How To Prevent Hyperglycaemia And Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels
Testing your blood sugar levels regularly can help you spot the signs of hyperglycaemia. But there are some steps you can take to either prevent a hyper from happening or to bring down your blood sugar levels.
You can start by making sure you are aware of your carbohydrate portions and how they may be affecting your blood sugar levels after eating. Carb countingis one of the ways you can manage this. Avoid foods that have a high glycemic index and choose low GI foods that can help manage your blood sugar levels more effectively. Increase the fibre in your diet. This can help slow down carbohydrate digestion, which can help limit the rise in your blood sugars.
Try to maintain a healthy weight as this promotes regular blood sugar levels in the body. Be as active as possible, regular exercise can help your body process more of the sugar.
Remember to take your insulin and other diabetes medication, and always take them correctly. Continue to take your diabetes medication even if you are ill and not eating.
Concentrate on your emotional wellbeing, get a quality nights sleep and find ways to manage your stress. Stress can cause hormones to be released, which keep your blood sugar levels high.
If your blood sugar levels continue to be high, or youre unsure of what to do, contact your doctor for further guidance.
Youre Getting Yeast Infections More Often Than Usual
Hyperglycemia may lead you to get more frequent genital yeast infections. The culprit is often a type of yeast known as Candida albicans, per the ADA. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in females the symptoms can include: vaginal itching, redness or soreness pain during sexual intercourse pain or discomfort during urination and thick, abnormal vaginal discharge. While yeast infections are common in people who dont have diabetes, having more glucose in your blood puts you at higher risk of getting them. The yeast feeds off the glucose, and if your blood sugar is high theres more glucose in the urinary tract, explains Bandukwala. Uncircumcised men with hyperglycemia are also at risk, he says.
Were also seeing this happen a little more now with patients who take SGLT-2 inhibitors, which force the body to expel more glucose through the urine, the endocrinologist adds. The FDA has added a warning to the prescribing information for SGLT-2 inhibitors about a far more rare and potentially fatal genital condition, known as necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum, or Fourniers gangrene .
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:
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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.
Blood Sugar Spike Symptoms
So, how can you tell if your blood sugar is spiking? In the short term, Inchauspe says you might feel really hungry , experience an energy slump after a meal, or have cravings for sweets. Blood sugar spikes can also affect your sleep, making it more likely that you’ll toss and turn that night.
“Sometimes people who experience a blood sugar spike may feel ‘buzzy’a little jittery or anxious, or like they’re a bit out of balance,” adds Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RDN. She says that increased thirst, headaches, inability to focus, confusion, and blurred vision can also signal a blood sugar spike, but these signs usually only occur if your blood sugar is elevated above a normal range and often warrant a check-in with your health care provider.
In summary, blood sugar spike symptoms can include:
- Hunger after eating
- Inability to focus
It’s also quite possible that you feel nothing at all. In a 2014 study published in PLOS Biology, researchers monitored the glucose levels of 57 participants for up to four weeks. After the study period, they found that even some people who were non-diabetic by current standards experienced blood sugar spikes following certain types of high-carbohydrate mealsand they didn’t even know .
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.
What Are The Risks Of Hyperglycemia
Hyperglycemia can be a sign that your body isnt getting enough insulin. It is normal for patients with T1D to get hyperglycemia, and most of the time this is simply treated with insulin. If the body does not have insulin for approximately 8 hours, you could develop a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA.
In DKA, your body breaks down fat for energy because it doesnt have enough insulin to use the sugar in your blood. This produces chemicals called ketones, which make your blood more acidic.
DKA is dangerous. Too much acid in your blood can make you pass out or even cause death.
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Avoid Sugary Drinks And Added Sugar In General
Sweet drinks like soda, sweetened tea and coffee, and fruit-flavored drinks are packed with added sugar. To make matters worse, liquids empty from your stomach very quickly, which means the sugar from the drinks is available in your bloodstream much quicker than eating solid food with carbohydrates or sugar.
