Blood Sugar Instability Symptoms
Insulin resistance does not happen all-of-a-sudden. Rather it builds over time and increasingly contributes to health problems. Understanding the signs of poor blood sugar control is the best way to be proactive in this regard. There are several telling signs that your body is not stabilizing blood sugar effectively.
Some of the most common include:
- Unstable Energy Levels
- Sudden Intense Hunger
Most commonly, these symptoms arise simply because someone is consuming too many carbohydrates and sugar throughout the day. This is why I always start with a low-carb, anti-inflammatory nutrition plan to kick start a fat-burning state and help people step off the blood sugar rollercoaster. If you are commonly experiencing these symptoms, it is imperative to test blood sugar levels periodically as these symptoms can be effectively controlled by doing so.
Blood Sugar And Heart Disease
As was just briefly mentioned, poor blood sugar regulation ultimately contributes to heart disease. This is because chronically elevated insulin drives up inflammation and contributes to the oxidation of cholesterol within the arteries. Chronic elevation in insulin also increases blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, creating the perfect storm for heart disease development.
This is likely the reason why it is so common for those who have heart issues to also have diabetes and general metabolic disorders. Whenever I am working with someone who is concerned about heart disease, the first thing I recommend is to test blood sugar on a regular basis and use strategies to ensure it remains stable.
Why Should I Check My Blood Sugar Levels
Keeping an eye on blood sugar levels has many benefits. For example, testing before and after meals helps you see how eating certain foods affects those levels. Knowing this can help you adjust your food choices and medicine doses.
Exercise also can change your blood sugar levels, so test them regularly when you’re active. This way you can tell whether your dose of diabetes medicine should be adjusted as you step up your physical activity.
And because being sick can mess up how much diabetes medicine your body needs, know your blood sugar levels when you’re feeling ill. This can help you and your doctor to decide if you should use less or more medicine, depending on your diabetes management plan.
If you manage your diabetes on your own most of the time, checking blood sugar levels also helps reassure your parents that you’re taking care of yourself.
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Blood Sugar: Here’s How To Measure It And Tell If Your Level Is Healthy
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Caroline Roberts writes articles and notifications for CNET. She studies English at Cal Poly, and loves philosophy, Karl the Fog and a strong cup of black coffee.
High blood sugar levels are a problem, even if you don’t have a family history of diabetes. Blood sugar that’s consistently higher than ideal can coexist with Type 2 diabetes and cause serious health conditions like kidney disease, nerve problems or stroke.
While that’s no reason to panic, when it comes to our health, it’s important to know exactly what’s going on inside of our bodies. Let’s get into what blood sugar means, how to measure it and everything else you need to know.
What If I Cant Get A Drop Of Blood For A Fingerstick
If you want to get blood from your fingertip, try washing your hands in hot water to get the blood flowing. Then dangle your hand below your heart for a minute. Prick your finger quickly and then put your hand back down below your heart. You might also try slowly squeezing the finger from the base to the tip.
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How Is Blood Glucose Monitored
If youre diagnosed with diabetes, youll be asked to monitor your blood glucose levels daily to determine the amount of glucose in your blood. Your diabetes health care team will work with you to determine the best times during the day to test your blood glucose and to find the monitoring device that best suits your needs. There are many accurate blood glucose meters available, and theyre simple to operate. You prick your finger with a lancet and apply a drop of blood to a treated strip. A glucose meter then reads the strip and displays the value.
Monitoring blood glucose and making appropriate changes offers a more independent, self-sufficient approach to diabetes management. Research indicates that complications associated with diabetes may be reduced if blood glucose levels are kept near normal. Blood glucose monitoring can help you:
- Make changes in your daily diet, medications or activity
- Identify low blood glucose levels
- Control blood glucose during illness
Continuous glucose monitoring technology uses a wearable or implantable sensor to monitor blood sugar levels and communicate data via a phone app or receiver-style device. Personal CGM devices are considered the standard of care for patients with Type 1 diabetes and are increasingly common for those with Type 2 diabetes. CGM technology allows patients to view their results in real time and for those results to be shared with their doctor.
What Are The Recommended Targets For Blood Glucose Levels
Many people with diabetes aim to keep their blood glucose at these normal levels:
- Before a meal: 80 to 130 mg/dL
- About 2 hours after a meal starts: less than 180 mg/dL
Talk with your health care team about the best target range for you. Be sure to tell your health care professional if your glucose levels often go above or below your target range.
