Diabetes The Basics: Blood Sugars: The Nondiabetic Versus The Diabetic
BLOOD SUGARS: THE NONDIABETIC VERSUS THE DIABETIC Since high blood sugar is the hallmark of diabetes, and the cause of every long-term complication of the disease, it makes sense to discuss where blood sugar comes from and how it is used and not used. Our dietary sources of blood sugar are carbohydrates and proteins. One reason the taste of sugar—a simple form of carbohydrate—delights us is that it fosters production of neurotransmitters in the brain that relieve anxiety and can create a sense of well-being or even euphoria. This makes carbohydrate quite addictive to certain people whose brains may have inadequate levels of or sensitivity to these neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers with which the brain communicates with itself and the rest of the body. When blood sugar levels are low, the liver, kidneys, and intestines can, through a process we will discuss shortly, convert proteins into glucose, but very slowly and inefficiently. The body cannot convert glucose back into protein, nor can it convert fat into sugar. Fat cells, however, with the help of insulin, do transform glucose into fat. The taste of protein doesn’t excite us as much as that of carbohydrate— it would be the very unusual child who’d jump up and down in the grocery store and beg his mother for steak or fish instead of cookies. Dietary protein gives us a much slower and smaller blood sugar effect, which, as you will see, we diabetics can use to our advantage in normalizing blood sugars. The Nondiabetic In the fasting nondiabetic, and even in most type 2 diabetics, the pancreas constantly releases a steady, low level of insulin. This baseline, or basal, insulin level prevents the liver, kidneys, and intestines from inappropriately converting bodily proteins (muscle, vital organs) into g Continue reading >>
10 Ways To Balance Blood Sugar Naturally
Blood Sugar Balance in Plain English Before we get started with tips to balance your blood sugar, I want to cover some basic blood sugar terms that I will be using in this discussion. Blood sugar/blood glucose – Glucose is the form of sugar that is in our bloodstream. Glucose is the body’s preferred source of fuel. Insulin – the pancreas secretes insulin, a hormone that shuttles glucose from the blood into body cells. It knocks on the cell and says, “Open up, I’ve got some glucose that I need to get out of the bloodstream so take it and use it for energy.” Insulin resistance – When we consume a large amount of refined carbs with very little fat and protein, our blood sugar spikes very high and the pancreas frantically overcompensates with insulin release. This overcompensation of insulin eventually causes insulin resistance, which leads to Type 2 Diabetes if poor dietary practices are continued. The good news, however, is that it can an be reversed through a healthy diet that balances your blood sugar. Glycogen – Glucose that doesn’t enter body cells is taken to the liver where it is converted to glycogen. This is a form of stored sugar that is broken down to stabilize low blood sugar levels between meals and during the night. It is healthful for the body store of glycogen, but stress and hormone dysfunction deplete our ability to store glycogen and this can contribute to blood sugar imbalance. Hyperglycemia – Hyperglycemia is another term for high blood sugar. It is normal to have a spike in blood sugar after a meal, but chronically high blood sugar causes severe health issues. Hypoglycemia – Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar. Glycogen, the sugar stored in the liver, is responsible for raising blood sugar in-between meals and should prevent hypoglyc Continue reading >>
Common Questions About Blood Sugar
How often should I test my blood sugar? This is a very common question, and the answer isn't the same for everyone. In general, you should test as often as you need to get helpful information. There's no point in testing if the information you get doesn't help you manage your diabetes. If you've been told to test at certain times, but you don't know why or what to do with the test results, then testing won't seem very meaningful. Here are some general guidelines for deciding how often to test: If you can only test once a day, then do it before breakfast. Keep a written record so that you can see the pattern of the numbers. If you control your blood sugar by diet and exercise only, this once-a-day test might be enough. If you take medicine (diabetes pills or insulin), you will probably want to know how well that medicine is working. The general rule is to test before meals and keep a record. If you want to know how your meals affect your blood sugar, testing about 2 hours after eating can be helpful. Test whenever you feel your blood sugar is either too high or too low. Testing will give you important information about what you need to do to raise or lower your blood sugar. If you take more than 2 insulin shots a day or use an insulin pump, you should test 4 to 6 times a day. You should test more often if you're having unusually high or low readings, if you're sick, under more stress than usual, or are pregnant. If you change your schedule or travel, you should also test your blood sugar more often than usual. Talk to a member of your health care team about how often to test based on your personal care plan. What should my test numbers be? There isn't one blood sugar target that's right for everyone with diabetes. It's important to work with your health care team to set Continue reading >>