Sugary drinks are one of the leading culprits behind blood sugar spikes. One 12-ounce can of standard cola provides 33 grams of added sugar, which is beyond the daily recommendation of fewer than 25 grams of added sugar per day for women and close to the limit of fewer than 36 grams of added sugar per day for men.
Sugary drinks arent the only sources of added sugar. Its estimated that 60% of packaged foods contain some form of added sugar.
Processed foods dont always appear unhealthy yogurt, cereal, bread, and other foods can contain hidden added sugar, so be sure to read the nutrition facts and ingredients labels.
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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Type 1 Diabetes Sugar Spike Overnight
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce insulin.
The insulin receptor sites may be in perfect condition, and there may be plenty of them, too, but glucose will never make it to these sites if theres no insulin to shuttle over the glucose.
Type 1 diabetics, then, must take insulin injections.
If theyre careless with managing this autoimmune disease, an overnight surge in blood sugar can result due to insufficient insulin.
Dr. Besser provides comprehensive family care, treating common and acute primary conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Her ongoing approach allows her the opportunity to provide accurate and critical diagnoses of more complex conditions and disorders.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. Shes also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.
How To Get Sugar Levels Down
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Urgent Advice: Call Your Care Team Immediately Or Get Help From Nhs 111 If:
You think you have high blood sugar and:
- you’re feeling sick, being sick or have stomach pain
- you’re breathing more quickly than usual or your heart is beating faster than usual
- you feel drowsy or are struggling to stay awake
- your breath has a fruity smell
- you feel confused or have difficulty concentrating
- you have a high level of ketones in your blood or pee
These could be signs you’re becoming seriously unwell.
You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.
Page last reviewed: 26 May 2022 Next review due: 26 May 2025
Nausea Vomiting Confusion And More
These seemingly disparate symptoms are all signs of a rare and life-threatening state called diabetic ketoacidosis , according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. DKA can cause the symptoms above, as well as stomach pain, trouble breathing, dry or flushed skin, fruity-smelling breath, or difficulty paying attention. It usually occurs in people with type 1 diabetes and is sometimes the first sign they are sick, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. DKA happens when the liver is unable to use the sugar in the blood for energy without insulin and begins to break down body fat into a type of fuel called ketones at such a high rate that they become toxic and make the blood acidic, the U.S. National Library of Medicine explains. DKA can be fatal if left untreated, so anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek care immediately.
Over time, untreated high blood sugar can cause additional symptoms, such as:
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What Is High Blood Sugar
Most of the food you eat is broken down into glucose. Your body needs glucose because its the primary fuel that makes your muscles, organs, and brain work properly. But glucose cant be used as fuel until it enters your cells.
Insulin, a hormone produced by your pancreas, unlocks cells so glucose can enter them. Without insulin, that glucose keeps floating around in your bloodstream with nowhere to go. It can become increasingly more concentrated over time.
When glucose builds up in your bloodstream, your blood glucose levels rise. Over time, this can cause damage to organs, nerves, and blood vessels.
Blood sugar spikes occur in people with diabetes because their bodies are unable to use insulin effectively.
Keep reading to learn about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of blood sugar spikes.
Treating And Managing Hyperglycaemia
If your blood sugar level is slightly high for a short time, emergency treatment wont be necessary. But if it continues to rise you may need to act fast to avoid developing diabetic ketoacidosis .
If your blood sugar level is 15 mmol/l or more, you should check your blood or urine for ketones. If ketones are present, it is likely that you do not have enough insulin in your body. This means you may need to increase your dose or give yourself an extra dose. Talk to your diabetes team about how to do this if you are unsure.
You should also try to drink plenty of sugar-free fluids to prevent dehydration. And if you are feeling unwell, especially if you are vomiting, you should follow any sick day rules you have been given and contact your diabetes healthcare team for advice.
