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Can Blood Sugars Rise Without Eating?

Why Is Blood Sugar High In The Morning?

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 >>

Why Does Blood Sugar In Diabetes Go Up Without Eating?

Why Does Blood Sugar In Diabetes Go Up Without Eating?

It’s strange that blood sugar in a diabetic can rise despite not having eaten anything, since typically, eating causes blood sugar to go up. But it’s no uncommon occurrence that in diabetes, glucose or blood sugar levels can actually rise in the absence of eating. “When we don’t take food into our body for energy, our liver will try to help us by releasing glucose into our blood so we have the energy we need to stay alive,” says Lucille Hughes, RN, FAADE, director of diabetes education at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, NY. “For people with diabetes, the liver may release too much glucose, causing blood sugar to go up.” In diabetes, things are out of whack in the body. The liver overestimates how much sugar to release into the bloodstream. Or, to put it another way, the liver overcorrects the problem. This is why it’s so important for diabetics to monitor their glucose levels on a regular basis throughout the day to make sure that it doesn’t sneak its way into getting into a dangerously high range. A person with diabetes, even when they’re not hungry, should not go long periods without eating. Continue reading >>

Why Your “normal” Blood Sugar Isn’t Normal (part 2)

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 >>

The 4 Foods That Will Steady Your Blood Sugar

The 4 Foods That Will Steady Your Blood Sugar

Wondering what blood sugar has to do with you, if you don’t have diabetes? Keeping your blood sugar levels as steady as possiblenow may help you avoid getting diabetes later. “As you get older, your risk for type 2 diabetes goes up,” says Alissa Rumsey, Registered Dietitian and Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Since you can’t modify your age, it is important to take other steps to lower your risk, including maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough exercise, and balancing your diet to prevent spikes in blood sugar.” Controlling your blood sugar will also just make you feel better. “It’s best to control blood sugar—it keeps your energy stable,” says Leann Olansky, M.D., an endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic. “If your blood sugar doesn’t vary that much before and after a meal, that’s a healthier way to be.” Unrelated to diabetes, symptoms of occasional high blood sugar aren’t life-threatening, but rather unpleasant and only potentially dangerous if you suffer from other health problems. “When your blood sugar is too high, it can make you feel sluggish,” says Dr. Olansky. “When it’s higher still, it can lead to dehydration and make your blood pressure unstable, and cause you to urinate more often, especially at night.” But when your blood sugar remains chronically high, insulin, a hormone that’s supposed to help your body store sugar as energy, stops working as it should. “Prolonged high blood sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance, meaning your body isn’t able to use insulin properly,” says Rumsey. “Over time this insulin resistance can develop into diabetes, when insulin isn’t able to keep your blood sugar within normal levels.” Current research reveals an association between spik Continue reading >>

Missing Meals? Avoid Dangerous Blood Sugar If You Have Diabetes

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 >>

Diabetes The Basics: Blood Sugars: The Nondiabetic Versus The Diabetic

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 >>

Why Is Blood Sugar Highest In The Morning?

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 >>

Effects Of Alcohol On Diabetes

Effects Of Alcohol On Diabetes

Alcohol, which is made from fermented yeast, sugars, and starches is a very commonly used substance. In fact, 87.6% of adults aged 18 and over have consumed it at some point in their lifetime. It is also known as a depressant due to its capability to depress the central nervous system. About 71% have drank in the past year. When enjoyed in moderation, alcohol does not pose a risk, and actually has some health benefits to it. However, for those with diabetes, it can be a struggle to maintain a safe blood sugar while drinking. It is very easy to become hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemic (high blood sugar), depending on which type of diabetes you have and the medications that you take. Understanding the effects drinking has on diabetes is very important. This article discusses the risks and benefits of drinking. It also explains what drinks are best for individuals with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Can I drink if I have diabetes? You can most certainly drink alcohol with diabetes. The key, just like many other things, is to do so in moderation. Also, if your blood sugar is not under good control, you should not drink because it can cause it to become too high or too low. Your doctor should be aware of your drinking habits so that they can make sure that you are not experiencing any complications related to it. I recommend reading the following articles: How does alcohol affect diabetes and my blood sugar levels? Normally, the liver is the organ that stores and secretes glucose to the cells in the body to fuel them when you are not eating. The liver is also responsible for cleansing the body of toxins. The liver does not recognize alcohol as food. Instead, it sees it as a drug and a toxin. When alcohol is in the system, the liver changes gears and begins to deto Continue reading >>