The Dangers Of Skipping Meals When You Have Diabetes
It's tempting -- and even sounds logical -- to skip meals: You're busy, you're not hungry, you're trying to lose weight, or your blood sugar is too high. Skipping meals, however, may actually increase your blood sugar and cause you to gain weight. Here are seven rewards of eating regularly scheduled meals when you live with diabetes. Reward 1: Improve fasting blood glucose numbers. During sleep, when you're not eating, the liver sends more glucose into the blood to fuel the body. For many people during the early years of having type 2 diabetes, the liver doesn't realize there is already more than enough glucose present. "Your morning (fasting) blood sugars have much more to do with your liver and hormonal functions than what you ate for dinner last night," says Kathaleen Briggs Early, Ph.D., RD, CDE, assistant professor of biochemistry and nutrition at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima, Washington Get more information about why your morning blood sugar is high and tips to help control fasting blood sugar. Real-life example: Until recently, if Cheryl Simpson's blood glucose meter flashed a high reading before breakfast, she might delay eating until midafternoon in an attempt to lower that number. Now Cheryl, PWD type 2, won't leave home without eating breakfast. Her blood glucose numbers have improved. "Plus, eating breakfast makes it a whole lot easier to make good food choices later on," she says. Tip: Pack a grab-and-go breakfast with these 13 quick-fix ideas! Reward 2: Stay off the blood sugar roller coaster. Irregular eating can have you "bouncing back and forth between normal blood sugars and high blood sugars," Early says. A meager meal can give you a meager rise in blood sugar. If you take one or more blood glucose-lowering medications tha Continue reading >>
Can Blood Sugar Level Increase Without Eating?
Answered by: Dr Surender Kumar | Department of Endocrinology & Metabolism, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi Q: I am a 65 years old female. My blood sugar level after ten hours of fasting is around 110 mg/dl. After another two hours of fasting, the level increased to 125 mg/dl. Shouldn''t the sugar level decrease after two more hours of fasting? A:Fasting blood sugar is after 8-10 hrs fasting, it may vary later even without eating as Liver continues to make glucose and body continues to use it, when production is more than usage blood glucose will go up. This level can change from min. to min. In any case the significance remains the same i.e. you have "Glucose Intolerance" to be specific it is called impaired fasting glucose. It is a pre-Diabetic condition. Continue reading >>
Why Is Blood Sugar Highest In The Morning?
Many people with diabetes find that their fasting blood sugar first thing in the morning is the hardest blood sugar to control. In addition, they find that if they eat the same food for breakfast as they do for lunch or dinner they will see a much higher blood sugar number when testing after breakfast than they see at the other meals. The reason for this is a normal alteration in hormones experienced by many people not just people with diabetes. It is called "Dawn Phenomenon." What Causes Dawn Phenomenon? The body prepares for waking up by secreting several different hormones. First, between 4:00 and 6:30 a.m. it secretes cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. You may recognize these as the hormones involved in the "fight or flight response." In this case, their job is more benign, to give you the energy to get up and moving so you can find the food your body needs for energy. To help you do this, these hormones also raise your blood sugar. After a long night's sleep, the fuel your body turns to to get you going is the glucose stored in the liver. So after these stress hormones are secreted, around 5:30 a.m., plasma glucose rises. In a person with normal blood sugar, insulin will also start to rise at this time but many people with diabetes won't experience the corresponding rise in insulin. So instead of giving their cells a dose of morning energy, all they get is a rise in blood sugar. Not Everyone Experiences Dawn Phenomenon Researchers who have infused different hormones into experimental subjects have found that the trigger for dawn phenomenon is a nocturnal surge in growth hormone. If they block the growth hormone, blood sugars stay flat. This may explain why some people, particularly older people, do not experience a rise in blood sugar first thing in the mor Continue reading >>
Why Does My Blood Sugar Go Up Without Eating?
