Why Does Blood Sugar Go Up At Night
There are many factors that can cause your blood sugar to increase at night. For example: what food you ate during the day, how much and when you exercised, whether you ate snacks before bed, the timing of your insulin doses, and your stress level. You can experience different patterns of high blood sugar at night. You may start with high glucose when you go to bed, start the night in range but go high several hours later, or spend most of the night in range until the hours just before you wake up. By identifying your bodys patterns, you can figure out what is causing your high blood sugar and how to address it.
Common causes of a glucose increase at night include:
Diabetic Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Syndrome
Diabetic hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome, or HHS, is a complication from very high blood sugars in people with type 2 diabetes.
It doesnt occur in people with type 1 diabetes, who experience a different complication called diabetic ketoacidosis when blood sugar levels are dangerously high.
HHS is a condition of:
- Extremely high blood sugar level
- Extreme lack of water
- In many cases, decreased alertness or consciousness
Normally, the kidneys help to filter out extra blood glucose by increasing the amount of urine removed from the body. This is why one of the symptoms of diabetes is increased urination.
When excess urine is removed from the body, it can lead to dehydration. When the body is dehydrated, it cant make enough urine to flush out the extra sugar.
This leads to hyperosmolality, where the blood has higher concentrations of glucose , salt, and other substances. This can cause water to be drawn away from other sources of fluid, such as the brain, which is why it can cause an altered level of consciousness.
How Do I Prevent Hyperglycemia
- Exercise to help lower blood sugar. Work with your healthcare provider to make a daily activity plan.
- Follow your meal plan if you have one. Learn how carbohydrates impact your blood sugar, and work with your diabetes care team to find the best meal plan for you.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Dont smoke.
- Limit drinking alcohol. Alcohol can raise blood sugar levels, but can also cause dangerously low blood sugar levels. Work with your provider to determine how much is safe to drink.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/11/2020.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperglycemia
Its especially important to know the early signs of hyperglycemia if you have type 1 diabetes. If hyperglycemia is left untreated in people with type 1 diabetes, it can develop into ketoacidosis, where ketones, which are toxic acids, build up in the blood. This condition is an emergency situation that can lead to coma or death.
Early symptoms of hyperglycemia include:
- High blood sugar.
- Unusual fruity smell on the breath.
- Deep labored breathing or hyperventilation.
- Rapid heartbeat.
Ok So How Did You Get Here
You might assume a blood sugar spike happens after you eat a ton of sugar. That would make sense and would be a simple explanation with an easy fix. Unfortunately, its more complicated than that.
Your blood sugar fluctuates throughout the day, rising after you eat certain foods, such as carb-heavy ones like pasta and potatoes. If its consistently high, thats when you need to start worrying.
There are several reasons this could happen :
- You skipped a dose of insulin or didnt take enough.
- You skipped your oral diabetes medication.
- You have an illness or infection, like a cold or the flu.
- Youre extra stressed out.
- You ate too many carbohydrates.
- You havent been exercising.
- You spent too much time in the sun and got a sunburn.
- You skipped a meal the night before and didnt adjust your insulin dose.
- The dawn phenomenon is at play.
- Youre dehydrated, so your blood sugar is more concentrated.
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Causes Of Blood Sugar
Your blood sugar may rise if you:
- Skip or forget your insulin or oral glucose-lowering medicine
- Eat too many grams of carbohydrates for the amount of insulin you took, or eat too many carbs in general
- Have an infection
- Are under stress
- Become inactive or exercise less than usual
- Take part in strenuous physical activity, especially when your blood sugar levels are high and insulin levels are low
Why Do These Symptoms Matter For Diabetics
These symptoms are essential for diabetics to understand, because they may encounter high or low blood sugar levels from time to time.
A cold or virus can cause sudden high blood sugar levels, and understand the symptoms means knowing how to deal with hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
People with diabetes who can recognise the symptoms can avoid levels that lead to medical emergencies such as diabetic ketoacidosis
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Knowing Your High And Low Blood Sugar Symptoms Allows You To Test
Once you understand symptoms of high and low blood sugar, it is possible to test quickly and avoid serious problems.
Keeping to a clear target range is one of the key goals of diabetes management, and knowing when you have the symptoms of high or low blood sugar levels allows you to test your blood sugar and make a correction.
It can be important to recognise the difference between low and high blood sugar symptoms. Being able to spot when youre high or low and sugar can help you to manage your diabetes.
Where possible, its best to check with your blood glucose meter, whether you are high or low, before taking any remedial action. If blood sugar is regularly high you may get recurrent episodes of thrush.
High blood sugar is serious and can result in nausea, vomiting or loss of consciousness. In type 2 diabetes, this can in the form of a condition called Hyperosmolar Hyperglycaemic State and in type 1 diabetes in the form of ketoacidosis.
