Why Is My Blood Sugar So High When I Wake Up
The dawn phenomenon In the early hours of the morning, hormones, including cortisol and growth hormone, signal the liver to boost the production of glucose, which provides energy that helps you wake up. This triggers beta cells in the pancreas to release insulin in order to keep blood glucose levels in check.
High Blood Sugar Levels In The Morning
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A person usually has slightly higher blood sugar or glucose levels in the morning. But, in some people with diabetes, these levels are significantly high.
that get worse over time, due to these blood sugar spikes.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, healthy blood sugar levels are:
- from 80130 milligrams per deciliter just before eating
- below 180 mg/dl 2 hours after eating
In addition, they note that:
- A low blood sugar level is under 70 mg/dl.
- A high blood sugar level is over 180 mg/dl.
There are two main causes of high blood sugar in the morning: the dawn phenomenon and the Somogyi effect.
This article explores these causes, including what they can mean for a persons health and when to see a doctor.
The dawn phenomenon relates to natural body changes that occur during the sleep cycle.
In the morning, everyone experiences a slight rise in blood glucose levels. A person without diabetes will not experience effects, as their body can adjust. For a person with diabetes, however, this rise can be significant, and it may need treatment.
At the same time, the body is producing glucagon, another hormone, which can lead to a further rise in blood sugar.
This happens just as nighttime levels of insulin are starting to taper off.
Improving Blood Sugar Control
Good blood sugar control can help you avoid the symptoms and complications of going too high or low. Youll also feel better and have more energy, says Rasa Kazlauskaite, MD, medical director of the Rush University Prevention Center in Chicago, Illinois, and associate professor in the department of preventive medicine and internal medicine.
Get started with these 10 tips to help you rein in your blood sugar and better manage type 2 diabetes:
1. Stick to your medication plan. There are many drugs to help control blood sugar, Reddy says. Taking your medication as directed is vital don’t skip doses.
2. Eat on schedule. Eating healthy meals at about the same time every day helps keep blood sugar steady. Also, meal routines and consistency help to avoid severe hunger and help medications work better, Dr. Kazlauskaite says.
3. Distribute carbohydrates throughout the day. Make it a goal to eat two to four carbohydrate servings about 30 to 60 grams per meal, says Margaret Powers, PhD, RD, CDE, president-elect of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association and a research scientist at Park Nicollet Health Services International Diabetes Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Because carbohydrates raise your blood sugar, spacing them out can help keep your levels in a healthy range.
9. Make it a family affair. Reddy suggests recruiting family members to eat healthy and exercise with you so it feels more like fun than a task.
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How Does A Keto Diet Affect Blood Sugar
The premise of the ketogenic diet and diabetes is easy; fewer carbs require less insulin and should result in fewer blood sugar spikes. Fewer blood sugar spikes should lead to improved time in range and better A1c values.
In addition, several studies have shown that the keto diet can improve insulin sensitivity , further reducing the need for insulin and making blood sugar control easier.
IF you can adhere to it, keto can be a very effective way to manage your blood sugars. The swings will truly start to dissipate, trendlines on CGMs will flatten, and your A1c will quite possibly drop.; I had the best A1c of my LIFE while doing keto.
On the flip side, hypos can be an issue, especially early onand if you treat them too aggressively, they could knock you out of ketosis. I remember my first 3 weeks on keto, my CGM trend line hugged a blood sugar of around 80.; It was glorious, but I had to reduce insulin substantially through trial and error and felt like I was low every five seconds.
When I would overtreat a low, I would sometimes push my carbohydrate amount over the keto threshold and end up OUT of ketosisnot that it is the worst thing in the world, but the goal is to remain in ketosis as much as possible.
That keto diets work in real life is exemplified by the fact that the keto diet is perhaps the most popular low-carb diet for people with diabetes and that thousands of people swear by the keto diet for good blood sugar management.
When To See A Doctor
According to the University of Michigan, blood sugar levels of 300 mg/dL or more can be dangerous. They recommend calling a doctor if you have two readings in a row of 300 or more.
See your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar levels. Symptoms of this include:
- increased thirst
- high levels of sugar in urine
Ask your doctor how often to check your blood sugar and about your ideal blood sugar levels.
If you dont currently see a doctor who specializes in diabetes, known as an endocrinologist, you can find one by searching the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists website.
You can find a certified diabetes educator by visiting the American Diabetes Associations website and searching by zip code.
Talk to your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar readings or symptoms of chronic hyperglycemia.
Checking your blood sugar and then treating hyperglycemia early will help prevent any complications.
Health problems can arise when someone has high blood sugar regularly and without treatment.
Examples of complications include:
- nerve damage, called diabetic neuropathy, that may affect sensations in the feet and hands
- diabetic retinopathy, or damage to the blood vessels in the eyes that affects vision
- increased risks for kidney problems
- increased risks for heart problems
Taking steps to keep your blood sugar at target levels can help to minimize the likelihood that these complications will occur.
