Know Your Prediabetes Risk
If you think you may have low blood sugar sometimes, it may be time to speak to your healthcare provider and to take the Prediabetes Risk Test. If you are at risk for diabetes, Lark Diabetes Prevention Program can help lower that risk by coaching you on simple lifestyle changes.
Target Blood Sugar Range At Bedtime
People without diabetes should aim for a blood sugar range of 72â90 mg/dL or 4.0â5.0 mmol/L at bedtime for optimal health.
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Non-pregnant adults with diabetes often target a blood sugar range of 80â130 mg/dL or 4.4â7.2 mmol/L. However, blood glucose targets should be individualized for those with diabetes.
Letâs take a deep dive into understanding blood sugar at bedtime and how this may impact your overall health goals.
Improving Hypo Awareness Signs
If you are suffering from impaired hypo unawareness, you may be advised to increase your window of blood glucose control for a period of time to get your numbers higher and prevent hypos from occurring so often.
Studies have found this method to be successful.
If you have frequent hypos you may need to test your blood sugar more often, to help get better control as well as to catch hypos earlier. Try to record which events lead to hypos so you can spot trends and prevent them in future.
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When Abnormal Levels Become Diabetes
Its possible to occasionally have high or low blood sugar due to causes other than diabetes. However, seniors who have chronic issues with regulating their levels may need to get tested for diabetes. Today, its known that seniors can sometimes prevent diabetes by making lifestyle changes during the early stages of the disease. A diagnosis of having prediabetes can serve as a wakeup call that motivates seniors to pay more attention to how their lifestyle choices affect their health.
If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care.Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels
For people with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association suggests keeping blood sugar levels before meals from 80130 mg/dl. One to two hours after meals, levels should be under 180.
In people without diabetes, healthy insulin function keeps sugars in a normal range. But in diabetics, insulin function is damaged, so its essential to support the body by eating right, exercising, taking medications or herbs and reducing stress.
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Diabetic Alert Dogs Can Help
Not only can dogs deal with low blood sugar like people, but they are also known to help their human companions detect hypoglycemia.
In a July 2016 study published in Diabetes Care, researchers studied eight women ages 41 to 51 with type 1 diabetes and found that dogs could detect isoprene chemicals, a marker of low blood sugar, on participants breath. These results suggest dogs may be able to warn their owners of impending hypoglycemic attacks. Dogs can be trained to detect such episodes.
How Can I Treat Low Blood Sugar
If youve had low blood sugar without feeling or noticing symptoms , you may need to check your blood sugar more often to see if its low and treat it. Driving with low blood sugar can be dangerous, so be sure to check your blood sugar before you get behind the wheel.
Carry supplies for treating low blood sugar with you. If you feel shaky, sweaty, or very hungry or have other symptoms, check your blood sugar. Even if you dont have symptoms but think you may have low blood sugar, check it. If your blood sugar is lower than 70 mg/dL, do one of the following immediately:
- Take four glucose tablets.
- Drink four ounces of fruit juice.
- Drink four ounces of regular soda, not diet soda.
- Eat four pieces of hard candy.
Wait for 15 minutes and then check your blood sugar again. Do one of the above treatments again until your blood sugar is 70 mg/dL or above and eat a snack if your next meal is an hour or more away. If you have problems with low blood sugar, ask your doctor if your treatment plan needs to be changed.
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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.
What Are The Causes Of Reactive Hypoglycemia
Scientists believe reactive hypoglycemia to be the result of too much insulin being produced and released by the pancreas following a large carbohydrate-based meal.
This excess insulin production and secretion continues after the glucose derived from the meal has been digested, causing the amount of glucose in the bloodstream to fall to a lower-than-normal level.
What causes this increase in pancreatic activity is unclear.
One possible explanation is that in rare cases, a benign tumour in the pancreas may cause an overproduction of insulin, or too much glucose may be used up by the tumour itself.
Another is that reactive hypoglycemia is caused by deficiencies in glucagon secretion
In the U.S. the National Institutes of Health states that the causes of most cases of reactive hypoglycemia are still open to debate.
