How Food Affects Blood Sugar
When you eat food, your body breaks it down into essential parts:
- Vitamins and minerals
All parts are necessary in a healthy diet, but the three types of carbohydrates are particularly important when it comes to your blood glucose level. While the general rule is that the more carbohydrates you eat, the higher your blood sugar level, not all three types of carbohydrates convert to blood sugar at the same rate.
The foods that fit into each carb category include:
- Starches, or complex carbohydrates: Starchy vegetables, dried beans, and grains
- Sugars: Fruits, baked goods, beverages, and processed food items like cereals or granola bars
- Fiber: Whole wheat products, chickpeas, lentils, berries, pears, and brussels sprouts
The glycemic index helps you find out which foods can increase or help decrease blood sugar levels. Based on a scale ranging from 0 to 100, high-indexed foods are rapidly digested, absorbed, and metabolized, resulting in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels, while low-indexed foods produce smaller fluctuations in your blood glucose.
The American Diabetes Association advises adding lean sources of protein and heart-healthy fats to help reduce the overall glycemic impact of a meal or snack.
What Is Blood Sugar
When you eat, the carbohydrate in your food is broken down into a usable form of energy called glucose. Glucose also known as sugar enters the bloodstream and a hormone called insulin helps move it into our cells.
This process lowers the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. When this process works efficiently, your muscles and organs have the fuel they need without there being too much glucose remaining in the blood.
Diagnosing High Blood Sugar
The easiest way to detect high blood sugar is by having your blood drawn as part of your annual physical examination. Part of what they’re measuring is your fasting blood glucose level. It’s important that the test be done while fasting, the American Diabetes Association says, because it’s a good indicator of your normal level of glucose without the influence of exercise or food 1. The normal range for fasting blood glucose is 70 to 125 mg/dl. If your values are higher than 130 mg/dl, your doctor may ask you to repeat the test in a week. **If your results are high during the second test, an oral glucose tolerance test will likely be ordered.
During an OGTT, the patient is asked to drink a high concentration of glucose in liquid. Blood samples are drawn in the beginning and at 2-hour intervals throughout the day to determine how well the body processes glucose. If the glucose concentrations remain high, you may have diabetes. Another way to test for hyperglycemia is to measure your hemoglobin A1c . Blood glucose competes with oxygen by attaching itself to the hemoglobin in the red blood cells, according to the Mayo Clinic. High concentrations of HbA1c can interfere with the way that cells get oxygen from the blood.
Also Check: Mixed Nuts Good For Diabetics
Why The Test Is Performed
Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of diabetes . More than likely, the doctor will order a fasting blood sugar test.
The blood glucose test is also used to monitor people who already have diabetes.
The test may also be done if you have:
- An increase in how often you need to urinate
- Recently gained a lot of weight
- Blurred vision
SCREENING FOR DIABETES
This test may also be used to screen a person for diabetes.
High blood sugar and diabetes may not cause symptoms in the early stages. A fasting blood sugar test is almost always done to screen for diabetes.
If you are over age 45, you should be tested every 3 years.
If you’re overweight and have any of the risk factors below, ask your health care provider about getting tested at an earlier age and more often:
- High blood sugar level on a previous test
- Blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or higher, or unhealthy cholesterol levels
- History of heart disease
- Member of a high-risk ethnic group
- Woman who has been diagnosed with gestational diabetes
- Polycystic ovary disease
- Close relative with diabetes
- Not physically active
Children age 10 and older who are overweight and have at least two of the risk factors listed above should be tested for type 2 diabetes every 3 years, even if they have no symptoms.
A1c Blood Sugar Tests
The A1C test measures the percentage of glucose bound hemoglobin in a persons blood.
According to The National Institutes of Health , this gives a general picture of a persons blood glucose levels over the past 23 months .
Abnormal A1C test results do not necessarily mean a person has diabetes. A doctor will confirm these findings with another blood glucose test.
The doctor may recommend running more tests, such as blood work, to rule out other conditions that can affect blood sugar levels.
You May Like: Do You Give Insulin If Blood Sugar Is High
What Is A Normal Blood Sugar Level
According to the American Diabetes Association, a normal fasting blood sugar is less than 100 mg/dL.
A fasting blood sugar reading of 100-125 mg/dL indicates prediabetes, and a reading above 125 indicates diabetes.
|Fasting Blood Sugar|
|100 mg/dl to 125 mg/dl||Prediabetes|
|126 mg/dl or higher||Diabetes|
If you test your blood sugar two hours after eating or drinking something containing sugar instead , the numbers to look for are:
|Oral Glucose Tolerance Test|
|140 mg/dl to 199 mg/dl||Prediabetes|
You can learn more in the in-depth article: What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels?
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.
