Ensure A Good Nights Sleep
Never underestimate the power of a good nights sleep. A single night of inadequate sleep makes our body react in a manner similar to insulin resistance. It can lead to raised blood sugar levels. A good nights sleep can improve glucose metabolism. It will also keep you motivated to follow through with your diet and exercise routine.
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.
Drink Drink Drink Some Water
Dehydration can cause high blood sugars, which means getting hydrated can help prevent and reduce high blood sugars.
Your blood consists partly of water. When you dont drink enough water throughout the day, the other things in your blood become more concentrated! And thus, higher blood sugar levels.
You know that uncomfortable thirst you feel when your blood sugars are high? Give in to it. This is how your body helps flush excess sugar out through your urine, and how you replenish the necessary fluid balance in your bloodstream.
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How To Fix High Blood Sugars In The Morning
The Dawn Phenomenon
More than half of people with diabetes are thought to experience dawn phenomenon, and it can lead to significant increases in HbA1c.
The dawn phenomenon begins when your body secretes a surge of hormones, including growth hormone, cortisol, adrenaline and glucagon. These hormones start working very early each morning around the same time to prepare your body to wake. Basically, your body is starting the engine, releasing some fuel, and prepping to go for the day.
These hormones trigger the conversion of the livers glycogen stores into glucose which is then dumped into the blood in a process called glycogenolysis.
This general process occurs in all humans regardless of whether they have diabetes. In people without diabetes, the bodys natural insulin response prevents the blood sugars from rising. In people with diabetes, though, the body is unable to produce a healthy insulin response, and therefore blood glucose levels spike up.
The Mayo Clinic suggests several strategies you can try to combat the effects of dawn phenomenon:
- Use an insulin pump to administer extra insulin during early-morning hours.
- Avoid carbohydrates at bedtime.
- Adjust your dose of medication or insulin.
- Switch to a different glucose-lowering medication.
- Adjust the time when you take your medication or insulin from dinnertime to bedtime.
What Works for Some People
High Blood Sugars from the Night Before
Putting It All Together
Now that you know the how and why behind insulin dosing, lets consider how you may calculate your insulin needs.
Youll usually give yourself an insulin dose around your meals since thats when you take in carbohydrates. You also will typically check your blood sugar to see if youre meeting your premeal target dose.
To calculate your insulin needs:
You may find that if you generally eat about the same amount of carbohydrates each day, you may be able to consistently inject the same amounts of insulin outside of special occasions. It takes time to find out how your body best responds to insulin.
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Exercise In The Afternoon
Exercise lowers blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity, which allows the body to use insulin and glucose more effectively, increasing glucose movement during and after exercise. Studies have shown that exercise will lead to optimal insulin regulation. Exercise after dinner will set you up for steady glucose levels through the morning.
Research has also shown that moderate-intensity aerobic exercise before breakfast reduced the morning rise of blood glucose in type 2 diabetes patients, partially counteracting the dawn phenomenon. The same study also found that exercise significantly reduced blood glucose fluctuations and improved blood glucose control throughout the day.
Some of the best exercises for avoiding morning blood sugar spikes include:
- A walk
Beware Of Low Blood Sugars
Remember, above all else, its very easy to over-treat a high blood sugar and wind up low. Then youll be tempted to binge-eat and wind up high again. This blood sugar roller coaster is exhausting and dangerous, too.
Frequently finding yourself on the blood sugar roller coaster means your approach to taking insulin and/or how you treat low blood sugars isnt working and needs some fine-tuning. Work with your healthcare team to reduce and prevent these wild swings to ensure your overall safety and quality of life!
How Much Insulin Is Too Much To Take For High Blood Sugar
Ideally, you should be able to correct your blood sugar with an appropriate insulin dose. How much insulin is too much varies based on how sensitive your body is to insulin.
If you have higher-than-expected blood sugar , you should check your urine for ketones. The presence of ketones suggests your bodys cells are having trouble getting enough glucose. You could be at risk for a serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis if you have ketones in your urine.
In this instance, you need extra help correcting your blood sugar. You should seek emergency medical attention instead of trying to keep injecting insulin to lower your blood sugar.
