Checking For Low Blood Sugar Levels
The warning signs of hypoglycemia are the bodys 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:
- have an increased heart rate
If the hypoglycemia isnt treated, more serious symptoms may happen, such as drowsiness, confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
The only way to know for sure if youre 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 cant quickly check your blood sugar level, its 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 its also released when blood sugar levels fall quickly when theyre too high. If youre 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 youre having a false reaction.
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Diabetes And Low Testosterone
A link between diabetes and low testosterone is well established. Men with diabetes are more likely to have low testosterone. And men with low testosterone are more likely to later develop diabetes. Testosterone helps the bodys tissues take up more blood sugar in response to insulin. Men with low testosterone more often have insulin resistance: they need to produce more insulin to keep blood sugar normal.
As many as half of men with diabetes have low testosterone, when randomly tested. Scientists arent sure whether diabetes causes low testosterone, or the other way around.
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Causes Of Low Blood Glucose
Low blood glucose is common for people with type 1 diabetes and can occur in people with type 2 diabetes taking insulin or certain medications. The average person with type 1 diabetes may experience up to two episodes of mild low blood glucose each week, and thats only counting episodes with symptoms. If you add in lows without symptoms and the ones that happen overnight, the number would likely be higher.
Symptoms In Low Blood Pressure
- Neck or back pain
Sitting down can alleviate these symptoms. If blood pressure drops too low, the vital organs of the body do not receive enough flow of blood . When this happens, low blood pressure can lead to shock, which requires immediate medical attention. Signs of shock include cold and sweaty skin, rapid breathing, a blue skin tone or a weak and rapid pulse.
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Diabetes May Contribute To Hypertension
Elevated blood sugar stresses the blood vessels. Damage to the vessels causes them to narrow and accumulate plaque. Plaque is composed of different substances like cholesterol, fats, and waste products. Plaque buildup narrows the vessels even more and forces the heart to work harder to pump blood.
When the heart has to work harder, the force at which the blood pumps through the body increases. This leads to high blood pressure.
Plaque formation and buildup cause atherosclerosis. This condition can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease . PAD can include any number of diseases that impact the arteries that carry blood to distant parts of the body.
Signs & Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
Keeping blood glucose levels in a healthy range can be challenging.
When the amount of sugar in your blood has dropped below your target range , it is called low blood sugar .
If your blood sugar has dropped, you may feel:
- shaky, light-headed, nauseated
- numbness or tingling on your tongue or lips
Symptoms of very low blood sugar are more severe and can make you:
- confused and disoriented
- lose consciousness
Make sure you always wear your MedicAlert® identification and talk to your doctor or diabetes educator about prevention and emergency treatment for severe low blood sugar.
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Hypoglycemia In Children: Pediatric Ketotic Hypoglycemia
Some children experience pediatric ketotic hypoglycemia, a condition involving low blood sugar levels and high levels of ketones. If people do not have enough glucose to use as energy, the body begins to break down fat in the body instead. The body produces chemicals called ketones as a by-product of breaking down fat.
According to a 2019 study , pediatric ketotic hypoglycemia usually occurs due to poor intake of food, a gastrointestinal illness and vomiting, or a period of prolonged fasting. Severe metabolic and hormonal conditions may also cause pediatric ketotic hypoglycemia.
Pediatric ketotic hypoglycemia may affect children from 6 months old and often resolves after the age of 6 years.
How Your Body Regulates Glucose
Lets first review some basics about. The glucose in your blood serves as a primary source of energy for all the cells in your body. There are other molecules your body can make for fuel if needed, like ketones, but well keep the focus on glucose here for simplicity.
Your body has sensors throughout it to determine if you are at the correct blood glucose level. In people without, this level is typically between 70 and 120 mg/dL . There are multiple hormones that either activate or go quiet as needed to protect this glucose level. If the, your body might release catecholamine hormones to trigger an increase in the level of glucose in the blood. If, your body will release and other hormones to correct the level back down to an appropriate range.
People with diabetes dont lose the ability to raise or lower their blood sugar levels rather, the hormones that serve to keep blood glucose in the correct range dont function correctly, and the sensors that assess the glucose level are also often impaired.
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Not Everyone May Be Able To Achieve Remission But People Who Are Younger Male Have Had Type 2 Diabetes For Less Than Six Years And Lose More Weight Are More Likely To Be Successful
Until recently, type 2 diabetes has mainly been managed by controlling risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels usually by prescribing drugs. But this approach doesnt address the underlying causes of type 2 diabetes such as problems with the hormone insulin no longer effectively controlling blood sugar.
While taking drugs can help to manage blood sugar levels, it wont help unpick the biological causes behind type 2 diabetes. A growing body of research shows that losing weight, either through surgery or dieting, can help address some of the underlying causes of type 2 diabetes. It does this by helping the body control blood sugar levels. This is significant as controlling blood sugar by improving how insulin is made and works is key to bringing type 2 diabetes into remission.