Don’t Miss: What Percentage Of The Us Has Diabetes
When Abnormal High Blood Sugar Is Considered Diabetes
Yournormal blood glucose level is an important variable to support your overallhealth, especially your cardiovascular system. If the level is too low, lowerthan normal , the natural mechanism of your body to function isaffected.
The samegoes when the level increases higher than normal. High blood sugar can hurt blood vessels, nerves, and primary organs of the body. Over the longrun, this will lead to a vast number of complications, which some could bedangerous and life-threatening if left untreated!
Thecommon preferred methods to look for diabetes are plasma glucose test whenfasting and 2 hours after meal.
Fastingplasma glucose test , taken at least 8 hours after meal, is considered asa signal of diabetes when the level is 126 ml/dl or higher. In such case, thetest is usually followed with plasma glucose test 2 hours after eating or repeated FPG on a subsequent day for more accurate diagnosis.
Howabout pre-diabetes? A FPG 100 mg/dl to 125 mg/dl and 140 mg/dl to 199 mg/dl are considered as pre-diabetes .
Inaddition, random glucose plasma test is also probably suggested.In this test, your healthcare team takes your blood sample for the test at anytime .
Forsummary, check the following table!
|7.0 mmol/l or higher||11.1 mmol/l or higher||11.1 mmol/l or higher|
*Themetric system for mmol/L is a scientific unit to measure chemicals. It standsfor milimoles per liter.
Too High Blood Sugar Condition Diabetic Hyperosmolar Syndrome
Indiabetics, keeping blood sugar level as normal as possible will be a key partto control the disease and prevent its complications. So its very important tounderstand what the level means!
Ifyoure diabetic, ask your doctor about your blood sugar level targets. Becausethe level targets may have a degree of different interpretation for each case!But in general, blood sugar level targets for people with diabetes are asfollows :
Actually,there should be nothing to worry when you have diabetes as long as its managedas well. It could be dangerous when it has caused its complications.
Uncontrolleddiabetes may cause a condition called diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome, when thebody has an extreme spike in blood sugar level .
Diabetichyperosmolar syndrome is serious condition. It is relatively more common intype 2 diabetes, intensive immediate treatment is necessary!
When youhave too high blood sugar level, your body works harder to get rid of theexcess glucose in the bloodstream! In such case, this will usually drive you topass more urine to eliminate the excess through urine!
Withoutimmediate proper treatment, diabetic coma could be fatal! This is scary situation,but you can take preventive steps to reduce the risk of this complication yes its preventable!
Also Check: How To Get Fasting Numbers Under 90 For Gestational Diabetes
Can Hyperglycemia Be Treated
Your doctor may recommend a low-impact exercise program as your first line of defense. If youre already following a fitness plan, they may recommend that you increase your overall level of activity.
Your doctor may also suggest that you reduce glucose-rich food intake. Its important to maintain a balanced diet and stick to healthy food portions. If you arent sure where to begin, your doctor can refer you to a dietician or nutritionist who can help you establish a diet plan.
If these changes dont help lower your high blood sugar, your doctor may prescribe medication. If you have diabetes, your doctor may prescribe oral medications or change the amount or type of insulin youve already been prescribed.
Why Do I Need To Know My Blood Sugar Numbers
Your blood sugar numbers show how well your diabetes is managed. And managing your diabetes means that you have less chance of having serious health problems, such as kidney disease and vision loss.
As you check your blood sugar, you can see what makes your numbers go up and down. For example, you may see that when you are stressed or eat certain foods, your numbers go up. And, you may see that when you take your medicine and are active, your numbers go down. This information lets you know what is working for you and what needs to change.
Also Check: How To Give Insulin Injection
Treatment For Low Blood Sugar Levels
For those with low blood sugar levels, management and treatment is a little easier to do yourself. If you find your blood sugar is too low and you notice symptoms, always seek medical attention. They will aid you with what necessary precautions to take if the reading is extremely low.
Most of the time, the following treatment methods are advised to do at home yourself. Having a sugary drink or snack can help increase blood sugar levels and balance out and improve any symptoms. Even a small juice of juice or sweets can improve weakness and similar symptoms.
After youve consumed a sugary drink or snack, it is recommended to test your blood sugar level again. If it has increased and you feel better then you should consume a carbohydrate containing meal, such as bread, biscuits or milk. It is advised to eat a small meal to prevent any further drop in blood sugar.
For normal people without diabetes, it is sometimes advised to consume daily supplements that are beneficial for increasing insulin sensitivity and balancing your blood, its sugars and pressures. You can seek medical advice for those from a doctor. Some options may include supplements such as Garcinia Cambogia, which has shown results for increasing insulin sensitivity.
