Why Your Blood Sugar Level May Be High
Based on the ADA guidelines above, if your blood sugar is above 180 mg/dL two hours after a meal, it is considered above the normal range. What might cause your glucose or blood sugar to rise? Consider the following factors:
- Consuming more carbohydrates or a larger meal than usual
- Not taking enough insulin or oral diabetes medication based on carbohydrates or activity levels
- Reduced physical activity
- Side effects from medications like steroids or antipsychotics
Whats Considered A Normal Glucose Level
Your doctor will likely test your blood glucose levels as a screening test for diabetes during a standard yearly check-up. Additionally, many people track their glucose at home with an over-the-counter finger-prick test. When you check blood glucose , either at a doctors office or with a home finger stick glucose monitor, the results are in milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood.
One of the most common glucose measurements is fasting plasma glucose or fasting blood glucose , and its found by checking blood glucose levels after not having any calories at least eight hours before the test. According to the American Diabetes Association , people can be classified into three categories depending on their fasting plasma glucose levels: normal, prediabetes, and diabetes. To be considered normal, fasting glucose must be under 100 mg/dl.
Of note, CGM devices measure interstitial glucose levels compared to blood/plasma glucose levels measured in the FPG tests. While interstitial glucose and blood/plasma glucose levels correlate highly, they are not precisely the same, and diagnoses are not made from interstitial measurements.
Below is a summary overview of data about 24-hour glucose trends in nondiabetic individuals wearing CGM to gain a better understanding of whats normal.
What Are Considered Normal Blood Sugar Levels
You might not have diabetes now, but do you know the risk factors?
In 2015, 22% of Canadian adults were pre-diabetic and the number of Canadians suffering from diabetes has increased by 44% in the last 10 years. As the leading cause of blindness, kidney problems, and non-trauma amputations, it is important to protect ourselves against diabetes.
But its not all bad news, diabetes is often a preventable disease. Knowing whether you have normal blood sugar levels is one of the best indicators of risk. If your blood sugar levels are high, mindful eating and lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
Read on for all the hottest tips on how to manage your blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes.
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What Are Blood Sugar Levels
Blood sugar levels, also known as blood glucose level, is the level of sugar/glucose present in the blood. Glucose is a simple version of sugar which comes from the food we eat. Therefore, the more food you consume with high sugar levels over a period of time, will typically increase your blood sugar level.
Glucose comes from the foods we eat and its sugar content. When a person consumes a food with high sugar content, that is turned into glucose. The glucose is then absorbed into the bloodstream with the support of insulin. This is then distributed between the bodys cells and used as energy.
Foods high in glucose include most carbohydrates and a handful of proteins and fats. Most foods contain glucose as it is simply a natural sugar that occurs in most dietary forms. However, it is carbohydrates that contain the most sugar and 100% of it turns into glucose, through the process mentioned above, once consumed. The concentration of glucose present in the blood will determine your blood sugar level.
Here is a quick video explaining Blood sugar levels chart :
Your blood sugar level can either be low, normal or high. Depending on what you eat and health conditions, it will vary from person to person. Here is a breakdown of how your blood sugar works and how low or high blood sugar levels happens:
What Changes Blood Sugar Levels
Several factors are responsible for changing the level of glucose in our blood. Most of them are a part of an unhealthy lifestyle. Switching to healthy habits can reduce the risk of fluctuating blood sugar levels in our bodies.
Eating fast food regularly, consuming high-calorie foods, or not regulating alcohol consumption can lead to a high amount of sugar content in your body. Not getting enough sleep, water, or exercise may also affect your glucose levels. Given below are some reasons for changing rates of blood sugar.
- Eating foods with a high quantity of carbohydrates or calories.
- No physical activities like exercise or yoga
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How To Save On Diabetic Supplies
For those wanting to save on diabetic supplies, there are a few options that can help cover the costs Medicare does not.
- If you have limited income and resources, look to see if you qualify for Medicaid services, Medicare Savings Programs, or Medicare Extra Help.
- Manufacturer rebates may also be available for specific diabetic supply brands.
- There are also a wide variety of organizations that offer patient assistance programs for diabetic medication and supplies.
- Cutting down on excessive use of diabetic supplies can also help save money. Not everyone needs to test multiple times a day, Hudson says. If I had a patient with well-controlled diabetes on oral medications, I might have them only test their blood sugar once a day or even once every other day.
- If you need help paying for your anti-diabetic drugs or insulin, the SingleCare discount card is a great option.
Increase Your Cognitive Performance With Optimized Glucose Levels
A higher, normal blood glucose level, may be a risk factor for decreased cognition and brain health.
A study compared 210 cognitively healthy people without diabetes, glucose intolerance, or metabolic syndrome to determine if fasting blood glucose levels in the normal range were associated with cognition.
The study found thathigher glucose levels in the normal range were associated with less grey matter and white matter in the brain and the consequential lower grey and white matter were associated with poorer cognitive performance.
