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 A1CIf 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
What To Do When Your Blood Sugar Is High Or Low
High blood sugar can harm you. If your blood sugar is high, you need to know how to bring it down. Here are some questions to ask yourself if your blood sugar is high.
- Are you eating too much or too little? Have you been following your diabetes meal plan?
- Are you taking your diabetes medicines correctly?
- Has your provider changed your medicines?
- Is your insulin expired? Check the date on your insulin.
- Has your insulin been exposed to very high or very low temperatures?
- If you take insulin, have you been taking the correct dose? Are you changing your syringes or pen needles?
- Are you afraid of having low blood sugar? Is that causing you to eat too much or take too little insulin or other diabetes medicine?
- Have you injected insulin into a firm, numb, bumpy, or overused area? Have you been rotating sites?
- Have you been less or more active than usual?
- Do you have a cold, flu, or another illness?
- Have you had more stress than usual?
- Have you been checking your blood sugar every day?
- Have you gained or lost weight?
Blood Sugar Level Chart And Information
Published: 2014-03-27 – Updated: 2021-12-20Author: Thomas C. Weiss | Contact: Disabled World Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/AJump to:Main Digest
Synopsis:Information and printable chart showing diabetic blood sugar levels for persons with diabetes or pre-diabetes. The results of blood sugar tests vary by testing method and lab but generally doctors consider a fasting blood sugar of up to 100 mg/dL to be within the average range. A number of medical studies have shown a dramatic relationship between elevated blood sugar levels and insulin resistance in people who are not very active on a daily or regular basis.
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Other Reasons For High Morning Blood Sugar Levels
If you continuously wake up with high blood sugar levels and haven’t eaten a bedtime snack the night before, your doctor may need to prescribe you more basal insulin , says Dr. Spratt.
However, if you typically eat a snack that contains carbohydrates before going to bed and don’t counteract it with rapid-acting insulin, your blood sugar levels may be higher in the morning as a result. Switch to a snack that won’t raise your blood sugar levels â for example, a pairing of ham and cheese or a few bites of non-sweetened peanut butter, she says.
âRead more:â How Long After Eating Does Blood Sugar Peak?
Lastly, if your blood sugar levels dip too low in the middle of the night, your body may release hormones that “rescue” you from dangerously low levels, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The result is that your liver releases stored glucose, causing your blood sugar levels to be higher than usual in the morning. This is called the Somogyi effect.
If you’re experiencing low blood sugar in the four to six hours after a meal, that’s a sign that your basal insulin dose is too high, says Dr. Spratt.
“A lot of people have lows of which they are not aware of,” she says. “They wake up and their blood sugar is high and assume they must need more insulin at night.” But, she explains, it’s important to check your blood sugar at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. to make sure you aren’t experiencing a drop in glucose levels.
Fasting Blood Glucose Level Test Preparation
What should you do if your doctor orders a fasting blood sugar test? The preparation is the same as when you take a fasting test for cholesterol. First, be sure to find out if you need to schedule an appointment for your test . Ask your doctor what time is best to take it.
- Schedule your test if necessary
- Ask your doctor if you need to change any of the medications you take on the morning of the test
- If you normally drink coffee or have caffeine, ask your doctor if that is okay. It may not be, since it affects blood sugar levels
- Fast for at least 8 hours before your test. Usually, an overnight fast is most convenient
- You can drink water
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor About High Blood Sugar
Please ask your health care professional about the following:
- How to recognize high blood sugar levels
- How to treat a high blood sugar level when it occurs in you, a family member, or coworkers
- How to prevent the blood sugar level from becoming too high
- How to contact the medical staff during an emergency
- What emergency supplies to carry to treat high blood sugar
- Additional educational materials regarding high blood sugar
How To Prevent High Morning Blood Sugar
Do not fret, friends. There are ways to deal. Here are three simple ways:
1) Take insulin right when you wake up
If its 2 pm and you notice your blood sugar is shooting up for no apparent reason, youd take a correction dose of insulin to prevent that spike, right? .
The same concept applies here.
To determine how much insulin to take, wake up, record blood sugar values at 30 and 60-minute intervals, and record this for a few days . Then, you can use your insulin to carb ratio to determine a correction bolus.
2) Increase your basal rate around your wake up time
If you fight Dawn Phenomenon, whats a common strategy for success? Increasing basal rates in the wee hours of the morning to counteract that hormone-induced spike.