You may be wondering exactly how you can read and calculate your blood sugar level, as it advised to do so for both treatments. If you wish to calculate your blood sugar level, here is how to do so:
High Blood Sugar: 13 Reasons Your Glucose Levels Are Rising
May 2, 2021
Itâs a fact of life that blood sugar fluctuates throughout the day. These ups and downs depend on a handful of factors, like when you wake up, what you eat, the medications you take, and how you manage stress. So, some variation is normal, to the point that you might not even notice it.
Ignoring blood sugar level changes altogether, though, means youâre ignoring a valuable marker of your health. Especially if you start to have new or unfamiliar symptoms like fatigue, thirst, or brain fog . Learning these symptoms and their causes will give you the tools to better understand your own body, then take the right actions for better long-term metabolic health.
You May Like: What Is Sugar Level For Type 2 Diabetes
Low Blood Sugar: What To Watch Out For
Hypoglycemia can occur in people with diabetes who:
- Take too much medication or insulin
- Are late eating a meal or snack
- Have increased physical activity
- Drink too much alcohol
Symptoms of low blood sugar include feeling weak, sweaty or clammy, confused, hungry and/or irritable. Sometimes people experience a fast heartbeat and some symptoms may make a person appear to be drunk. A severely low blood sugar can result in unconsciousness, seizures, coma or death especially when a low occurs during the night.
Low blood sugar affects many parts of the body, but the most frustrating part can be that hypoglycemia can happen anytime and anywhere even when you think you are closely following the plan for your diabetes care. If low blood sugar is severe, people may need to go to the hospital to help raise their glucose level or miss work due to the side effects.
It can happen during a date, during a business meeting, or even while driving, which is the most dangerous scenario if there is confusion or loss of consciousness while behind the wheel. Its important to use your blood glucose meter to check your blood sugar before you drive to keep yourself and others safe. Frequent testing with your blood sugar meter and taking action when blood sugar is trending low can prevent a severe low and keep your life on track.
Other Severe Symptoms Of Hyperglycaemia Include:
- Nerve damage
- Kidney damage
- Blood vessel damage
Mild hyperglycaemia, depending on the cause, will not typically require medical treatment. Most people with this condition can lower their blood sugar levels sufficiently through dietary and lifestyle changes.
Those with type 1 diabetes will require the administration of insulin , while those with type 2 diabetes will often use a combination of injectable and oral medications , although some may also require insulin.
You May Like: Is Type 2 Diabetes Curable
Symptoms Of Blood Blood Sugar Levels
Symptoms of blood sugar levels differ depending on if it is high or low. To determine which way the blood sugar have moved, the symptoms for each are typically:
|High Blood Sugar Symptoms|
|Slow healing wounds||Turning pale|
If symptoms are left untreated, more extreme circumstances can happen such as fainting, weakness, disorientation, vomiting and dehydration. When you notice symptoms, usually more than one at one time, it is advised to see a doctor right away.
It is important to get the right treatment so that you can return to a healthy normal blood sugar level and inhibit it from occurring again.
Treatment methods vary from the severity of the blood sugar level, whether it is high or low and if the patient has existing medical conditions, such as diabetes. Here are ways in which blood sugar levels can be treated:
The Danger Of Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, can become a lot more dangerous more quickly. Hypoglycemia, if left untreated, can quickly result in diabetic coma and death.
Low blood sugars will not lead to permanent complications in most cases but cause frequent, short-term complications in the form of being physically unable to function when experiencing a low. They require fast-acting glucose as treatment.
Symptoms of low blood sugar can hit different people at different times, and some people may not feel their low blood sugars at all , which can be very dangerous.
Continuous glucose monitoring systems and diabetes alert dogs can help people detect their lows earlier, before they become extremely dangerous.
Hypo unawareness occurs in about 40% of people with type 1 diabetes, and less frequently in people with type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, one study showed that the average person with type 1 diabetes experiences two episodes of low blood sugar per week!
Low blood sugars can happen for many reasons, all of which result from too much insulin in the bloodstream and not enough glucose for the body to function properly.
Reasons can be anything from taking too much insulin for food, to accidentally over-bolusing with an insulin pump, to not finishing a meal, to drinking alcohol in excess, or even after physical exertion and exercise while not reducing basal insulin settings appropriately.
Recommended Reading: Where To Get Diabetic Supplies
Tips For Avoiding High And Low Blood Sugars
Walking the tightrope of a life with diabetes is not easy.
We need to strive every day to make sure that we dont let our blood sugars go too high or too low, and that can be exhausting.
Here are some strategies to help keep your blood sugar in balance:
- Eat similar foods and meals that have predictable carbohydrate counts
- Cook food at home, so you know all of the ingredients in your meal
- Keep to a routine, and eat at the same times every day
- Get enough sleep!
- Double-check your insulin doses to make sure youre not taking too much, nor too little
- If youve counted carbohydrates for a meal and dosed insulin for those carbohydrates, eat everything