Understanding Fasting Blood Sugar

Understanding Fasting Blood Sugar

Among the most common questions people have about Type 2 diabetes is this: how can they lower their fasting blood sugar? To answer this question in a way that will help you lower your blood sugar we are going to have to first explain why doctors measure fasting blood sugar and what it does--and does not--tell us about our blood sugar health. WHAT IS FASTING BLOOD SUGAR? Traditionally, fasting blood sugar is the value you get when you test your blood sugar after an 8 hour long fast--which is usually immediately upon waking. In a normal person this fasting blood sugar would also be the "baseline" blood sugar--the level to which blood sugar returns a few hours after every meal all day long. However, for reasons we will discuss later on, this is often NOT the case for people with Type 2 diabetes, whose morning blood sugars may be much higher than the baseline level they achieve after meals for the rest of the day. Doctors have for decades relied on the FPG (fasting plasma glucose) test which measures fasting blood sugar to diagnose diabetes. The reason for this is NOT that FPG test results predict diabetic complications. They don't. Post-meal blood sugar tests are a much better indicator of whether a person will get the classic diabetic complications, and the A1c test is a better indicator of potential heart disease. But the FPG test is cheap and easy to administer, hence its popularity. The value most of us would find much more helpful in assessing our health is not fasting blood sugar but something else: the number of hours a day our blood sugar spends elevated over the level known to cause complications, which is roughly 140 mg/dl (7.7 mmol/L). A person can wake up with a FPG of 130 mg/dl (7.2 mmol/L), but if it drops after breakfast and most hours of the day are spent w Continue reading >>

Controlling The Dawn Phenomenon

Controlling The Dawn Phenomenon

Do you wake up with a blood glucose level that’s higher than when you went to bed? You might wonder how this could be. Is this “dawn phenomenon” serious, and what can you do about it? Our reader Mishelle commented here, “I don’t eat [much] during the day. [I take metformin morning and night.] My blood sugar is still too high in the morning…sometimes 125–140ish.” How can Mishelle’s glucose levels go up if she didn’t eat anything? She probably has a mild case of dawn phenomenon. Her glucose is going up from sources other than digested food. Some of it is produced by the liver from stored starch and fatty acids. Livers that produce too much glucose are one of the main ways diabetes causes high blood glucose levels. Other organs also produce small amounts of glucose. This is called “gluconeogenesis” for you science freaks out there. Organs do this to keep blood glucose from going too low at night or other times of not eating. From about 2 AM to 8 AM, most people’s bodies produce hormones, including cortisol, glucagon, and epinephrine. All these hormones increase insulin resistance and tell the liver to make more glucose. The idea is to get you enough glucose to get out of bed and start the day. The whole process is apparently started by growth hormones. Everyone has a dawn phenomenon. Otherwise they’d be too weak to get breakfast. But in people without diabetes, insulin levels also increase to handle the extra glucose. People with diabetes can’t increase insulin levels that much, so their early morning blood glucose levels can rise dramatically. Experts disagree on how many people have a dawn phenomenon. Estimates range from 3% to 50% of Type 2s and from 25% to 50% of Type 1s. Is dawn phenomenon a serious problem? It can be serious. According t Continue reading >>