Well, if youre used to a particular morning routine and know itll take you a little while to prepare food and eat, consider increasing that basal rate during that time period. That additional insulin may overcome the liver dumping glucose and blunt your blood sugar spike, or ideally, prevent it in the first place.
3) If you skip breakfast, stop skipping it and EAT SOMETHING
As a registered dietitian, I can regurgitate all the information from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics about why breakfast is important. This isnt about that, but in all honesty here, try eating SOMETHING. Id love if it were healthy, but if youre just DYING to have Cinnamon Toast Crunch, by all means, have at it. If youre about the low-carb life, go for some eggs.
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Techniques To Manage Your Blood Sugar In The Morning
Based on your glucose levels and trends, there are a few things you can do to manage your glucose levels so they dont run high in the morning. Some of these strategies focus on adjusting medications to better suit your needs. Other strategies include adjusting your exercise routine, as well as what and when you are eating before bed.
If your glucose levels are in range before bed, they may rise throughout the night without enough insulin. This can be especially true for people who take long-acting insulin in the morning, since it may be wearing off before your next dose.
Consider changing the time of day when you take your long-acting insulin. You may also benefit from switching to either twice-daily basal insulin or ultra-long-acting insulin, or from starting on an insulin pump. Read our article, Are You on the Right Kind of Insulin, to learn more.
Check your blood glucose during the night between 3 am and 8 am. If you are running high during these hours, you may be experiencing the dawn phenomenon.
Talk with your healthcare team about finding the best nighttime insulin regimen for you. If you take basal insulin, you may need to delay the timing of your dose to as close to bedtime as possible. Another option is to try an insulin pump or automated insulin delivery system. AID systems will automatically adjust your basal insulin doses throughout the night to help keep your glucose levels stable.
Diagnosing And Treating Hyperglycemia
Diagnosing hyperglycemia is done by assessing symptoms and performing a simple blood glucose test. Depending on the severity of the condition and which type of diabetes the patient is diagnosed with, insulin and a variety of medication may be prescribed to help the person keep their blood sugar under control. Insulin comes in short, long and fast-acting forms, and a person suffering from type 1 diabetes is likely to be prescribed some combination of these.
Individuals who are either diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or are considered at risk for the disease are recommended to make alterations to their diet, lifestyle habits and exercise routine in order to lower blood sugar and keep it under control. These changes generally help to improve blood glucose control, individuals with type 2 diabetes may require medication eventually. These can include glitazones, acarbose, glucophage or sulphonylureas.
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What Causes Low Blood Sugar In The Morning
The causes of low blood sugar in the morning vary. If you have diabetes, you likely need to adjust your background insulin levels. Make sure youre aware of how any other medications you take can affect your blood sugar. Your doctor can help you make sure that your insulin dosage and any other medications you take are a good fit with your diet and exercise routines. Additionally, alcohol usage is a risk for hypoglycemia.
If you dont have diabetes, hypoglycemia is less likely to occur. However, some non-diabetes-related causes of hypoglycemia include the following:
- drinking too much alcohol the previous night, which makes it harder for your liver to release glucose into your blood, thus causing a low blood sugar
- chronic starvation
Treating low blood sugar is fairly simple. If you wake up with hypoglycemia symptoms, try to consume about 15 grams of carbohydrates as soon as possible. Snacks that provide this include:
- 3 glucose tablets
- 1/2 cup of non-sugar-free fruit juice
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1/2 can of non-diet soda
Make sure you dont eat too much to treat low blood sugar, as this can have an opposite affect and make your levels too high. Wait 15 minutes after your first snack. If youre not feeling better, have another 15 grams of carbohydrates. Pairing your carbohydrate with a protein and healthy source of fat, such as nuts, seeds, cheese, or hummus, helps to keep you full and prevent another big drop in blood sugar.
What Is The Dawn Phenomenon
Your body uses glucose for energy and it is important to have enough extra energy to be able to wake up in the morning. So for a period of time in the early morning hours, usually between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m., your body starts churning out stored glucose to prepare for the upcoming day.
At the same time, your body releases hormones that reduce your sensitivity to insulin. In addition, these events may be happening while your diabetes medication doses taken the day before are wearing off.
These events cause your body’s blood sugar levels to rise in the morning .
