What Causes High Blood Glucose Levels
Glucose levels vary all of the time, this is a normal part of how your body processes glucose. Some common causes for higher blood glucose levels over a period of time include:
- Increased stress
- Some medications, such as steroids
- Putting on weight, or carrying extra fat, particularly around your middle
It is important to be prepared and have a sick day management plan to follow if you have hyperglycaemia and/or are unwell. Your GP, endocrinologist, or diabetes educator can help you to create a personal sick day plan.
Ketoacidosis: When Hyperglycemia Becomes Severe For People With Type 1 Diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes, it is important to recognize and treat hyperglycemia because if left untreated it can lead to a dangerous condition called . This happens because without glucose, the body’s cells must use ketones as a source of energy. Ketoacidosis develops when ketones build up in the blood. It can become serious and lead to diabetic coma or even death. According to the American Diabetes Association, ketoacidosis affects people with type 1 diabetes, but it rarely affects people with type 2 diabetes.
Many symptoms of ketoacidosis are similar to hyperglycemia. The hallmarks of ketoacidosis are:
High level of ketones in the urine
Shortness of breath
Additionally, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and confusion may accompany ketoacidosis. Immediate medical attention is highly recommended if you have any of these symptoms.
Some people with diabetes are instructed by their doctor to regularly test ketone levels. Ketone testing is performed two ways: using urine or using blood. For a urine test, you dip a special type of test strip into your urine. For testing blood ketones, a special meter and test strips are used. The test is performed exactly like a blood glucose test. If ketone testing is part of your self-monitoring of diabetes, your healthcare professional will provide you with other information including prevention.
How Do I Prevent Hyperglycemia
- Exercise to help lower blood sugar. Work with your healthcare provider to make a daily activity plan.
- Follow your meal plan if you have one. Learn how carbohydrates impact your blood sugar, and work with your diabetes care team to find the best meal plan for you.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Dont smoke.
- Limit drinking alcohol. Alcohol can raise blood sugar levels, but can also cause dangerously low blood sugar levels. Work with your provider to determine how much is safe to drink.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/11/2020.
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Learn How To Deal With Low Blood Sugar Levels
Because you have diabetes and can have low blood sugar levels, you need to keep some glucose or sucrose tablets or solution or quick-sugar food with you at all times. These can quickly raise your blood sugar level. Be sure to check your blood sugar level 15 minutes after eating a quick-sugar food to make sure your level is getting back to your target range. If you continue to have low blood sugar, take another 15 grams of carbohydrate. When your blood sugar gets to 4.0 mmol/L or higher, you can eat your normal meals and snacks. Eat a small snack if your next meal or snack is more than one hour away.
Quick sugar foods to help raise blood sugar
Candy like Life Savers
It is important to know that sugar foods like a candy bar or ice cream do not help raise low blood sugar levels quickly, because these foods also have fat and protein. So the body can’t use the sugar in these foods quickly to raise the blood sugar level.
Pregnant women who have gestational diabetes also need to know how to deal with a low blood sugar level.
Since low blood sugar levels can quickly become a medical emergency, be sure to wear medical identification, such as a medical alert bracelet, to let people know you have diabetes so they can get help for you.
How To Prevent Hyperglycaemia
There are simple ways to reduce your risk of severe or prolonged hyperglycaemia:
- Be careful what you eat be particularly aware of how snacking and eating sugary foods or carbohydrates can affect your blood sugar level.
- Stick to your treatment plan remember to take your insulin or other diabetes medications as recommended by your care team.
- Be as active as possible getting regular exercise can help stop your blood sugar level rising, but you should check with your doctor first if you’re taking diabetes medication, as some medicines can lead to hypoglycaemia if you exercise too much
- Take extra care when you’re ill your care team can provide you with some “sick day rules” that outline what you can do to keep your blood sugar level under control during an illness.
- Monitor your blood sugar level your care team may suggest using a device to check your level at home, so you can spot an increase early and take steps to stop it.
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Can Hypertension Cause Diabetes
A meta-analysis appearing in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in 2015 looked at data for more than 4 million adults. It concluded that people with high blood pressure have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
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The combined impact of diabetes and high blood pressure can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and other health problems.
In 2012, researchers quoted figures suggesting that of people with type 1 diabetes and 5080% of those with type 2 diabetes have high blood pressure in the United States.
There are three ways in which high glucose levels in the blood can increase blood pressure:
- The blood vessels lose their ability to stretch.
