Checking For Low Blood Sugar Levels
The warning signs of hypoglycemia are the body’s natural response to low blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels fall too low, the body releases the hormone adrenaline, which helps get stored glucose into the bloodstream quickly. This can make someone:
- start shaking
- have an increased heart rate
If the hypoglycemia isn’t treated, more serious symptoms may happen, such as drowsiness, confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
The only way to know for sure if you’re having a low blood sugar level is to test. Blood sugar levels can be tested with a . This computerized device measures and displays the amount of glucose in a blood sample. But if you can’t quickly check your blood sugar level, it’s important to treat yourself for hypoglycemia immediately to prevent symptoms from getting worse.
Sometimes a person with diabetes may have symptoms of low blood sugar levels, but blood sugar levels are not actually low. This is a called a false reaction. The hormone adrenaline is not just released when blood sugar drops too low it’s also released when blood sugar levels fall quickly when they’re too high. If you’re having a false reaction, you might actually have blood sugar levels in a healthy range but feel as if you have low blood sugar. Testing blood sugar levels before treating yourself for hypoglycemia can help you figure out if you’re having a false reaction.
How Long Will It Take To Lower My Blood Sugar
If you have high blood sugarin a non-emergency situationthere are several things you can do to lower your blood sugar right away. Follow these steps in order:
Sometimes people with diabetes can go into diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome, a medical emergency requiring immediate medical care. The symptoms are subtle but look out for:
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive urination
- Abdominal pain
If you experience these symptoms, call your healthcare provider immediately and follow their guidelines. If you cannot reach a physician emergently, call 911.
Eat More Protein And Fat
Lean sources of protein like eggs, egg whites, chicken breast, turkey breast, extra-lean ground beef, bison, etc. are all filling food options that have no sugar. These lean options will not cause a spike in blood sugar, and they provide high satiety so you wont snack on sugary options later in the day.
If you elect to have these high-protein options in a sandwich form, pick a whole-grain bun, because it wont elicit the same metabolic response that white bread will, keeping blood sugar levels from spiking too high. Including some dietary fat with your meal or as a snack can also improve insulin response. Instead of reaching for a sugary snack or plate of fries as a side, opt for nuts and fruit or a salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
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What To Do When Blood Sugar Is High
Treatment for high blood sugar levels entails addressing the underlying causes. Your diabetic health care team will provide you with detailed instructions on how to treat high blood sugar levels. However, there are a few approaches to take when addressing the most prevalent reason for high blood sugar:
When the body is under stress, the adrenal glands cause glucose deposited in numerous organs to be released, resulting in high blood sugar levels in the circulation. Stress is sometimes misunderstood as an emotional issue that manifests as anxiety, worry, or sadness. However, stress may take many forms, including physical, nutritional, and chemical. Here are some helpful hints for lowering stress:
Even if it’s only a brief stroll around the block during your lunch break, any form of physical exercise is beneficial.
- Talking to a helpful friend, coworker, or church member about meditation or yoga.
- Allowing yourself to be patient with yourselfgive yourself a break and try not to be so hard on yourself.
- Doing something enjoyable, such as taking up a hobby or reading.
- Consuming nutritious meals.
- Caffeine and alcohol usage should be reduced or eliminated.
- Check your blood sugar levels in continuity.
- Getting adequate rest.
Not sticking to a healthy diet
Sticking to a healthy food regime is hard. Not persisting with a proper diet can cause your blood sugar to rise or drop. Make sure that any necessary changes to your food plan are made with the help of a trained nutritionist.
Type 2 Diabetes: The 5 Best Ways To Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels At Breakfast
- Vanessa Chalmers, Digital Health Reporter
- 4:43 ET, Oct 20 2021
TYPE 2 diabetes can sometimes feel like an overwhelming condition to manage.
Often keeping on top of the condition comes down to small diet tweaks here and there – including at breakfast.
Some say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Thats certainly true for the millions of people with type 2 diabetes in the UK and globally.
Research shows eating a balanced meal in the morning may help to promote more stable blood glucose levels the rest of the day.
And anyone with the common condition will know that keeping blood sugar in the desired range is key to avoid any short or long term problems.
Here we explain some of the best options for the first meal of the day for someone with type 2 diabetes.
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The 17 Best Foods To Lower Your Blood Sugar
For people with prediabetes, diabetes, or other conditions that affect blood sugar, diet is a major part of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
Although factors like body weight, activity, stress, and genetics also play a role in blood sugar maintenance, following a healthy diet is critical for blood sugar control .
While some foods, including items high in added sugar and refined carbs, can contribute to blood sugar fluctuations, others can optimize blood sugar control while promoting overall health (
When To Call For Medical Advice
It is important to note that very high blood glucose levels can be dangerous and it is important to be aware of the symptoms and risk factors of the following conditions:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis a short term complication most commonly associated with type 1 diabetes
- Hyperosmolar Hyperglycaemic State a short term complication most commonly associated with type 2 diabetes
If you are struggling to keep your blood glucose levels under control, speak to your GP or consultant who can advise you or refer you onto a diabetes education course.
