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.
Ramp Up Your Movement Each Day
Exercise helps improve blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity and the bodys ability to use glucose as energy, according to the American Diabetes Association. In type 2, exercise helps improve insulin resistance, says James G. Beckerman, MD, a cardiologist in Portland, Oregon. The end result is lower blood sugars.
Crandall Snyder tells patients that exercise is like spring cleaning for the body. It takes the stored form of glucose and uses it for energy so the next time you eat carbohydrates there’s a place to put it, she says.
Because exercise can immediately reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, work with your healthcare team to determine the right amount of activity and timing for you. A study published in September 2017 in Frontiers in Endocrinology found exercising 30 minutes after the start of a meal is usually best for maintaining blood sugar controls.
Learn more about managing your blood sugar in Diabetes Daily’s article “HbA1C: Everything You Need to Know.”
High Blood Sugar Causes
Sometimes the cause of a blood sugar spike is clear . But other times, the cause is a little more mysterious.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, losing sleep, skipping breakfast, not drinking enough water, or drinking coffee can cause blood sugar instability.
Even weirder, sometimes a sunburn can cause a spike! The pain of a burn causes stress, and high levels of stress can mess up your blood sugar. So bust out the sunscreen for the sake of your pancreas!
Other causes include eating high-sugar/high-carb foods, drinking alcohol, getting sick, and changing medication. A diet low in fiber and high in refined carbs or sugars and a sedentary lifestyle also make high blood sugar more likely.
So, what can you do when your blood sugar gets too high? Here are some natural ways to get your sugar back into a safe zone.
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Take A Pass On The Bread Bowl
Its obvious that sugary stuff leads to an increase in blood sugar, but starchy foods can do the same thing. Your body processes simple carbs quickly and turns them into sugar, and it needs a lot of insulin to absorb them. That means a bag of Doritos is as likely as a candy bar to cause a spike.
If youre in the middle of a blood sugar spike, its best to curtail your carb intake. Check the glycemic index if youre not sure about a food.
Surprisingly, popcorn and white potatoes are worse than ice cream, according to the index. If you stick to low-carb/low-glycemic-index foods, your blood sugar will return to normal much more quickly.
Ultimately, its best to limit your carb intake. A 2004 study found that a diet of 20 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, and 50 percent fat lowered fasting blood sugar and kept blood sugar from spiking after meals.
This was a very small study, but the results suggest that lower carb intake can lead to generally lower blood glucose. In general, most people with diabetes eat 40 to 45 percent of their calories in the form of carbohydrates. Choosing nutrient-rich sources of carbs is best.
Another promising study found that after two years on a low-carb diet, many participants with type 2 diabetes were able to manage their condition without medication or resolve it entirely.
The occasional baked potato isnt a problem, but frequent trips to the drive-through are not a good idea. Find a few veggie-and-protein-heavy meals and make them your go-tos.
Take The Medication Unless Your Doctor Tells You Otherwise
Your doctor isnt medicating you for the sake of it. There are certain health problems that will require medication to help you control your levels. This is the case with diabetes.
Its important to visit your doctor regularly. Arranged for morning appointments when you have your checks to get your morning levels recorded on a regular basis. This way your doctor can see if your medication is still needed and whether there are other things you can do instead.
Only stop taking your medication if your doctor tells you so. Youll get a good idea by your glucose levels. Track them yourself to see if theyre getting lower one week to the next. If you see a significant drop, talk to your doctor about your options for cutting back or out your medication and trying more holistic options.
If you believe you need a second opinion, dont be afraid to get one from someone reputable. Just follow the advice from those who have the degrees!
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Why Does Blood Sugar Go Up In The Morning What Is The Dawn Phenomenon
There are a few main reasons why your glucose levels may be higher in the morning. One of these is known as the dawn phenomenon.
The dawn phenomenon occurs early in the morning between 3 am and 8 am while you are still asleep. As morning approaches, the body naturally signals your liver to produce glucose, giving your body the energy it needs for the start of the day. Caused by changes in hormonal levels, the dawn phenomenon happens to all people, with or without diabetes. However, for those without diabetes, insulin levels increase and they do not experience hyperglycemia.
Another reason you may experience higher morning glucose levels is because your injected insulin wears off. If your body has insufficient insulin during the night, your glucose levels may start to rise. To combat this, you may consider trying a new basal insulin, adjusting the timing and amount of your basal dose , or changing your nighttime basal rates .
