid food-based spikes, try to steer clear of added sugars in your diet. The FDA recommends consuming less than 200 calories a day from added sugars.
That sounds pretty simple, but when you realize that 16 ounces of orange juice has 240 calories , its easy to see how sugar consumption gets out of hand.
Its best to avoid all sugary drinks and check the labels. There are hidden sugars in everything from bread to turkey slices, so double-check your favorite foods to make sure you arent getting any unnecessary sweetness.
Drink Water And Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water may help you keep your blood sugar levels within healthy limits.
In addition to preventing dehydration, it helps your kidneys flush out the excess sugar through urine.
One observational study showed that those who drank more water had a lower risk for developing high blood sugar levels (
Its important to monitor your waistline, as its perhaps the most crucial weight-related factor for estimating your diabetes risk.
A measurement of more than 35 inches for women and more than 40 inches for men is associated with an increased risk of developing insulin resistance, high blood sugar levels, and type 2 diabetes .
Having a healthy waist measurement may even be more important than your overall weight .
Keeping a moderate weight and waistline will help you maintain normal blood sugar levels and decrease your risk for developing diabetes.
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Can Oral Diabetes Medications Lower Blood Sugar Quickly
Oral diabetes medications, though they can help increase ones insulin sensitivity, will not bring blood sugar down quickly. You should never take an extra dose of your oral diabetes medication, thinking that it will help bring your blood sugar down faster.
However, if you have missed a dose of your medication, this could explain why you might be having hyperglycemia. Following your doctors orders for what you should do if you miss a dose should be part of the process of bringing your blood sugar down.
Choose Foods With Low Glycemic Index
The glycemic index ranks and measures multiple foods by how much blood sugar they rise in the body. Your fasting blood sugar levels are significantly reduced if you opt for foods with a low glycemic index. It is also helpful for people who are searching for how to lower blood sugar fast without medication.
- Green leafy vegetables
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Take Your Insulin As Prescribed
High blood sugar occurs when your body has too little insulin, or your body cant use insulin properly. Administering insulin can bring your blood sugar levels down.
Talk to your doctor about how much rapid-acting insulin you should administer when your blood sugar is high.
You may want to check your blood sugar about 1530 minutes after taking insulin to make sure your blood sugar is going down and that its not dropping too low.
Never Skip Eating Breakfast
Weve all heard that breakfast is the days most important meal. This is especially true for those who have diabetes. I think eating breakfast is important, especially with potential risk for hypoglycemia and avoiding potential highs related to fasting for too long a period of time, Crandall Snyder says.
A high-protein breakfast has an edge over breakfasts that are high in carbohydrates, according to research from The University of Missouri-Columbia. In the research, women ages 18 to 55 consumed meals with similar calories, fat, and fiber contents but differing amounts of protein. Researchers monitored the amount of glucose and insulin in the participants blood for four hours after they ate breakfast. The best breakfasts contained 39 g of protein and led to lower post-meal glucose spikes than the meals with less protein, the researchers found.
Besides, eating breakfast may help overweight people with type 2 diabetes shed extra pounds. Of the participants in the National Weight Control Registry who maintained at least a 30-pound weight loss for at least one year, 78 percent said they eat breakfast daily.
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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.
Get A Handle On Stress
When youre stressed out, your blood sugar tends to rise, Crandall Snyder says. According to the Diabetes Teaching Center at the University of California in San Francisco, when youre stressed, insulin levels fall, certain hormones rise, and more glucose is released from the liver, which ends up in the blood stream and can cause disruptions for up to eight hours.
How can you burn off tension? Yoga and meditation can help people lower their blood sugar levels, Weisenberger says. A December 2014 study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science involving 27 nursing students and found a combination of yoga and meditation practiced for one hour once a week led to reduced levels of stress and lower blood glucose levels after 12 weeks.
Crandall Snyder also suggests taking a few deep breaths, going for a walk, playing with your dog for a few minutes, or listening to a fun song. Basically whatever you can do to distract yourself for a few minutes and just lower your breathing rate will help, she says. Indeed, the CDC notes that less water in your body is liked with a higher blood sugar concentration.
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Choose A High Protein Breakfast
One thing that above should have taught you is that protein on a morning is good for you. That is certainly the case for your diabetes.
Choose a high protein breakfast to lowerthe amount of sugars you add to your system. If you have a carb filled breakfast especially simple carbs youll just add to the glucose that is already in your system!
Look out for high protein ingredients that you can add to your food, even if it is as well as the carbs. For example, you could opt for peanut butter on your toast instead of jam! You get away from the sugars and focus more on the healthy fats and high protein toppings that will balance out some of the carbs that you eat on the toast.
All-protein breakfasts that have no carbs at all will be better, though. Think about vegetable omelets or protein berry smoothies to start your morning just right. Youll find that your blood sugar levels start to drop as your body gets the energy that it needs.
Raw Cooked Or Roasted Vegetables
These add color, flavor, and texture to a meal. Choose tasty, low-carb veggies, like mushrooms, onions, eggplant, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, and low-carb squashes, like zucchini.
Try them with dips such as low-fat dressings, hummus, guacamole, and salsa, or roasted with different seasonings such as rosemary, cayenne pepper, or garlic.
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What Is A Dangerous Blood Sugar Level
A normal blood sugar level is between 70 and 130 after you have been fasting for a few hours. Blood sugar levels can be dangerous if they are too high or too low.
Low blood sugars can be caused by not eating enough, or by trying to lower your sugar too quickly. A blood sugar under 60 is considered dangerous. It can lead to confusion or loss of consciousness, which can be deadly. It is important to have a snack with you at all times in case this happens to you. If it does happen, think about what you did or didnt do that lead to the low number. If it happens often, start writing things down to help you track what the cause is so that you can avoid it.
High blood sugars over 300 are pretty concerning. A lot depends on what your sugar typically runs. If you are normally in the 200s, then a sugar of 320 wouldnt affect you the way that it would for someone whose typically runs 150.
If your blood sugar gets too high, then you may have Ketoacidosis. What happens is that the body does not have enough insulin to use the glucose cells, so it starts to break down fat and muscle for fuel. This causes ketones to enter the bloodstream and causes a pretty bad chemical imbalance. Ketones can also be found in your urine, which is an easy way to test. Signs of Diabetic Ketoacidosis are:
- Fruity smelling breath
- Loss of vision
- An abnormal increase in blood sugar
You should also seek medical attention for this as well to rehydrate your body before any complications happen.