What Can Cause Low Blood Sugar Levels
Some things that can make low blood sugar levels more likely are:
- skipping meals and snacks
- not eating enough food during a meal or snack
- exercising longer or harder than usual without eating some extra food
- getting too much insulin
- not timing the insulin doses properly with meals, snacks, and exercise
Also, some things may increase how quickly insulin gets absorbed into the bloodstream and can make hypoglycemia more likely. These include:
- taking a hot shower or bath right after having an insulin injection increases blood flow through the blood vessels in the skin, which can make the insulin be absorbed more quickly than usual
- injecting the shot into a muscle instead of the fatty layer under the skin
- injecting the insulin into a part of the body used a lot in a particular sport .
All of these situations increase the chances that a person may get hypoglycemia.
Agave Syrup And Nectar
Produced in South America and Mexico from agave plants, agave nectar is sweeter than honey, though less viscous, whilst agave syrup is thicker and darker. Agave nectars are typically sold in light, amber, dark, and raw varieties. The light nectar is mild in flavour and is therefore ideal for delicate dishes or beverages, whereas the amber and dark varieties have a stronger, caramel taste, making them lovely as a honey or sugar substitute on pancakes, in desserts, for use in baking and even in sauces with poultry, meat and seafood dishes.
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Foods That Help To Bring Down Blood Sugar
While no single food can magically prevent you from getting diabetes, several foods have been shown to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels over time. By reading on, you learn how to lower blood sugar immediately, what meals can help, and what foods to consume when your blood sugar is higher than you’d want.
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Avoid Eating Large Meals
One way to keep carbs under control is by eating in moderation. I always tell my patients to spread their food out over the day, Weisenberger says. Dont eat small meals to save up for a big dinner. Feeding your body throughout the day helps regulate your blood sugar levels and prevents highs and lows, Crandall Snyder says.
Both Weisenberger and Crandall Snyder say to keep an eye on carbs, even while snacking. Classically, less than 15 g of carbs per snack is a good standard approach, Crandall Snyder says. Thats about whats found in 1 cup of fruit, she says.
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.
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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.
Take Any Missed Medications
Your doctor may have prescribed other medications to help keep your blood sugar in a normal range. Check that you havent missed a dose.
If you have missed a dose, take it as soon as possible, as long as you dont double up on your medication. This means that if your missed dose was several hours ago and your next scheduled dose is in 1 hour, you shouldnt take both doses so close together.
Taking two doses on top of each other can cause adverse reactions with some drugs. Instead, just take your next scheduled dose now.
If in doubt, consult the guide on the packaging of the medication or contact your medical team.
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Monitoring Your Blood Sugar Levels
As a diabetic, monitoring your blood sugar level is unquestionably the best way to know what is going on inside your body. Keeping your blood glucose under tight control undoubtedly reduces the chance of developing complications. Using a blood glucose meter for glucose monitoring is an essential tool in your diabetes management. How often you check your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes you have.
Individual blood glucose test strips are great for knowing immediately how your diabetes is controlled. It is equally important to know how you are doing over weeks and months. The A1c test gives us this information as it looks at how good your blood glucose control has been over a period of 3 months.
The A1c test is a great test for a diabetic woman who wants to get pregnant. You can find out if your blood glucose has been well controlled before conceiving. If it has not, you can wait until you have good control. In this way, you reduce the possibilities of complications with your baby.
Easy Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Levels Naturally
High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, is associated with diabetes and prediabetes. Prediabetes is when your blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
Your body usually manages your blood sugar levels by producing insulin, a hormone that allows your cells to use the circulating sugar in your blood. As such, insulin is the most important regulator of blood sugar levels .
However, multiple factors can impair blood sugar management and lead to hyperglycemia.
Internal causes for high blood sugar include when your liver produces too much glucose, your body makes too little insulin, or your body cant effectively use insulin. The latter is known as insulin resistance (
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 13% of U.S. adults live with diabetes and that another 34.5% have prediabetes. This means that close to 50% of all U.S. adults have diabetes or prediabetes .
Blood sugar management is especially important for people with diabetes, as chronically high blood sugar levels can lead to limb and life threatening complications (
Increased insulin sensitivity means your cells can more effectively use the available sugar in your bloodstream.