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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.
Whats The Link Between Diabetes And Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia is most common, by far, in people with diabetes. Treatment for the diseaseoften involves taking medication to increase insulin. Hypoglycemia can develop if things like food, exercise and diabetes medications are out of balance.
Common pitfalls for people with diabetes include:
- Being more active than usual.
- Drinking alcohol without eating.
- Eating late or skipping meals.
- Not balancing meals by including fat, protein and fiber.
- Not eating enough carbohydrates.
- Not timing insulin and carb intake correctly .
Also, if someone with diabetes uses the wrong insulin, takes too much or injects it incorrectly, that can cause hypoglycemia.
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Get Trendy With Apple Cider Vinegar
If you do a quick Google search, youll see that apple cider vinegar is good for pretty much everything. You can use it to tone your skin, clean your pipes, and possibly lower your blood sugar!
A clinical review found that taking ACV daily could reduce blood glucose levels. Unfortunately, most of the trials were very small and some had mixed results.
But since youve probably got it in your house anyway, try taking a swig or two before meals, testing yourself, and seeing if a little ACV shot works for you .
What Are Clinical Trials For Low Blood Glucose
Clinical trialsand other types of clinical studiesare part of medical research and involve people like you. When you volunteer to take part in a clinical study, you help doctors and researchers learn more about disease and improve health care for people in the future.
Researchers are studying many aspects of low blood glucose levels in diabetes, such as
- how to diagnose and treat low blood glucose among people with diabetes
- medicines that can treat symptoms of low blood glucose in people with hypoglycemia unawareness
- educational approaches to reduce fear of low blood glucose, which can make it harder for you to control your diabetes
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Exercise To Lower Blood Sugar Fast
Regular exercise improves and increases your sensitivity to insulin. This means the cells in your body can better absorb and use the glucose in your body to make energy.
When your muscles contract during movement, glucose is the preferred source of fuel. Thatâs why when your glucose spikes after eating a sugary treat or a large meal with lots of high-glycemic foods, you can bring your glucose back down to a normal range if you exercise within 30-60 minutes after eating.
Any type and duration of exercise can improve insulin sensitivity and helps stabilize your glucose afterward.
That said, if youâre fit enough and able to handle high intensity, short bursts of movement performed at 80% of your max effort can burn up to four times the amount of glucose compared to what youâd burn slumping on the couch.
If you want short and sweaty to bring down your blood sugar quickly, follow along with our 10-minute full-body or dumbbell leg workout. These get-âer-done-fast efforts combine strength training with cardio in a circuit-style workout that stabilizes glucose in less time.
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
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Stick To Your Medication And Insulin Regimen
Skipping a dose of medication or insulin can be harmful to your body and increase your blood sugar levels.
Its important to stick to your treatment plan and follow your doctors instructions for taking your medication.
Healthful lifestyle habits can help people manage their blood sugar levels over the long term, such as eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, staying hydrated, and getting good sleep.
Prioritize Foods With Low Glycemic Index
As earlier stated, the glycemic index measures how foods you eat affect your blood sugars. Taking low glycemic index foods has been shown to reduce the blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. Even though GI is vital in what we eat, the number of carbohydrates you also consume matters.
Some of the foods known to contain low to moderate GI include beans, bulgur, lentils, yogurt, oats, legumes, non-starchy vegs, and wheat pasta, among others.
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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.
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.
Healthy eating, regular exercise and other lifestyle changes can help alleviate symptoms and possibly even reverse prediabetes.
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What Should I Do If I Have Symptoms Of A Low Blood Sugar Level
- Check your blood sugar level, if possible. Your blood sugar level is too low if it is at or below 70 mg/dL.
- Eat or drink 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate. Fast-acting carbohydrates will raise your blood sugar level quickly. Examples of 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates:
- 4 ounces of fruit juice
- 4 ounces of regular soda
- 2 tablespoons of raisins
- 1 tube of glucose gel or 3 to 4 glucose tablets
Broccoli And Broccoli Sprouts
Sulforaphane is a type of isothiocyanate that has blood-sugar-reducing properties.
This plant chemical is produced when broccoli is chopped or chewed due to a reaction between a glucosinolate compound called glucoraphanin and the enzyme myrosinase, both of which are concentrated in broccoli .
Test-tube, animal, and human studies have shown that sulforaphane-rich broccoli extract has powerful antidiabetic effects, helping enhance insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar and markers of oxidative stress .
Broccoli sprouts are concentrated sources of glucosinolates like glucoraphanin, and theyve been shown to help promote insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes when supplemented as a powder or extract (
Keep in mind that the best way to enhance the availability of sulforaphane is to enjoy broccoli and broccoli sprouts raw or lightly steamed, or to add active sources of myrosinase like mustard seed powder to cooked broccoli (
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What Is The Outlook For People With Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia can be managed when you and your healthcare provider understand what causes your blood sugar to go down. Give your healthcare provider as much information as possible about any hypoglycemic episodes. Fixing the problem may be as simple as changing the times you take medication, eat and exercise. Minor changes to the types of food you eat may also help.