Postprandial Or Reactive Hyperglycemia
This type of hyperglycemia occurs after eating .
During this type of hyperglycemia, your liver doesn’t stop sugar production, as it normally would directly after a meal, and stores glucose as glycogen.
If your blood glucose level 1-2 hours after eating is above 180mg/dL, that signals postprandial or reactive hyperglycemia.
However, it’s not just people with diabetes who can develop hyperglycemia. Certain medications and illnesses can cause it, including beta blockers, steroids, and bulimia. This article will focus on hyperglycemia caused by diabetes.
Know Your Blood Sugar
Blood sugar is the amount of sugar in your blood at a given time. It’s important to check your blood sugar level, because it will:
- determine if you have a high or low blood sugar level at a given time
- show you how your lifestyle and medication affect your blood sugar levels
- help you and your diabetes health-care team make lifestyle and medication changes to improve your blood sugar levels
High Glucose And Diabetes
When you eat, your body breaks food down into glucose, a form of sugar, explains the American Diabetes Association . That glucose is carried through your bloodstream to your cells and tissues, which use it for energy.
The hormone insulin plays an important role in this process. It helps transfer sugar out of your bloodstream and into the cells that will use or store it, says ADA. A high blood glucose level means this process isn’t working the way it should because your body can’t make enough insulin, doesn’t use it effectively or both.
It’s not a situation to be ignored, even though you may not have any symptoms yet. Prediabetes â when your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes â can develop into diabetes if you don’t make needed lifestyle changes, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Diabetes, undiagnosed or untreated, can lead to serious complications over time, including heart disease, blindness and kidney failure as a result of your blood sugar being too high all the time, according to the Mayo Clinic.
There are two main kinds of diabetes. Says Robert H. Eckel, MD, president of medicine and science at the ADA, “90 to 95 percent of diabetes is type 2 diabetes.” Type 1 diabetes develops most often in young people, the ADA notes, although it can also be diagnosed in adulthood. A third type, gestational diabetes, occurs during pregnancy.
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The Danger Of Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, can become a lot more dangerous more quickly. Hypoglycemia, if left untreated, can quickly result in diabetic coma and death.
Low blood sugars will not lead to permanent complications in most cases but cause frequent, short-term complications in the form of being physically unable to function when experiencing a low. They require fast-acting glucose as treatment.
Symptoms of low blood sugar can hit different people at different times, and some people may not feel their low blood sugars at all , which can be very dangerous.
Continuous glucose monitoring systems and diabetes alert dogs can help people detect their lows earlier, before they become extremely dangerous.
Hypo unawareness occurs in about 40% of people with type 1 diabetes, and less frequently in people with type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, one study showed that the average person with type 1 diabetes experiences two episodes of low blood sugar per week!
Low blood sugars can happen for many reasons, all of which result from too much insulin in the bloodstream and not enough glucose for the body to function properly.
Reasons can be anything from taking too much insulin for food, to accidentally over-bolusing with an insulin pump, to not finishing a meal, to drinking alcohol in excess, or even after physical exertion and exercise while not reducing basal insulin settings appropriately.
If You Regularly Have High Blood Sugar Levels
Having high blood sugar levels regularly is not something you should live with. This is because in the long-term it can increase your risk of developing diabetes complications, such as neuropathy and retinopathy.
If you notice that your blood sugar levels are often high, you should contact your diabetes healthcare team. They will review your treatment and provide you with advice on how to get your blood sugar levels back within your target range. This advice may include increasing your medication.
In the video below, Lynsey talks to Khalida about feeling anxious after getting a high blood sugar level reading. If youre finding it hard to deal with similar feelings, weve got information on emotional health that you may find helpful.
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Here Are Some Foods Which Can Help Children Prevent Diabetes
Apples are a fulfilling snack since they are high in fiber and vitamin C. They contain polyphenols and plant-based chemicals with a history of preventing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Apple sugar, or fructose, has virtually little impact on blood sugar levels.
Diabetic children can opt for carrots in their daily diet despite their sweet flavor as they can help manage blood glucose levels. Despite being high in carbohydrates, it is good for diabetes patients as carrots are non-starchy.
3. Complex carbs
The body needs more time to absorb complex carbohydrates than it does simple ones. Foods with complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and often include fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They, therefore, affect blood sugar less immediately and cause it to rise more gradually.
4. Chia seeds
Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome
This mostly affects elderly people. As glucose builds up in your blood, your body tries to get rid of it through your urine.
At first, you pee a lot. Over time, you pee less, but when you do, itâs very dark. This condition can lead to dehydration, coma, and death.
