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Can Blood Sugars Rise Without Eating?

High Blood Sugar After Exercise?

High Blood Sugar After Exercise?

back to Overview Markus, one of our great German-language authors, wrote about struggling with high blood sugar after exercise. I know it's a common problem, and one I've struggled with personally, so I want to make sure you get to see it, too. From Markus Berndt: It’s one of the first recommendations you get after being diagnosed with diabetes. “Get active, do more exercise, it’s good for you!” And since we’ve been a child we’ve heard that exercise is healthy. If we do it consistently we’re rewarded, literally, with an awesome beach body. Adding exercise into our day is also good for our diabetes. We’re taught that exercise lowers blood sugar, right? But can the opposite also be true? Can you have high blood sugar after exercise? Up close We now know that physical activity usually lowers blood sugar because it reduces how much insulin is needed to move sugar into the cells. While, in the past, most experts advised frequent training intervals at moderate intensity, but recent studies have shown that even short, intense workouts are very effective. For example, a 15-minute intense weight training lowered blood sugar even more than what’s seen in some endurance training. So activity lowers blood sugar – but not always! Personally, I experienced this very early on and was extremely irritated! I just learned that exercise lowers blood sugar, but an intense 45-minute run consistently resulted in higher blood sugars than when I started! What in the world? At first, I was confused and felt like I didn’t understand the world anymore. Then it was more of a “would you look at this?” kind of thing. And finally, I was determined to figure out what was happening. I knew there had to be an explanation. Why does exercise sometimes raise blood sugar? Exercise Continue reading >>

Will Blood Sugars Rise Later In Morning Without Eating?

Will Blood Sugars Rise Later In Morning Without Eating?

Keeping track of your blood sugar levels is not only important if you have diabetes, but it can also help you achieve a healthy weight, maintain good energy levels and prevent chronic diseases. You can easily obtain a blood glucose meter at your drugstore to check your blood sugar levels at different times throughout the day to see how your body reacts to the foods you eat. Your blood sugar levels can also change even when you go a few hours without eating. For example, skipping breakfast and not eating in the morning is likely to induce a rise in your blood sugar. Video of the Day Measuring your blood sugar levels occasionally before and after a meal is a good way to observe how your food choices influence your blood sugar levels. Carbohydrate is the nutrient that has the most impact over your blood sugar because both starches and sugars, which constitute the total carb content of a food, are broken down to glucose and, therefore, contribute to elevating your blood sugar after a meal. If you skip breakfast or go for a few hours without eating, you would probably expect your blood sugar levels to decrease, but it actually causes a blood sugar rise in most people. The dawn phenomenon corresponds to a normal effect that occurs in the early hours, while the secretion of many hormones occurs to prepare your body for the day ahead. Among the hormonal changes that accompany the dawn phenomenon is increased insulin resistance. If you are more insulin resistant in the morning, it means that your insulin is not as effective at keeping your blood sugar levels in check as it should be. The dawn phenomenon explains why many diabetics have higher blood sugar levels in the morning. Depending on the time you awake, you may see a rise in your blood sugar levels, even if you don't eat, Continue reading >>

Why Blood Sugar Levels Rise Overnight

Why Blood Sugar Levels Rise Overnight

get the scoop When you go to bed, your blood sugar reading is 110, but when you wake up in the morning, it has shot up to 150. Why does this happen? To understand how blood sugar levels can rise overnight without your eating anything, we have to look at where glucose comes from — and where it goes — while we sleep. During the day, the carbohydrates we eat are digested into glucose and absorbed into the bloodstream. Some of this glucose goes to the liver, where it is stored for later use. At night, while we are asleep, the liver releases glucose into the bloodstream. The liver acts as our glucose warehouse and keeps us supplied until we eat breakfast. The amount of glucose being used is matched by the amount of glucose being released by the liver, so blood sugar levels should remain constant. what is the dawn phenomenon? A rise in blood sugar level between approximately 3 A.M. and the time you wake up is called the “dawn phenomenon.” The liver is supposed to release just enough glucose to replace what is being used, and insulin works as the messenger to tell the liver how much is enough. But if there's not enough insulin (as with type 1 diabetes), or if there's enough insulin but it cannot communicate its message to the liver (as with type 2 diabetes), the liver starts to release glucose much too quickly. In addition, levels of hormones such as cortisol begin to increase in the early morning hours, which can contribute to altered insulin sensitivity. The result? Blood sugar levels rise. This is why blood sugar levels can go up between the time you go to bed and the time you wake up. what can you do about it? You might be able to make changes in the timing of your meals, medications, or insulin injections to help prevent dawn phenomenon. First, keep a detailed rec Continue reading >>