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Tips For Checking Your Blood Sugar With Less Pain
Fingertips have more nerve endings, so this part of the finger tends to be the most sensitive.
If you use a finger prick to check your blood sugar level, a few techniques can make the process less painful whether youre using a glucometer or a continuous glucose monitor.
Blood sugar testing is crucial to diabetes management because high or low blood sugar can cause severe complications. If too much blood sugar accumulates in your bloodstream, you can experience major complications such as:
- difficulty speaking
Blood sugar can fluctuate throughout the day especially after meals, after exercising, and during stressful events. So its important to carefully monitor your blood sugar and keep it within a healthy range.
A blood sugar level less than 140 milligrams per deciliter , but greater than 70 mg/dL is typically considered in the target range.
You should check your blood sugar regularly, even if you arent experiencing symptoms of a high or low glucose level. Some people with high and low blood sugar dont have any symptoms.
What Other Tests Can Help Me Keep Track
Using a glucose meter can help you check your blood sugar levels, but other tests can help you know how well you’re controlling your diabetes too.
The glycosylated hemoglobin test will tell you how you’ve been controlling your blood sugar levels over the past few months. It’s usually done during regular visits with your diabetes health care team.
Hemoglobin is the substance inside red blood cells that carries oxygen to the cells of the body. The higher the glucose level in the blood, the more the glucose sticks to the hemoglobin. And once hemoglobin picks up glucose, the glucose stays on it for the life of the red blood cell, which is about 2 to 3 months.
The most commonly measured type of hemoglobin in the blood that has glucose attached to it is called HbA1c. In general, the lower your HbA1c, the better you’ve been controlling your blood sugar levels over the last 2 to 3 months. Having lower HbA1c levels may make it less likely that you’ll develop long-term diabetes problems.
Ketones are something else you’ll need to check for sometimes. Ketones are chemicals that show up in the urine and blood after the body breaks down fat for energy. The body will break down fat when it can’t use glucose. This can happen when you haven’t taken enough insulin to help the glucose get into the cells, or when you haven’t eaten enough to provide glucose for energy .
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Whats My Target Range
You might be asking, what’s the normal range for blood sugar levels? The answer is, there is a healthy range that you should ideally be aiming for. The infographics above show the general guidelines, but your individual target range for your blood sugar levels may be different. Youll healthcare team will agree with you what it is.
Youll get different readings at different times of the day, depending on things like what youve eaten and how much you are moving around. Heres a guide to help you get started on finding your target range:
If youre a child with type 1 diabetes
- when you wake up and before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
- after meals: 5 to 9mmol/l
If youre an adult with type 1 diabetes
- when you wake up and before meals: 5 to 7mmol/l
- before meals at other times of the day: 4 to 7mmol/l
If you have type 2 diabetes
- before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
- two hours after meals: less than 8.5mmol/l
Talking With Your Doctor About Your Target Blood Sugar Levels
In general, your target will be 80130 mg/dl before a meal and less than 180 mg/dl after a meal.
In addition to daily monitoring, your doctor will measure your HbA1c at regular intervals. This blood test helps your doctor understand if your treatment plan is working to control your blood sugar levels. An ideal HBA1c level should not exceed 7%.
Carrying out this test will also help you and your doctor determine the next step to take in your diabetes management plan.
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What Happens After The Diagnosis
Usually, the following things happen after your diagnosis:
A free education course for type 2 diabetes can help you manage your condition.
Page last reviewed: 18 August 2020 Next review due: 18 August 2023
Suggested Glucose Target Ranges
The American Diabetes Association published a position statement in 2005 on the standard of care for children with type 1 diabetes. Below is a table with the ADA’s recommendations on age-specific blood sugar goal ranges. Blood glucose goals should be higher than those listed in the table for children who have frequent cases of hypoglycemia and don’t experience the associated signs and symptoms.
Your child’s diabetes health care team will recommend an individualized target range for blood sugar levels. The general goal is to maintain as normal as possible blood sugar levels without causing frequent low blood sugar. Research has shown that in children under the age of 6, frequent, severe low blood sugar levels may result in neuro-cognitive deficits problems related to intellectual ability so target ranges are higher in this age group.