It’s commonly seen when you don’t have food for the longest time your blood sugar shoots up. There are number of reasons for the increase in blood level. Take a time test of diabetes and keep a record and that will reveal that morning levels are always high. Let’s analyze the reasons for such changes. What are the factors that are responsible for the high blood sugar level in mornings? – While you are fasting, then your body releases its glucose. The insulin released from the liver is not enough to absorb the blood sugar. So, the body exhibits excess blood sugar level. – In case if type 2 diabetes, the hormone that works to keep your body stable works overnight. There is four type of hormone that works together, and ultimately it leads to a higher amount in sugar level. The four hormones that are responsible for controlling blood sugar are-Insulin, Amylin, Incretins, and Glucagon – While sleeping, diabetic people record high blood sugar. The liver and muscles get the signal from extra glucagon, a hormone in humans. The reason is that while sleeping, the liver receives the glucose from there itself and thereby raising the bar of blood sugar. Hormonal imbalance gets the glucose from the liver. – Reversal of type 2 diabetes is not possible, but if the combination of actions occurs then the hormonal activity can sort put high blood sugar problem. – Addition, altering, and change of medicines may increase blood sugar level. Many people take medication to test the insulin level in blood. In type 2 diabetes, many people add insulin to control fasting and glucose levels throughout the day. – In case of type 2 diabetes, weight loss creates hormonal disturbance and insulin sensibility which lowers the blood sugar level. Losing weight is not the only solution to Continue reading >>
Why Your “normal” Blood Sugar Isn’t Normal (part 2)
Hi, I just found this site and would like to participate. I will give my numbers, etc. First, my last A1c was 6.1, the doc said it was Pre-diabetes in January of 2014, OK, I get it that part, but what confuses me is that at home, on my glucometer, all my fastings were “Normal” however, back then, I had not checked after meals, so maybe they were the culprits. Now, I am checking all the time and driving myself crazy. In the morning sometimes fasting is 95 and other times 85, it varies day to day. Usually, after a low carb meal, it drops to the 80’s the first hour and lower the second. On some days, when I am naughty and eat wrong, my b/s sugar is still low, and on other days, I can eat the same thing, and it goes sky high, again, not consistent. Normally, however, since February, my fbs is 90, 1 hour after, 120, 2nd hour, back to 90, but, that changes as well. In February, of 2014, on the 5th, it was horrible. I think I had eaten Lasagne, well, before, my sugars did not change much, but that night, WHAM-O I started at 80 before the meal, I forgot to take it at the one and two hour mark, but did at the 3 hour mark, it was 175, then at four hours, down to 160, then at 5 hours, back to 175. I went to bed, because by that time, it was 2 AM, but when I woke up at 8:00 and took it, it was back to 89!!!! This horrible ordeal has only happened once, but, I have gone up to 178 since, but come down to normal in 2 hours. I don’t know if I was extra stressed that day or what, I am under tons of it, my marriage is not good, my dear dad died 2 years ago and my very best friend died 7 months ago, I live in a strange country, I am from America, but moved to New Zealand last year, and I am soooo unhappy. Anyway, what does confuse me is why the daily differences, even though I may Continue reading >>
How To Gain Weight And Maintain Blood Glucose
By Lara Rondinelli-Hamilton, RD, LDN, CDE Yes, you read the title correctly—there are people with diabetes that are actually trying to gain weight. These people are underweight and need to put on a few pounds without creating extremely high blood sugar levels. Note: If you have diabetes and are losing weight or having difficulty gaining weight, your first step is making sure the issue isn’t due to high blood glucose levels. Uncontrolled hyperglycemia, which is typical with undiagnosed type 1 diabetes (or misdiagnosed type 2), can lead to weight loss and is a dangerous state for your body. If your weight loss or inability to gain weight is unexpected, make sure to discuss it right away with your doctor. It may be that your medication needs to be adjusted for better glycemic control. If, on the other hand, your blood glucose levels are controlled, here are few tips to help you gain weight without spiking your sugar. 1. Eat three meals a day. Don’t skip meals. If you are trying to gain weight, you need to increase your daily caloric intake. If you skip breakfast (or any meal), you could be missing out on an extra 400 to 500 calories per day, which if done consistently could lead to a one-pound weight loss per week. So, even if you are not a breakfast person, find some foods that you can eat for breakfast, such as a fruit-vegetable smoothie (you can add flax seed and coconut oil to increase calories, fiber, and satiety). A quick smoothie could be a few handfuls of spinach, 1 cup frozen berries, ½ banana, 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil, 1 tablespoon ground flax seed and ½-1 cup coconut milk. Serve the smoothie with a side of egg and chicken sausage. You might also try an egg, cheese, and avocado sandwich on a low-carb wrap or tortilla. 2. Eat snacks. Snacks and small me Continue reading >>
Why Is Blood Sugar High In The Morning?
