Foods To Boost Low Blood Sugar
People with diabetes try hard to keep their blood sugar from getting too high, but sometimes they succeed too well. Certain diabetes medications — including insulin injections and pills such as chlorpropamide — can sometimes make blood sugar too low, a condition called hypoglycemia. People with diabetes can also get low blood sugar simply by skimping at mealtime, drinking too much alcohol, or overexercising.
Low blood sugar is usually mild and easy to fix, but if you wait too long, you can lose consciousness. If your blood sugar level drops below 70 milligrams per deciliter or if you notice signs of hypoglycemia — shakiness, dizziness, light-headedness, confusion, anxiety, weakness, heart palpitations, blurry vision, hunger, or sweating — you can bring your level up again with a quick, sugary snack. If you are away from home and experience symptoms, and you can’t test your blood sugar first, it’s better to have a small snack before you become even more ill.
Here are some proven sugar-boosting options:
- One-half cup of fruit juice
- One-half cup of non-diet soda
- 1 cup of milk
- A small handful of hard candy
- 1 tablespoon of either sugar or honey
- 3 or 4 glucose tablets
About 15 minutes after your snack, check your blood sugar again. If you’re still below 70, try another dose of sugar. Check again 15 minutes later, and keep the pattern up until your blood sugar is in a normal range.
What Causes Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar has many causes, including missing a meal, taking too much insulin, taking other diabetes medicines, exercising more than normal, and drinking alcohol. Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low.
Signs of low blood sugar are different for everyone. Common symptoms include:
Know what your individual symptoms are so you can catch low blood sugar early and treat it. If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms. Low blood sugar can be dangerous and should be treated as soon as possible.
How To Bring High Blood Sugar Down Fast
Everyone with diabetes is bound to experience high blood sugars. There are simply too many variables out of our control to prevent high blood sugars from ever happening.
But the best thing we can do when they do happen is to help them come down as quickly as possible.
Here are four things you can do to bring a high blood sugar level down quickly.
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Roller Coaster: Female Hormones
When a woman’s hormones change, so does their blood sugar. Keep a monthly record of your levels to get a better idea of how your menstrual cycle affects you. Hormone changes during menopause may make blood sugar even harder to control. Talk to your doctor about whether hormone replacement therapy is a good idea.
Youre Hungrier Than Usual But Losing Weight
Many people with uncontrolled high blood sugar find that theyre hungrier than usual, which signals a symptom called polyphagia, MedlinePlus notes. And although youre eating more, you may be losing weight for no apparent reason if your blood sugar levels are too high, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Since your body is not getting energy from the preferred source, glucose, it has to turn to muscle and fat, Zanini explains. When your body starts breaking down muscle and fat for energy, you experience unintentional and unhealthy weight loss. In addition to these changes in weight and appetite, you may notice weakness in your muscles and experience more frequent falls, Emanuele adds.
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How Often Should I Check My Blood Sugar
The number of times that you check your blood sugar will depend on the type of diabetes that you have and the type of medicine you take to treat your diabetes. For example, people who take insulin may need to check more often than people who do not take insulin. Talk with your health care team about how often to check your blood sugar.
The common times for checking your blood sugar are when you first wake up , before a meal, 2 hours after a meal, and at bedtime. Talk with your health care team about what times are best for you to check your blood sugar.
How Are Low Blood Sugar Levels Treated
Your diabetes health care team will give you guidelines for treating low blood sugar levels, depending on your symptoms. If you can, try to test your blood sugar levels to make sure that your symptoms are because of hypoglycemia. If you can’t test blood sugar immediately, don’t delay in treating your symptoms you can always check your blood sugar after you’ve taken steps to get your blood sugar back up into the normal range.
When blood sugar levels are low, the goal is to get them back up quickly. To do that, you should take in sugar or sugary foods, which raise the blood sugar level quickly. Your health care team might suggest that you:
- Eat, drink, or take something that contains sugar that can get into the blood quickly. Your doctor may tell you to have really sugary foods or drinks or might give you glucose tablets or gel to take all of these can help to raise your blood sugar level fast, which is what you need to do when it’s low.
- Wait about 10 minutes to let the sugar work.