The last reason you may experience higher morning glucose levels is known as the Somogyi effect. This occurs if your glucose levels fall too low during the night, caused by too much insulin or medication. To respond, your liver produces more glucose to try to maintain your glucose levels, which may result in hyperglycemia. The Somogyi effect is not as common as the other reasons described.
How Can You Tell If Your Blood Sugar Is High
If you dont have a glucometer , there are some physical symptoms that indicate high blood glucose. Usually if blood sugar is very high, the kidney is trying to eliminate all that sugar and in order to eliminate all that sugar, we need water to get rid of things, says Dr. Wright. That causes increased urination. You might also experience thirst as your body gets more dehydrated from the loss of fluid. Other patients, they describe that they might feel dizzy or sometimes they feel like their hands are tingly and that’s when they know that the blood sugars are high, adds Dr. Wright. Unfortunately, diabetes affects nearly every body part so symptoms can vary greatly. Other signs could be fatigue, just really not having the energy that you would expect you should have at that time, says Dr. Hong. And then more severely, things like nausea and vomiting or even abdominal pain can be signs of hyperglycemia.
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Why Does Blood Sugar Spike
The reasons for how and why blood sugar levels can spike are many. For some, it may simply be a matter of not taking enough insulin or being distracted and forgetting to administer the proper dosage throughout the day. Other people may produce too much glucose because theyre unable to use all of whats available in foods as energy because of their diabetes.
For others, the cause may not be so clear. For example, it could have to do with how a persons body is reacting to stress or how theyre managing their diet and lifestyle in general. Either way, there are ways to manage high blood sugar, both short-term and long-term.
Why Does Blood Sugar Rise Exactly
A number of things contribute to rises in blood sugar on a daily basis. Food is chief among those things.
“Simple carbohydrates, like sugary drinks or candy, will be digested and absorbed quickly, which will raise blood sugar more than a mixed meal with protein, high fiber carbohydrates, and fat,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, founder of NutritionStarringYOU.com and author of The Everything Easy Pre-Diabetes Cookbook.
Protein, fat, and fiber together will slow digestion and thus create a more blunted rise in blood sugar, with less drastic spikes, or even a steady elevation.
“For example, a bagel with jelly that’s nearly all carbohydrates should increase blood sugar more than an egg with whole-grain toast and berries, even if the calories are the same,” Harris-Pincus explains.
“It’s also important to know that all carbohydrates are not created equal, so certain foods like beans and oats, which contain soluble fiber, can help control blood sugar, and strawberries and wild blueberries have been shown to help with insulin resistance as well,” Harris-Pincus says.
Still, all bodies differ, so keep in mind this is just a general rule of thumb. It’s a good idea to monitor your blood sugar after meals for several weeks to gain a better understanding of how your blood sugar responds to foods.
“Every person has a unique body and will react differently, so it takes trial and error to learn how you respond,” she adds.
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Preventing High Blood Sugars
Everyone with diabetes experiences high blood sugars sometimes there are simply too many variables in the human body out of your control to prevent them altogether.
That being said, there are a few blood sugar management guidelines we can all follow to minimize the frequency of high blood sugars:
- Avoid full-sugar beverages including soda, juice, coffee drinks, iced tea, etc.
- Choose your carbohydrates carefully starchy carbs from pasta, candy, bread, desserts, etc. will spike your blood sugar the most
- Take your medications as prescribed and contact your healthcare team if you miss a dose to determine if you can take it late
- Exercise daily even a 20-minute walk makes a big difference on a daily basis
- Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration
And of course, if youre experiencing high blood sugars are a daily basis and youre unsure of the cause, talk to your healthcare team about making adjustments in your diabetes management regimen. A slight increase in your medications can have a big impact!
Avoid Alcohol The Night Before And Sugar In Anything The Next Morning
Like to enjoy a tipple the night before you go to bed? Its time to cut down or back on that completely. The alcohol dehydrates the body and will mean your blood glucose level will be more saturated. The smaller amounts of glucose will affect you in bigger ways.
But this doesnt help you on a morning, right? Well, look out for drinking anything sugary on a morning. This includes your glass of orange juice. You may even want to avoid plain water!
You want to drink something that is going to keep your sugar levels to a minimum and not spart the release of insulin. That means looking for something that packs plenty of protein. Remember that protein berry smoothie? Consider that as your morning drink/breakfast. You can follow it with a glass of water if youd like.
A green smoothie would be another excellent option. It packs you full of nutrients, and you can add in the protein to get that filling element.