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Blood Sugar Spiking In The Middle Of The Night
The dawn phenomenon is a natural response that everyone experiences diabetic and non-diabetics alike. Between 2 and 8 a.m., our bodies release hormones to begin preparing for the day. These hormones can cue glucose to be released by the liver, which can cause elevated blood glucose levels for people those who have insulin resistance or do not produce enough insulin. If your fasting glucose is consistently elevated in the morning, try to check your glucose between 2 and 4 a.m. Repeat for a few days, and record the data for your doctor.
Is Hyperglycaemia Serious
The aim of diabetes treatment is to keep blood sugar levels as near to normal as possible. But if you have diabetes, no matter how careful you are, you’re likely to experience hyperglycaemia at some point.
It’s important to be able to recognise and treat hyperglycaemia, as it can lead to serious health problems if left untreated.
Occasional mild episodes aren’t usually a cause for concern and can be treated quite easily or may return to normal on their own. However, hyperglycaemia can be potentially dangerous if blood sugar levels become very high or stay high for long periods.
Very high blood sugar levels can cause life-threatening complications, such as:
- diabetic ketoacidosis a condition caused by the body needing to break down fat as a source of energy, which can lead to a diabetic coma this tends to affect people with type 1 diabetes
- hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state severe dehydration caused by the body trying to get rid of excess sugar this tends to affect people with type 2 diabetes
Regularly having high blood sugar levels for long periods of time can result in permanent damage to parts of the body such as the eyes, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels.
If you experience hyperglycaemia regularly, speak to your doctor or diabetes care team. You may need to change your treatment or lifestyle to keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range.
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Blood Sugar Spike Causes
Blood sugar levels fluctuate all day long. When you eat food, particularly foods high in carbohydrates like bread, potatoes, or pasta, your blood sugar will immediately begin to rise.
If your blood sugar is consistently high, you need to talk with a doctor about improving your diabetes management. Blood sugar rises when:
- youre not taking enough insulin
- your insulin isnt lasting as long as you think it is
- youre not taking your oral diabetes medication
- your medication dosage needs to be adjusted
- youre using expired insulin
- youre not following your nutritional plan
- you have an illness or infection
- youre taking certain medications, like steroids
- youre under physical stress, such as an injury or surgery
- youre under emotional stress, such as trouble at work or home, or with money problems
If your blood sugar is usually well managed but youre still experiencing unexplained blood sugar spikes, there might be an acute, or more recent, cause.
Try keeping a record of all the food and drinks you consume. Then check your blood sugar levels according to your doctors recommendations.
Its common to record your blood sugar reading first thing in the morning, before youve eaten, and then again 2 hours after eating.
Even a few days of recorded information can help you and your doctor learn whats causing your blood sugar spikes.
Common reasons for blood sugar spikes include:
Preventing Blood Sugar Spikes
There are additional ways to prevent blood sugar spikes.
Monitor blood sugar levels. The first step in preventing blood sugar spikes is knowing what your blood sugar levels are in the first place. Especially if you take a medication that directly affects your blood sugar level, such as insulin, you should be checking your blood sugar level often.
A good starting place is checking your blood sugar level every morning before you eatthis is called a fasting blood sugar level. This once-per-day testing might be sufficient for some people with type 2 diabetes. However, others may need to check their blood sugar level up to 10 times daily.
Choose whole grains. Compared to refined grains, whole grains contain the entire grain, including the fibrous outer layer called the bran and the nutrient-rich inner core called the germ. Choosing to eat whole grains ensures you get the most nutrients out of your grains.
Because fiber isnt absorbed and broken down in the body like other carbohydrates, it doesnt result in a big blood sugar spike.
Balance meals with fat and protein. You can help prevent blood sugar spikes by balancing your meals with fat and protein in addition to carbohydrates.
Meals that contain only carbohydrates are easily broken down into glucose and sent into your bloodstream. Fat and protein help slow down the digestion of carbohydrates and, in turn, their absorption into the bloodstream.
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