Analyze Your Eating Habits
Work with a dietitian or nutritionist to construct a nutritious, interesting selection of meals that can help you manage your carbohydrate intake and prevent higher blood glucose levels.
Diet plans you may want to explore include:
- the keto diet, which is low carb and high fat
- DKA, which is commonly associated with type 1 diabetes
- HHS, which is associated with type 2 diabetes
HHS is a rare condition that appears most often in older adults with type 2 diabetes. It may be accompanied by a trigger, such as an illness.
When blood glucose levels are high, the kidneys excrete sugar into the urine, taking water with it. This causes the blood to become more concentrated, resulting in high sodium and blood glucose levels.
If left untreated, HHS may lead to life threatening dehydration and even coma.
What Are The Symptoms Of Carbohydrate Intolerance
Carbohydrate intolerance is the inability to digest certain carbohydrates due to a lack of one or more intestinal enzymes. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal distention, and flatulence. Diagnosis is clinical and by a hydrogen breath test. Treatment is removal of the causative disaccharide from the diet.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar Levels
Signs of high blood sugar levels include:
- Peeing a lot: The kidneys respond by flushing out the extra glucose in urine. People with high blood sugar need to pee more often and in larger amounts.
- Drinking a lot: Someone losing so much fluid from peeing that often can get very thirsty.
- Losing weight even though your appetite has stayed the same: If there isn’t enough insulin to help the body use glucose, the body breaks down muscle and stored fat instead in an attempt to provide fuel to hungry cells.
- Feeling tired: Because the body can’t use glucose for energy properly, a person may feel unusually tired.
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How To Lower Morning Blood Sugar
Whether a morning high is caused by the dawn phenomenon or something else, here are a few things you can try to lower your blood sugar levels:
Physical activity when you wake up can help bring your glucose level down. Even going for a walk can be helpful.
To learn about exercise guidelines and glucose management strategies, click here.
Read Adam Browns take on walking the most underrated diabetes exercise strategy.
Eating a light breakfast can help keep a morning high from increasing even more. Taking your mealtime insulin will help lower your blood sugar.
Adam Brown suggests eating a breakfast that is low in carbs, and notes that sometimes mealtime insulin has to be adjusted in the morning. One of his favorite breakfasts is chia pudding, since it has little impact on glucose levels see what else he eats for breakfast here.
Catherine Newman has six popular, low-carb, delicious recipes in The Morning Meal.
Intermittent fasting and time-restricted feeding approaches to meal timing can also help people keep morning blood sugar levels in range. Read Justine Szafrans Intermittent Fasting: Stabilizing My Morning Blood Sugars to learn more.
For additional ways to navigate mornings, read seven strategies from Adam Brown in A Home Run Breakfast with Diabetes.
This article is part of a series on time in range.
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Signs That Your Blood Sugar Levels Are Too High
24 November, 2020
Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main source of energy for the cells in the body. This type of sugar is found in flours, honey, carrots, and rice, amongst other foods. While we use need it for daily living, its not good when your blood sugar levels are too high.
The specific purpose of this energy is to help you perform important bodily functions, such as digestion. It keeps the heart functioning, the synapses going, and fuels a host of other processes.
The sugar found in your blood must be kept between 70 and 110 mg/dL to make the most of its benefits. If it gets too high or low, you may suffer negative health consequences.
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When your blood sugar levels are too high, this condition is called hyperglycemia. It can cause damage to various organs. Even further, when these levels are above 180 mg/dL its diagnosed as diabetes mellitus. Its important to keep this condition under strict medical observation, since it can cause many complications.
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Managing Blood Sugar Levels
Many people with diabetes must check their blood sugar levels daily with a glucose meter. This device takes a drop of blood, usually from a finger, and displays the sugar level within a few seconds.
People with type 1 diabetes will need to take insulin as their doctor recommends, usually several times a day.
Those with type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes may need to change their diet and exercise habits. They may also need to take oral medications or insulin.
A number of strategies can help prevent hyperglycemia.
- check their blood sugar levels as their doctor advises and take the correct amount of insulin, if they have type 1 diabetes
- speak to their healthcare provider or dietitian about which foods to eat or avoid, how much to eat, and how often
- take precautions to avoid infections, for example, through regular hand washing, as illness, such as a cold, can trigger a rise in blood pressure
- plan their food intake and exercise to balance blood sugar levels
- minimize stress, as far as possible, for example, through exercise, getting enough sleep, and stress-reducing activities such as meditation or yoga
Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can happen when a person:
- has certain medical conditions
- does a lot of exercise
- skips meals or eats too little
It can also be a side effect of diabetes medicines. Taking too much insulin can result in low blood sugar levels.