Get medical help right away if you have any of these warning signs:
- Blood sugar level over 600 mg/dL
- Extreme thirst that may later go away
- Warm, dry skin that doesnât sweat
- Fever over 101 F
- Weakness on one side of your body
You can avoid many of these problems by keeping your blood sugar under control. Follow your doctorâs advice about diet and exercise, take your medicine, keep up with your doctor visits, and check your levels often.
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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.
What Are Risk Factors For Hyperglycemia
Major risk factors for hyperglycemia are:
- You have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
- You are African American, Native American, Hispanic or Asian American.
- You are overweight.
- You have high blood pressure or cholesterol.
- You have polycystic ovarian syndrome .
- You have a history of gestational diabetes.
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Managing High Blood Sugar Levels
The medical management of high blood sugar needs a medical consultation. However, it is only supportive. These reasons mentioned above require simple yet effective day-to-day diabetes management.
- Lifestyle Changes- Maintaining an active lifestyle helps burn calories and reduce blood glucose. For example, one can try walking out more than driving, doing physical sports, etc.
- Exercise- Exercise is a crucial element of diabetes management. The elderly can resort to flexibility exercises, whereas youth can try resistance training. Endurance exercises and cardio are also good choices. Yoga is something thats fitting for everyone.
- Destressing the Mind- Practising stress relaxation techniques or consulting a psychiatrist is advisable if coping with stress is complex.
- Diet Prescription and Monitoring- Consulting an expert dietician and following a recommended plan suits most diabetics. However, regularly monitoring dietary norms and following the guidelines is a strict mandate.
- Meditation- Meditation helps cope with mental as well as physical stress. It helps in harmonising the body and mind. It increases the bodys awareness and keeps individuals alert to danger signals. It will also keep one relaxed and thoughtful at every action.
Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar
Learning to recognize the symptoms of hyperglycemia can help you successfully manage your diabetes.
Some people with diabetes immediately feel the symptoms of high blood sugar. Others dont because their symptoms are mild or vague.
Symptoms of hyperglycemia typically begin when your blood glucose goes above per deciliter . Symptoms can worsen the longer its untreated.
Symptoms of a blood sugar spike may include:
- frequent urination
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What Is Considered Low Blood Sugar
For the average person with diabetes, low blood sugar means anything under 80 mg/dL .
Very low blood sugars are any readings under 40 mg/dL. Anything under 40 mg/dL is considered extremely dangerous and potentially fatal.
A person is at a significantly higher risk of falling into a diabetic coma if they cannot get their blood sugar above 40 mg/dL for several hours.
If a person is experiencing a severe low, and they are unable to chew food or swallow liquids, they will require an emergency shot of Glucagon .
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Low Blood Glucose: Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia can occur when blood glucose drops below normal levels or drops too quickly. Your blood glucose level is too low if it is under 70 mg/dL.
Hypoglycemia can be caused by:
- A combination of these factors
- Being more active than usual
- Drinking alcohol
- Eating at the wrong time for the medications you take
- Skipping or not finishing meals or snacks
- Taking too much diabetes medication
You can have hypoglycemia without any symptoms. That makes it important to check your blood glucose levels regularly. When hypoglycemia does cause symptoms, they can include:
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Damage To Intestinal Microbes
Extensive use of antibiotics or resistant infections damages the essential, healthy microbes in the intestines. Research shows a link between damaged intestinal microbes and increased blood glucose levels. In addition, it shows that glucose metabolism related to type 2 diabetes can result from damage to the intestinal microbes.
The intestinal microbes can enhance the production of the incretin hormone, a gut peptide that promotes insulin production. They also produce short-chain fatty acids that are key in controlling blood sugar. Gut microorganisms have an anti-obesity effect by modifying the fat tissue. It also aids in maintaining healthy blood glucose levels. There are several studies supporting this phenomenon.
When To See A Doctor
According to the University of Michigan, blood sugar levels of 300 mg/dL or more can be dangerous. They recommend calling a doctor if you have two readings in a row of 300 or more.
See your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar levels. Symptoms of this include:
- increased thirst
- high levels of sugar in urine
Ask your doctor how often to check your blood sugar and about your ideal blood sugar levels.
If you dont currently see a doctor who specializes in diabetes, known as an endocrinologist, you can find one by searching the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists website.
You can find a certified diabetes educator by visiting the American Diabetes Associations website and searching by zip code.
Talk to your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar readings or symptoms of chronic hyperglycemia.
Checking your blood sugar and then treating hyperglycemia early will help prevent any complications.
Health problems can arise when someone has high blood sugar regularly and without treatment.