7 Techniques To Reduce Post-meal Spikes During Pregnancy

7 Techniques To Reduce Post-meal Spikes During Pregnancy

“Gary, I think I need more insulin at breakfast.” “Why do you say that, Julianne?” “Because I’m always having high readings right afterwards, and my obstetrician said I shouldn’t spike after I eat.” “And what happens after the spike?” “It usually comes down to normal before lunch. So do you think I should take more insulin?” After-meal blood sugar spikes can create quite a quandary for anyone with diabetes, particularly during pregnancy. Research has shown that fetal macrosomia (overgrowth of the baby) becomes more common when post-meal blood sugars exceed 120 mg/dl (6.7 mmol). With post-meal readings above 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol), the risk more than doubles from baseline. Fetal macrosomia can cause many problems during pregnancy. When the baby grows and develops too rapidly, it can lead to a premature and more complicated birth. It may also cause injuries to occur to the baby during delivery. Why do after-meal blood sugars have such a major influence on the baby’s growth? Nobody knows for certain. Perhaps, when the mother’s blood sugar “spikes” suddenly after meals, the baby is fed more sugar than its pancreas can “cover” with insulin, and high fetal blood sugar results. And because the baby’s kidneys spill almost all excess sugar from the baby’s bloodstream back into the amniotic fluid, the baby then drinks in the extra glucose and winds up growing more than it should. Suffice to say that post-meal blood sugar spikes are something to avoid during pregnancy. But how do we do it? Getting back to Julianne’s question, if she takes more insulin, she’ll probably wind up hypoglycemic before lunch. Luckily, we have some excellent techniques for preventing the after-meal highs without having to take more mealtime insulin. What Causes Sp Continue reading >>

How To Treat A Low Blood Sugar (without Eating Everything In Sight)

How To Treat A Low Blood Sugar (without Eating Everything In Sight)

We’ve all been in the position of having a bad low, where all you want to do is eat everything in sight. There’s no reasoning with yourself. It’s like a demon has hijacked your self-control! It makes perfect sense–your body just wants to get your blood sugar back up to a safe level, and it’s doing its best to ensure that the low is corrected. But eating your weight in carbs is just going to result in a high blood sugar, and then you are dealing with the opposite problem. What’s a person with diabetes to do? First of all, fix the low. Get your blood glucose level above 70 mg/dl (4 mmol/L). It’s best to use a dextrose-based treatment, like glucose tablets or gel, to get the BG up to a safe level. Using something high glycemic index is important when you are very low and need to quickly raise the blood glucose, especially if you have a lot of insulin on board. Be careful to treat with the right amount of carb, as opposed to over-treating. If you weigh less than 60 lbs, a gram of carb will raise your BG about 6 points. If you weigh 100-160 lbs, a gram of carb should raise your BG about 4 points. If you weigh 160-220 lbs, a gram of carb might raise you 3 points. And give the carbohydrates 15-20 minutes to raise the BG. Do a follow-up fingerstick because there is a lag time with sensors, and the BG you get with a fingerstick will be a more accurate reflection of your response to your treatment. If you are still low, repeat the treatment. I remember a low where I munched my way through the pantry, and I neglected to count my carbs as I was doing it. I had absolutely no idea how much to bolus for! Boy, did I learn my lesson. I never did that again – I’ve always made sure to carb count and take insulin to cover whatever I eat that’s in excess of what I needed Continue reading >>

