Postprandial Blood Sugar Few Of Those With Diabetes Know Why It Is So Important
Blood sugar after a meal is referred to as postprandial blood sugar. So the opposite, namely before a meal, is called preprandial. The American Diabetes Association advises keeping your blood sugar levels before meals between 80130 mg/dl and your levels 12 hours after meals under 180.
Usually, blood sugar begins to rise 10-15 minutes after a meal and reaches its peak after an hour. However, it is important to note that these are just approximate guidelines as postprandial glucose depends on several factors, such as the type of food consumed.
Influence on HbA1c
Research has shown that postprandial blood sugar levels are significant for HbA1c. Even if glucose spikes after eating are only brief, they still have the potential to raise HbA1c over the course of the day. Most people with diabetes check their blood sugar before a meal but not afterwards or they leave it until the next mealtime. This can lead to glucose spikes being undetected and remaining high for a long period of time.
How to deal with high postprandial blood sugar levels
Be sure to check your levels at least 90 minutes after a meal. Why? By that time rapid acting analogue insulin has reached its maximum effect .
If its still too high then you should look into the causes such as:
what type of food did I eat?
did I correctly estimate my carbs?
is my insulin-to-carb ratio correct?
and is the injection-meal interval correct?
How Food Affects Blood Sugar
When you eat food, your body breaks it down into essential parts:
- Vitamins and minerals
All parts are necessary in a healthy diet, but the three types of carbohydrates are particularly important when it comes to your blood glucose level. While the general rule is that the more carbohydrates you eat, the higher your blood sugar level, not all three types of carbohydrates convert to blood sugar at the same rate.
The 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 or granola bars
- Fiber: Whole wheat products, chickpeas, lentils, berries, pears, and brussels sprouts
The glycemic index helps you find out which foods can increase or help decrease blood sugar levels. Based on a scale ranging from 0 to 100, high-indexed foods are rapidly digested, absorbed, and metabolized, resulting in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels, while low-indexed foods produce smaller fluctuations in your blood glucose.
The American Diabetes Association advises adding lean sources of protein and heart-healthy fats to help reduce the overall glycemic impact of a meal or snack.
Using Medications And Smart Pumps
If following a strict medication and diet regimen does not prevent these spikes from occurring, a person should let their prescribing doctor know. The doctor will likely adjust their prescription.
Diabetes management also requires anyone taking insulin or non-insulin medication to stick to specific timings.
A range of pumps and smart pumps is available to provide continual, timed doses of insulin. These devices provide background insulin to regulate blood glucose levels during fasting periods and sleep. Their use is more common among people with type 1 diabetes than those with type 2 diabetes.
Smart pumps connect to a continuous glucose monitor and can respond to blood sugar spikes, essentially working as an artificial pancreas. However, with all pumps, manual inputs are still necessary during meals.
People with diabetes have to be especially careful about keeping their blood sugar levels under control and avoiding spikes in blood sugar.
Various triggers can contribute to these spikes. For example:
Persistent blood sugar spikes can have severe consequences.
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How Do I Check Blood Sugar Level
Checking blood sugar level is very simple thanks to the availability of easy-to-use handheld glucometers. These consumer glucometers have made it very easy to always keep an eye on your blood sugar level. They are an absolute essential for diabetics and also for people trying to maintain their blood glucose level.
- Check out Here how to choose the best diabetic blood sugar meter.
They operate by taking pin-pricks of blood onto a small electrode slip, which when inserted into the device gives a digital readout of the amount of glucose content in the blood. These devices have become extremely popular for their convenience, reliability and accuracy.
An essential laboratory test of blood glucose level is the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test or OGTT. It is a diagnostic test for DM or any glucose intolerance. Here, a blood sugar reading is taken after a 10-12 hour fast. Then another reading is taken after 2 hours after ingesting a measured amount of glucose. This test shows the bodys ability to absorb glucose, thus is a confirmatory test for DM.
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.
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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.
Medical Approaches To Spike Control
A common approach to lowering after-meal blood glucose spikes is to take more insulin. But unless blood glucose levels remain high for three to six hours after eating, taking more insulin is not going to solve the problem. In fact, increasing mealtime insulin will most likely result in low blood glucose before the next meal.
Here are some strategies that may work better:
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The Effects Of Protein And Fat
The rate at which food leaves your stomach, called gastric emptying, affects the amount of sugar in your blood after you eat. Protein and fat both slow down gastric emptying, which helps keep blood sugar lower shortly after a meal. In a study published in 2016 in the journal Diabetologica, people who ate high protein-foods before eating carbohydrates , experienced a rise in glucagon, which is thought to play a role in slowing down gastric emptying.
Plus, says Palinski-Wade, “if you’re eating a meal that has a large amount of fat or protein, the fat, the protein or the fiber will slow down the absorption and conversion of the sugar, so the peak might be a bit delayed.” She suggests eating carbs with at least one good source of fiber, protein or fat. “Not only is it going to help with the release of blood sugar,” she says, “but it’s also going to help keep you more satisfied.”
How To Control Blood Sugar Atural
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What Causes High Morning Blood Sugars
Two main culprits prompt morning highs: the dawn phenomenon and waning insulin. A third, much rarer cause, known as the Somogyi effect, may also be to blame.
The occasional morning high will have little impact on your A1C, a measure of your average blood sugar levels over time that indicates how well managed your diabetes is. But if those highs become consistent, they could push your A1C up into dangerous territory.
