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 Are The Symptoms Of Hyperglycemia
Its especially important to know the early signs of hyperglycemia if you have type 1 diabetes. If hyperglycemia is left untreated in people with type 1 diabetes, it can develop into ketoacidosis, where ketones, which are toxic acids, build up in the blood. This condition is an emergency situation that can lead to coma or death.
Early symptoms of hyperglycemia include:
- High blood sugar.
- Unusual fruity smell on the breath.
- Deep labored breathing or hyperventilation.
- Rapid heartbeat.
How To Test For Ketones
You can use a urine test strip or blood ketone meter and ketone test strip to test for ketones at home. Testing either urine or blood is important, but when possible, a blood test is preferred because it gives you and your care team more precise information about your ketone levels. Because urine may have been in the bladder for some time, the results from these tests may show levels that are either higher or lower than the ketone levels that are actually circulating in your body. It is also very important to know that urine test trips degrade over time, so if you are using this method, you need to look at expiration dates carefully.
Your diabetes care team can give you specific directions about when you should check for ketones, but in general, you should check for them when your blood glucose is 240 mg/dL or higher. You should also check for ketones if you notice any of the DKA symptoms listed above or if you are sick it is possible to have ketones while your blood glucose levels are within range .
At-home urine test strips will change color to show the level of ketones in the urine. They typically report results as negative, trace, small, moderate or large. Blood ketone meters will provide a number that indicates the ketone levels. The following ranges are generally used:
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High Blood Sugar: 13 Reasons Your Glucose Levels Are Rising
May 2, 2021
Itâs a fact of life that blood sugar fluctuates throughout the day. These ups and downs depend on a handful of factors, like when you wake up, what you eat, the medications you take, and how you manage stress. So, some variation is normal, to the point that you might not even notice it.
Ignoring blood sugar level changes altogether, though, means youâre ignoring a valuable marker of your health. Especially if you start to have new or unfamiliar symptoms like fatigue, thirst, or brain fog . Learning these symptoms and their causes will give you the tools to better understand your own body, then take the right actions for better long-term metabolic health.
What Is Pediatric Hyperglycemia
Hyperglycemia, or high blood glucose, is defined as having a blood glucose level above your target. It can be caused by too much food, not enough insulin, less activity than usual, stress or illness. Children will sometimes outgrow their insulin dosage, and have high glucose values. Be sure to discuss this with your childs endocrinologist and/or primary care provider.
Normal glucose levels:
- Before a meal: 80 130
- 2 hours after a meal: less than 160
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What Happens During A Blood Glucose Test
A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out.
For some types of glucose blood tests, you will drink a sugary liquid and wait for an hour before your blood sample is taken:
- A glucose challenge test is used to test for gestational diabetes in pregnancy. If your blood glucose level is higher than normal, you may have gestational diabetes. You’ll need an oral glucose tolerance test to get a diagnosis.
- An oral glucose tolerance test is used to diagnose gestational diabetes, and type 2 diabetes and prediabetes in people who aren’t pregnant. A blood sample will be taken before you have a sugary drink and then again, every hour for the next 2 or 3 hours.
What Are The Symptoms Of Insulin Resistance And Prediabetes
Insulin resistance and prediabetes usually have no symptoms. Some people with prediabetes may have darkened skin in the armpit or on the back and sides of the neck, a condition called acanthosis nigricans. Many small skin growths called skin tags often appear in these same areas.
Even though blood glucose levels are not high enough to cause symptoms for most people, a few research studies have shown that some people with prediabetes may already have early changes in their eyes that can lead to retinopathy. This problem more often occurs in people with diabetes.
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How Do I Treat Hyperglycemia
You can often lower your blood glucose level by exercising. However, if your blood glucose 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 glucose level go even higher. You’ll need to work with your doctor to find the safest way for you to lower your blood glucose 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.
What Causes High Blood Sugar Levels In Non
To fully understand what causes high blood sugar levels in non-diabetics, it makes sense to go back to first principles of blood glucose regulation.
You will be glad you did, because by the end of this blog post, you will have the fundamental knowledge to connect all the dots regarding why blood sugar may be high in a non-diabetic.