Here you'll find info about why blood sugar is high in the morning, along with tips and resources to lower those numbers! A while back I had a client sending me her blood sugar charts every few days and on those charts she always made some notes if she had questions. Every time she sent them through, I noticed she had 3 big question marks (???) against her morning blood sugar results. And on another morning when her morning blood sugar levels were high at 160 mg/dl (or 8.9 mmol/l). She had written: I don't understand. 97 mg/dl (or 5.5mmol/l) last night when I went to sleep. I didn't eat anything because I didn't feel well. Humm… I was also over in one of the online diabetes groups I'm involved in today and this message popped up. I'm struggling with my morning BS number. When I went to bed around 11PM my BS was 107. I'm waking up with my BS between 120 – 135. I did put two pieces of string cheese next to my bed and when I woke up around 3am, I ate one. Since I was told to eat protein at night. When I woke up 3 hours later my BS was 130. I didn't want to eat anything large since it's so close to 140 (my goal is to keep it below 140). So I had 1 piece of toast (sugar free wheat bread) and just a tiny bit of peanut butter. I checked it an hour later and it was 161! What am I doing wrong? Do these morning situations sound familiar to you? Are you constantly questioning: Why is blood sugar high in the morning? I mean, logically we'd think that it should be at it's lowest in the morning right? Well don't panic, there is a reason for it, so let's explore why morning blood sugar is often higher. And at the end, I'll also point you toward some resources to help you lower those levels. Why Is Blood Sugar High In The Morning? Although it would seem logical that your body would Continue reading >>
Blood Sugar 911
CBN.com - After experiencing periods of increased jittery nerves, violent trembling, and fainting – all signs of severely low blood sugar – author Dennis Pollock was on a mission to change his diet. Christmas Scare It should have been a pleasant night. It was the Christmas season, and we had just returned from our annual Christmas trip to Grandma’s house. We were sitting in our living room, watching a videotape that was one of my sons’ Christmas presents. I wasn’t having fun. It was happening again. Less than three hours after we had eaten supper I could feel that cold chill on my arms and those jittery telltale indicators that my blood-sugar levels were falling way too low. I quietly slipped out of the room and went into the bathroom to check my blood sugar with my glucometer—a device I had been totally ignorant of a year earlier but was now all too familiar with. As I suspected, my blood-sugar level was dangerously low, so low I knew I needed to take action fast. Grabbing a can of Coke, I drank the entire contents in under a minute. Now my blood sugar went the other way. Another test revealed the level had gone from 40 mg/dl to about 170 in a very short time. 1 (The normal range is 80 to 120.) My body began to tremble violently. I tried to go back into the living room and watch the movie, hoping no one would notice the trembling, but I realized the shaking wasn’t going to go away very soon. I slipped into the bedroom, put on a music CD, and got under the covers. As I trembled and shook, I could only think, What in the world is wrong with me? Looking Back The Christmas scare was not my first encounter with blood-sugar problems. As I look back over my life now, I realize I have had blood-sugar issues going back to the mid-1980s. In the early days I could n Continue reading >>
Should You Skip A Meal If Your Blood Glucose Is High?
High blood glucose levels can damage the small arteries and nerves in your eyes, kidneys, heart, brain and feet over time. If you have diabetes, high blood sugar is defined as higher than 130 mg/dL when fasting and above 180 mg/dL two hours after eating, unless your doctor has specified a different target for you. Managing your blood glucose levels closely is the key to healthy living with diabetes. If your blood glucose levels are high, don't skip a meal; rather, try to understand the causes behind your high reading and do some damage control by eating healthy and exercising. The Cause If your blood glucose levels are higher than they should be, start by determining what caused the rise. Did you eat more carbohydrates than usual? Carbohydrates found in grains, potatoes and sugar increase your blood sugar levels the most, and eating too much can result in high glucose levels. Are you more stressed than usual or are you feeling sick? Stress and illness also increase your blood sugar levels. Did you skip your usual walk or did your forget to take your medications? Both exercise and prescribed medications decrease your blood sugar levels. Keeping a journal of what you eat, how you feel, how much you exercise and the medications and supplements you take can help you figure out the cause of your high blood sugar. Skipping Meals Skipping meals can actually increase your blood glucose levels. If your body doesn't get a regular supply of energy from food, your liver may panic and start releasing glucose into your bloodstream. This glucose can come from stored liver glycogen or can be newly synthesized from protein. Skipping a meal can cause you to have high blood glucose levels, so don't skip a meal in an attempt to lower high blood sugar. Healthy Meal Instead of skipping a mea Continue reading >>
How Many Factors Actually Affect Blood Glucose?