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How Does Food Affect My Blood Sugar
When you eat, your body breaks food down into carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
You need all of these parts for a healthy diet, but carbohydrates are really important when it comes to your blood glucose level. However, not all carbs change into blood sugar at the same rate.
Examples of foods that fit into each carb category include:
- Starches, or complex carbohydrates: Starchy vegetables, dried beans, and grains
- Sugars: Fruits, baked goods, beverages, and processed food items like cereals
- Fiber: Whole wheat products, chickpeas, lentils, berries, pears, and Brussels sprouts
The glycemic index is a carb ranking system that uses a scale ranging from zero to 100. You can use the GI to find out how different foods affect your blood sugar levels.
High GI foods are quickly processed and can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. Low index foods are more slowly processed which leads to smaller blood glucose level changes.
The Blood Sugar Level Regulation Mechanism
When you eat rice, bread, or any other typical food high in carbohydrates, it is digested by the stomach and small intestine, where it is absorbed into the blood as glucose. Figure 1 shows how it is absorbed into the body.
When glucose enters the bloodstream, insulin facilitates its uptake into the bodys cells. When an excess of glucose is ingested, insulin over secretion occurs. Insulin increases the biosynthesis of fat and suppresses its breakdown. Thus, it becomes easier for fat to accumulate in body tissues.
Blood sugar level will not drop if the sugar in the blood is not properly processed due to, for example, too little insulin being secreted, or resistance to the action of insulin. If blood sugar levels have not decreased several hours after eating on a regular basis, this indicates a susceptibility to diabetes. To avoid this and stay healthy, we should eat types of foods that will not cause a sudden, extreme rise in blood sugar levels.
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What is a healthy blood sugar level
- Fasting blood sugar level 99mg/dL
- Postprandial blood sugar level 7.8mmol/L
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Target Blood Glucose Levels After Meals By Age
Your target blood sugar level after eating will depend on how old you are, whether or not you have diabetes and how you are treating it , and whether you’re pregnant.
Here are some general guidelines for post-meal blood glucose levels:
- Children with diabetes: < 200mg/dl one hour after eating < 180 mg/dL two hours after eating
- Adults without diabetes who are not pregnant: 90-140 mg/dL two hours after eating
- Adults with diabetes who are not pregnant:< 180 mg/dL two hours after eating
- Adults with diabetes taking mealtime insulin: < 180 mg/dL two hours after eating
- Adults with diabetes not taking mealtime insulin:< 140 mg/dL two hours after eating
- Adults with gestational diabetes:< 140 mg/dL one hour after eating < 120 mg/dL two hours after eating
- Pregnant adults with preexisting type 1 or type 2 diabetes:< 110-140 mg/dL one hour after eating < 100-120 mg/dL two hours after eating
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.
If 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 don’t have enough insulin, or when our insulin isn’t working well. This is the case for people who have prediabetes or diabetes. If it isn’t 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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What Do The Results Of A Blood Glucose Test Mean
Blood test reports, including blood glucose test reports, usually provide the following information:
- The name of the blood test or what was measured in your blood.
- The number or measurement of your blood test result.
- The normal measurement range for that test.
- Information that indicates if your result is normal or abnormal or high or low.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperglycemia
Its especially important to know the early signs of hyperglycemia if you have type 1 diabetes. If hyperglycemia is left untreated in people with type 1 diabetes, it can develop into ketoacidosis, where ketones, which are toxic acids, build up in the blood. This condition is an emergency situation that can lead to coma or death.
Early symptoms of hyperglycemia include:
- High blood sugar.
- Unusual fruity smell on the breath.
- Deep labored breathing or hyperventilation.
- Rapid heartbeat.
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How Long Does It Take For Blood Sugar Levels To Peak After Eating
After consuming foods that contain carbohydrates, it’s normal to see a rise in blood sugar levels.
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Your blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, will temporarily go up after eating a meal until your body’s insulin is able remove the extra sugar from the bloodstream. In general, blood sugar “peaks 90 minutes after you consume a meal,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of 2-Day Diabetes Diet. “But it’s going to vary based on what you ate.”