It is important to seek emergency medical help.
Very low blood sugar can lead to convulsions and unconsciousness. It is important to seek emergency help if the person with diabetes is unable to bring their sugar levels back to normal.
The University of Birminghams Medical School states that if the body becomes used to being low on sugar, hypo symptoms can become less noticeable. Loss of symptoms of low blood sugar in particular can be dangerous.
If you have difficulty recognising the symptoms of hypoglycemia, speak to your doctor.
Diabetes Sign: Youre Crazy Thirsty
Peeing more often means that your body is getting rid of more water than usual, which puts you at risk for dehydration, says Dr. Furhman.
That can leave you feeling thirsty and cotton-mouthed, even if it seems like youre drinking the same amount of water as always. Plus, since youre drinking more, that will also make you pee more, too.
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High Blood Sugar Causes
You may be thinking that hyperglycemia can happen just from eating a super-sugary food, but its not really as simple as that. Sure, eating a lot of sugar or carbs can elevate your blood sugar level, but thats typically when your pancreas kicks into gear and creates insulin to move that glucose into cells throughout the body.
But when someone has diabetes, this finely tuned system gets thrown out of whack. In type 2 diabeteswhich accounts for 90% to 95% of diabetes in adults, according to the CDCthe body either cant make enough insulin or cant utilize insulin well, according to the NIDDK. If someone has prediabetes, their blood glucose will be higher than normal but not quite in the type 2 diabetes range yet, per the NIDDK. And in type 1 diabetes, the body does not make insulin or makes very little.
In any case, the result is extra sugar hanging around the bloodstream, making you feel like total crap in the short term and putting your health at risk in the long term.
Moderate To Severe High Blood Sugar
If your blood sugar levels are consistently high , you may have moderate to severe symptoms of high blood sugar. These symptoms include:
- Blurred vision.
- Restlessness, drowsiness, or difficulty waking up.
If your body produces little or no insulin , you also may have:
- Rapid, deep breathing.
- A fast heart rate and a weak pulse.
- A strong, fruity breath odor.
- Loss of appetite, belly pain, and/or vomiting.
If your blood sugar levels continue to rise, you may become confused and lethargic. You also may become unconscious if your blood sugar levels are very high.
Current as of: July 28, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD Internal Medicine& Adam Husney MD Family Medicine& Rhonda OBrien MS, RD, CDE Certified Diabetes Educator
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
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How To Control The Level
To cure acute hyperglycemia in diabetic women and men, insulin injections is the only way out. To prevent the consistent occurrences of hyperglycemia, certain preventive measures would help. The food one eats, plays a huge role in controlling the blood sugar level. Eat healthy food, which is low on sugar and fats. Junk foods are high on sodium and sugar levels, so one should avoid consumption of these foods. Drinking enough water, is also of immense help. Maintaining a ideal weight is also of huge significance, as high weight is associated with high blood sugar.
So this was all about the signs. As said earlier, women need to maintain a sound health, as the well-being of the family depends on her. So, if you have high blood sugar, dont worry. Making certain lifestyle modifications would surely help a large way.
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What Should My Blood Sugar Level Be
When youâre first diagnosed with diabetes, your diabetes care team will usually tell you what your blood sugar level is and what you should aim to get it down to.
You may be advised to use a testing device to monitor your blood sugar level regularly at home.
Or you may have an appointment with a nurse or doctor every few months to see what your average blood sugar level is. This is known as your HbA1c level.
Target blood sugar levels differ for everyone, but generally speaking:
- if you monitor yourself at home with a self-testing kit a normal target is 4 to 7mmol/l before eating and under 8.5 to 9mmol/l 2 hours after a meal
- if your HbA1c level is tested every few months a normal HbA1c target is below 48mmol/mol
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Reduce Your Sugar Intake
The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day. That translates to around 350 calories .
While some of this is added as table sugar, most of it comes from processed and prepared foods, such as candy, cookies and sodas.
You have no nutritional need for added sugar like sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup. They are, in effect, just empty calories.
Your body breaks these simple sugars down very easily, causing an almost immediate spike in blood sugar.
Studies show that consuming sugars is associated with developing insulin resistance.
This is when the cells fail to respond as they should to the release of insulin, resulting in the body not being able to control blood sugar effectively .
In 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration changed the way foods have to be labeled in the US. Foods now have to display the amount of added sugars they contain in grams and as a percentage of the recommended daily maximum intake.
An alternative option to giving up sugar entirely is to replace it with sugar substitutes.
Sugar is effectively empty calories. It causes an immediate blood sugar spike and high intake is associated with insulin resistance.