Our review found that meal-replacement diets helped around one in three people successfully achieve remission, while low carbohydrate diets were able to help around one in five people achieve remission. People who lost weight using both of these diets were able to stay in remission for up to two years if they maintained their weight loss. Low calorie and Mediterranean diets were also able to help people achieve remission but at much lower rates. Only around 5% of people on low-calorie diets stayed in remission after one year, while only 15% of people on a Mediterranean diet stayed in remission after a year.
You Must Stabilize Your Blood Pressure
Without properly balanced cholesterol and blood-sugar levels, your heart valves become restricted with plaque buildup, and that leads to a damaged and unhealthy heart. All this combined begins to affect other parts of your body and internal organs because they are starved of needed oxygen and blood that is pumped to them by your heart. After years of unhealthy eating, unbalanced cholesterol and blood-sugar levels all over the place, your overall heart health begins to deteriorate. In worse cases, not protecting your heart health can lead to major damage resulting in the need for heart surgery or a heart transplant. In the worst case, deteriorated hearth health can lead to death.
And it gets worse with each passing year, not only making it harder to avoid heart disease but actually causing you to GET A HEART ATTACK OR STROKEâno matter how hard you try to avoid it.
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What Causes A Low Blood Sugar Level
In people with diabetes, the main causes of a low blood sugar level are:
- the effects of medicine especially taking too much insulin, medicines called sulfonylureas , medicines called glinides , or some antiviral medicines to treat hepatitis C
- skipping or delaying a meal
- not eating enough carbohydrate foods in your last meal, such as bread, cereals, pasta, potatoes and fruit
- exercise, especially if it’s intense or unplanned
- drinking alcohol
Sometimes there’s no obvious reason why a low blood sugar level happens.
Very occasionally, it can happen in people who do not have diabetes.
Why Am I Having Lows
If you are experiencing low blood glucose and youre not sure why, bring a record of blood glucose, insulin, exercise, and food data to a health care provider. Together, you can review all your data to figure out the cause of the lows.
The more information you can give your health care provider, the better they can work with you to understand whatâs causing the lows. Your provider may be able to help prevent low blood glucose by adjusting the timing of insulin dosing, exercise, and meals or snacks. Changing insulin doses or the types of food you eat may also do the trick.
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How Blood Sugar Affects Blood Pressure
How are these two systems connected? Insulin, which plays a role in managing blood glucose, has an unfortunate relationship with nitric oxide production in blood vessels. It blocks the ability of the body to make nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is important to blood vessels because it is one of the very few ways to expand the size of the blood vessels and lower blood pressure. If a person with diabetes is using insulin, this severely impairs the ability of the body to lower blood pressure via nitric oxide production, in turn increasing the risk of high blood pressure.
In situations where the blood pressure is too low, the catecholamine response described above doesnt discriminate, and blood sugar will also rise as a result. The same is true if the blood sugar goes too low the catecholamine response is the first thing that the body uses to compensate, and this will raise blood pressure in the aftermath. This is how low blood sugar or low blood pressure can cause the other to go high. It is important to realize that some medications that lower blood pressure or will override any natural protections you have and trigger these events as well.
Bottom line: If you are living with diabetes, high blood pressure, or both, its important to closely monitor BOTH your blood sugar and your blood pressure in tandem to avoid harming one when you treat the other.
Family History Of Heart Disease
A family history of heart disease may add to your chances of developing the condition. If one or more of your family members had a heart attack before age 50, you have double the chance of developing heart disease compared with people who have no family history of the disease.4
You cant change whether heart disease runs in your family. But if you have diabetes, its even more important to take steps to protect yourself from heart disease and decrease your chances of having a stroke.
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How Can Reduce High Blood Sugar
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Risk Factors Associated With Diabetes And High Blood Pressure
Why should those with diabetes be aware of the risks of high blood pressure? Type 2 diabetes is caused by resistance to insulin, the hormone your body needs to use blood sugar for energy. Since the bodies of those with type 2 diabetes resist insulin, sugar builds up in their blood.
That means your body makes even more insulin, and insulin causes your body to retain salt and fluids, which is one way diabetes increases your risk for high blood pressure, said Dr. Hatipoglu. Over time, diabetes damages the small blood vessels in your body, causing the walls of the blood vessels to stiffen. This increases pressure, which leads to high blood pressure.
The combination of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes can greatly increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Having type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure also increases your chances of developing other diabetes-related diseases, such as kidney disease and retinopathy.
Chronic high blood pressure can also contribute to early onset of conditions such as Alzheimers disease, dementia, and stroke because the blood vessels in the brain are particularly susceptible to damage due to high blood pressure.
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What Should My Blood Sugar Levels Be
Your blood sugar level changes depending on what you’ve eaten, whether you’ve exercised and other factors but we have some general guidelines to determine what levels are healthy.
For generally healthy individuals who haven’t eaten for eight hours or more, a normal blood sugar level is between 70-99 mg/dL. When you’ve eaten in the past two hours, it should be no higher than 140 mg/dL. To refresh your chemistry knowledge, that unit is milligrams per deciliter and it’s measuring the amount of glucose present in your blood.
Only a medical professional can diagnose diabetes or another issue with your blood sugar, so if you’re concerned about your blood sugar levels, check with a doctor.
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