Exercise also helps your muscles use blood sugar for energy and muscle contraction .
Whats more, researchers recommend doing so-called exercise snacks to lower blood sugar and prevent the damage that sitting all day can do .
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Use Your Plate As A Portion Guide
If measuring or weighing food isnt appealing, try using your plate or bowl as a portion control guide.
This can help you determine the optimal macronutrient ratio for a well-balanced meal.
A rough guide for each meal is:
- Vegetables or salad: Half a plate
- High-quality protein: Quarter of a plate this includes meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, tofu, beans and pulses
- as whole grains and starchy vegetables
- High-fat foods: Half a tablespoon including cheese, oils and butter
Remember that this is a rough guide, as people have different dietary needs. For example, those who are more physically active often require more food.
As vegetables and salad are naturally low in calories but high in fiber and other nutrients, filling up on these may help you avoid overeating calorie-dense foods.
If you want extra guidance, some manufacturers sell portion-control plates.
Summary Using a plate as a guide for portion control can help you curb total food intake. You can divide your plate into sections based on different food groups.
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Manage Your Carb Intake
Your carb intake strongly influences your blood sugar levels .
Your body breaks carbs down into sugars, mainly glucose. Then, insulin helps your body use and store it for energy.
When you eat too many carbs or have insulin-function problems, this process fails, and blood glucose levels can rise.
Thats why the American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes manage their carb intake by counting carbs and being aware of how many they need .
Some studies find that this can help you plan your meals appropriately, further improving blood sugar management (
Foods that are high in fiber include:
The recommended daily intake of fiber is about 25 grams for women and 35 grams for men. Thats about 14 grams for every 1,000 calories .
Eating plenty of fiber can aid blood sugar management. Soluble dietary fiber appears to be more effective than insoluble fiber for this purpose.
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Bump Up Your Exercise Intensity
Exercise is a great way to boost your body’s ability to manage blood sugar, but making sure it’s a heart-pumping workout will help even more. Performing brief spurts of high-intensity exercise improved blood glucose levels in diabetics and healthy people for one to three days, per a 2013 review of research. Muscles soak up glucose during exercise to burn for energy, and the higher-intensity movements may aid this process even more.
When To Call 911 Or See A Doctor
If youre feeling lightheaded or shaky, its a good idea to call 911 and get emergency help. If your blood sugar is over 250mg/dL, then go to the ER for treatment right away. Otherwise, how long you wait before going to see a doctor depends on how high your levels are as well as how quickly theyve been rising in general. Consistently high blood sugar levels can wreak havoc on your pancreas, nervous system, and other organ functions.
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Dont Rely On Supplements Or Vitamins
Theres no shortcut to maintaining good blood sugars. A supplement or vitamin alone will not give you healthy blood sugar levels and they can interact negatively with other medications. Speak to your healthcare provider and perhaps ask for a referral for a dietitian who specializes in blood sugar control before incorporating dietary supplements, shakes, or vitamins to achieve blood sugar control.
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Check Your Blood Sugar Levels Often
Keep in mind that you may not have any hypoglycemia symptoms. Sometimes your symptoms wont be as obvious. For this reason, you should check your blood sugar levels frequently to make sure they dont get too low.
Ask your doctor how often you should be checking your blood sugar with a blood glucose meter. If youve had hypoglycemia in the past but didnt notice symptoms, you may have to be more vigilant about monitoring your blood glucose on a regular basis. Always check your blood glucose levels before driving or operating machinery.
If you experience episodes of hypoglycemia regularly, ask your doctor about using a continuous glucose monitor . This device tests glucose levels at routine times during the day, including while you sleep. A CGM will play an alarm if your glucose levels fall too low.
Hypoglycemia in people with diabetes typically occurs when you dont match your diabetes medications with your physical activity and food intake.
Pay close attention to your blood sugar levels when:
- youre engaging in a weight loss program
- you skip or delay a meal
- you drink alcohol
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What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels After Eating
Sugar is your body’s main source of energy. During digestion, carbohydrates are turned into glucose. Your body can use glucose for energy, or store whatever it doesn’t use in your cells for later.