What Is The Dawn Phenomenon
Another reason for high nighttime blood sugar levels is the dawn phenomenon. The dawn phenomenon occurs early in the morning when the body naturally signals your liver to produce glucose, giving your body the energy it needs to wake up.
The hormonal changes associated with the dawn phenomenon happen to people with or without diabetes, though those without diabetes do not experience hyperglycemia. If you take insulin, you may need to try a new basal insulin or adjust the timing and amount of your basal dose or your nighttime basal rates to cover an early morning rise.
Traveling Can Disrupt Routines And Thus Sugars
Skipping a few time zones during a long flight throws almost everyone off, but it’s an even bigger concern for people with diabetes. The time change can disrupt your medication schedule and cause unusual eating and sleeping habits, which interfere with blood sugar control, McDermott says.
Plus, when youre on vacation or traveling, you may eat more, drink more alcohol, or be more active all of which can cause blood sugar swings. She advises checking your blood sugar more frequently while traveling to catch any concerning trends before they become serious problems.
McDermott also recommends packing healthy carb-balanced snacks as well as a refillable water bottle to help you stay hydrated. Try to eat something every four hours throughout the day, even if it cant be at the exact same times you usually eat. If you take insulin and you’re shifting time zones, be sure to work out a medication schedule with your diabetes care team before your trip so you don’t mistime any doses, she says.
Great Bedtime Snacks For People Living With Diabetes
For some people, a healthy bedtime snack helps to prevent glucose swings during the night. By eating a small snack that is full of protein and healthy fats , your body may be better able to avoid an overnight high but if you take insulin, be sure to cover the carbohydrates in your snack even if it only requires a small dose of insulin.
Here are some snack ideas:
Plain nuts or seeds try eating a small handful
Raw vegetables, such as carrots, celery, cucumbers, or tomatoes, with a small amount of hummus or peanut butter
Plain yogurt, and you can add berries or cinnamon
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Symptoms Treatments And Prevention
Hyperglycemia means high glucose in the blood . Your body needs glucose to properly function. Your cells rely on glucose for energy. Hyperglycemia is a defining characteristic of diabeteswhen the blood glucose level is too high because the body isnât properly using or doesnât make the hormone insulin.
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What Do You Do If Blood Sugar Is Too High
The best thing to do when your blood sugar levels are too high is to eat low carb and high protein meals and drink a high amount of water. Did you forget to take your insulin? You can do a correction bolus or take your medication before you eat. If the high blood sugar continues, contact your doctor and ask them to review your current dosages of insulin or if they need to prescribe another type of medicine for diabetes that will help keep blood glucose levels within the normal range.
Keep testing your blood sugar levels at regular intervals to make sure your high blood sugar is dropping, and if so, not dropping too fast and too much.
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Symptoms Of A Blood Sugar Spike
The longer your blood sugar levels stay elevated, the more symptoms you are likely to develop, and the more damage is being done to your body. While there are some hallmark symptoms of high blood sugar levels , they can vary from person to person.
Learning to recognize your individual symptoms of high blood sugar early on can help minimize any damage to your body and keep your diabetes in control.
Common symptoms of high blood sugar include:
- Frequent urination
- Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, get your blood sugar level tested. It can be as simple as a small finger poke but can go a long way in helping you manage your blood sugar levels.
If you do not have diabetes and are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as you can to get your blood sugar levels tested. Early identification of high blood sugar levels and diabetes can save your life.
You Have Noticeably Blurry Vision And Frequent Headaches
You may notice that your vision isnt as clear as it used to be and that things may appear a bit blurry. High blood sugar levels can lead to swollen lenses in your eye from fluid leaking in, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. This changes the shape of the lens, which makes it unable to properly focus, causing blurred vision. You may also find yourself struggling at work, having difficulty driving, and suffering from frequent headaches, Emanuele notes.
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Using Medications And Smart Pumps
If following a strict medication and diet regimen does not prevent these spikes from occurring, a person should let their prescribing doctor know. The doctor will likely adjust their prescription.
Diabetes management also requires anyone taking insulin or non-insulin medication to stick to specific timings.
A range of pumps and smart pumps is available to provide continual, timed doses of insulin. These devices provide background insulin to regulate blood glucose levels during fasting periods and sleep. Their use is more common among people with type 1 diabetes than those with type 2 diabetes.
Smart pumps connect to a continuous glucose monitor and can respond to blood sugar spikes, essentially working as an artificial pancreas. However, with all pumps, manual inputs are still necessary during meals.
People with diabetes have to be especially careful about keeping their blood sugar levels under control and avoiding spikes in blood sugar.
Various triggers can contribute to these spikes. For example:
Persistent blood sugar spikes can have severe consequences.