Adolescents should strive to achieve similar target ranges as adults. However, this may be difficult because of higher hormone levels, such as growth hormones, which counteract the effects of insulin. If your child’s sugar levels are in the ranges listed below at least 50 percent of the time, then blood sugar control is considered reasonable. If sugars levels exceed the range more than 50 percent of the time, then sugar control is not optimal and the diabetes plan should be changed.
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Why Would I Need This Test
You might need this test if you are at risk of developing diabetes, or if you have had any symptoms or test results suggesting diabetes.
The standard blood glucose tests measure your blood sugar level at a particular time. The OGTT measures how you respond to glucose.
Pregnant women can develop a particular type of diabetes called gestational diabetes, and will be asked to have an OGTT around 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born.
What If You Dont Have A Doctor
You could have prediabetes for years without any clear symptoms. In fact, around 96 million American adults have prediabetes, but more than 80% of them dont even know it. With prediabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as diabetes. Having prediabetes increases the risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
People who have any prediabetes risk factors are urged to talk to their doctor about getting their blood sugar tested. If you dont have a doctor or are concerned about expense, there are free or low-cost options available as a first step:
- Free screeningsFree blood sugar testing is offered at some health fairs, community centers, and pharmacies.
- Medicare coveragePeople covered by Medicare can get up to two free screenings a year if they have certain risk factors for diabetes, such as high blood pressure or obesity.
- Low-cost health centers and labsFederally funded community health centers provide low-cost blood sugar testing on a sliding scale based on income. Testing is also available at some walk-in labs for a small fee.
A word of caution: Free blood sugar screenings often arent accurate because people havent fasted 8 to 10 hours before the test. Make sure you know how to prepare ahead of time.
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Why Test Blood Sugar Levels
If you take certain medication, like insulin or sulphonylureas, checking your blood sugars is a vital part of living with diabetes. It can help you work out when you need to take more medication, when you need to eat something or for when you want to get up and move around more.
Routine checks can help you know when you might be starting to go too low or too high . Its a way of getting to know your body and how it works. It can help you and your healthcare team spot patterns too. Do you write your results down? You might find that helpful.
But importantly, it will help you stay healthy and prevent serious diabetes complications now and in the future. By complications, we mean serious problems in places like your feet and your eyes. This happens because too much sugar in the blood damages your blood vessels, making it harder for blood to flow around your body. This can lead to very serious problems like sight loss and needing an amputation.
The higher your blood sugar levels are and the longer theyre high for, the more at risk you are.
How Does It Work
You can test blood sugar levels at home using a blood glucose meter, which is a computerized device that measures the amount of glucose in a sample of your blood and displays it on a screen.
To get a sample of your blood, a small needle called a lancet is used to poke the skin to get one drop of blood. The drop is placed on a testing strip that goes into the glucose meter, and the blood glucose reading appears on a screen within a few seconds.
When you’re first diagnosed with diabetes, your mom or dad may help you test your blood sugar levels and keep track of the results. As you get older, though, you’ll learn how to use the glucose meter and monitor your blood sugar levels on your own. If you have any questions about using or taking care of your glucose meter, ask a member of your diabetes health care team.
How do you know which blood glucose meter to use? When you and your parents are choosing a glucose meter, you might want to consider:
Newer technologies are making it easier and less painful to keep track of diabetes. Adjustable lancets can make finger poking less painful by changing the depth to which the needle enters the skin, and certain meters can use blood drawn from a forearm or other body parts that are less sensitive than a fingertip for some people. Your diabetes health care team will help you choose the best type of equipment for you.
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Signs Of Low Blood Sugar
when a person has lower blood glucose levels, the condition is known as hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. People who suffer from type 1 diabetes inject insulin. If an overdose of insulin or a person has taken fast-acting insulin, he/she has a higher risk of developing low blood sugar. Too much insulin drops blood sugar levels. Improper timing of taking insulin also results in the same condition.
Your healthcare professional will explain when and how to check your blood sugar levels and how and when to treat low blood sugar. Less than 70 mg/dL is typically a low blood sugar level. You are at risk if your blood sugar is below 54 mg/dL.
In addition, alcohol, certain drugs or drug combinations, endocrine problems, eating disorders, and liver, kidney, or heart diseases can all contribute to low blood sugar levels.
The following list includes some of the most typical signs of low blood sugar:
You may experience some of the early symptoms of hypoglycemia, such as sweating, light-headedness, and dizziness if your blood sugar is low, only by testing your blood sugar using a glucose meter or keeping an eye on it continuously with a glucose monitor like Dexcom G6.