Dawn Phenomenon: How To Control High Morning Blood Sugars

Dawn Phenomenon: How To Control High Morning Blood Sugars

The dawn phenomenon is a normal, natural rise in blood sugar that occurs in the early morning hours, between roughly 4 and 8 a.m. The shift in blood sugar levels happens as a result of hormonal changes in the body. All people experience the dawn phenomenon to one level or another, which can vary day by day. People without diabetes may never notice it happening, as a normal body's insulin response adjusts for the rise without intervention. A person with diabetes is more likely to experience symptoms from the rise in blood sugar levels, however. How does it affect people with diabetes? Dawn phenomenon is a normal rise in blood sugar released by the liver. The release happens as the person's body is preparing to wake for the day. The rise in blood sugar is normally handled with insulin. For people with diabetes, insulin is not produced in high enough quantities, or the body is unable to use the insulin properly. As a result, a person with diabetes will feel the effects of having high sugar levels in the blood. These effects can include: faintness nausea vomiting weakness disorientation feeling tired extreme thirst Managing the dawn phenomenon Managing blood sugar levels is nothing new to most people with diabetes. A combination of diet, exercise, and medication often help keep the symptoms and problems under control. In the case of dawn phenomenon, there are some additional changes that may help prevent issues caused by the spike in blood sugar. Some steps people with diabetes can take to manage the dawn phenomenon include: changing medication entirely or making adjustments with a doctor on existing medication avoiding skipping meals or medication doses taking medication closer to bedtime and not at dinner time Other steps include eating dinner earlier in the evening. Afte Continue reading >>

Why Do Blood Glucose Levels Sometimes Go Up After Physical Activity?

Why Do Blood Glucose Levels Sometimes Go Up After Physical Activity?

When you exercise your muscles need more glucose to supply energy. In response, your liver increases the amount of glucose it releases into your bloodstream. Remember, however, that the glucose needs insulin in order to be used by your muscles. So if you do not have enough insulin available, your blood glucose levels can actually increase right after exercise. Basically, stimulated by the demand from your exercising muscles, your body is pouring glucose into your bloodstream. If you do not have enough insulin available to "unlock the door" to your muscles, the glucose cannot get into your muscles to provide needed energy. The end result is that glucose backs-up in your bloodstream, causing higher blood glucose readings. Here are some tips to safely exercise: Consult your doctor before starting an exercise program. If you are over the age of 35 you may need a stress test. Pick an exercise that you enjoy. Check your blood sugar before and after exercise. Do not exercise if your blood sugar is over 250 mg/dl and you have ketones. If your blood sugar is over 250 but no ketones are present, follow these guidelines: Type 1: If blood sugars are 300 or more, test within 5-10 minutes of begining exercise. If your blood sugar is dropping, you may continue. If it is not dropping, stop exercising. Type 2: Do Not exercise if blood sugars are 400 or more Plan exercise to prevent low blood sugar reactions. Exercise 1 to 1 ½ hours after eating. Always carry a carbohydrate snack (juice, glucose tablets, etc.) with you. Drink plenty of fluids. Wear shoes and equipment that fit well. Find more information about physical activity and diabetes in Staying Healthy with Diabetes – Physical Activity & Fitness available from the Joslin Online Store. Continue reading >>

20 Reasons For Blood Sugar Swings

20 Reasons For Blood Sugar Swings

Upswing: Caffeine Your blood sugar can rise after you have coffee -- even black coffee with no calories -- thanks to the caffeine. The same goes for black tea, green tea, and energy drinks. Each person with diabetes reacts to foods and drinks differently, so it's best to keep track of your own responses. Ironically, other compounds in coffee may help prevent type 2 diabetes in healthy people. Many of these will raise your blood sugar levels. Why? They can still have plenty of carbs from starches. Check the total carbohydrates on the Nutrition Facts label before you dig in. You should also pay attention to sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and xylitol. They add sweetness with fewer carbs than sugar (sucrose), but they may still have enough to boost your levels. One study found that people with type 2 diabetes who switched to a vegan (or all vegetable-based) diet had better blood sugar control and needed less insulin. A boost in fiber from whole grains and beans might play a role, by slowing down the digestion of carbs. But scientists need more research to know if going vegan really helps diabetes. Talk to your doctor before you make major diet changes. Blood sugar can dip dangerously low during shut-eye for some people with diabetes, especially if they take insulin. It's best to check your levels at bedtime and when you wake up. A snack before bed may help. For some people, blood sugar can rise in the morning -- even before breakfast -- due to changes in hormones or a drop in insulin. Regular testing is important. One option is a continuous blood glucose monitor, which can alert you to highs and lows. Physical activity is a great health booster for everyone. But people with diabetes should tailor it to what they need. When you work out hard enough to sweat and raise your h Continue reading >>

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