How Are You Sweetening Your Coffee What You Add To Your Cup May Affect Your Blood Sugar Levels
Whether you were recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or have been living with the condition for several years, you know how fickle blood sugar levels can be, and how important it is that they stay controlled.
Proper blood sugar control is key for warding off potential diabetes complications, such as kidney disease, nerve damage, vision problems, stroke, and heart disease, according to the National Institutes of Health . Plus, keeping your levels in check on a daily basis can help you stay energized, focused, and in a good mood, explains Lisa McDermott, RD, CDCES, a diabetes specialist with the Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Health Network.
According to the American Diabetes Association , proper medication, effective meal planning, regular exercise, and regular blood sugar checks can all help you keep your levels within a healthy range. The ADA recommends blood glucose stay within 80 to 130 milligrams per deciliter before meals and below 180 mg/dL two hours after the start of a meal. Furthermore, the organization recommends getting an A1C test, which measures your average blood glucose over the past two to three months, at least twice per year if your levels are stable and you are meeting treatment goals.
How Is Hypoglycemia Treated
Your doctor will need to identify the cause of your hypoglycemia to determine the right long-term therapy for you.
Glucose will help boost your blood sugar levels in the short term. One way to get additional glucose is to consume 15 grams of carbohydrates.
Drinking fruit juice is an easy way to get extra glucose into your bloodstream. These sources of glucose often briefly correct hypoglycemia, but then another drop in blood sugar often follows.
Eating foods that are high in complex carbohydrates, such as pasta and whole grains, will sustain blood sugar levels after a period of hypoglycemia.
Causes Of Low Blood Sugar
There are many reasons why you may have low blood sugar, including:
- Taking too much insulin.
- Not eating enough carbs for how much insulin you take.
- Timing of when you take your insulin.
- The amount and timing of physical activity.
- Drinking alcohol.
- How much fat, protein, and fiber are in your meal.
- Hot and humid weather.
- Unexpected changes in your schedule.
- Spending time at a high altitude.
- Going through puberty.
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What Is The Outlook For People With Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia can be managed when you and your healthcare provider understand what causes your blood sugar to go down. Give your healthcare provider as much information as possible about any hypoglycemic episodes. Fixing the problem may be as simple as changing the times you take medication, eat and exercise. Minor changes to the types of food you eat may also help.
Can Diabetes Cause Night Sweats
- Did you know that if you enjoy a glass of wine or beer before bed, you may be stopping your liver functioning to produce glucose overnight? If youve ever woken up in a cold sweat after a night out this is the cause!
- Exercising lots during the day can mean you use up your bodys stores of glucose if you dont replenish these before bed you could suffer from nocturnal hypoglycemia..
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Why Is My Blood Sugar High At Night
There can be various reasons for your blood sugar levels to increase at night. Too little insulin or diabetes medication, too little exercise, too much food, menstruation, pregnancy, injury or medical operation, illness or infection, stress or non-diabetic medication are all factors that can cause the blood sugar spike at night.
Prevention Of Low Blood Sugar
Do not skip or delay meals. If your diet plan includes snacks, make sure to take these.
Measure insulin dosage carefully and inject it properly. If you cannot see well, a family member or a visiting nurse can prepare your insulin injections for you.
Take only the prescribed amount of insulin or oral medication for diabetes that your doctor has ordered.
Keep exercise consistent from day to day. Eat a snack or reduce your insulin prior to unusual exercise.
If you are taking insulin, notify your doctor if you have low blood sugars four or more times per week or if you have a severe low blood sugar. Severe low blood sugars are those less than 40 mg., those requiring help from another person, or those which cause you to have a convulsion or become unconscious.
If you are taking oral medication for your diabetes notify your doctor or nurse if blood sugars are running less than 80 mg. or if you have a severe low blood sugar.
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Can Low Blood Sugar Cause Sleep Problems
Low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia, can cause sleep problems. Hypoglycemia can occur in people with or without diabetes. Nocturnal hypoglycemia is a form of hypoglycemia that occurs at night.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, low blood sugar during sleep can cause the following symptoms:
When To See A Doctor
Early warning signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia include:
If you are experiencing these symptoms and suspect they could be related to your medications, reach out to your provider to see if an adjustment is needed. If you believe your symptoms are from poor food intake, try consuming complex carbohydrates more consistently to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Doing an intense workout on an empty stomach can produce hypoglycemia thats easy to fix. In this case, you can treat hypoglycemia at home with a sports drink or snack, and no further medical help is needed.
When left untreated, severe hypoglycemia can lead to intense symptoms, like jerky movements, inability to eat or drink, muscle weakness, slurred speech, blurry or double vision, seizures, or unconsciousness. For any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare professional immediately.
Since hypoglycemia can cause you to pass out, you should alert the people who you spend time with about your condition so they know what to do in an emergency. Let your coworkers, family, and friends know when they should call 911. You can also wear a medical alert bracelet that notifies others of your health concerns.
