Sneaky Reasons Your Blood Sugar Is High
For people living with diabetes, blood sugar logs and food diaries are a part of a typical self-management treatment plan. With this tracking, you generally develop a strong understanding of how your body and blood sugars respond to food and movement. But for some reason, from time to time you may experience an unwanted elevation in your blood sugars, unrelated to your food choices, and be left wondering why. The answer likely is that some lesser-discussed reasons are causing those unwanted highs. Here’s a list of those sneaky reasons your blood sugar is high and what to do to get it back in a healthy range.
Blood Sugar Levels Chart & Ranges
With the help of modern medicine and newly introduced at home treatments, common medical concerns such as blood sugar levels are now easier to manage than ever. The access to at home treatment and available sources has increased the ability to self-medicate and regularly check in with your health yourself.
There is still heightened concern for blood sugar levels due to the increase and ease of processed food and alcohol access across the world. But, with the right measures and plan, everyone can help avoid their blood sugar level from becoming abnormal.
According to the World Health Organisation , over 1.6 million deaths per year in America are due to diabetes. Fortunately, this figure can be decreased with the help of treatment and easy to manage at home testings.
Today, we will be discussing the top treatment methods, teaching you about blood sugar levels and how to manage them:
Symptoms Of Blood Blood Sugar Levels
Symptoms of blood sugar levels differ depending on if it is high or low. To determine which way the blood sugar have moved, the symptoms for each are typically:
|High Blood Sugar Symptoms|
|Slow healing wounds||Turning pale|
If symptoms are left untreated, more extreme circumstances can happen such as fainting, weakness, disorientation, vomiting and dehydration. When you notice symptoms, usually more than one at one time, it is advised to see a doctor right away.
It is important to get the right treatment so that you can return to a healthy normal blood sugar level and inhibit it from occurring again.
Treatment methods vary from the severity of the blood sugar level, whether it is high or low and if the patient has existing medical conditions, such as diabetes. Here are ways in which blood sugar levels can be treated:
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What Foods Can I Eat If I Have Diabetes
You may worry that having diabetes means going without foods you enjoy. The good news is that you can still eat your favorite foods, but you might need to eat smaller portions or enjoy them less often. Your health care team will help create a diabetes meal plan for you that meets your needs and likes.
The key to eating with diabetes is to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups, in the amounts your meal plan outlines.
The food groups are
- nonstarchy: includes broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes
- starchy: includes potatoes, corn, and green peas
Use oils when cooking food instead of butter, cream, shortening, lard, or stick margarine.
Have Oatmeal For Breakfast
Oats are another good choice for people with diabetes because of their low glycemic index value and high fiber content.
A 2015 review found eating whole oats with at least 3 grams of soluble fiber daily can help Type 2 diabetes patients control blood glucose levels by increasing insulin sensitivity.
You should make sure to opt for steel-cut or rolled oats, as these varieties of oatmeal are less processed, which means they absorb into the bloodstream more slowly.
Try to avoid instant oatmeal with added sugar, and if you’re mixing in fruit or other ingredients into your oatmeal, be mindful of their added sugar and total carbohydrate content.
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Healthy Eating For Blood Sugar Control
If you have diabetes, a healthy eating plan for you is not that different from a healthy eating plan for people without diabetes. The American Diabetes Association echoes the dietary guidelines recommended for the general public that is, a diet centered on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes , and low-fat dairy products.
However, you’ll want to pay special attention to your carbohydrate intake.
Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains provide more nutrition per calorie than refined carbohydrates and tend to be rich in fiber. Your body digests high-fiber foods more slowly which means a more moderate rise in blood sugar.
For most people with diabetes, carbohydrates should account for about 45% to 55% of the total calories you eat each day. Choose your carbohydrates wisely ideally, from vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. Avoid highly refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, and rice, as well as candy, sugary soft drinks, and sweets. Refined carbohydrates tend to cause sharp spikes in blood sugar, and can boost blood triglyceride levels.
Dont Forget To Keep Moving
Being more physically active goes hand in hand with eating healthier. It can help you manage your diabetes and also reduce your risk of heart problems. This is because it increases the amount of glucose used by your muscles and helps the body use insulin more efficiently.