- Recheck your blood sugar level with a glucose meter to see if blood sugar levels are back to normal.
- Get a glucagon shot , if your symptoms are severe or get worse after you eat, drink, or take glucose.
Sometimes, blood sugar levels can get so low that you may not be awake enough to eat or drink something to get them back up. When this happens, you may need a glucagon shot.
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What Else Can I Do To Help Manage My Blood Sugar Levels
- Keep track of your blood sugar levels to see what makes them go up or down.
- Eat at regular times, and dont skip meals.
- Choose foods lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.
- Track your food, drink, and physical activity.
- Drink water instead of juice or soda.
- Limit alcoholic drinks.
- For a sweet treat, choose fruit.
- Control your food portions .
Recognizing The Signs Of Hypoglycemia
OConnor says there are a number of warning signs that indicate you might have low blood sugar. The symptoms can range from very mild shakiness, clamminess, feeling irritable or jittery, and having temporarily blurred vision to much more severe, such as seizures and loss of consciousness or passing out, although these are less common, she says. These symptoms can occur because of many other circumstances, so if you are diabetic and are having symptoms that could be due to low blood sugar, check your sugar levels to see whats going on, she adds.
Certain things can also put you at higher risk of hypoglycemia, especially if you skip or put off a meal or snack, take too much insulin, don’t eat enough carbohydrates, exercise more than you regularly do, or drink alcohol. In addition, people with type 1 diabetes experience hypoglycemia more often than those with type 2.
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How Do You Feel When Your Blood Sugar Is Too High
Whether you are at risk for diabetes mellitus or already have it, its essential to listen to your body for signs of high blood sugar. The following symptoms can indicate that your blood sugar is higher than normal, a condition called hyperglycemia:
- Trouble thinking or concentrating
Its important to monitor your blood sugar because severely elevated blood sugar levels can lead to a life-threatening medical emergency and result in coma or other dangerous conditions. Elevated blood sugars over years can cause long-term effects such as poor wound healing, nerve, blood cell, and kidney damage, heart disease, stroke, and vision problems.
Keep in mind that, in many cases, low blood sugar follows an episode of high blood sugar, says M. Kara, MD, the founder of KaraMD. Repeat episodes are sometimes considered a precursor to diabetes.
Those with prediabetes may be prescribed medication to keep blood sugar levels in check. There are also ways to lower your blood sugar naturally. Keeping your blood glucose levels in the healthy range decreases your risk of diabetes complications. Those with Type 1 diabetes will need insulin regardless of their good habits.
Only You Can Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes
Its annoying but true: The best way to lower your blood sugar is to avoid a spike in the first place.
Eating whole foods that are low in sugar and exercising regularly will help keep your blood sugar in check. This can be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes, but medications may also be necessary to keep blood sugar in a healthy range.
To avoid food-based spikes, try to steer clear of added sugars in your diet. The FDA recommends consuming less than 200 calories a day from added sugars.
That sounds pretty simple, but when you realize that 16 ounces of orange juice has 240 calories , its easy to see how sugar consumption gets out of hand.
Its best to avoid all sugary drinks and check the labels. There are hidden sugars in everything from bread to turkey slices, so double-check your favorite foods to make sure you arent getting any unnecessary sweetness.
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Take The Medication Unless Your Doctor Tells You Otherwise
Your doctor isnt medicating you for the sake of it. There are certain health problems that will require medication to help you control your levels. This is the case with diabetes.
Its important to visit your doctor regularly. Arranged for morning appointments when you have your checks to get your morning levels recorded on a regular basis. This way your doctor can see if your medication is still needed and whether there are other things you can do instead.
Only stop taking your medication if your doctor tells you so. Youll get a good idea by your glucose levels. Track them yourself to see if theyre getting lower one week to the next. If you see a significant drop, talk to your doctor about your options for cutting back or out your medication and trying more holistic options.
If you believe you need a second opinion, dont be afraid to get one from someone reputable. Just follow the advice from those who have the degrees!
How To Use A Blood Glucose Meter:
- After washing your hands, insert a test strip into your meter.
- Use your lancing device on the side of your fingertip to get a drop of blood.
- Touch and hold the edge of the test strip to the drop of blood and wait for the result.