A printable, colorful PDF version of this article can be found here. twitter summary: Adam identifies at least 22 things that affect blood glucose, including food, medication, activity, biological, & environmental factors. short summary: As patients, we tend to blame ourselves for out of range blood sugars – after all, the equation to “good diabetes management” is supposedly simple (eating, exercise, medication). But have you ever done everything right and still had a glucose that was too high or too low? In this article, I look into the wide variety of things that can actually affect blood glucose - at least 22! – including food, medication, activity, and both biological and environmental factors. The bottom line is that diabetes is very complicated, and for even the most educated and diligent patients, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that affects blood glucose. So when you see an out-of-range glucose value, don’t judge yourself – use it as information to make better decisions. As a patient, I always fall into the trap of thinking I’m at fault for out of range blood sugars. By taking my medication, monitoring my blood glucose, watching what I eat, and exercising, I would like to have perfect in-range values all the time. But after 13 years of type 1 diabetes, I’ve learned it’s just not that simple. There are all kinds of factors that affect blood glucose, many of which are impossible to control, remember, or even account for. Based on personal experience, conversations with experts, and scientific research, here’s a non-exhaustive list of 22 factors that can affect blood glucose. They are separated into five areas – Food, Medication, Activity, Biological factors, and Environmental factors. I’ve provided arrows to show the ge Continue reading >>
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Missing Meals? Avoid Dangerous Blood Sugar If You Have Diabetes
Skipping a meal is typically no big deal. But if you have diabetes, missing meals can throw off the important balancing act between food intake and medication. The result is blood sugars that are too low (hypoglycemia) or too high (hyperglycemia) — and that’s dangerous. “If you take medications for diabetes that can cause low blood sugars, you should try not to skip meals,” says registered dietician Dawn Noe. “If you’re just not up to eating on a regular schedule, talk to your doctor about diabetes medications that won’t cause low blood sugars,” she says. Monitoring sugars is vital When you’re ill or just don’t feel like eating much, it’s important to monitor your blood sugar levels more closely than ever. How often depends on whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and what medications you take. For type 1 diabetes: Be sure to monitor your blood sugar before meals and before bedtime, typically four times per day, says diabetes specialist Bartolome Burguera, MD. Beyond that, check your blood sugars if you notice symptoms of low blood sugar. Those symptoms include: Hunger Shakiness or nervousness Sweating Dizziness or light-headedness Sleepiness Confusion Difficulty speaking Anxiety Weakness For type 2 diabetes: If you are taking a sulfonylurea medication, check your blood sugars at least twice a day — in the morning and at bedtime. “It’s important to keep in mind that sulfonylureas may cause blood sugar to drop during the day if you don’t eat anything after taking your medication,” Dr. Burguera says. If your only treatment is metformin, you may not need to check your blood sugar more than once a day. This medication doesn’t typically cause hypoglycemia. It is important to be aware of the symptoms associated with low blood sugars and Continue reading >>
How You Can Have High Blood Sugar Without Carbs
Can you have high blood sugar without carbs? Well, it’s important to look at common beliefs about high blood sugar first. “High blood sugar is bad. Carbohydrates raise blood sugar. Therefore carbohydrates are bad.” The theory is simple, and yet incredibly flawed. The truth is, you can have chronically high blood sugar even while religiously avoiding every starch and sugar in sight. Low-carb forums are littered with posts asking a very relevant question: Why is my blood sugar so high when I’m not eating any carbs? The answer is simple, yet often overlooked. If the body were an engine, glucose would be its fuel. Most people think glucose only comes from carbohydrates (sugar and starch), but protein can also be turned into glucose when there aren’t enough carbs around to do the job. This is called gluconeogenesis, and it’s performed by one of the major stress hormones cortisol. When you have high cortisol levels (from diet, lifestyle, etc.), the cortisol rapidly breaks down protein into glucose, which can raise blood sugar levels considerably. For some folks, this results in chronically high blood sugar–even if they are on a low-carb diet. The trouble is, cortisol isn’t just breaking down the protein you eat. It’s doing something far more destructive. The body is quite a smart machine, and it has no problem taking detours to get energy if necessary. If your body isn’t getting the energy it needs from your diet, it has a back-up source: its own tissue. It sounds kind of cannibalistic, eating your own lean body tissue for energy. I mean, I seriously doubt any one of you would relish cutting off a chunk of your leg for dinner. I know I wouldn’t. But every time your body uses cortisol to break down lean tissue for energy, this is basically what you are do Continue reading >>