Try to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week. This is any activity that raises your heart rate, makes you breathe faster and feel warmer. You should still be able to talk and only be slightly out of breath. And you dont have to do all 150 minutes in one go. Break it down into bite-size chunks of 10 minutes throughout the week or 30 minutes 5 times a week.
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What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels
Before we get started, letâs review some definitions of what ânormal blood sugarâ means for people without diabetes:
- A normal âfastingâ blood glucose taken first thing in the morning after waking up is 99 mg/dL or lower.
- A random blood glucose test taken anytime of the day without regard to the last time youâve eaten should be under 200 mg/dL.
If you have diabetes , your doctor will discuss specific blood sugar goals with you. These goals can vary based on a variety of factors.
What Should My Blood Sugar Level Be
When you’re 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.
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When To Get Urgent Medical Attention
Contact your diabetes care team immediately if you have a high blood sugar level and experience the following symptoms:
- feeling or being sick
- a fever for more than 24 hours
- signs of dehydration, such as a headache, dry skin and a weak, rapid heartbeat
- difficulty staying awake
These symptoms could be a sign of a more serious complication of hyperglycaemia, such as diabetic ketoacidosis or a hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state, and you may need to be looked after in hospital.
Why Is Blood Sugar Regulation Important
When the blood sugar levels in the body are continually unstable, there is a risk of illnesses, like heart disease and diabetes. Unstable levels of glucose can mean the cells are not being fueled properly on one extreme, and on the other, the bloodstream is overloaded with glucose.
Normal blood sugar: Although blood sugar levels vary between individuals, people without diabetes should have levels around 70 to 80 mg/dl . This reading is typically seen in the daytime, and before you sit down to eat.
High blood sugar: Did you know that a lot of people in the U.S. are considered prediabetic? This means that their blood sugars are continually on the higher end of the scale. Also called hyperglycemia, this can mean an increased chance of a damaged pancreas, stroke, and risk of atherosclerosis.
What can too much sugar in the body do?
- Slow wound healing
- And at worst, loss of consciousness
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Prevent Low Blood Glucose
Because physical activity lowers your blood glucose, you should protect yourself against low blood glucose levels, also called hypoglycemia. You are most likely to have hypoglycemia if you take insulin or certain other diabetes medicines, such as a sulfonylurea. Hypoglycemia also can occur after a long intense workout or if you have skipped a meal before being active. Hypoglycemia can happen during or up to 24 hours after physical activity.
Planning is key to preventing hypoglycemia. For instance, if you take insulin, your health care provider might suggest you take less insulin or eat a small snack with carbohydrates before, during, or after physical activity, especially intense activity.4
You may need to check your blood glucose level before, during, and right after you are physically active.
How Do I Detect Spikes In My Sugar Levels
The exact timing of blood sugar spikes can vary from person to person and meal to meal. However, on average, the post-meal peaks tend to be about one hour and 15 minutes after starting a meal.
The best way to measure post-meal patterns is by using a continuous glucose monitor or Flash monitors. These devices can give you a clear view, including graphs, of what happens with the glucose levels after meals without the need for finger pricking . You can ask your diabetes health team if they are available for you as they are not available to everybody.
If you are not using a CGM, then please speak to your healthcare team about the best way to do this for you with finger prick testing.
How do I know it is a spike?
There is no universal answer or specific guidelines on when a sugar level is too high after meals. However, if post-meal readings are consistently above your target range , then you should discuss whether it would be beneficial for you to address these spikes and how to do this, with your healthcare team .
If you are reviewing your post-breakfast sugar levels, you should also be aware of changes in your hormones in the morning, which cause increases in sugar levels . This Digibete video may help.
Some ways to reduce blood sugar spikes after meals
1. Choose low glycaemic index foods
When blood sugar levels are low or hypoglycaemic we need high glycaemic index foods , such as dextrose tablets or juice, that are absorbed quickly to raise our levels and to treat the hypo.
