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.
Does Eating Too Much Sugar Lead To Prediabetes
For some people yes, for some people no. Prediabetes is largely dependent on genetic factors, but lifestyle does play a part. Its hard to say if eating too much sugar will give you prediabetes because just like with other diseases, the same exposure will effect two different people differently. The best defense against developing prediabetes is knowing your risks, eating a balanced sensible diet, and being physically active.
How To Lower Blood Sugar
Its best to always talk to your doctor about what to do if a certain situation presents itself. For example, your doctor may recommend you take an additional dose of insulin to lower blood sugar. Make sure youre aware of the dose that should be taken, as well as what level it should be taken at.
While lowering blood sugar for some requires taking insulin or other medication, there are some simple things that can be done to help get blood sugar moving in the right direction.
Drinking water is a simple, effective way to help lower blood sugar. It wont get you all the way back to normal when your blood sugar level is very high, but it will usually help get it moving downward. When your body needs to get rid of extra glucose, it can dispose of it through urine. In order for this to happen, you need to be properly hydrated.
Additionally, exercising can serve as a long term proactive means of lowering average blood sugar. When you exercise, your body becomes more sensitive to insulin in your body and can pull sugar from the blood to use for energy. This is another effective way to lower your blood sugar levels naturally. Make sure that the exercise youre doing isnt too strenuous. Even going for a walk can be the exercise the body needs to use some of the excess glucose in the blood.
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Low Blood Sugar Symptoms
Low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia, is what happens when blood glucose levels drop too low. People who take insulin may have low blood sugar if they take too much insulin or mistime the insulin dose in relation to food, or if they exercise more than usual when there is fast-acting insulin on board .
Your healthcare provider will tell you when and how to check blood sugar, and when and how to treat low blood sugar. A low blood sugar is generally considered to be less than 70 mg/dL. A dangerously low blood sugar is below 54 mg/dL.
Low blood sugar can also be caused by many things including certain medications or combinations of medications, alcohol, endocrine disorders, eating disorders, and disorders of the liver, kidneys, or heart.
Here are some of the most common symptoms that someone with low blood sugar might experience:
If your blood sugar is low you might start to feel some of the first signs of hypoglycemia like dizziness, lightheadedness, or sweating. The only way to know for sure if your blood sugar is low is to test it with a glucose meter or monitor it with a continuous glucose monitor such as the Dexcom G6.
If your blood sugar is low , a general rule of thumb is to consume 15 grams of fast-acting carbs to raise your blood sugar levels and avoid further symptoms, according to the American Diabetes Association . Your healthcare provider will give you a plan for what to do in case of low blood sugar that is specifically designed for you.
What Is Prediabetes And How Is It Diagnosed
Prediabetes is what you might have heard described as borderline diabetes or insulin resistance. Your blood sugars are elevated, but not enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Technically, prediabetes is when you have one of the following test results:
- a fasting glucose of 100-125 mg/dL
- 2 hour post glucose tolerance test blood sugar of 141-199 mg/dL
- hbA1c 5.7%-6.4%
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Normal Blood Sugar Before And After Meals
Normal blood sugar levels vary from person to person. That’s why when we talk about ‘normal’ blood glucose levels, we refer to a range of values that are considered healthy for most individuals. According to the World Health Organization ), a normal range for fasting blood sugar is between 70 and 100 milligrams per deciliter .
For most people, eating a meal or drinking a sugary drink will lead to a temporary increase in the blood glucose levels. As stated by the American Diabetes Association , the blood sugar two hours after eating should not exceed 140 milligrams per deciliter. However, people with certain metabolic conditions, such as prediabetes or diabetes, typically have lower blood sugar than those guidelines suggest. Researchers from the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology continuously measured people’s blood glucose and found that most individuals averaged around 82 mg/DL during the night and around 93 mg/DL during the day, and spiked to a maximum of 132 mg/DL an hour after a meal.
Normal Fasting Blood Sugar For Person Without Diabetes
A normal fasting blood glucose for someone who does not have diabetes ranges from 70 to 99 mg/dl. The American Diabetes Association recommends a routine screening for type 2 diabetes starting at age 35. If the results are normal, the screening should be repeated every three years.
If have diabetes risk factors, which include being overweight or obese, having a family history of type 2 diabetes, having a history of gestational diabetes, or being of a certain race/ethnicity , you should be screened for diabetes sooner and repeat testing may be recommended more often.
Children and adolescents who have diabetes symptoms or who are overweight and have a family history of type 2 diabetes, are of African American, Latino, Asian American, Native American or Pacific Islander descent, who have signs of prediabetes or a mother who had gestational diabetes should be tested beginning at age 10 or the onset of puberty and then every three years thereafter.
A fasting blood sugar of 100 to 125 mg/dl is indicative of prediabetes, which is a condition where blood sugar levels are above normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Prediabetes is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Its managed by lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication.
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Who Should Do The Test
According to the American Diabetes Association, screening for diabetes is recommended in people over 45 , or at any age if you have certain risk factors, including :
- Being overweight, obese, or physically inactive
- Having a close relative with diabetes
- Belonging to a certain race/ethnic group
- Having signs of insulin resistance or conditions associated with insulin resistance, such as high blood pressure , low good cholesterol and/or high triglycerides , and polycystic ovary syndrome
- Having had diabetes in pregnancy
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What Causes High Blood Sugar Levels In The Morning
Commonly known reasons why your blood sugar may be high in the morning include high-carb bedtime snacks and not enough diabetes medications.