- Your blood glucose level will appear on the meter’s display.
Note: All meters are slightly different, so always refer to your user’s manual for specific instructions.
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Your Blood Sugar’s Relationship With Your Menstrual Cycle
How is blood sugar connected to your period?
What if you have diabetes?
How does each point in your cycle affect blood sugar?
Managing blood glucose levels alongside your cycle
In the words of Def Leppard, pour some sugar on meeeeee. Except maybe when menstruating? If you have blood sugar issues, experience hypoglycemia or suffer from diabetes, then you may have noticed fluctuations during your menstrual cycle thanks to constantly changing hormone levels. These changes can be difficult to manage in themselves, never mind the added stress of sensitivity to insulin.
If you suffer from diabetes and your hormones seem unpredictable, trying to manage your blood sugar alongside this can be challenging. One solution wont suit everyone, but here are a few things you might want to know about this frustrating but important topic…
Dont Rely On Supplements Or Vitamins
Theres no shortcut to maintaining good blood sugars. A supplement or vitamin alone will not give you healthy blood sugar levels and they can interact negatively with other medications. Speak to your healthcare provider and perhaps ask for a referral for a dietitian who specializes in blood sugar control before incorporating dietary supplements, shakes, or vitamins to achieve blood sugar control.
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Eat Foods With A Low To Medium Gi Score
Look for foods with a low to medium glycemic index score. These are foods that your body absorbs slowly and decrease spikes in blood sugar. Some people pair low and high GI foods in order to balance their blood sugar. Another way to think about foods that lower blood glucose are ones that do not provide fast energy but give you more energy over a longer period of time. Foods with a low glycemic index have many health benefits besides their effects on blood sugar, so eating a diet high in protein, fatty acids, and fiber will benefit your whole family, not just those actively trying to achieve glycemic control.
How To Lower Blood Sugar Naturally
Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is the main sugar in your blood and your bodys main source of energy. Blood sugars vary all day. A normal fasting blood sugar is less than 100 mg/dl. Blood sugars anytime of day regardless of when or what the last meal was should always be under 200 mg/dl. Blood sugars exceeding these two levels could signal prediabetes or Type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot produce enough insulin or use insulin properly to correct blood sugars to safe levels.
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Managing Blood Glucose Levels Alongside Your Cycle
If you are diabetic and already carefully managing your blood sugar levels, youll probably have this down to a fine art. But if you experience particularly bad PMS symptoms like mood swings and bloating, then it can be all the more challenging. You may find it helpful to control these menstrual symptoms through use of hormonal contraception, such as the pill or injection, but it is worth bearing in mind that these can impact your blood sugar control too.
One symptom to watch out for is food cravings, as these can easily affect blood glucose levels. A craving for carbs or sweets combined with a lack of physical activity around your period could affect this, so always be aware of your bodys reaction to certain times of the month, and dont be afraid to ask your GP if you experience any issues that you feel negatively affect your daily life.
Want to minimise food cravings? Here are a few tips:
- Limit your intake of alcohol, chocolate and caffeine, as these can affect your mood and increase the likelihood of you reaching for the high-carb, high-sugar treats
- Have regular, set meal times and avoid snacking throughout the day
- If you do need a snack, stick to low-fat, low-carb treats that are less likely to spike your blood glucose
- Do regular exercise throughout the month to decrease your blood glucose levels and manage your mood
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 are not usually a cause for concern and can be treated quite easily or may return to normal on their own.
But 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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High Blood Sugar Causes
Sometimes the cause of a blood sugar spike is clear . But other times, the cause is a little more mysterious.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, losing sleep, skipping breakfast, not drinking enough water, or drinking coffee can cause blood sugar instability.
Even weirder, sometimes a sunburn can cause a spike! The pain of a burn causes stress, and high levels of stress can mess up your blood sugar. So bust out the sunscreen for the sake of your pancreas!
Other causes include eating high-sugar/high-carb foods, drinking alcohol, getting sick, and changing medication. A diet low in fiber and high in refined carbs or sugars and a sedentary lifestyle also make high blood sugar more likely.
So, what can you do when your blood sugar gets too high? Here are some natural ways to get your sugar back into a safe zone.