Symptoms of low blood sugar may include:
- visit a doctor regularly
What Is The Dawn Phenomenon
Another reason for high nighttime blood sugar levels is the dawn phenomenon. The dawn phenomenon occurs early in the morning when the body naturally signals your liver to produce glucose, giving your body the energy it needs to wake up.
The hormonal changes associated with the dawn phenomenon happen to people with or without diabetes, though those without diabetes do not experience hyperglycemia. If you take insulin, you may need to try a new basal insulin or adjust the timing and amount of your basal dose or your nighttime basal rates to cover an early morning rise.
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Normal Blood Sugar Levels Vs Hyperglycemia
If youve been diagnosed with diabetes, your endocrinologist will tell you what your target blood glucose levels are. Your levels may be different from what is usually considered as normal because of age, pregnancy, or other factors. You will be given two target levels, or ranges, one applying to when you haven’t eaten for a number of hours and one for after meals .
Blood Sugar Spike Causes
Blood sugar levels fluctuate all day long. When you eat food, particularly those foods that are high in carbohydrates like bread, potatoes, or pasta, your blood sugar will immediately begin to rise.
If your blood sugar is consistently high, you need to talk to your doctor about improving your diabetes management. Blood sugar rises when:
- youre not taking enough insulin
- your insulin isnt lasting as long as you think it is
- youre not taking your oral diabetes medication
- your medication dosage needs adjusting
- youre using expired insulin
- youre not following your nutritional plan
- you have an illness or infection
- youre using certain medications, like steroids
- youre under physical stress, such as an injury or surgery
- youre under emotional stress, such as trouble at work or home or with money problems
If your blood sugar is usually well-controlled, but youre experiencing unexplained blood sugar spikes, there might be a more acute cause.
Try keeping a record of all the food and drinks you consume. Check your blood sugar levels according to your doctors recommendations.
Its common to record your blood sugar reading first thing in the morning, before youve eaten, and then again two hours after eating. Even a few days of recorded information can help you and your doctor discover whats causing your blood sugar spikes.
Common culprits include:
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What Happens If My Blood Sugar Gets Really High
Your blood sugar is high when the numbers are 130 mg/dL or higher. High blood sugar can:
- Make you thirsty
- Make you go to the bathroom often to urinate
- Make it hard to pay attention
- Blur your vision
- Make you feel weak or tired
- Cause yeast infections
High blood sugar can lead to severe complications over time. People with a history of chronic high blood glucose levels can develop problems with their eyes, kidneys, circulation or nerves.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
How Does Hyperglycemia Happen
Insulin is a hormone that lets your body use the sugar in your blood, which comes primarily from carbohydrates in the food that you eat. Hyperglycemia happens when your body has too little insulin to use the sugar in your blood.
People with type 1 diabetes can have episodes of hyperglycemia every day. Although this can be frustrating, it rarely creates a medical emergency. Not taking enough insulin can lead to hyperglycemia .
Other things that can cause hyperglycemia include:
- Having trouble seeing or concentrating
- Experiencing stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting
- Having sweet-smelling or fruity breath
- Cuts or sores that do not heal, infections, and unexplained weight loss may also be signs of long-term hyperglycemia.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should check your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is very high, you should also test for ketones in either your blood or urine.
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Swollen Or Bleeding Gums Which Increase Your Infection Risk
Gum disease is a complication of diabetes, notes the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. It can also make diabetes harder to control, because the bodys response to infection is to release more glucose into the bloodstream, according to the ADA.
Your saliva contains glucose and the more it contains, the more there is to feed the bacteria that combine with food in your mouth to form plaque and cause gum disease. Symptoms can include red or inflamed gums at first. If they are unaddressed, they can progress to periodontitis, which can cause your gums to pull away from your teeth, the appearance of pus or ulcers, or even tooth loss, notes the Mayo Clinic. Get your blood sugar under control and see a dental professional to prevent damage to your gums and teeth.
Additional reporting by Diana Rodriguez and Andrea Peirce.
Monitor Your Glucose Levels
An important part of managing your diabetes is checking your blood glucose levels often, such as before you eat, after you eat, or at bedtime.
You should then record that number in a notebook, blood glucose log, or blood glucose tracking app so you and your doctor can monitor your treatment plan.
Knowing when your blood glucose levels are getting out of your target range can help you get your blood glucose back on track before more significant complications arise.
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Moderate To Severe High Blood Sugar
If your blood sugar levels are consistently high , you may have moderate to severe symptoms of high blood sugar. These symptoms include:
- Blurred vision.