If you really want water, add a slice or two of lemon. You get some sweetness but without the large amounts of sugar hitting your system causing a problem.
Keeping your morning drink routine perfect will also help you reduce the stress hormones. Coffee is a stimulant and will just make your stress levels even worse. Anything with caffeine will do the same and thats usually what youll add sugar to. Opt for lemon water for a refreshing drink and then a smoothie for a no-caffeine, nutrient packed breakfast.
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What Causes Low Blood Glucose In People With Diabetes
Low blood glucose levels can be a side effect of insulin or some other medicines that help your pancreas release insulin into your blood. Taking these can lower your blood glucose level.
Two types of diabetes pills can cause low blood glucose
- sulfonylureas, usually taken once or twice per day, which increase insulin over several hours
- meglitinides, taken before meals to promote a short-term increase in insulin
The following may also lower your blood glucose level
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When Should I Call For Medical Help
It is great to have regular medical care for your diabetes. There are some instances that you should call your doctor right away.
- If you experience an abnormally high blood sugar for more than 24 hours
- If you have fruity smelling breath or test positive for ketones in your urine
- If you become severely dehydrated
- If you are unable to eat or take your medications without vomiting
If someone ever loses consciousness, call 911 right away. This could be caused by blood sugar levels that are too high or too low.
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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
When To Seek Medical Attention In An Emergency
For people with type 1 diabetes, untreated high blood sugar can lead to a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA.
When there is no insulin and glucose can’t get into cells, your body starts breaking down fat into a fuel called ketones. If ketones build up in your blood, it becomes dangerously acidic. DKA can cause very serious health complications such as fluid building up in the brain, kidney failure, and cardiac arrest.
If your blood sugar is above 240 mg/dL, you should check your urine for ketones, a sign you may be at risk for DKA. You can do this with an at home test, but you also should contact your doctor. If there are ketones in your urine, you should go to the emergency room. Other symptoms of DKA include:
- Increased respiratory rate, or trouble breathing
- Breath that smells fruity
- Nausea and vomiting
- A very dry mouth
In rare occasions, DKA can occur in people with type 2 diabetes, but the more common complication for people with type 2 is called hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state, or HHS. HHS occurs when blood glucose levels are high for an extended period of time. The extra sugar is passed into the urine, causing the person to urinate frequently and become severely dehydrated, just like with DKA.
For people with type 2 diabetes, blood sugar above 600 mg/dL indicates HHS. Other symptoms include:
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Signs And Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
Each persons reaction to low blood sugar is different. Learn your own signs and symptoms of when your blood sugar is low. Taking time to write these symptoms down may help you learn your own symptoms of when your blood sugar is low. From milder, more common indicators to most severe, signs and symptoms of low blood sugar include:
- Nightmares or crying out during sleep
The only sure way to know whether you are experiencing low blood sugar is to check your blood sugar, if possible. If you are experiencing symptoms and you are unable to check your blood sugar for any reason, treat the hypoglycemia.
A low blood sugar level triggers the release of epinephrine , the fight-or-flight hormone. Epinephrine is what can cause the symptoms of hypoglycemia such as thumping heart, sweating, tingling and anxiety.
If the blood sugar level continues to drop, the brain does not get enough glucose and stops functioning as it should. This can lead to blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, confused thinking, slurred speech, numbness, and drowsiness. If blood sugar stays low for too long, starving the brain of glucose, it may lead to seizures, coma and very rarely death.
A Low Blood Sugar Level And Driving
You may still be allowed to drive if you have diabetes or youre at risk of a low blood sugar level for another reason, but youll need to do things to reduce the chance of this happening while youre driving.
You also need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and your car insurance company about your condition.
For more information, see:
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First Check Your Ketones
If you live with insulin-dependent diabetes, high blood sugars can put you at risk of developing ketones. Blood sugar levels over 250 mg/dL with too little insulin can quickly turn into diabetic ketoacidosis if it continues to rise.
Test your urine for ketones, and contact your doctor or visit an urgent care facility if you measure with moderate to large ketones.
When large ketones are present, correcting a high blood sugar with insulin via pump or injection wont be effective. Instead, youll likely need intravenous fluids for a few hours to restabilize.
If you only have moderate ketones or less, you may be able to correct with insulin at home but youll likely need a larger dose than normal. Contact your healthcare team if you test positive for ketones and are unsure of how to safely manage the situation.
You can learn more in our guide: What Levels of Blood Sugar are Dangerous