This was specifically found in the frontal part of the brain, which is associated with aging and memory impairments. This is important because other research linking diabetic glucose levels with cognitive performance means that this association is also seen in whats considered normal fasting glucose levels.
The results had an interesting gender component. In women, only smaller grey matter regional volumes were significantly associated with the speed of processing information. Yet, in men, smaller grey matter regional volumes were significantly associated with worse information processing speed, memory, and executive function, or mental skills that help you get tasks done. Decreased language function was associated with smaller white matter regional volumes.
Yet, low blood glucose can also have a broad impact on cognition.12
Low fasting blood glucose is associated with aggression in men.14 Yet in women, it can lead to greater anger.15
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Blood Sugar Levels During Pregnancy
The NIDDK states that gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that occurs during pregnancy if you were not diabetic before getting pregnant. Healthy blood sugar during pregnancy can help lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes later. It can also lower the risk of your baby being born prematurely, at a high birth weight, and having respiratory problems.
Blood sugar and insulin levels during the first trimester of pregnancy tend to be lower than usual, but they rise during the late second and early third trimesters. You can be diagnosed with an oral glucose tolerance test .
These are the steps for the 2-step strategy.
- Drink a solution with 50 grams of glucose about the amount in 1 16-oz. bottle of a soft drink
- Get your blood drawn after 1 hour. IF the value is high, retest
- Fast overnight
- Drink a solution with 100 grams of glucose about the amount in 12 peanut butter cups
- Get your blood drawn immediately and after 1, 2, and 3 hours
Or, your doctor might use the 1-step strategy with a 2-hour OGTT:
- Fast overnight
- Drink a solution with 75 grams of glucose
- Get your blood drawn immediately and after 1 and 2 hours
These are some values to know from NIDKK related to gestational diabetes and healthy blood sugar in pregnancy.
|Time or Situation|
|Baseline: at least 105 mg/dl1 hour: at least 190 mg/dl2 hours: at least 165 mg/dl3 hours: at least 145 mg/dl|
Remedies For High Blood Sugar Levels
If the blood sugar levels are between 180 to250 mg/dL, seek medical advice and take medicines. Cut of fast-acting carb diet. Dont take processed food and sugary items.
If the blood sugar levels are > 250 mg/dL, you need immediate medical attention. If left untreated, it can lead to coma and high ketones in the blood. So test for ketones and get insulin therapy as soon as possible.
If you experience high blood sugar levels on regular basis, you are advised to do the following:
Many diabetic patients are aware of the changes they need to make in their diet or daily routine but are not able to follow them due to various reasons. Lack of motivation and proper knowledge is the most common reasons. A constant push from a diabetes reversal coach along with the guidance of a Diabetologist can help regulate blood sugar levels.
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Managing Diabetes Over Age 65
Hypoglycemia happens when your blood sugar levels are lower than normal. It is defined as a blood sugar level of lower than 70 mg/dL.
It is common among older adults with diabetes. This could be due to the fact that the elderly are more likely to have other chronic conditions, malnutrition, or take multiple medications.
Hypoglycemia can also result from taking too much of the medication used to lower blood sugar. Overtreatment of diabetes in older adults is common.
Researchers say hypoglycemia is likely underreported because the elderly may not experience the symptoms of low blood sugar or they may not be able to communicate their feelings to their caregivers due to cognitive impairment.
Low Blood Sugar Symptoms
Hypoglycemia happens when blood glucose levels drop too low. Low blood sugar can be caused by many things including the two different types of diabetes, certain medications, alcohol, endocrine disorders, eating disorders, pregnancy , and disorders of the liver, kidneys, or heart.
Here are some of the most common symptoms that someone with low blood sugar might experience:
- Tingling lips
If your blood sugar is low you might start to feel some of the first signs of hypoglycemia like dizziness, lightheadedness, or sweating. The only way to know for sure if your blood sugar is low is to test it with a glucose meter or other glucose monitoring device.
If you dont have access to these tools and start to feel the symptoms of low blood sugar, consume 15 grams of carbs or take a quick dissolve glucose tablet to raise your blood sugar levels and avoid further symptoms, according to the American Diabetes Association . Once your blood sugar is back in its target range, you can have a snack or meal to make sure it doesnt drop again.
Here are some other lifestyle and medicinal treatments that can help treat hypoglycemia:
- Eat a healthy diet full of whole foods that are minimally processed.
- Take prediabetes or diabetes medications as recommended by your healthcare provider.
- Use a glucagon kit in emergencies. Glucagon is a hormone that raises blood sugar levels quickly.
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What Is Hemoglobin A1c
Hemoglobin A1C is a lab test. It indicates an average blood glucose reading for the last 90 days. It is done when you find out you have diabetes, and every 3 months after that at clinic visits. A person without diabetes has a Hemoglobin A1C of less than 5.6%.
Target Hgb A1C is 7.5% for all children and adults with diabetes.