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High Blood Sugar Causes
Diabetes mellitus is one of several persistent conditions causing high blood sugar levels. For someone with diabetes, hyperglycemia has many possible causes:
- Carbohydrates: Eating food containing too many carbohydrates, a form of sugar. The body of a person with diabetes cannot process high levels of carbohydrates fast enough to convert it into energy. Blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes can rise within hours after eating.
- Insulin control: Not producing enough insulin action . People with diabetes must control blood sugar by a combination of dietary discretion, taking medication, and physical activity. When food, exercise, and insulin are not balanced, blood sugar levels rise.
- Stress: Emotions can play a role in causing hyperglycemia, but should not be used as an excuse for poor control of diabetes.
- Low levels of exercise: Daily exercise is a critical contributor to regulating blood sugar levels.
- Infection, illness, or surgery: With illness, blood sugar levels tend to rise quickly over several hours.
- Other medications: Certain drugs, especially steroids, can affect blood sugar levels.
- Unconsciousness or coma
Ketoacidosis is life-threatening and demands immediate treatment.
Why Is My Morning Blood Sugar So High
A complex array of factors affects blood sugar levels, including hormones, diet, and lifestyle.
Q: I have prediabetes and now eat minimal carbs and sugar. My doctor told me to monitor my sugar levels, morning and night. At night, two hours after eating, my sugar levels are between 112 and 130 mg/dL . But in the morning, my fasting sugar level is always higher than the night number. Why is that? What am I doing wrong?
There are a few reasons why your blood sugar may be elevated in the morning. First, its important to understand that certain hormonal changes that occur overnight may lead to high blood sugar levels in the morning.
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High Blood Sugar Levels In The Morning
People usually have slightly higher blood sugar levels in the morning. However, in some people with diabetes, these levels can be significantly higher.
Diabetes is a condition that impairs the bodys ability to process blood glucose. Without careful management, blood sugar levels can become too high, which is known as hyperglycemia. Long periods of high blood sugar levels can result in health complications.
Even when a person carefully controls the condition, they may notice blood sugar spikes in the morning. There are three main causes of high blood sugar in the morning:
- the Somogyi effect
It is important to note that this article refers to effects experienced in the morning, but these effects may occur anytime a person sleeps for a long period. People who work at night and sleep during the day can also experience these effects.
In this article, we will explore these causes, including what they can mean for a persons health and when to see a doctor.
dawn phenomenon refers to periods of hyperglycemia that occur during the early morning hours. The shift in blood sugar levels happens as a result of hormonal changes in the body.
Hormones, such as cortisol, glucagon, epinephrine, and growth hormone are known as counter-regulatory hormones. They can cause blood sugar levels to rise. The activity of cortisol and growth hormone normally increases each day to stimulate the liver to produce glucose at dawn.
Signs & Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
Keeping blood glucose levels in a healthy range can be challenging.
When the amount of sugar in your blood has dropped below your target range , it is called low blood sugar .
If your blood sugar has dropped, you may feel:
- shaky, light-headed, nauseated
- an increase in heart rate
- sweaty, headachy
- numbness or tingling on your tongue or lips
Symptoms of very low blood sugar are more severe and can make you:
- confused and disoriented
- lose consciousness
Make sure you always wear your MedicAlert® identification and talk to your doctor or diabetes educator about prevention and emergency treatment for severe low blood sugar.
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Dont Eat If Your Blood Sugar Is Over 150 Mg/dl
Q: Recently I read an article in Post Graduate Medicine . The article suggests the patient not eat if the blood glucose is greater than 150 mg/dl. I would appreciate you reading this article and giving me your opinion. Donna Doty, RN, BSN, CDE Methodist Hospital Gary, IN My routine advice is as follows: if the blood glucose value is over 150 mg/dl before a meal, insulin should be taken and the meal postponed until the blood glucose is below 150 mg/dl. The glucose level should be checked hourly until it is below 200 mg/dl and then every 1/2 hour until it is below 150 mg/dl. A level that is still high after 1 1/2 to 2 hours without the patients eating is an indication that it was a good thing the patient didnt eat! In the past, most patients would have eaten, saying, my doctor told me never to miss or be late for a meal because I could get hypoglycemia. However, if the insulin was taken 3 hours previously and the blood glucose level remained above 150 mg/dl, food obviously was not necessary. What happens if the blood glucose level is still high after 2 to 3 hours? A few more units of insulin should be taken and the meal again postponed until the glucose level is below 150 mg/dl. OccasionaContinue reading > >