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Why Would You Have High Blood Sugar If You Have Not Eaten In 12 Hours
When humans eat carbohydrates, the body converts them to sugar. The sugar fuels every cell in the human body, but its important that sugar levels be neither too high nor too low. Low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia, can cause brain damage and even shock. High blood sugar, known as hyperglycemia, is another matter.
What Should You Do In An Emergency
If mild or moderate hypoglycemia isn’t treated right away, it can turn into severe hypoglycemia. People with severe hypoglycemia usually pass out. If you pass out, someone should 911 right away.
If you have a health problem that tends to cause low blood sugar, it’s a good idea to teach your family, friends, and co-workers about what symptoms to watch for and what to do. You may also want to wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace.
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Limit Alcohol At Night
Alcohol consumption can also increase the risk for nighttime hypoglycemia, so avoid regular consumption of alcohol. On special occasions, drink only in moderation no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men and don’t wait to indulge with a before-bed nightcap. If you do have a drink in the evening, enjoying it with food can minimize the chance of low blood sugar while you sleep.
Blood Sugar Spike Symptoms
Learning to recognize the symptoms of can help you keep your diabetes in control. Some people with diabetes immediately feel the symptoms of high blood sugar, but others go undiagnosed for years because their symptoms are mild or vague.
Symptoms of hyperglycemia typically begin when your blood glucose goes above 250 milligrams per deciliter . Symptoms get worse the longer you go untreated.
Symptoms of a blood sugar spike include:
- frequent urination
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People With Diabetes Generally Take 2 Types Of Insulin:
- Short-acting insulin and
- Long-acting insulin.
Short-acting insulin such as APIDRA or NOVORAPID or HUMALOG reaches the bloodstream within 30 minutes after injection and peaks anywhere from 23 hours.
However, long-acting insulin such as LANTUS is peakless insulin that works in the background and lasts more than 24 hours.
The effect of these two insulins gets combined and the peak of short-acting insulin shifts to early morning hours. This increases the risk of hypoglycemia around 3:00 am.
How Do You Treat Hypoglycemia
Treatment for hypoglycemia involves both the immediate steps needed to raise your blood sugar level in addition with the later treatment or medication dose adjustment to prevent recurrence.
To immediately raise your blood sugar level, Dr. Shah advocates the rule of 15eating 15 grams of carbohydrates and then checking your blood sugar level 15 minutes later. Fast-acting carbohydrates include:
- 4 glucose tablets
- 4 ounces of fruit juices
Keep repeating these steps every 15 minutes until your blood sugar reaches above 70 mg/dL, he explains. Once your level has stabilized, its important to then eat a snack or even a full meal to maintain that balance, Dr. Shah adds.
If your symptoms are more severe and/or a person is unable to swallow, you may need an injection of glucagon, he says.
To prevent episodes of hypoglycemia in the future, Dr. Shah says that treatment may involve the changing of prescribed regimens and dosages or adjusting your meal plans.
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Nighttime Low Blood Sugar
While low blood sugar can happen at any time during the day, some people may experience low blood sugar while they sleep. Reasons this may happen include:
- Having an active day.
- Being physically active close to bedtime.
- Taking too much insulin.
- Drinking alcohol at night.
Eating regular meals and not skipping them can help you avoid nighttime low blood sugar. Eating when you drink alcohol can also help. If you think youre at risk for low blood sugar overnight, have a snack before bed.
You may wake up when you have low blood sugar, but you shouldnt rely on that. A continuous glucose monitor can alert you with an alarm if your blood sugar gets low while youre sleeping.
How Does Blood Glucose Affect Sleep
Just as sleep affects blood sugar levels, blood sugar levels may also impact sleep quality. A study of people with type 2 diabetes found that those with higher blood sugar levels experience poorer sleep. Another study found that 62% of people with glucose levels in the pre-diabetes range are likely to have poor sleep, compared to 46% of people with normal glucose levels.
Researchers arent certain why increased blood sugar may be associated with poor sleep and more study is necessary to understand the relationship.
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S For Treating A Person With Symptoms Keeping Them From Being Able To Treat Themselves
Dont hesitate to call 911. If someone is unconscious and glucagon is not available or someone does not know how to use it, call 911 immediately.
- Inject insulin
- Provide food or fluids
Late Night Meal High In Fats And/or Protein
High protein and fat meals may rise blood glucose levels during the next 5-6 hours. If you had a fatty steak dinner at 10pm it is very likely you will still be experiencing blood glucose rise at 2am. If you are using injected insulin, the solution to this might be extended bolus on the pump, or split bolus injections.