The chart below shows the Hemoglobin A1C result compared with the blood glucose number.
Blood Sugar Levels Chart & Ranges
With the help of modern medicine and newly introduced at home treatments, common medical concerns such as blood sugar levels are now easier to manage than ever. The access to at home treatment and available sources has increased the ability to self-medicate and regularly check in with your health yourself.
There is still heightened concern for blood sugar levels due to the increase and ease of processed food and alcohol access across the world. But, with the right measures and plan, everyone can help avoid their blood sugar level from becoming abnormal.
According to the World Health Organisation , over 1.6 million deaths per year in America are due to diabetes. Fortunately, this figure can be decreased with the help of treatment and easy to manage at home testings.
Today, we will be discussing the top treatment methods, teaching you about blood sugar levels and how to manage them:
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Remedies For Low Blood Sugar Levels
If you experience any of the low sugar symptoms, immediately test your blood glucose levels. For levels between 60 to 80 mg/dL, consume 15 grams of fast-acting carbs. Repeat the test after 15 minutes and eat till sugar levels settle to normal.
But if the levels are below 50 mg/dL and if the patient is conscious and able to eat, give 15 gm. of fast-acting carbs. But if the patient is unable to speak, dont give anything to eat. Call emergency services immediately. If possible, administer glucagon via injection.
Levels In The Morning
The best time to check blood sugar levels in the morning is right when you wake up and before you eat anything. This gives you a glimpse of what may be happening overnight, and it gives you a baseline for the day.
These are goal levels, according to The Joslin Diabetes Center:
- Under 70 mg/dl if you do not have diabetes.
- 70 to 130 mg/dl if you have diabetes.
The dawn effect can often lead to a high morning measurement in diabetes. This is your bodys tendency to get ready for the day by raising blood sugar by increasing levels of counter-regulatory hormones the ones that counteract insulin as in normal blood sugar. For people with diabetes, you do not have the capacity to counterbalance this rise in blood sugar, so levels can be dangerously high.
Ways to lower your morning blood sugar value include:
- Eating dinner earlier
- Checking your medications making sure you are taking them properly and asking your doctor if they are correct
- Going for a walk after dinner
- Including protein with your dinner
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What Is A Good A1c Level
Levels between 5.7 and 6.4 are considered prediabetes. For most people with diabetes, the general A1C goal is to have a level between 6.0 and 6.9. While it might sound like the ideal A1C target is under 6.0, for those with diabetes, this level can indicate low blood sugar levels, which can be just as dangerous as high blood sugar levels. If A1C results fall between 7.0 and 8.9, a doctor might suggest lifestyle changes or medications to help lower the levels to what is considered controlled. However, for some people, these levels might be appropriate, such as:
- Those with a limited life expectancy
- People with long-standing diabetes who have trouble reaching a lower goal
- Those with severe hypoglycemia or the inability to sense hypoglycemia
What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels
They’re less than 100 mg/dL after not eating for at least 8 hours. And they’re less than 140 mg/dL 2 hours after eating.
During the day, levels tend to be at their lowest just before meals. For most people without diabetes, blood sugar levels before meals hover around 70 to 80 mg/dL. For some people, 60 is normal for others, 90.
What’s a low sugar level? It varies widely, too. Many people’s glucose won’t ever fall below 60, even with prolonged fasting. When you diet or fast, the liver keeps your levels normal by turning fat and muscle into sugar. A few people’s levels may fall somewhat lower.
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Recommended Target Blood Glucose Level Ranges
The NICE recommended target blood glucose levels are stated below for adults with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and children with type 1 diabetes.
In addition, the International Diabetes Federations target ranges for people without diabetes is stated.
The table provides general guidance. An individual target set by your healthcare team is the one you should aim for.
*The non-diabetic figures are provided for information but are not part of NICE guidelines.
Blood Sugar Basics: What Is Blood Sugar
The term blood sugar refers to the sugar, or glucose, that is floating around in your bloodstream at any given time. Blood sugar, or blood glucose is the main source of sugar found in your blood, and comes from the food you eat. I
f you are monitoring your blood sugar, it is important to keep these numbers in check according to the American Diabetes Association .
Your blood sugar needs to be in the right range for you to be healthy. At least some glucose is necessary for your muscle, liver, and some other cells to use as fuel so they can function.
At least some sugar is necessary for your cells and organs to function properly. When our blood sugar levels get too low, it is called hypoglycemia. Without enough glucose as fuel, we lose the ability to function normally. This can make us feel weak, dizzy, and sweaty. And it can even lead to loss of consciousness.
On the other hand, blood sugar levels that get too high are also harmful, this is called hyperglycemia. Our blood sugar levels can get too high when we dont have enough insulin, or when our insulin isnt working well. This is the case for people who have prediabetes or diabetes. If it isnt treated, high blood sugar can lead to serious problems that can be deadly
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that keeping blood sugar levels in the target range is vital. It can help us prevent serious health concerns like heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease, for example.
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