So, lets do that, shall we:
Behind your stomach is an organ called the pancreas. The pancreas has a cluster of cells scattered within it called the beta cells.
The beta cells are very important to us. As little in size as they are, their importance cannot be over-emphasized.
Why is this?
Because Beta cells of the pancreas are responsible for producing, storing and releasing insulin when called upon.
You need insulin to survive. Without insulin your cells cannot access the glucose in the blood circulation. Without insulin energy production will cease. Insulin is the hormone that drives sugar from the blood circulation into the cells.
When glucose gets inside the cells, it can then be used by the mitochondria to produce energy. This is the energy we need to perform both basic and advanced everyday activities.
How does insulin interact with the food we eat? When you eat, digestion of food begins in the mouth. The glucose in the food you eat gets released by the process of digestion via enzymes in your saliva and stomach.
This is called Second Phase Insulin Release.
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How Lifestyle Changes Can Also Help You Avoid Hyperglycemia
Exercise is one of the best ways to get rid of high blood sugar. But if you have ketoacidosis, you should not exercise but rather go to the emergency room. Youll want to check your urine for ketones to be safe, especially if your glucose reading is 240 mg/dL or higher.
When you exercise, your body uses glucose as its primary energy source. This, in effect, will help bring down your blood sugar levels. Working out regularly will lower your A1C.
The positive effects of regular exercise are unmistakable. According to the American Diabetes Association, working out can lead to blood sugar-reducing effects for up to 24 hours.
What Is High Blood Glucose
To fully understand your blood glucose levels, itâs important to know: a) what values are actually considered high, and b) factors that can cause your elevated reading in the first place.
High blood glucose, also known as hyperglycemia, occurs when there is too much sugar in the bloodstream. Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, is the result of too little glucose in the bloodstream. Hyperglycemia usually occurs because your body doesnât produce enough insulin or canât properly use the available insulin to remove the glucose from the bloodstream.
Using milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood for measurement, high blood glucose readings after a meal indicating prediabetes can fall between 140 and 199 mg/dL. Levels reaching 200 mg/dL two hours after eating indicate you may already be insulin resistant or diabetic, though that diagnosis will need to come from your doctor. By comparison, the typical standard for normal glucose readings is to remain under 140 mg/dL throughout the day and under 100 mg/dL after eight hours of fasting.
A range of lifestyle factors, habits, and health conditions can cause high blood sugar. To debunk common hyperglycemia myths, review causes and symptoms, and discuss the best ways to address them, we spoke with two experts on high blood sugar levels: registered dietitian and For The Love of Diabetes creator Lori Zanini and registered dietitian nutritionist and diabetes management expert .
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What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis
When the body doesn’t have enough insulin, glucose stays in the blood and can’t get into the body’s cells to be used for energy. This can happen, for example, when someone skips doses of insulin or when the need for insulin suddenly increases and the doses are not adjusted.
When the body can’t use glucose for fuel, it starts to use fat. When this happens, chemicals called ketones are released into the blood. Some of these ketones, like extra glucose, pass out of the body through the urine.
High levels of ketones in the blood can be a problem because they cause the blood to become acidic. Too much acid in the blood throws off the body’s chemical balance and causes the symptoms listed below. In people with diabetes, this problem is called diabetic , or DKA. DKA is a very serious condition that can lead to coma or death if it’s not treated. The good news, though, is that it’s preventable and can be treated.
DKA happens more often in people with type 1 diabetes, but can sometimes also happen to those with type 2 diabetes.
Is 120 A Good Sugar Level
Is 120 a good sugar level? Although 120 is not too high, ideally you do want to gain very good control of your blood sugar levels by following a healthy diet and doing regular exercise. If you can get your fasting level between 90-100 mg/dl , and your 2 hour reading between 120-140 mg/dl then that is optimal.
What hormone causes low blood sugar? Hypoglycemia. Both stress and adrenal fatigue can contribute to hypoglycemia because of the key roles the adrenal hormones epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol play in blood sugar regulation.
What are the signs of high blood sugar? Some of the early signs and symptoms of high blood sugar include excessive thirst, trouble focusing, blurred vision, frequent urination, fatigue, weight loss, and headaches.