Yet two lesser-known reasons may be causing your morning blood sugar woes: the dawn phenomenon and the Somogyi effect. These causes of high morning blood sugar levels are a result of body changes and reactions that happen while you are sleeping.
For Pregnant People With Type 1
Its very possible to have a healthy pregnancy if you have type 1 diabetes. But if it isnt well controlled and monitored, type 1 can increase your risk of pregnancy complications. As a result, the target blood glucose range may be lower than you are used to and require more regular monitoring.
Fasting blood glucose should be below 95 mg/dL, below 140 mg/dL an hour after eating, and below 120 mg/dL 2 hours after eating. A1c tests may be used to monitor how effectively your blood glucose is being controlled over the course of your pregnancy, with a target of below 6%.
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What Is Considered A High Blood Sugar Level
If you just received a diabetes diagnosis, you may be wondering what blood sugar levels mean and how you should be creating goals based off of your blood glucose tracking. One of the most important things for you to know is what blood sugar levels are and when theyre considered to be high. Learning what steps to take if you find your levels are too high will help you stay safe.
Because diabetes is such an individual condition, the best first step is to consult your doctor about what is a healthy range for your blood sugar. Once youve gotten advice from your medical expert, you can begin to modify your lifestyle and continue to do additional research to improve your health and benefit your diabetes management journey. Before researching online, its important to remember that blood sugar levels are an individual, personal reaction to many factors, and can vary while still being within an acceptable range. Generalized numbers are often not a 100% accurate measure of personal health and there may be other factors that are affecting your blood sugar, resulting in confusing numbers when you check.
Make sure that you carefully follow the instructions your doctor has created for you. Diabetes can have negative effects if not managed properly. By understanding healthy blood sugar ranges, you can take steps to reduce or avoid added diabetes complications, and better understand what changes in blood sugar may be reflecting about your bodys health.
How Do You Prevent Prediabetes
Unfortunately, for some people prevention is a challenge. A strong family history can be a big uphill battle, but knowing you are at a higher risk means you can take action early to ensure you dont develop diabetes. The biggest steps you can take for your health are:
- Stay activefind something that brings you joy
- Eat a balanced, realistic diet: high in fiber, protein, and fat
- Do NOT succumb to the low-carb trend as this can further exacerbate blood sugar levels
- Focus on quality, higher fiber carbohydrates
- Be responsible, intentional, and realistic with your food choices
- Tune into your emotional health, since stress also play a role in diabetes/prediabetes management
If you think you might be at risk for prediabetes, talk to your doctor. A fasting glucose test is standard for your annual check up. You can also request a HbA1c test, which can be particularly informative.
And if you do get a prediabetes diagnosis, consider seeing a registered dietitian for counseling. sees patients one-on-one in the Houston area and is available for virtual counseling as well. She also writes the Milk & Honey Nutrition Blog, which features gluten-free and diabetes-friendly recipes. Feel free to email her questions or to inquire about her nutrition coaching:
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Target Blood Sugar Levels In Children With Diabetes
Children younger than 6 years old Blood sugar in mg/dL Bedtime 110-200
Children under 6 years of age should have blood glucose levels that range from about 80 to 200 mg/dL each day. This range is considered healthy, and the amount of glucose in a childs body will fluctuate from the time they wake up to after theyve eaten meals and again before bedtime. For this reason, kids with diabetes or hypoglycemic episodes may have to have their blood sugar levels tested in the middle of the night by their parents. Many children with type 1 diabetes wear a continuous glucose monitor , which displays glucose levels all the time and mostly eliminates the need for finger sticks.
For Children With Type 1
While some diabetes organizations may suggest lower targets, the generally recommended A1c level for children with type 1 diabetes is under 7.5%. However, , which involves a special wearable device that constantly monitors blood glucose, is thought to be a better approach. This is partly because only about a quarter of children with type 1 meet this A1c standard.
The target glucose level for newly diagnosed children using CGM is generally around 150 mg/dL, with some variation allowed during sleep hours .
Children who have been diagnosed for some time and already have an established treatment plan might have a more aggressive target of around 120 mg/dL. As with adults, time in range for children with type 1 diabetes is typically around 70% .
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What Are Normal Blood Sugar 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. Blood glucose levels can be measured at any time, for example, when someone fasts , before they eat, 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.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
Getting professional medical advice from a healthcare provider like an endocrinologist is the best way to learn more about whether your blood sugar levels are where they should be. Not getting proper treatment for low or high blood sugar levels can be serious and lead to health complications, especially for those with diabetes. Diabetes complications include nerve damage, kidney disease, heart disease, or heart attacks.
If you see a healthcare provider about your blood sugar levels, be prepared to answer questions about risk factors like what you eat, how much you exercise, and about your family history. Some healthcare providers may want to take a blood sample to test your blood sugar levels. They may also order an A1C test, which is a blood test that measures blood sugar control over three months. You may have to fast eight hours beforehand to get accurate test results, so its always a good idea to check before your appointment. Your healthcare provider can create a diabetes treatment plan if you are prediabetic or have diabetes.
Be sure your treatment plan includes instructions on when you would need to seek emergency medical care. Emergency rooms are equipped to handle high blood sugar levels and can administer treatments like insulin therapy and fluid or electrolyte replacement.
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