The Dangers Of Low Blood Glucose
At some time, most people with diabetes experience the sweating and shakiness that occurs when blood glucose levels fall below 70 mg/dl a condition known as hypoglycemia. The average person with type 1 diabetes may experience symptoms of low blood glucose up to two times a week. However, not all are aware that these symptoms can rapidly progress to seizures, coma and even death if hypoglycemia is severe. Though hypoglycemia can be common and occur repeatedly in some people with diabetes, symptoms of low blood glucose should always be taken seriously. People with diabetes and their families, friends or coworkers should be prepared to act quickly and responsibly at the earliest signs of low blood glucose.
Choose The Right Medication
Two classes of injectable hormones, GLP-1 agonists , semaglutide ) and amylin mimetics , have powerful effects on post-meal blood sugar. Both GLP-1s and Symlin slow gastric emptying and keep carbohydrates from raising the blood sugar too quickly after meals. Symlin, which is a replacement for the amylin hormone , also helps to diminish appetite and blunt post-meal glucagon secretion. GLP-1s blunt appetite and promote the growth of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas of those with type 2 diabetes. So both can contribute to better post-meal high blood glucose control.
Your choice of oral medication can also impact your after-meal control. Sulfonylureas stimulate the pancreas to secrete a little extra insulin throughout the day, without regard to meal timing. Because these medications fail to concentrate the insulin secretion at times when it is needed most, after-meal blood sugars can run very high. There are alternative medications called meglitinides which also stimulate the pancreas but do so in a much faster and shorter manner. When taken at mealtimes, meglitinides produce better after-meal high blood glucose control than sulfonylureas.
Another class of oral diabetes medications improve after-meal control by partially blocking the transport of sugars across the intestines and into the bloodstream. However, these medications can sometimes cause gas, bloating and stomach upset, so the pros dont always outweigh the cons.
High Blood Sugar Symptoms
The typical blood sugar target for someone with diabetes who has not yet eaten is 80 to 130 milligrams per deciliter . Within two hours of starting a meal, the level should be less than 180mg/dL. Blood sugar is typically considered high when the levels are over these thresholds.
Keep in mind that your blood sugar targets may be different based on factors like age and other health conditions you may have. The targets are also different for people without diabetes.
Testing your blood sugar levels, such as with a glucometer, is the main way to tell if your blood sugar is too high. However, even before you check your levels, you may experience symptoms of high blood sugar.
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How To Manage Blood Sugar Spikes After Meals
If youre trying to manage diabetes, you already know its important to keep track of your blood sugar levels. But how do you handle a spike that comes after you eat? Its called postprandial blood glucose, and if you take some simple steps, you can get it under control and help avoid health problems.
Why Do People Get Blood Sugar Spikes After Meals
When people eat a meal, especially when it contains carbohydrates, it is normal for them to have a temporary spike in their sugar level before the insulin their body produces immediately starts working to lower the spike. For someone with type 1 diabetes, who cant produce their own insulin, these spikes can be higher and last longer.
This is because it can take longer for the type of insulin they inject to start working, in comparison to the insulin that is produced naturally by the body of someone who does not have diabetes, to reduce these post-meal spikes.
Furthermore, it is important to know that people living with type 1 diabetes may have alterations in different digestive enzymes which will cause faster digestion of our meals . This can obviously impact on the size of the spike too.
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Signs That Its Time To Get Medical Help
Keeping a close tab on your blood glucose is critical for your overall health and wellness. If you are experiencing concerning symptoms or consistently low or high glucose counts, its time to see your doctor.
- Increased thirst, dry mouth, and frequent urination with blood glucose over 250.
- Experiencing hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia symptoms that do not improve with intervention. Symptoms include:
- Hypoglycemia: Shaking, impaired vision, weakness/fatigue, dizziness, sweating, headache, and irritability. If you are experiencing hypoglycemia symptoms, check your glucose monitor and treat if you are below 70. Seek medical attention if your symptoms do not improve after eating.
- Hyperglycemia: Blurred vision, frequent urination, hunger, dry skin, drowsiness, nausea, and extreme thirst. It is essential to be aware of symptoms caused by blood sugar elevations, as your body can grow used to these symptoms and cause long-term complications.
If anything is out of the ordinary with your blood glucose or how youre feeling, reach out to your doctor or your diabetes educator for assistance, Crosby said. Were your partner in health, and were here to help.
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Low Blood Sugar Levels : The Root Causes
Many different factors can cause a dip in your blood sugar levels. Here are some of the most common causes:
- People with diabetes are more likely to experience hypoglycemia than people without diabetes. Therefore, you may need to take synthetic insulin. It may also result from diabetes medications used to control blood sugar levels.
- The most vulnerable patients to hypoglycemia are those who skip meals while using blood sugar-lowering medications.