Is a blood sugar level of 60 too low? In general, blood sugar is considered too low if it is less than 60 mg /dL.
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All Carbs Are Created Equal
Phipps explains that, despite containing similar amounts of carbohydrates, one serving of pasta could have a hugely different effect on your blood glucose levels than one serving of rice. Likewise, that serving of pasta may have an entirely different effect on your blood glucose levels than your friendsâ or even family membersâ. âWeâre all unique,â Phipps says.
Diabetes Medication That Can Help You Control Your Blood Sugar
If youve been diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor will likely discuss medication options to help bring your blood sugar down. If you have prediabetes, on the other hand, youll probably rely on diet and lifestyle changes to help stabilize your numbers, though in some cases, you may need medication, Dodell says.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is treated with emergency insulin and fluids administered intravenously. But the goal with blood sugar control is to prevent this type of medical emergency from happening in the first place. If your blood glucose readings are consistently higher than usual, you may not be getting enough insulin. Talk to your doctor about adjusting your dosage. You should also tell them about any other prescription or over-the-counter medication you take, as these could affect your blood sugar, too. Corticosteroids for inflammation are just one example.
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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.
What Causes Blood Sugar To Rise Without Eating
For the most part, food as you gathered from above, is the main driver for rises in blood sugar. However, life as you know is never a straight line.
There are other factors that can cause blood sugar to rise without eating. Some of that has to do with inter-play of hormones.
Stress hormones like cortisol, catecholamines , mobilize glucose from the stored glucose in the liver. Glycogen is the stored form of glucose in the liver.
These hormones cause a rise in blood sugar without eating both in diabetics and non-diabetics. Any thing that causes stress to your body will cause your blood sugar to rise.
Prescription and some over-the-counter medications like nasal decongestants can also cause your blood sugar to rise without eating.
Below are some of the causes of high blood sugar without eating:
- Steroid medication
- Diuretics pills that make you pee
- Nasal decongestants containing phenylephrine or pseoudoephedrine
- Poor sleep
As you tell from the above list, yes, stress can cause high blood sugar in non-diabetics. Stress from whatever origin has the potential to increase cortisol levels in the blood.
And as I explained earlier anything that causes liver cells to mobilize their glycogen stores unnecessarily will raise your blood sugar. Stress will do just that.
Should non-diabetics check blood sugar?
And Guess what
So, yes, my advice is that non-diabetics can test for blood sugar, if you are looking for some guidance on the matter.
Suggested further reading:
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Causes Of High Glucose Levels In Urine
High glucose levels in urine can be caused by medical conditions, a genetic mutation, certain medications, and pregnancy.
Keep in mind that some people with high sugar levels in their urine dont show any symptoms. Even when caused by medical conditions, high sugar levels in the urine may go undiagnosed until the underlying condition progresses or is found during normal screening.
How To Treat Hyperglycemia
Just as there are immediate complications of hyperglycemia and long-term complications of hyperglycemia, there are also immediate and long-term treatment recommendations.
If you or someone you know are showing signs of either DKA or HHS, emergency treatment is required either via the emergency room or admission into the hospital.
Most instances of hyperglycemia are not emergent, though and can be treated at home in a variety of ways.
- Fast-acting insulin: Individuals with type I diabetes and those with type II diabetes on sliding scale insulin can use a bolus of fast-acting insulin to correct hyperglycemia. Insulin injection is the only way to immediately treat high blood sugar. You should start to see the blood sugar drop within about one hour, but you will not see the full effect for about 3-4 hours after injection. If your blood sugar does not start to come down after 3 hours, consider checking your insulin vile to make sure that it has not passed the expiration date or that there is nothing floating in the bottle that might have contaminated the medication. Contact your doctor if thereâs no improvement in blood sugar. Oral medications work in a variety of ways, but none of them are used to treat high blood sugar in the moment.
A diagnosis of diabetes can be overwhelming and it can be difficult to know where to start. Take things one step at a time. Set SMART goals and check in with your progress frequently. Treating hyperglycemia is just one part of managing diabetes.
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