High Blood Sugar Facts
- Low high blood sugar is abnormally high blood levels of insulin in the blood. Hyperglycemia is a hallmark sign of diabetes and prediabetes, and diabetes is the most common cause of it. Severely elevated glucose levels can result in a medical emergency like diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome .
- The primary symptom of hyperglycemia is excessive amounts of sugar in the urine. Other symptoms and signs of high blood sugar levels in the blood are blurred vision, hunger , and headaches.
- Other conditions that can cause high blood sugar are pancreatitis, Cushing’s syndrome, unusual hormone-secreting tumors, pancreatic cancer, certain medications, and severe illnesses.
- Insulin is the treatment for people with type 1 diabetes, and life-threatening increases in glucose levels. People with type 2 diabetes may be managed with a combination of different oral and injectable medications. Hyperglycemia due to medical conditions other than diabetes is generally treated by treating the underlying condition responsible for the elevated glucose.
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How Can I Check My Blood Sugar
Use a blood sugar meter or a continuous glucose monitor to check your blood sugar. A blood sugar meter measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip. A CGM uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. If you use a CGM, youll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.
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What Should My Blood Sugar Level Be
When youre first diagnosed with diabetes, your diabetes care team will usually tell you what your blood sugar level is and what you should aim to get it down to.
You may be advised to use a testing device to monitor your blood sugar level regularly at home.
Or you may have an appointment with a nurse or doctor every few months to see what your average blood sugar level is. This is known as your HbA1c level.
Target blood sugar levels differ for everyone, but generally speaking:
- if you monitor yourself at home with a self-testing kit a normal target is 4 to 7mmol/l before eating and under 8.5 to 9mmol/l 2 hours after a meal
- if your HbA1c level is tested every few months a normal HbA1c target is below 48mmol/mol
The Diabetes UK website has more about blood sugar levels and testing.
How Do I Treat Low Blood Glucose
If you begin to feel one or more symptoms of low blood glucose, check your blood glucose level. If your blood glucose level is below your target or less than 70 mg/dL, follow these steps
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Tingling Hands And Feet
Over the years, hyperglycemia can begin to impact nerve function and eventually cause nerve damage, called neuropathy, Dr. Hatipoglu says. The most common kind of neuropathy is peripheral, according to the NIDDK, which affects the extremities. You might start noticing feelings of tingling, numbness, or burning in your hands, feet, arms, and legs, per the Mayo Clinic.
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.
Why Is Managing Blood Sugar Important
Keeping blood sugars at target levels helps people with diabetes avoid serious complications from the disease. High blood sugar can cause many ill effects, which can be sudden, such as acid buildup in the bloodstream, or occur gradually over time.
Over time, keeping blood sugar at unhealthful levels can damage small and large blood vessels in several organs and systems, leading to serious consequences, such as:
- vision impairment and blindness
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Monitor Blood Sugar Levels Closely
High blood sugar levels often do not cause symptoms until they run well over 200 mg/dL. As such, it is essential for a person with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar several times a day. Doing so will mean that blood sugar levels never get that high.
A person with diabetes can use a home glucose monitor to check blood sugar levels. These are available for purchase online.
Recommendations for how frequently to check glucose levels during the day will vary from person to person. A doctor can make the best recommendations regarding blood sugar monitoring to a person with diabetes.
How Do I Treat Hyperglycemia
You can often lower your blood sugar level by exercising. However, if your blood sugar is above 240 mg/dl, check your urine for ketones. If you have ketones, do not exercise.
Exercising when ketones are present may make your blood sugar level go even higher. You’ll need to work with your doctor to find the safest way for you to lower your blood sugar level.
Cutting down on the amount of food you eat might also help. Work with your dietitian to make changes in your meal plan. If exercise and changes in your diet don’t work, your doctor may change the amount of your medication or insulin or possibly the timing of when you take it.
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How Do I Prevent Hyperglycemia
- Exercise to help lower blood sugar. Work with your healthcare provider to make a daily activity plan.
- Follow your meal plan if you have one. Learn how carbohydrates impact your blood sugar, and work with your diabetes care team to find the best meal plan for you.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Dont smoke.
- Limit drinking alcohol. Alcohol can raise blood sugar levels, but can also cause dangerously low blood sugar levels. Work with your provider to determine how much is safe to drink.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/11/2020.
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