Examples of complications include:
- nerve damage, called diabetic neuropathy, that may affect sensations in the feet and hands
- diabetic retinopathy, or damage to the blood vessels in the eyes that affects vision
- increased risks for kidney problems
- increased risks for heart problems
Taking steps to keep your blood sugar at target levels can help to minimize the likelihood that these complications will occur.
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What Are The Best Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Quickly
Even if you are disciplined with your food habits, blood sugar spikes can easily happen. There are ways in which you can lower your blood glucose levels immediately. However, you need to consult a doctor before trying these remedies at home. Remember, this is not something that you can take lightly, and your life may depend on it.
Below, we will discuss a few ways in which you can lower blood sugar levels immediately:
Diabetics Should Be Extra Careful During The Morning Hours As Cortisol
We have previously reported how one is more susceptible to cardiac arrests and heart attacks early in the morning due to the release of the cytokinin hormone. Turns out, diabetics, too, should be extra careful during the morning hours as cortisol a hormone responsible for maintaining glucose levels in the blood peaks between 6 am to 10 am. The stress level is correlated with cortisol hormone, and this hormone is highest during the morning hours. It gradually goes down as the day progresses, and is at its lowest by midnight, Dr Shyam Sundar C M, Consultant Endocrinology and Diabetology, Sparsh Hospital said.
Agreeing, Dr Manira Dhasmana, Associate Consultant, Internal Medicine, Max Super Specialty Hospital, Dehradun added that the cortisol levels remain the highest immediately or during the first hour after waking up. In patients who are already stressed, morning cortisol levels are at peak. This has also been studied as Cortisol Awakening Response , he said.
Why does it happen?
Due to prolonged overnight fasting, the glucose levels go down in the morning hours. To maintain that, three hormones glucagon, epinephrine, and cortisol act as counter regulators. But, cortisol is a stress hormone it increases as a response to prevent a person from developing low blood sugar levels during the fasting time in the early morning hours, Dr Shyam said
How does it affect diabetics?
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Blood Sugar Level Charts For Those With Diabetes
Normal blood sugar levels, for those with diabetes, will vary depending on someones age and the time of day. For example, when fasting, blood sugar levels are often in the target goal range. The type of food eaten will impact blood sugar levels in different ways. A meal with a lot of carbohydrates will raise blood sugar quicker than a meal that contains carbohydrates, protein, and fat . Blood sugar will rise after a meal, but will start to return to normal levels in several hours.
Lets take a look at what blood sugar levels should be, in those with diabetes, based on their age.
High Blood Sugar Levels
Different targets have been set by various health organizations, but the American Diabetes Association has stated that fasting blood sugar should be between 80-130mg/dL, and two hours after a meal it should be less than 180mg/dL.
Some people experience high blood sugar in the mornings for several common reasons, like the Dawn Phenomenon. Fasting blood sugar is important to note, as it can give an idea of where your blood sugar naturally settles after a period without intervention.
Blood sugar rises after a meal, and then comes back down . Postprandial blood sugar is where it lands at the end of the trend line, which is generally two hours after the meal. If blood sugar is 180 mg/dL two hours after a meal, it could mean mis-calculating carb intake. Knowing the range your doctor has identified as a healthy rise is important in being aware of your bodys processes. Any number above your specific ranges is considered to be high.
Glucose is needed by your body, but when it rises too high over an extended period of time, it can have lasting detrimental effects. Its important that you regularly monitor your blood sugar levels so that youre aware of how your body is responding to your diabetes care plan.
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How To Manage A Blood Sugar Spike
The best way to manage high blood sugar is to check your blood sugar and take your medication as instructed. If you frequently experience blood sugar spikes, your doctor may change your medication routine.
You can also lower your blood sugar by exercising. However, if your blood sugar level is repeatedly above 240 mg/dL , check your urine for ketones using a test kit.
If you do have ketones, do not exercise. In this case, exercising may make your blood sugar levels go even higher.
If you think you may have DKA, you can test your urine for ketones using a test kit. If ketones are high, call a doctor and seek emergency medical attention immediately.
High Blood Glucose: Hyperglycemia
Hyperglycemia means that you have too much blood glucose. It happens when your blood glucose level is around 200 mg/dL or higher. Hyperglycemia can happen if you miss taking your diabetes medications, eat too much or do not get enough exercise. Sometimes, the medications you take for other problems cause high blood glucose.
Symptoms of hyperglycemia include:
- Having blurry vision
- Having to urinate often
If you have these symptoms, check your blood glucose right away. If its too high, follow these steps:
- Check your blood glucose every four hours. If your level does not go down after two checks or your symptoms get worse, call a member of your diabetes team.
- Drink water or other sugar-free liquids, such as diet soda or Crystal Light.
- You may need to take an extra dose of insulin. Your diabetes educator talks with you more about this.
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