Your blood sugar level is influenced by the food you eat, your age, stress, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol use. Your blood sugar can also be affected by heart conditions and diabetes.
If you want to get an idea of what your normal blood sugar levels are, you’ll need to check them. Your provider might want you to check at different times of the day, but you can start by checking your blood glucose levels one to two hours after eating.
Seeing what your blood sugar is after a meal or snack can help you better understand how your levels are affected by the food you eat as well as when you eat.
If you have diabetes, checking your blood sugar regularly helps you figure out if you’re taking the right dose of insulin .
As a general rule, your blood sugar level should be below 180 mg/dL one to two hours after you start eating a meal or snack.
However, your target blood sugar range will depend on:
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.
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How To Lower Your Blood Sugar Naturally
Nearly 10% of the U.S. population has diabetes, and globally rates are expected to double by 2030. Significant evidence shows you can lower your blood sugar quickly, and even reverse diabetes by adopting a healthy lifestyle:
- In the United Kingdom, researchers successfully lowered blood sugar and reverse diabetes by implementing a combination of a lifestyle change and weight loss.
- In urban locations in Africa, scientists have found educational programs help prediabetic adults alter their lifestyle to effectively lower blood sugar levels.
- The most extensive study was completed in the United States and was called the Diabetes Prevention Program Randomized Trail. The study observed 3,234 men and women with pre-diabetes over a three-year period. The researchers found a healthy lifestyle was more effective than medication in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes. One third of the adults took a placebo, another took metformin , while the final third of the adults adopted lifestyle changes that were similar to the Pritikin Program . Adults who adopted a lifestyle change were twice as likely to reduce the progression of their pre-diabetes into type 2 diabetes than the control group.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle, such as the Pritikin lifestyle, is twice as effective as medication in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes.
It Is Lunch Time It Is Time To Lower Blood Sugar As Well
How do we do that?
If you have diabetes, lunchtime can be a tricky meal to navigate. On the one hand, you want to avoid blood sugar spikes that can cause energy crashes later in the afternoon. On the other hand, you dont want to end up feeling famished a few hours after eating. So whats the best way to create a diabetic-friendly lunch that will help keep your blood sugar levels in check?
One important thing to remember is to include protein in your meal. Protein helps slow down the absorption of carbohydrates, which can help prevent blood sugar spikes. Lean protein sources such as grilled chicken, fish, or tofu are all great choices. You should also include a non-starchy vegetable such as broccoli or green beans. These vegetables are low in calories and carbohydrates, but theyre packed with nutrients essential for good health. Finally, round out your meal with a small portion of whole grain carbohydrates. Whole grains like quinoa or brown rice are slowly digested and can help provide sustained energy throughout the afternoon.
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What Are The Complications Of High Blood Sugar Levels
Diabetes complications can occur if your diabetes is not treated correctly, issues it can cause are:
- Heart disease leading to a heart attack
- Vision loss e.g. cataracts, glaucoma
- Foot and skin problems e.g. dry skin, loss of elasticity of the skin, or ulcers on the feet
- Blood vessel damage
Some complications of diabetes can lead to life-threatening problems if they are not picked up and treated on time. Read our blog on the complications of diabetes for more detailed information.
How To Lower Blood Sugar Fast
High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, can happen if you are a diabetic for many different reasons, including being unwell, eating more than planned, not producing enough insulin in your body, unplanned physical activity, and stress. Untreated hyperglycemia can lead to serious health problems.
The vast majority of hyperglycemia cases are mild but when things get serious you need to know what to do fast. If it is an emergency and you need to reduce blood sugar levels immediately, use insulin. An extra dose of insulin can be taken if you have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The amount depends on the situation and your doctors recommendation. It is important you know when to seek medical attention from an emergency room. Read on to find out how to lower blood sugar fast.
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Why Blood Sugar Spikes
Common reasons for skyrocketing glucose levels include the following:
- Not taking insulin or diabetic medication properly
- Not getting enough exercise
- “High Blood Sugar and Diabetes.” March 10, 2015. WebMD. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
- “Hyperglycemia .” June 7, 2013. American Diabetes Association. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
- “Hyperglycemia in Diabetes.” April 18, 2015. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the authorâs knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.