- People who dont consume enough calories through their meals or snacks or have insufficient carbs throughout the day are more likely to experience hypoglycemia.
- A study found that excessive alcohol consumption without enough calories can cause hypoglycemia. Usually, when you dont eat, and your blood sugar drops, your pancreas releases a hormone that prompts your liver to release glucose from storage into your bloodstream, raising your blood sugar level.
- Increasing your exercise intensity or duration can lower your blood sugar. So make sure to take precautions to prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping too low after intense exercise.
- Health conditions, such as liver illnesses, hormonal imbalances, and prolonged starvation, might also affect your blood sugar.
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Learn More About Blood Glucose Management> >
The reason blood glucose tends to spike after eating in many people with diabetes is a simple matter of timing. In a person who doesnt have diabetes, eating foods containing carbohydrate causes two important reactions in the pancreas: the immediate release of insulin into the bloodstream, and the release of a hormone called amylin. The insulin starts working almost immediately and finishes its job in a matter of minutes. The amylin keeps food from reaching the small intestine too quickly . As a result, the moment blood glucose starts to rise, insulin is there to sweep the incoming glucose into the bodys cells. In most cases, the after-meal blood glucose rise is barely noticeable.
However, in people with diabetes, the situation is like that of a batter with very slow reflexes facing a pitcher who throws 98-mph fastballs: The timing is all fouled up. Rapid-acting insulin that is injected at mealtimes takes approximately 15 minutes to start working, 6090 minutes to peak, or reach maximum effectiveness, and four hours or more to finish working. Meanwhile, amylin is either produced in insufficient amounts or not at all, so the movement of food from the stomach to the intestines is not slowed the way it should be. As a result, food digests even faster than usual. This combination of slower insulin and faster food can cause the blood glucose level to rise quite high soon after eating. Once the mealtime insulin finally kicks in, the high is followed by a sharp drop.
What Are The Complications Of Low Blood Glucose
Mild-to-moderate low blood glucose can be easily treated. But severely low blood glucose can cause serious complications, including passing out, coma, or death.
Repeated episodes of low blood glucose can lead to
- high blood glucose levels, if worry or fear of low blood glucose keeps you from taking the medicines you need to manage your diabetes8
- hypoglycemia unawareness, a condition in which you dont notice any symptoms of low blood glucose until your blood glucose level has dropped very low
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What Medications Spike Blood Sugar
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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.
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Leading A Healthy Lifestyle
may be able to maintain stable blood sugar levels without needing medication.
Regular exercise that is light to moderate in intensity uses up some of the excess blood glucose and brings down overall levels.
Likewise, following a low glycemic index diet with strict portion sizes can help reduce the amount of glucose in the body and the accompanying risk of spikes. The GI ranking indicates the extent to which carbohydrates in a given food will affect blood sugar levels.
Foods with a high GI, meaning a ranking of 70 or higher, include bagels, popcorn, and crackers. Low GI foods, which have a score of 55 or less, include barley, bulgur, corn, and sweet potatoes.
People with type 1 diabetes should also do their best to lead a healthy lifestyle. However, these individuals will also need to take supplemental insulin on a lifelong basis.
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Problems Caused By High Blood Sugar
It’s not usually a serious problem if your blood sugar is sometimes slightly high for a short time.
But high blood sugar can cause serious problems if it stays high for a long time or gets to a very high level.
It can lead to:
- life-threatening conditions such as diabetic ketoacidosis
If you have high blood sugar, your doctor or care team may ask you to test your blood or pee to check for ketones. A high level of ketones is a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis.
Surprising Things That Can Spike Your Blood Sugar
When you first found out you had diabetes, you tested your blood sugar often. Doing so helped you understand how food, activity, stress, and illness could affect your blood sugar levels. By now, youve got it figured out for the most part. But thenbam! Something makes your blood sugar zoom up. You try to adjust it with food or activity or insulin, and it dips really low. Youre on a roller coaster no one with diabetes wants to ride.
Do you know all these blood sugar triggers?
Knowledge is power! Look out for these surprising triggers that can send your blood sugar soaring:
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Swollen Or Bleeding Gums Which Increase Your Infection Risk
Gum disease is a complication of diabetes, notes the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. It can also make diabetes harder to control, because the bodys response to infection is to release more glucose into the bloodstream, according to the ADA.
Your saliva contains glucose and the more it contains, the more there is to feed the bacteria that combine with food in your mouth to form plaque and cause gum disease. Symptoms can include red or inflamed gums at first. If they are unaddressed, they can progress to periodontitis, which can cause your gums to pull away from your teeth, the appearance of pus or ulcers, or even tooth loss, notes the Mayo Clinic. Get your blood sugar under control and see a dental professional to prevent damage to your gums and teeth.
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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