How Can I Check My Blood Sugar
Use a blood sugar meter or a continuous glucose monitor to check your blood sugar. A blood sugar meter measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip. A CGM uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. If you use a CGM, youll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.
Causes Of High Blood Sugar
Common causes of high blood sugar in people with diabetes include:
- eating too much sugary or starchy food
- being less active than usual
- missing doses of diabetes medicine
You can also get high blood sugar if your diabetes medicine is not working well, you’re taking certain medicines or you recently had an operation.
Symptoms Of High Fasting Glucose Levels
High fasting blood sugar levels suggest that the body cannot lower blood sugar levels. The reason for this may be insulin resistance or inadequate insulin production, or in some cases, both. Recognising the signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia can help you manage your diabetes. Some patients with diabetes have symptoms of elevated blood sugar right away. In contrast, others go undetected for years due to mild or ambiguous symptoms. Early symptoms include:
- Frequent urination
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How Can I Prevent Hyperglycaemia
To reduce your risk of severe or prolonged hyperglycaemia:
- monitor your blood glucose level regularly
- be careful with what you eat be particularly aware of how snacking and eating sugary foods or carbohydrates can affect your blood glucose levels
- stick to your management plan take diabetes medicines as and when directed
- be as active as possible getting regular exercise can help stop your blood glucose 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 see our page on having a diabetes sick day plan.
How To Effectively Manage High Blood Sugar
While diabetes is a dangerous disease, it is often possible to manage it and control blood sugar levels.
The patient should start by discussing the high blood sugar level with their doctor. The doctor will be able to perform a few tests to give them a better view of the patients diabetes.
It also helps the doctor determine what type of diabetes the patient has. This may be type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes in some cases. Patients also need to be aware that insulin resistance can develop into diabetes. Thus, if the patient is insulin resistant, they need to take action.
There are medications that can help. Some drugs help to ensure there is enough insulin in the body. Others rather have a direct effect on blood sugar levels. This can help to reduce the risk of a blood sugar spike. Failure to manage high blood sugar levels can lead to dangerous problems, such as diabetic coma.
A healthy diet is also critical for a person with diabetes. Carbohydrate counting is important, and you should learn what an appropriate portion size is for you. Meals should be balanced to avoid low blood sugar levels and a spike in blood glucose. It is also important that you take your medication with food.
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Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
Diabetes management is very complex and time-consuming. A newly diagnosed patient can easily become overwhelmed, leading to non-compliance with treatment which would further lead to irreversible complications. Patients and family members need to work closely with primary care providers, endocrinologists, dieticians, and diabetic educators to help achieve optimal therapeutic goals and prevent complications. Home health nursing services for disease management in the first few weeks have been shown to improve outcomes and should be utilized when available.
Different Types Of Diabetes
Diabetes is characterised by the bodys inability to use glucose. There are different types of diabetes including:
- Type I diabetes due to a lack of insulin
- Type 2 diabetes due to a complex mix of insulin not working properly and insufficient insulin
- Gestational diabetes a form of diabetes that some women develop during their pregnancy. Pregnancy blocks the action of insulin and can bring out a tendency to diabetes. Mothers with gestational diabetes are at increased risk of developing diabetes in subsequent pregnancies and in later life.
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Youre Developing Blisters Dryness Or Other Skin Changes
Small pieces of extra skin, called skin tags, may form in the creases of skin, especially if you have diabetes and youre trying to find ways to manage your weight, notes the ADA. Dark, thick areas of soft skin may form on the back of the neck or hands, armpits, face, or other areas. These can be a sign of insulin resistance, Zanini says. Blisters, infections, dryness, itchiness, discolorations, and abnormalities of the skin can all be warning signs of high blood sugar. Check with your doctor if these skin changes develop.
How Do Carbs Affect Blood Sugar
Carbs in food make your blood sugar levels go higher after you eat them than when you eat proteins or fats. You can still eat carbs if you have diabetes. The amount you can have and stay in your target blood sugar range depends on your age, weight, activity level, and other factors. Counting carbs in foods and drinks is an important tool for managing blood sugar levels. Make sure to talk to your health care team about the best carb goals for you.
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Blood Sugar Level Rises Every Time You Eat
Your blood sugar level rises immediately after eating a meal or snack . In a healthy person, insulin then starts working, and the blood sugar level returns to the pre-meal level 2 hours after eating. In untreated diabetes patients, the blood sugar level does not return to the pre-meal level of its own accord. Some peoples blood sugar level remains high two hours after eating, even though on an empty stomach it would be at a normal level. As a result, the risk of developing diabetes increases as insulin is not properly secreted, or does not work properly in the body. In order to make sure insulin works properly, it is important not to overeat and to avoid becoming obese. Knowing which foods will not cause a sudden and extreme spike in blood sugar level and using this knowledge in your daily life will help you to prevent obesity and diabetes, and maintain good health.
Treating And Managing Hyperglycaemia
If your blood sugar level is slightly high for a short time, emergency treatment wont be necessary. But if it continues to rise you may need to act fast to avoid developing diabetic ketoacidosis .
If your blood sugar level is 15 mmol/l or more, you should check your blood or urine for ketones. If ketones are present, it is likely that you do not have enough insulin in your body. This means you may need to increase your dose or give yourself an extra dose. Talk to your diabetes team about how to do this if you are unsure.
You should also try to drink plenty of sugar-free fluids to prevent dehydration. And if you are feeling unwell, especially if you are vomiting, you should follow any sick day rules you have been given and contact your diabetes healthcare team for advice.
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What Causes Hyperglycemia
A number of things can cause hyperglycemia:
- If you have type 1, you may not have given yourself enough insulin.