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You Experience Some Of These Symptoms
Other signs of high blood glucose include fatigue, increased frequency of infections and poor wound healing. High sugar levels can lead to low energy states, again because the body perceives it is under-fueled despite having plenty of glucose. High glucose levels compromise the immune system which can contribute to a higher frequency of infections in those with chronically elevated sugar levels.
The most common infections are yeast infections or other fungal infections as well as urinary tract infections. Partly due to a compromised immune system and partly due to the toxic effects of excess glucose on our body tissues, we also see poor wound healing, such as a skin ulcer that isn’t healing, in those with chronically elevated levels.
Low Blood Sugar Level Causes
Most low blood sugar level causes are preventable and are caused due to a persons lifestyle and diet habits. Low blood sugar is common among diabetic patients who take medications to increase insulin levels.
All of the above causes are risk factors that may or may not be able to be inhibited. They are important to be aware of and act accordingly to keep yourself from getting a too high or too low blood sugar level.
If a person has medical, lifestyle or diet habits that cause irregular blood sugar levels, symptoms will begin to develop along with the drop or spike in blood sugar, and are as follows:
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What To Do If You Facing Extremely High Blood Sugar Situation
Well, if it happens that you are facing a high sugar attack the immediate step is to drink lots of water. It will dilute the blood level thereby saving form a further deterioration. Then you may take medication and come back to normalcy. Extremely high blood sugar might lead to a cardiac arrest in some cases.
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.
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Why Is My Blood Sugar High
Several factors can lead to you consistently having raised blood sugar levels. Being sedentary, carrying around more weight than you should, genetics, and stress all play a part.
And while you cannot control genetics and stress is often hard to get a handle on you can eat a healthy diet, which is also instrumental in maintaining your blood sugar levels.
Its important that you stay away from refined sugar and learn where hidden sugars lurk in foods you may have thought to be healthy. Concentrate on eating whole food like vegetables, protein, and full-fat dairy. Avoid processed foods, and dont even keep them in the house if they are too tempting!
The Role Of Insulin In Diabetes
To understand why insulin is important in diabetes, it helps to know more about how the body uses food for energy. Your body is made up of millions of cells. To make energy, these cells need food in a very simple form. When you eat or drink, much of your food is broken down into a simple sugar called “glucose.” Then, glucose is transported through the bloodstream to the cells of your body where it can be used to provide some of the energy your body needs for daily activities.
The amount of glucose in your bloodstream is tightly regulated by the hormone insulin. Insulin is always being released in small amounts by the pancreas. When the amount of glucose in your blood rises to a certain level, the pancreas will release more insulin to push more glucose into the cells. This causes the glucose levels in your blood to drop.
To keep your blood glucose levels from getting too low , your body signals you to eat and releases some glucose from storage kept in the liver.
People with diabetes either don’t make insulin or their body’s cells are resistant to insulin, leading to high levels of sugar circulating in the blood, called simply high blood sugar. By definition, diabetes is having a blood glucose level of 126 milligrams per deciliter or more after an overnight fast .
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Signs Of High Blood Sugar
Someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes will be familiar with how it feels to have hyperglycemia. But for the millions of people who have diabetes or prediabetes and are unaware of it, knowing the signs of high blood sugar could prompt them to seek care and get a diagnosis as soon as possible.
While type 1 diabetes symptoms can come on suddenly and severely, its important to note that type 2 diabetes symptoms can creep up gradually and be so mild that theyre not noticeable, the NIDDK explains. And most people with prediabetes actually have no symptoms, per the NIDDK. So its extremely important to get screened if you have risk factors, like having a family history, being overweight, or being over age 45, the NIDDK says.
Still, there are many potential signs of high blood sugar in the short and long term that it doesnt hurt to be conscious of, especially if you are at elevated risk.
Early on, hyperglycemia can make you feel off in a variety of ways:
Will Supplements And Vitamins Help My Diabetes
No clear proof exists that taking dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, or spices can help manage diabetes.1 You may need supplements if you cannot get enough vitamins and minerals from foods. Talk with your health care provider before you take any dietary supplement since some can cause side effects or affect how your medicines work.2
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