I personally prefer to eat earlier before bed. This way I sleep better and dont have to worry about extra insulin injections in the middle of the night. But I have plenty of examples from my own cgm on blood glucose rise at night caused by late night snacking on chocolate and peanut butter or having very late dinner:
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Diabetes And Sleep: A Vicious Cycle
The relationship between diabetes and sleep is complicated, and experts still have a lot to learn about how the whole thing works. What they do know? How much sleep you get could play a role in whether you develop type 2 diabetes in the first place.
First, theres the growing connection between sleep and obesity. Being overweight is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Whats more, evidence shows that there are several ways that skimping on sleep could lead to weight gain:
- When youre zonked, you dont have the energy to exercise.Research suggestsVerified SourceAmerican Academy of Sleep MedicineSociety focused on sleep medicine and disorders, and the AASM is who authorizes U.S. sleep medicine facilities.View sourcethat people who stay up late spend more time sitting than people who wake up early.
- Feeling tired means youre less likely to make healthy food choices, too. When youre exhausted, pizza or takeout just feel easier than a big kale salad.
- Staying up late means more time to eat. People who stay up into the wee hours at night have been found to eat 550 more calories than those who go to bed early.
- Lack of sleep messes with your hormones. Sleep deprivation causes your body to pump out more of the stress hormone cortisol, which is linked to weight gain. Youre also flooded with more of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin.
So How Do I Treat Low Blood Sugar At Night
What I do is treat it for what it is, a medical emergency. So I test my blood sugar and immediately eat or drink 8-15 grams of carbs in the form of 2 glucose tablets or 125 ml juice. I then assess whether I need a low glycemic carb as well . The assessment is pretty quick, and for me only involves checking that I didnt bolus within the last 4 hours. If I did, I might have to cover that with a few rice cakes.
The reason why I say 4 hours is because I bolus with Humalog, which stays active in the body for about 4 hours. If it has been more than 4 hours since I took my bolus, I know that just the sugar or juice will get me through the night.
My recommendation is to be honest with yourself, and if you cant go into the kitchen and just have those 15 grams of carbs without emptying the fridge every time, then keep your emergency carbs in the bedroom next to your bed .
I also recommend that you dont treat your hypoglycemia with candy or cake. As I said, its a medical emergency and you need a carb that will hit your bloodstream quickly. Pure sugar or juice is the best for that because the fat in candy or cake will slow down carb absorption. Also, you dont need a treat in the middle of a low blood sugar. Youre not enjoying it anyway, just stuffing your face.
You can read more about the best and quickest ways to treat low in this post: How to Treat Lows as Quickly as Possible
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Check Your Blood Sugar Before Bed
For everybody with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, its absolutely critical that they check their blood sugar before going to bed to make sure theyre not going to have an episode of low blood sugar during the night, says Helena W. Rodbard, MD, medical director of Endocrine and Metabolic Consultants, a private practice in Rockville, Maryland, and past president of the American College of Endocrinology.
If your blood sugar levels are low at bedtime, eat a healthy snack before going to sleep. The size of the snack should be in proportion to the dip in blood sugar. For instance, a small drop in blood sugar requires only a small snack. If you use an insulin pump, consider temporarily reducing the active dose of insulin.
What Should Be The Diet For A Person With Nondiabetic Hypoglycemia
If you suffer from episodes of hypoglycemia without even having diabetes, you will need to carry a pack of sugar candies or biscuits wherever you go. Ask your doctor or dietician about what your diet should be, which can help you prevent hypoglycemic episodes. The following may help you avoid episodes of hypoglycemia:
- Eat frequent, small meals each day instead of three large meals
- Do not skip meals
- Cut back on refined carbohydrates
- Have a well-balanced diet that is rich in proteins, contains carbohydrates, fat , fruits, and vegetables
- Limit alcohol or drink it along with meals or after meals
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How To Recognize Hypoglycemia
The first signs of hypoglycemia include feeling sweaty, shaky, and hungry. However, not everyone has these symptoms or notices them in time to prevent low blood sugar from getting worse. Its also important to know that your symptoms of hypoglycemia will change the longer you have T1D.
As hypoglycemia gets worse, symptoms can include:
- Feeling weak
- Having difficulty walking or seeing clearly
- Acting strange or getting disoriented
- Having seizures
Severe hypoglycemia may make you faint or pass out. This is dangerous if you are driving, climbing stairs, or doing other activities where you need to stay aware of things around you.
Hypoglycemia can happen at night. If it does, you are likely to wake up, but its important not to rely on your body to wake you up. A continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, can alert you and those around you with an alarm to let you know if your blood sugar starts getting low while you are sleeping.
Its a good idea to check your blood sugar often when lows are likely, such as in hot weather or when you travel. Your CGM can also let you know when your blood sugar is getting lower.
Watch out for hypoglycemia unawareness.
You might not have early warning signs of low blood sugar. This is called hypoglycemia unawareness, and it raises the risk of having severe lows. It is more likely if:
- You have had diabetes longer than 5 or 10 years
- You have frequent episodes of hypoglycemia
- You take certain medicines, such as beta blockers for high blood pressure