When To See A Doctor
If youre experiencing one or many of these symptoms enough for it to raise a mental red flag or affect your life , thats a sign that you should talk to a doctor about your concerns. An expert like a primary care provider can help determine if high blood sugar due to diabetes or prediabetes is the cause of your symptoms. Even if youre not sure thats exactly whats going on, its still worth having a conversation with your doctor about hyperglycemia and other possible causes behind your symptoms.
How To Manage After
Get medicine that works for you. The right insulin or medication program can make a big difference. In general, to cover after-meal spikes, those that kick in quickly and for a short time are a better choice than ones that work slowly over a long period. Your doctor can explain your options.
Keep blood sugar in check before meals. That way, even if it goes up after you eat, it won’t be so dramatic.
Watch what you eat. Limit sweets, white bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes. They tend to trigger post-meal spikes.
The type of fat you eat may play a role, as well. One study shows you may be able to curb blood sugar spikes after you eat if you skip foods with lots of butter and choose a meal made with a little olive oil instead.
Eat breakfast every morning. Even when you’re in a hurry to get out the door, don’t be tempted to skip it. A study shows that folks with diabetes who don’t eat breakfast get higher blood sugar spikes after lunch and dinner.
The ideal morning meal? It might just be one that’s packed with protein. A small study shows that when people ate a 500-calorie breakfast that was 35% protein, their post-meal blood sugar levels were lower than those who started their day with high-carb food. But check with your doctor to see what’s right for you.
Go for an after-dinner walk. It’s a healthy habit for everyone, but if you have diabetes, it’s also a good way to burn extra glucose from a meal.
What Is A Blood Sugar Spike
A blood sugar spike happens when glucose builds up in the bloodstream and your blood sugar levels increase. This may happen after eating.
Its important to know the early symptoms of high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia. Early testing and treatment can help prevent more severe symptoms.
Early signs of high blood sugar can include:
- feeling thirsty
- having a very dry mouth
- urinating frequently
- having blurred vision
If you suspect that you have high blood sugar, you can perform a finger stick to check your level.
Exercising and drinking water after eating, particularly if youve consumed a lot of starchy carbs, can help lower your blood sugar.
You can also use an insulin injection, but be careful to only use this method while closely following the recommendation of a doctor regarding your dose. If used improperly, insulin can cause hypoglycemia .
If your blood sugar stays elevated for too long, you may develop diabetic ketoacidosis.
If high blood sugar levels go untreated for too long, glucose will build up in your bloodstream and your cells will be starved for fuel. Your cells will use fat for fuel instead.
When your cells use fat instead of glucose, the process produces a byproduct called ketones:
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What Causes Low Blood Glucose In People With Diabetes
Low blood glucose levels can be a side effect of insulin or some other medicines that help your pancreas release insulin into your blood. Taking these can lower your blood glucose level.
Two types of diabetes pills can cause low blood glucose
- sulfonylureas, usually taken once or twice per day, which increase insulin over several hours
- meglitinides, taken before meals to promote a short-term increase in insulin
The following may also lower your blood glucose level
Symptoms Of A Blood Sugar Spike
The longer your blood sugar levels stay elevated, the more symptoms you are likely to develop, and the more damage is being done to your body. While there are some hallmark symptoms of high blood sugar levels , they can vary from person to person.
Learning to recognize your individual symptoms of high blood sugar early on can help minimize any damage to your body and keep your diabetes in control.
Common symptoms of high blood sugar include:
- Frequent urination
- Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, get your blood sugar level tested. It can be as simple as a small finger poke but can go a long way in helping you manage your blood sugar levels.
If you do not have diabetes and are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as you can to get your blood sugar levels tested. Early identification of high blood sugar levels and diabetes can save your life.
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Causes And Risk Factors
As your body goes between fed and unfed states throughout the day, your blood sugar levels will naturally fluctuate up and down. In someone without diabetes, blood sugar levels are regulated by insulin and stored glycogen to stay within normal ranges.