- The fluid in the body increases, especially if diabetes is already affecting the kidneys.
- Insulin resistance may involve processes that increase the risk of hypertension.
Controlling blood sugar levels and blood pressure can help prevent complications.
Hypertension and type 2 diabetes also share similar risk factors. These include:
- having excess weight and body fat
- following an unhealthful diet
Other factors that increase the risk of hypertension include:
- having a high fat or high sodium diet
- high alcohol consumption
- low levels of potassium
- other chronic conditions, such as sleep apnea, kidney disease, or inflammatory arthritis
Lifestyle factors are crucial for managing both blood glucose and blood pressure.
Work With Your Health Care Team
Most people with diabetes get health care from a primary care professional. Primary care professionals include internists, family physicians, and pediatricians. Sometimes physician assistants and nurses with extra training, called nurse practitioners, provide primary care. You also will need to see other care professionals from time to time. A team of health care professionals can help you improve your diabetes self-care. Remember, you are the most important member of your health care team.
Besides a primary care professional, your health care team may include
- an endocrinologist for more specialized diabetes care
- a registered dietitian, also called a nutritionist
- a nurse
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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.
What Happens If My Blood Glucose Level Becomes Too Low
Sometimes blood glucose levels drop below where they should be, which is called hypoglycemia. For most people with diabetes, the blood glucose level is too low when it is below 70 mg/dL.
Hypoglycemia can be life threatening and needs to be treated right away. Learn more about how to recognize and treat hypoglycemia.
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Can Drinking A Lot Of Water Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels
Although feeling very thirsty is a symptom of a hyper, drinking a lot of water will not bring your blood sugar levels down. It will only help to reduce your risk of dehydration.
Its important that you take your diabetes medication to bring your blood sugar levels down. If you have consistently high blood sugar levels, you will need to follow the advice below and speak to your diabetes healthcare team.
Manage Your Blood Sugar Level
Following your doctor’s instructions on the use of insulin or diabetes medicines, diet, and exercise will help you avoid blood sugar problems. You will learn to recognize the symptoms and distinguish between high and low blood sugar levels. It may be hard for a parent of a young child to distinguish the difference between high and low blood sugar symptoms in a child.
When you have learned to recognize high or low blood sugar levels, you can take the appropriate steps to bring your blood sugar level back to your target blood sugar levels.
People who keep their blood sugar levels under control with diet, exercise, or oral diabetes medicines are less likely to have problems with high or low blood sugar levels. Do not drink alcohol if you have problems recognizing the early signs of low blood sugar.
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How Long Can You Live With Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes doesnt have to be a chronic condition. To the contrary, a type 2 diabetes diagnosis is the moment to begin changing habits and working towards a healthier and longer life. What you do every day can make a difference, says Dr. Christofides. Park at the far-end of the lot. Try taking the stairs. Consider buying only fresh foods and avoiding things in packages.
There is no one best type 2 diabetes diet. Focus on fresh, and focus on balance. Include vegetables, lean proteins , whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole fruits.
Get moving. Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for overall health, including mental well-being. Fitness is also one of the best ways to keep weight off once youve lost it.
Find activities you enjoy and try sharing those with friends and family. Exercise doesnt have to happen in the gym. Grab a friend and go for a fast walk through the neighborhood or take a hike in the park. The vitamin D will give you an extra boost of health and well-being.
What Are Risk Factors For Hyperglycemia
Major risk factors for hyperglycemia are:
- You have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
- You are African American, Native American, Hispanic or Asian American.
- You are overweight.
- You have high blood pressure or cholesterol.
- You have polycystic ovarian syndrome .
- You have a history of gestational diabetes.
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Kidney Risks Related To Type 2 Diabetes
The risk for developing chronic kidney disease increases with time in people with diabetes. Diabetes is the most common cause of renal failure, making up about 44% of cases. Keeping your diabetes under control can reduce the risk of kidney failure. Medications are also used to reduce the risk of kidney disease in people with diabetes.
How To Prevent Hyperglycaemia And Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels
Testing your blood sugar levels regularly can help you spot the signs of hyperglycaemia. But there are some steps you can take to either prevent a hyper from happening or to bring down your blood sugar levels.
You can start by making sure you are aware of your carbohydrate portions and how they may be affecting your blood sugar levels after eating. Carb countingis one of the ways you can manage this. Avoid foods that have a high glycemic index and choose low GI foods that can help manage your blood sugar levels more effectively. Increase the fibre in your diet. This can help slow down carbohydrate digestion, which can help limit the rise in your blood sugars.