Foods That Trigger Insulin
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Why Do People Get Blood Sugar Spikes After Meals
When people eat a meal, especially when it contains carbohydrates, it is normal for them to have a temporary spike in their sugar level before the insulin their body produces immediately starts working to lower the spike. For someone with type 1 diabetes, who cant produce their own insulin, these spikes can be higher and last longer.
This is because it can take longer for the type of insulin they inject to start working, in comparison to the insulin that is produced naturally by the body of someone who does not have diabetes, to reduce these post-meal spikes.
Furthermore, it is important to know that people living with type 1 diabetes may have alterations in different digestive enzymes which will cause faster digestion of our meals . This can obviously impact on the size of the spike too.
Diagnosing Prediabetes Type 2 And Type 1 Diabetes
Depending on which country or medical organization you ask, the qualifying numbers for normal versus prediabetes versus diagnosed type 1 or type 2 diabetes can vary slightly.
- HbA1c: 5.7 to 6.4 percent
- Fasting: 100 to 125 mg/dL
- 2 hours after a meal: 140 mg/dL to 199 mg/dL
Type 1 or 2 diabetes
- HbA1c: 6.5 percent or higher
- Fasting: 126 mg/dL or higher
- 2 hours after a meal: 200 mg/dL or higher
Please note:Type 1 diabetes tends to develop very quickly which means that by the time symptoms are felt, blood sugar levels are generally well above 200 mg/dL all the time. For many, symptoms come on so quickly that they are dismissed as the lingering flu or another seemingly ordinary virus.
By the time blood sugar levels are tested, many newly diagnosed type 1 patients will see levels above 400 mg/dL or higher. If you do suspect that you or a loved one has type 1 diabetes, visit your primary care or urgent care immediately and ask for a urine test to measure ketones in addition to testing blood sugar levels and A1c.
Read more about ketones at diagnosis in ourDiabetic Ketoacidosis Guide.
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What Causes Blood Sugar To Be High
Many things can cause high blood sugar , including being sick, being stressed, eating more than planned, and not giving yourself enough insulin. Over time, high blood sugar can lead to long-term, serious health problems. Symptoms of high blood sugar include:
- Feeling very tired.
- Having blurry vision.
- Needing to urinate more often.
If you get sick, your blood sugar can be hard to manage. You may not be able to eat or drink as much as usual, which can affect blood sugar levels. If youre ill and your blood sugar is 240 mg/dL or above, use an over-the-counter ketone test kit to check your urine for ketones and call your doctor if your ketones are high. High ketones can be an early sign of diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately.
Your Legs And Feet Are Swollen
When thereâs too much sugar in the system, it can pull water into cells, which will swell up over time if you donât get these fluids moving through your body regularly.
The American Diabetes Association claims that people who have diabetes tend to have legs and feet up to five times larger than they should be, which can lead to complications within the circulatory system, including infections and reduced blood flow.
If you notice your feet and ankles begin to swell up, make sure to keep them elevated when possible. Itâs important to treat swelling as soon as possible by elevating your legs higher.
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Blood Sugar Levels After Eating
Blood sugar level simply means the concentration of a simple sugar in certain amount of blood. In the United States, it is measured in mg/dl or milligrams per deciliter. Glucose concentration in the body fluctuates the whole day. Actually, there can be significant variations from minute to minute. Blood sugar levels after eating normally skyrocket and exercising will normally drop the levels. Doctors are interested in fasting glucose, glucose levels after eating, which is at times tested.
Diabetic Ketoacidosis: A Complication Of Severe Hyperglycemia In Type 1 Diabetes
In addition to the complications above, severe hyperglycemia in people with type 1 diabetes can lead to a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis, mentioned above. This condition develops when toxic acids called 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.
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What Are Normal Blood Glucose Levels In Healthy Individuals
Blood sugar levels can either be normal, high, or low, depending on how much glucose someone has in their bloodstream. Glucose is a simple sugar thats present in the bloodstream at all times. Normal blood glucose levels can be measured when someone fasts, eats, or after theyve eaten. A normal blood glucose level for adults, without diabetes, who havent eaten for at least eight hours is less than 100 mg/dL. A normal blood glucose level for adults, without diabetes, two hours after eating is 90 to 110 mg/dL.
Many factors affect blood sugar levels throughout the day:
- Type of food consumed, how much, and when
- Physical activity
- Menstrual periods
An ideal blood sugar level for anyone without diabetes or prediabetes, regardless of age, in the morning should be less than 100 mg/dL. Remember, blood sugar levels can fluctuate throughout the day as a result of the factors previously mentioned.
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What Causes Hyperglycemia
Your diet may cause you to have high blood sugar levels, particularly if you have diabetes. Carbohydrate-heavy foods such as breads, rice, and pasta can raise your blood sugar. Your body breaks these foods down into sugar molecules during digestion. One of these molecules is glucose, an energy source for your body.
After you eat, glucose is absorbed into your bloodstream. The glucose cant be absorbed without the help of the hormone insulin. If your body is unable to produce enough insulin or is resistant to its effects, glucose can build up in your bloodstream and cause hyperglycemia.
Hyperglycemia can also be triggered by a change in your hormone levels. This commonly happens when youre under a lot of stress or when youre feeling ill.
Hyperglycemia can affect people regardless of whether they have diabetes. You may be at risk of hyperglycemia if you:
- lead a sedentary or inactive lifestyle
- have a chronic or severe illness
- are under emotional distress
- use certain medications, such as steroids
- have had a recent surgery
If you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels may spike if you:
- dont follow your diabetes eating plan
- dont use your insulin correctly
- dont take your medications correctly
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