This type of peak is a normal part of digestion. Sometimes, however, a person’s body does not respond as it should, and blood sugar levels rise too high. When this happens, it can indicate a risk for prediabetes or diabetes. Frequent spikes in blood sugar can lead to additional long-term medical problems, as well. Here’s what you can do to protect your health.
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Several Factors May Cause A Persons Postprandial Blood Sugar To Remain Elevated
Smoking after the meal: Studies show that smoking raises blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Extreme stress: Stress produces the bodys fight-or-flight response triggering the release of stress hormones such as cortisol. These hormones cause the body to release the glucose it has previously stored for energy. Eating or drinking after the meal and before testing the blood sugar: Continuing to eat will keep blood sugars closer to their immediate post-meal levels.
Studies show that 15 to 20 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, shortly after a meal may improve glucose metabolism and reduce postprandial glucose levels.
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How Can I Measure My Blood Sugar Levels
You can measure your blood glucose levels with a glucometer. First, you prick your finger with a small device called a lancet to get a drop of blood. Your blood goes on a test strip which you put into the glucometer. Then, the device tells you your blood sugar levels.
You can also use a continuous glucose monitoring device, which uses a sensor that’s placed under your skin to automatically check your levels every few minutes.
Why They Happen And How To Try And Reduce Them If You Live With Type 1 Diabetes
Living with type 1 diabetes requires you to regularly check your blood sugar levels before you eat. However, we may not always consider what happens to our sugar levels immediately after we eat where it is very normal for people who dont have diabetes, let alone those who do, to temporarily have high sugar levels. Given that having high sugar levels can give you symptoms like thirst, tiredness and needing to go to the toilet a lot, learning about ways to try and reduce spikes in your sugar levels after meals may make a difference to your overall health and wellbeing.
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What Is Blood Sugar
Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, comes from the food you eat. Your body creates blood sugar by digesting some food into a sugar that circulates in your bloodstream.
Blood sugar is used for energy. The sugar that isnt needed to fuel your body right away gets stored in cells for later use.
Too much sugar in your blood can be harmful. Type 2 diabetes is a disease thats characterized by having higher levels of blood sugar than whats considered within normal limits.
Unmanaged diabetes can lead to problems with your heart, kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels.
The more you know about how eating affects blood sugar, the better you can protect yourself against diabetes. If you already have diabetes, its important to know how eating affects blood sugar.
Your body breaks down everything you eat and absorbs the food in its different parts. These parts include:
- vitamins and other nutrients
The carbohydrates you consume turn into blood sugar. The more carbohydrates you eat, the higher the levels of sugar youll have released as you digest and absorb your food.
Carbohydrates in liquid form consumed by themselves are absorbed more quickly than those in solid food. So having a soda will cause a faster rise in your blood sugar levels than eating a slice of pizza.
Fiber is one component of carbohydrates that isnt converted into sugar. This is because it cant be digested. Fiber is important for health, though.
- white grain products, such as pasta and rice
- cold processed cereals
Levels In People With Diabetes
Measuring glucose levels after meals is important not just for diagnosis, but in the treatment of diabetes too. Results obtained during home testing can reveal whether you need an insulin shot to move excess sugar out of your blood and into cells.
Non-fasting sugar levels among adults with type 1 diabetes should be:
- Before meals: From 90 to 130 mg/dL
- After meals : Less than 180 mg/dL
- At bedtime: From 90 to 150 mg/dL
Non-fasting glucose levels among adults with type 2 diabetes should be:
- Before meals: From 70 to 130 mg/dL
- After meals : Less than 180 mg/dL
- At bedtime: From 90 to 150 mg/dL
It is possible to get a falsely high A1C result. This is most likely to happen in someone with low iron levels, kidney failure, or liver disease. Certain medications or vitamin supplements like vitamin E can also increase your A1C levels. Stress and poor sleep habits can also play a role in elevated A1C levels.
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