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Risk Factors For High Blood Sugar
Doctors do not know exactly what causes diabetes. Some factors may increase the risk, however.
Type 1 diabetes
Researchers believe certain genetic or environmental factors may make people more likely to get type 1 diabetes.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases say certain genes play a role, and other factors such as viruses and infections may have an impact.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation say that there is nothing a person can do to prevent type 1 diabetes. Eating, exercise, or other lifestyle choices will not change the outcome.
Type 1 diabetes usually begins during childhood or early adulthood, but it can happen at any age.
Type 2 diabetes
The following risk factors may make developing type 2 diabetes more likely:
- having certain genes
People who have high blood sugar should discuss their target levels with their doctor.
They may need regular testing to keep these within a healthy range. Each person is different and levels can vary between individuals.
To find out their blood sugar levels, the person may need to fast for 8 hours, 2 hours after a meal, or at both times.
Some people may also take a glucose tolerance test, in which they drink a sugary liquid and have a blood test after.
The American Diabetes Association recommend a pre-meal blood sugar level of 80130 milligrams per deciliter . Around 1 to 2 hours after the beginning of a meal, blood sugar should be less than 180 ml/dL.
Keto Adaptation Is Rough
It takes a while to become what is known as keto adapted, which is your bodys way of saying hey, I got this, Im ready to mainly burn fat!
According to keto expert Ariel Warren, RD, CD, the exact length of the adaption period usually depends on how many carbohydrates you are used to eating. Around 2 weeks if you have eaten a relatively low-carb diet previously, 2-4 weeks for a more moderate-carb diet, and 4+ weeks for high-carbohydrate diet.
At the start of the adaption period, your body is rebooting what it has known for pretty much your entire life. Your brain is used to running on glucose and suddenly it doesnt have it. Now, it CRAVES it.; Youre in glucose WITHDRAWAL.
Some describe this phenomenon as the keto flu, where you basically feel the opposite of everything promised sick, fatigued, nauseous, mental cloudiness, etc. its not very pleasant.
Oh, and I should probably also mention that low carb means low fiber pooping could be an issue. Its often recommended to add extra magnesium, potassium & sodium to your diet to help;help your digestion;elimination process.
However, if we look positively, it also means youre doing something right if you experience this, butwho wants to self-inflict that kind of discomfort?; I did, and it was not fun. On this note
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The Theory Behind Using A Keto Diet For Weight Loss
Proponents of using a keto diet for weight loss argue that eating carbs drives up insulin production, which increases hunger and causes the body to hold on to fat and suppress calorie burn. When you replace carbs with fat, you decrease the need for insulin, subdue;hunger, boost calorie burn, and melt away fat.
Many people also report fat as very satiating, making them full. The same goes for protein. When you feel full, you eat fewer calories and have fewer cravings. When you are at a healthy caloric deficit, you are primed to lose unwanted pounds.
What Should I Do If My Blood Sugar Is High After Eating
Blood sugar spike: What to do. Its important to know the symptoms of hyperglycemia. If you suspect that you have high blood sugar, 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.
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Strength May Suffer At Least For A While
This is ESPECIALLY evident during adaptation, but keto is not really ideal for high-intensity physical activity. Biochemically, this makes sense intensive bouts need energy quickly, and fat oxidation is not exactly the fastest process in the world.
There is hardly any scientific data on keto diets and strength training, but plenty of anecdotal evidence stating that it can be difficult to even maintain strength.
Personally, all of my lifts dropped 40-50 lbs. for the first 4-6 weeks after I switched to a keto diet. Weights that I used to toss around with ease became tougher to move until I was fully adapted.
Its not impossible to improve strength while on a keto diet, but it can make the process substantially more difficult.
How To Check Blood Sugar
There are basically two main tests which are conducted to determine whether someone has diabetes.
Impaired fasting glycemia testWhen being tested for diabetes by a impaired fasting glycemia test, blood sugar levels will normally be taken after around eight hours of fasting.
Impaired glucose tolerance testAn impaired glucose tolerance test involves taking a concentrated amount of glucose and then measuring blood sugar levels after two hours.
In a healthy person, a normal blood glucose level is between 72 mg/dL and 108 mg/dL . Read on how to check blood sugar values.
For checking your blood sugar level, you will need:
Medical alcohol to clean the skin where you will prick your finger, a sterile tool to prick your finger, some test strips and a glucose meter to read the test strip.
|Glucose mg/dL or mmol/L level||Value|
|more than 198 mg/dL or 11.0 mmol/L anytime||possible diabetes|
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Strategies To Control Blood Sugar
There are steps you can take to control blood sugar every day.
Educate yourself;The more you know about type 2 diabetes, the more confident youll feel about diabetes management. That feeling of self-efficacy is linked with better blood sugar control, taking medication as prescribed, and making lifestyle changes such as;improving your diet;and exercising, researchers reported in the;Summer 2014 issue;of Ethnicity & Disease.