If you have diabetes, you are at a higher risk of having a blood sugar spike than people without diabetes. Eating foods high in simple carbohydrates, like desserts, sugar-sweetened beverages, and refined-grain pasta and bread, are the main cause of blood sugar spikes.
However, there are additional causes for high blood sugar levels, such as:
- Eating more than planned
- Over-treating low blood sugar levels
- Dawn phenomenon: This is a natural surge in blood sugar early in the morning. It can be higher in people with diabetes who have insulin resistance.
- Somogyi effect: This is high early morning blood sugar levels caused by a rebound effect from low blood sugar levels in the middle of the night and your body triggering a release of hormones to raise blood sugar levels.
How Can I Treat And Manage Hyperglycemia
People with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can manage hyperglycemia by eating healthy, being active, and managing stress. In addition, insulin is a critical part of managing hyperglycemia for people with type 1 diabetes, while people with type 2 diabetes may need oral medications and eventually insulin to help them manage hyperglycemia.
If you dont have diabetes and have any of the signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia, call your healthcare provider. Together you can work to manage your hyperglycemia.
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What To Do When Blood Sugar Spikes
It can be frustrating trying to keep blood sugar levels under control. Day by day, they can fluctuate widely, and theyre not always predictable. Although the greatest danger to people with diabetes is when blood glucose gets too low, its also important to take action when blood glucose is high. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help prevent and treat these unexpected spikes.
High blood sugar, also called hyperglycemia, often develops in response to too little insulin or other glucose-lowering medication, or too much food. Its important to address hyperglycemia. Not only can it cause problems like impaired thinking in the short term, it can increase the risk for serious problems like , kidney damage, and blindness over time. Heres what you can do about hyperglycemia.
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Type 2 Diabetes Sugar Spike Overnight
Like in everyone, the pancreas in most type 2 diabetics produces a normal amount of insulin, a hormone whose job it is to transport glucose molecules from the blood to muscle cells.
The muscle cells need glucose for fuel. Stored sugar in a muscle cell is called glycogen.
In type 2 diabetes, the insulin is there, but the transport system is impaired. The insulin receptor sites on muscles cells are not receiving, and/or theres not enough of them.
The sugar, unable to gain entry to muscle cells, stays in the blood, where it builds up. A spike can result, including during sleep.
If the diabetic discovers this via a glucose reading, a bout of exercise will correct the problem.
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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:
What Causes Hyperglycemia In People With Diabetes
- The dose of insulin or oral diabetes medication that you are taking is not the most helpful dose for your needs.
- Your body isnt using your natural insulin effectively .
- The amount of carbohydrates you are eating or drinking is not balanced with the amount of insulin your body is able to make or the amount of insulin you inject.
- You are less active than usual.
- Physical stress is affecting you.
- Emotional stress is affecting you.
- You are taking steroids for another condition.
- The dawn phenomenon is affecting you.
Other possible causes
- Pancreatic diseases such as pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and cystic fibrosis.
- Certain medications .
- Gestational diabetes, which happens in 4% of pregnancies, and is due to decreased insulin sensitivity.
- Surgery or trauma.
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How Can I Prevent Low Blood Glucose
All people with diabetes:
- If you experience low blood glucose often, ask your doctor if setting a higher goal for your A1C level may be appropriate.
- Ask your doctor to look at the test results from your home blood glucose monitor. These results reveal how often you have low blood glucose and when these episodes occur. Your doctor will look for patterns to see if low glucose happens after exercise or at certain times of day, for example.
- If you’ve had low blood glucose in the past, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet so that others will know that you have diabetes in the event of an emergency.
- Keep a fast-acting carbohydrate in your bag, desk drawer, car and other places for easy access. Good options include hard candy, fruit juice or glucose paste or tablets, which can be purchased at most pharmacies.