Try to maintain a healthy weight as this promotes regular blood sugar levels in the body. Be as active as possible, regular exercise can help your body process more of the sugar.
Remember to take your insulin and other diabetes medication, and always take them correctly. Continue to take your diabetes medication even if you are ill and not eating.
Concentrate on your emotional wellbeing, get a quality nights sleep and find ways to manage your stress. Stress can cause hormones to be released, which keep your blood sugar levels high.
If your blood sugar levels continue to be high, or youre unsure of what to do, contact your doctor for further guidance.
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Correcting High Blood Sugar Levels With Insulin
If you take insulin, one way to reduce blood sugar is to inject insulin.
However, be careful as insulin can take 4 hours or longer to be fully absorbed, so you need to make sure you take into account how much insulin you may already have in your body that is yet to be absorbed by the blood. Insulin that is yet to be absorbed by the blood is called active insulin.
If you decide to correct with insulin, watch you dont over correct as this can lead to hypoglycemia and can be dangerous, particularly so before bed.
Hba1c Test For Diabetes Diagnosis
An HbA1c test does not directly measure the level of blood glucose, however, the result of the test is influenced by how high or low your blood glucose levels have tended to be over a period of 2 to 3 months.
Indications of diabetes or prediabetes are given under the following conditions:
- Normal: Below 42 mmol/mol
- Prediabetes: 42 to 47 mmol/mol
- Diabetes: 48 mmol/mol
There are two types of blood sugar levels that may be measured. The first is the blood glucose level we get from doing finger prick blood glucose tests. These give us a reading of how high our levels are at that very point in time.
The second is the HbA1c reading, which gives a good idea of our average control over a period of 2 to 3 months. The target blood glucose levels vary a little bit depending on your type of diabetes and between adults and children.
Where possible, try to achieve levels of between 4 and 7 mmol/L before meals and under 8.5 mmol/L after meals. The target level for HbA1c is under 48 mmol/mol .
Research has shown that high blood glucose levels over time can lead to organ and circulation damage.
Keeping blood glucose above 4 mmol/l for people on insulin or certain medications for type 2 diabetes is important to prevent hypos occurring, which can be dangerous.
Your doctor may give you different targets. Children, older people and those at particular risk of hypoglycemia may be given wider targets.
FREE blood glucose level chart
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Reflect On The Amount Of Sugar In Your Diet
Hyperglycemia occurs when there is too much glucose in the blood.
Therefore, one way of reducing your blood glucose levels is reflecting on where sugar may be consumed in the diet. Think about any refined and processed foods that may be in your diet as these are often high in sugar. This can be achieved through a low carbohydrate diet.
Signs That May Indicate You Are At Risk For Diabetes
**This article is a repost of an earlier written article. We are reposting because we believe the information is valuable and pertinent to many.**
There are some serious complications that can come with having high blood sugar such as heart failure and stroke. However, diabetes can be managed with prescription medication, diet, and exercise to help you live a normal, healthy life.
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What Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring
Continuous glucose monitoring is another way to check your glucose levels. Most CGM systems use a tiny sensor that you insert under your skin. The sensor measures glucose levels in the fluids between your bodys cells every few minutes and can show changes in your glucose level throughout the day and night. If the CGM system shows that your glucose is too high or too low, you should check your glucose with a blood glucose meter before making any changes to your eating plan, physical activity, or medicines. A CGM system is especially useful for people who use insulin and have problems with low blood glucose.
Take Steps To Control Your Blood Sugar Level
Although high blood sugar and low blood sugar have very different symptoms and treatments, they are both caused by blood sugar and insulin imbalances. The steps you take to control your blood sugar level will help prevent both high and low blood sugar levels.
Be sure to have identification that says you have diabetes, such as a medical alert bracelet, with you at all times. This will help other people take steps to care for you if you are not able tell them about your medical condition.
You can take steps to prevent high and low blood sugar emergencies.
- Follow your treatment plan.
- Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly to detect early changes before an emergency develops. Treat your symptoms of high or low blood sugar quickly to prevent more problems.
- Control your stress to prevent your blood sugar level from increasing slowly over several days.
- Limit how much alcohol you drink. Do not drink alcohol if you have problems recognizing the early signs of low blood sugar.
- Take precautions when you are driving and do not drive if your blood sugar is low.
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