Test your blood sugar on schedule;When researchers followed adults with type 2 diabetes over the course of a year, they found that those who used a structured blood sugar testing approach throughout the day had better blood sugar control than those who did not, according to an;October 2013 study;published in Diabetes Care. Common times to test your blood sugar include when you first wake up, before and after meals and exercise, and at bedtime. Talk to your doctor about when and how often you should test.
Exercise;Physical activity increases insulin sensitivity, which can help control blood sugar. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days during the week. How to tell if your intensity level is moderate? You should be able to talk but not be out of breath or able to sing out loud, according to the ADA.
Because exercise can lower blood sugar, you should keep a source of fast-acting carbohydrate on hand in case you need to treat hypoglycemia. Test your blood sugar before and after exercise to make sure its in a safe range.
Why Your A1c Matters
In a nutshell: your A1c is one of the clearest indicators of your risk for developing diabetes complications like neuropathy , retinopathy , nephropathy , and severe infection in any part of your body that requires healing.
For instance, a small cut on your toe could become infected due to high blood sugars, struggle to heal, and become severe enough that the infection could lead to an amputation.
The general guidelines from the American Diabetes Association recommend an A1c at or below 7.0 percent for the best prevention of diabetes complications.;Your risk of developing a diabetes complication continues to drop as your A1c drops closer to 6 percent.
Some people with diabetes aim for A1c levels in the 5s and lower especially those who follow strict low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet and the Bernstein diet. However, this hasnt been proven in research as especially necessary, nor is it reasonably achievable for the larger population of people with diabetes.
Its also important to remember that your blood sugar levels and your A1c are just information that tells you whether your body needs more or less of factors like insulin, other diabetes medications, changes in your nutrition, and changes in your exercise.
If you dont like the number youre seeing on your glucose meter or your A1c results, use that number as motivation to make changes in how you safely manage your diabetes in order to get different results.
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Levels After Youve Eaten
Many foods have types of carbohydrates called starches and sugars. When you eat foods with these types of carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is a type of simple sugar, and releases the glucose into your bloodstream. Aside from glucose produced by your liver, food is the main source of plasma glucose.
Two hours after eating, your blood sugar levels rise. They rise more when you eat more carbohydrates, when you do not eat fiber, fat, or protein with your carbs, and when you eat certain types of carbohydrates, such as refined sugars and starches.
These are target values from The Joslin Diabetes Center, which include levels for people with diabetes:
Random Blood Sugar Test
This measures your blood sugar at the time youre tested. You can take this test at any time and dont need to fast first. A blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or higher indicates you have diabetes.
|140 mg/dL or below||;N/A|
*Results for gestational diabetes can differ. Ask your health care provider what your results mean if youre being tested for gestational diabetes.Source: American Diabetes Association
If your doctor thinks you have type 1 diabetes, your blood may also tested for autoantibodies that are often present in type 1 diabetes but not in type 2 diabetes. You may have your urine tested for ketones , which also indicate type 1 diabetes instead of type 2 diabetes.
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A Quick Note On Keto And Water Retention
You often hear people who start a keto diet exclaim, Ive been keto for a week, and Ive already lost 6 lbs! I love it!
While this can be a great motivator to stick to the diet, most of that initial weight lost consists of water due to less glycogen storage.
Why?; The old saying goes, wherever glycogen goes, water follows.
Because you eat fewer carbs, you will have lesser glycogen stores. Less glycogen means less water retained. Less water retained and, you guessed itthe scale goes down. ;There is nothing wrong with that just dont mistake lost water weight for fat loss.
What To Know About High Blood Sugar When Living With Diabetes:
What is hyperglycemia?
After eating a meal, the body signals the release of insulin. Insulin is like a key that unlocks the cells in order to store glucose for later use. This process reduces the amount of glucose in your blood stream. In people with diabetes, this process does not work as well because either there isnt enough insulin being produced, or because the body is resistant to the effects of the insulin. As a result, levels of glucose in the blood stream can reach high levels, causing hyperglycemia or high blood sugar.
Scale of normal blood sugar range
- Hyperglycemia occurs when the blood sugar is above 130 mg/dL while fasting, or greater than 180 mg/dL after eating a meal.
- American Diabetes Association Glucose Goals for people with Diabetes:
- Before meals or fasting: 70 to 130 mg/dL
- 1-2 hours after the start of a meal: Less than 180 mg/dL
Hb A1C If blood glucose is regularly higher than the normal ranges, then this will reflect in the Hemoglobin A1C test that your doctor will run. The Hemoglobin A1C gives your care team an idea of what your blood sugar typically is at.
Symptoms of hyperglycemia
- Illness, colds, infections, injuries, surgeries
- Emotional stress
- Not enough Diabetes Medication, or skipped doses of medication
- Too little exercise
How to treat hyperglycemia
When to call your doctor or seek emergency treatment:
REMEMBER: DO NOT DRIVE yourself if you think you may have very high blood Sugars or Diabetic Ketoacidosis
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