- Ask your doctor for an emergency glucagon kit. This kit contains a fast- acting medication that can be injected in case of loss of consciousness because of low blood glucose. Keep one kit at home and one at work or school.
- Monitor your blood glucose regularly so that low levels can be corrected before symptoms progress.
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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Causes Of High Blood Sugar
Common causes of high blood sugar in people with diabetes include:
- eating too much sugary or starchy food
- being less active than usual
- missing doses of diabetes medicine
You can also get high blood sugar if your diabetes medicine is not working well, you’re taking certain medicines or you recently had an operation.
Eliminate Whats Stressing You Out
While this seems obvious, it should be your first plan of action. You might not be able to completely avoid the stress, but you could reduce it by brainstorming alternatives and problem solving. If you want to avoid rush-hour traffic, try leaving at a different time or adopt a new route. If a relationship is troubling you, see if you can make amends. If you find you cannot accomplish tasks at hand, find new ways to get organized.
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Ok So How Did You Get Here
You might assume a blood sugar spike happens after you eat a ton of sugar. That would make sense and would be a simple explanation with an easy fix. Unfortunately, its more complicated than that.
Your blood sugar fluctuates throughout the day, rising after you eat certain foods, such as carb-heavy ones like pasta and potatoes. If its consistently high, thats when you need to start worrying.
There are several reasons this could happen :
- You skipped a dose of insulin or didnt take enough.
- You skipped your oral diabetes medication.
- You have an illness or infection, like a cold or the flu.
- Youre extra stressed out.
Your blood sugar may rise if you:
- Skip or forget your insulin or oral glucose-lowering medicine
- Eat too many grams of carbohydrates for the amount of insulin you took, or eat too many carbs in general
- Have an infection
- Are under stress
- Become inactive or exercise less than usual
- Take part in strenuous physical activity, especially when your blood sugar levels are high and insulin levels are low
How To Measure Your Spikes
The American Diabetes Association recommends you check your blood sugar levels right before mealtime with a blood sample from a finger stick. Then do it again 1 to 2 hours after that first bite of food.
Keep this up for a week or so. Write down the time and the blood sugar number. Make a note about anything you think might affect your levels, like medicine or exercise. And don’t forget to log exactly what you ate, along with portion sizes and the amount of carbs.What levels are too high after a meal? Experts vary on what the number should be, but the ADA says a general goal is a blood sugar level under 180 mg/dL, 1 to 2 hours after a meal. Talk to your doctor about what you should aim for, and don’t adjust your medicine without speaking to them first.
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How To Manage Blood Sugar Spikes After Meals
If you’re trying to manage diabetes, you already know it’s important to keep track of your blood sugar levels. But how do you handle a spike that comes after you eat? It’s called “postprandial” blood glucose, and if you take some simple steps, you can get it under control and help avoid health problems.
What Do You Do If Blood Sugar Is Too High
The best thing to do when your blood sugar levels are too high is to eat low carb and high protein meals and drink a high amount of water. Did you forget to take your insulin? You can do a correction bolus or take your medication before you eat. If the high blood sugar continues, contact your doctor and ask them to review your current dosages of insulin or if they need to prescribe another type of medicine for diabetes that will help keep blood glucose levels within the normal range.
Keep testing your blood sugar levels at regular intervals to make sure your high blood sugar is dropping, and if so, not dropping too fast and too much.
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Causes Related To Diet
Processed foods and sugar
Diet and how it relates to blood glucose values can vary immensely from person to person. But, research suggests that eating processed foods can increase blood glucose.
Overeating or grazing
Itâs a common belief that snacking throughout the day will keep blood glucose levels steady. But, a 2013 study found that eating two large meals per day helped reduce blood glucose more effectively than six small meals per day. Itâs also important to keep our meals to the right proportions, as overeating can raise blood glucose levels as well.
Some research has found a connection between low water intake and a greater risk of hyperglycemia. This is most likely because less water in the body means the concentration of glucose in the blood is higher.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
How To Get Sugar Levels Down
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