- If you have type 2, your body may have enough insulin, but it is not as effective as it should be.
- You ate more than planned or exercised less than planned.
- You have stress from an illness, such as a cold or flu.
- You have other stress, such as family conflicts or school or dating problems.
- You may have experienced the dawn phenomenon .
What You Can Do Now
Your doctor will provide you with clear steps to follow aimed at lowering your blood sugar levels. Its important that you take their recommendations to heart and make any necessary lifestyle changes to improve your health. If left untreated, hyperglycemia can lead to serious, and sometimes life-threatening, complications.
Your doctor may recommend that you buy a blood glucose meter to use at home. This is a simple and effective way to monitor your blood sugar and act quickly if your levels have spiked to an unsafe level. Being aware of your levels can empower you to take charge of your condition and live a healthy lifestyle.
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How To Prevent It
If you work to keep your blood sugar under control — follow your meal plan, exercise program, and medicine schedule — you shouldnât have to worry about hyperglycemia. You can also:
- Know your diet — count the total amounts of carbs in each meal and snack.
- Test your blood sugar regularly.
- Tell your doctor if you have repeated abnormal blood sugar readings.
- Wear medical identification to let people know you have diabetes in case of an emergency.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
It is relatively more challenging for the body to use insulin and manage blood sugar levels with overweight or obesity. The body fails to actively respond to insulin due to extra weight in the body. It results in increased high fasting blood glucose levels and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Insulin insensitivity leads to weight gain, leading to poor insulin sensitivity, creating a loop.
Although the exact mechanisms are unknown, research links fat to insulin resistance and the growth of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of high fasting blood glucose levels and even reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
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How To Avoid And Deal With Hyperglycemia
Minimising long time exposure to high blood sugar levels is one of the key objectives of diabetes control
Testing blood sugar levels will help in managing hyperglycemia. People who take insulin may be able to take additional insulin. However, only take additional insulin if your doctor is happy for you to do so, as miscalculations could lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels.
Diabetes UK advise people with type 1 diabetes to test for ketones if blood glucose levels rise above 15 mmol/l or the signs of ketoacidosis appear. Contact your health team if high levels of ketones are present.
If blood glucose levels remain high for long periods of time, contact your health team for advice.
Is Having High Blood Glucose Dangerous
In short, it can be. Zanini says that untreated high blood glucose can lead to a wide range of health issuesâsome of the most common being chronic inflammation, heart disease, vision impairment, kidney disease, nerve damage, tooth decay, damaged blood vessels, and periodontal disease.
Having high blood glucose also puts us at risk of mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. The former is a condition in which mitochondria fail to produce energy for cells. The latter occurs when free radicals outnumber antioxidants in the body and increase the risk of disease and other damage.
Phipps notes to avoid these risks, catching high blood glucose early on, then taking action to treat it is extremely important.
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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
High Blood Sugar Levels
If you have diabetes, you can find out if your blood sugar level is high by having a blood sugar test.
You may have regular tests by your care team or GP surgery, or you may have tests you can do at home.
|Type of test||High level|
|Test done by a health professional to check your blood sugar level over the last 2 or 3 months||48 mmol/mol or over|
|Test done by a health professional after not eating for a few hours||Over 7 mmol/L|
|Home test done after waking up or before eating||Over 7 mmol/L|
|Home test done at any other time||Over 11 mmol/L|
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Who Is Most At Risk For Developing Diabetes
The following categories of people are considered “high-risk” candidates for developing diabetes:
- Individuals who have overweight or obesity.
- Individuals who are 45 years of age or older.
- Individuals with first-degree relatives with diabetes .
- Individuals who are Black, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asia American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islanders.
- People who developed diabetes while they were pregnant or gave birth to large babies .
- Individuals with high blood pressure .
- Individuals with high-density lipoprotein below 25 mg/dl or triglyceride levels at or above 250 mg/dl.
- Individuals who have impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance.
- Individuals who are physically inactive engaging in exercise less than three times a week.
- Individuals who have polycystic ovary syndrome, also called PCOS.
- Individuals who have acanthosis nigricans, which are dark, thick and velvety skin around your neck or armpits.
In addition to testing the above individuals at high risk, the American Diabetes Association also recommends screening all individuals age 45 and older.
How Are High Blood Sugar Levels Treated
Treating high blood sugar levels involves fixing what caused them in the first place. Your diabetes health care team will give you specific advice on how to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range. But here are some ways to manage the common causes of high blood sugar levels:
|Reason for High Blood Sugar Level||What to Do|
|Not getting enough insulin or other diabetes medicine||
|Not following the meal plan||
|Not getting enough exercise||
|Illness or stress||
|Use of other medicines that can increase blood sugar||
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What Causes Hyperglycaemia
The underlying cause of hyperglycaemia is the loss of insulin-producing cells in your pancreas or your body developing resistance to insulin.
More immediate reasons for hyperglycaemia include:
- missing a dose of diabetic medication, tablets or insulin
- eating more carbohydrates than your body and/or medication can manage
- being physically or emotionally stressed
- having an infection.
Eat Fewer Refined Carbs
Refined carbs are also called processed carbs. White bread, white rice, soda, candy, breakfast cereals, and desserts are all examples of refined carbohydrates. At the same time, vitamins, minerals, and fibre lack refined carbohydrates. Since the body readily and rapidly digests refined carbohydrates, they have a high glycemic index.
As per studies, after consuming meals with a high glycemic index, you can experience a spike in blood sugar followed by a dip in blood sugar. As a result, it can drive appetite and contribute to overeating and weight gain.
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