- Flushed, hot, dry skin.
- Restlessness, drowsiness, or difficulty waking up.
If your body produces little or no insulin , you also may have:
- Rapid, deep breathing.
- A fast heart rate and a weak pulse.
- A strong, fruity breath odor.
- Loss of appetite, belly pain, and/or vomiting.
If your blood sugar levels continue to rise, you may become confused and lethargic. You also may become unconscious if your blood sugar levels are very high.
Current as of: July 28, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD – Internal Medicine& Adam Husney MD – Family Medicine& Rhonda O’Brien MS, RD, CDE – Certified Diabetes Educator
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
Make Some Small Changes
You might try to get more exercise, or limit carbs at your next meal, but don’t go crazy. “One blood sugar that’s high doesn’t indicate a need for major changesthat should only be done on a pattern,” says Rice, such as “continuing highs despite following a doctor’s instructions.” If a pattern continues for two to three days or more, then you might want to let your health-care provider know.
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Consider Talking To Your Doctor
If you think you’ve been doing all you can to keep blood sugar in control, but still have high blood sugar readings, it might be time to switch medication. Diabetes is a progressive disease, and over time, the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin can stop making the hormone. “So, even if your numbers have held steady for years, that could change if the beta cells change, which is usually a gradual change but can be sudden,” says Rice. “That change doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong, it’s just the nature of the disease. The beta cells can only put out so much insulin, and over time they start to put out less.” Your doctor will look at the big picture and do additional testing to find out if there is a bigger problem.
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Natural Treatment For High Blood Pressure
Preventing high blood pressure is key, however, there are natural treatment options available that could help to reduce your blood pressure.
Managing stress with meditation or deep-breathing exercises Quit smoking Eating more food rich in calcium and magnesium
Eating foods rich in potassium can help
In Addition to the options listed above, there are several natural supplements that may also help to lower blood pressure or prevent it from elevating, to begin with.
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How Is Hyperglycemia Diagnosed
If you have diabetes and notice a sudden change in your blood sugar levels during your home monitoring, you should alert your doctor of your symptoms. The increase in blood sugar may affect your treatment plan.
Regardless of whether you have diabetes, if you begin experiencing any symptoms of hyperglycemia, you should speak to your doctor. Before going to your appointment, you should note what symptoms youre experiencing. You should also consider these questions:
- Has your diet changed?
- Have you had enough water to drink?
- Are you under a lot of stress?
- Were you just in the hospital for surgery?
- Were you involved in an accident?
Once at your doctors appointment, your doctor will discuss all of your concerns. Theyll perform a brief physical exam and discuss your family history. Your doctor will also discuss your target blood sugar level.
If youre age 59 or younger, a safe blood sugar range is generally between 80 and 120 milligrams per deciliter . This is also the projected range for people who dont have any underlying medical conditions.
People who are age 60 or older and those who have other medical conditions or concerns may have levels between 100 and 140 mg/dL.
Your doctor may conduct an A1C test to determine what your average blood sugar level has been in recent months. This is done by measuring the amount of blood sugar attached to the oxygen-carrying protein hemoglobin in your red blood cells.
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You Develop Sores That Tend To Heal More Slowly Than Usual
Cuts, scrapes, bruises, and other wounds heal more slowly in the presence of uncontrolled blood sugar, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Diabetes causes nerve damage and affects circulation, especially in the lower legs and feet, which can delay healing because there isnt enough blood flow to the area. Even minor wounds are more prone to infections, which can become very serious and even result in amputations of the foot. You may notice drainage seeping onto your socks or an unpleasant smell if you develop a foot ulcer, notes the American Podiatric Medical Association.
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Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome : A Complication Of Severe Hyperglycemia In Type 2 Diabetes
In people with type 2 diabetes, extreme hyperglycemia can lead to a very rare but serious condition called hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome, or HHNS). HHNS is most likely to occur when you’re sick particularly if you aren’t able to drink enough fluids or keep fluids down. It happens most often in elderly people and, like ketoacidosis, can result in a coma.
You’re Noticing Skin Tags And Other Skin Issues
Skin tags and other skin issues can be a sign that something is wrong with your blood glucose levels. People with diabetes frequently have to deal with these types of things because high glucose levels affect the way cells produce collagen, making it difficult for the body to heal itself properly after an injury or wound occurs.
In addition, high glucose levels can cause blood vessels to become damaged, which leads to skin issues such as spider veins and rosacea. It’s important that you make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin A in your meal plan, so the body has what it needs to keep itself strong and healthy.
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