5 Surprising Food Habits That Raise Your Blood Sugar

5 Surprising Food Habits That Raise Your Blood Sugar

Taking care of your blood sugar is one of the most valuable things you can do for your mood, weight, and even your heart health. It’s essential for keeping your body’s chemicals (a.k.a. your hormones) in check and also helps stabilize your appetite. If you’re having a hard time finding some balance with your blood sugar, and constantly hungry no matter what, or jittery and shaky, then it’s time to turn to some tips for taking care of your blood sugar ASAP! Surprisingly, it’s not just the sugary white stuff that raises your blood sugar, and not even the fruit in your diet like some might say. It can also be caused by other factors that you’ll want to be aware of when going throughout your day. Your blood sugar really boils down to your insulin (the sugar hormone, as many call it), which also stores fat and secrets glucose into the cells. Your insulin isn’t your enemy when you care for it. It can help keep your energy stable, but the key is to slow it down for a steady walk, not send it on a rollercoaster ride. Here are some things you might not realize affect your blood sugar: 1. Too Much Caffeine Caffeine also raises insulin when consumed in excess. While a cup (or even two cups) of coffee a day is actually beneficial for your insulin, more than that can cause it to sky-rocket. Even when consumed from healthier sources like yerba mate or black tea, caffeine can make your insulin surge, which leaves you moody, shaky, irritable, and craving sweets. Then you become tired and exhausted when levels drop, which leads you to reach for more caffeine or more sugar, depending on your vice. See how to Eat Your Way to Energy: No Caffeine Needed here if you need some help, or these 14 Natural Caffeine-Free Choices to Help Mellow You Out if you’re stressed. 2. Sugar W 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 >>

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 >>

Sugar Highs Explained

Sugar Highs Explained

You're taking your medications as prescribed and you're keeping an eye on your carbohydrates, yet there still may be times when your blood sugar is too high. There are many reasons for blood sugar surges--I'd like to zero in on two common issues: high morning sugar and sugar that's high after exercising. Waking up to high sugar You'd think that your blood sugar should be lower after a night's sleep. After all, you haven't eaten anything for many hours. But the body needs glucose 24 hours a day, and if you're not getting it from food, your body will turn to stored glucose in the liver. Your pancreas needs to make insulin to deal with this glucose, just as it does for glucose derived from the food you eat. Unfortunately, in many people with diabetes, insulin production during periods of fasting is as meager as (or worse than) during eating. Therefore, the sugar may rise overnight because glucose being produced by the liver is not matched by adequate insulin from the pancreas. Also, certain medications, including glyburide (brand name Micronase or DiaBeta), glipizide (brand name Glipizide) and glimepiride (brand name Amaryl), improve meal-related insulin production more than fasting insulin production. As a result, many people who take these medicines have higher glucose levels in the morning than before bed at night. Sometimes a bedtime snack will actually help lower morning blood glucose, because the sugar (from the carbohydrates in your snack) that hits your bloodstream causes the body to release more insulin than the sugar your liver releases during the night while you're fasting. Ideally, your snack should contain protein, some healthy fat and a slowly absorbed carbohydrate, such as two teaspoons of peanut butter on a half-slice of stone-ground whole-wheat bread. If t 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 Does Blood Glucose Go Up Some Days And Not Others?

Why Does Blood Glucose Go Up Some Days And Not Others?

Why does my wife's blood sugar go up to 230 mg/dl at dinnertime (5 p.m.) on some days, while on other days that doesn't happen even though she eats about the same food? My wife has type 2 diabetes. 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 >>

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 Many Factors Actually Affect Blood Glucose?

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 >>

Hyperglycemia: When Your Blood Glucose Level Goes Too High

Hyperglycemia: When Your Blood Glucose Level Goes Too High

Hyperglycemia means high (hyper) glucose (gly) in the blood (emia). Your body needs glucose to properly function. Your cells rely on glucose for energy. Hyperglycemia is a defining characteristic of diabetes—when the blood glucose level is too high because the body isn't properly using or doesn't make the hormone insulin. You get glucose from the foods you eat. Carbohydrates, such as fruit, milk, potatoes, bread, and rice, are the biggest source of glucose in a typical diet. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, and then transports the glucose to the cells via the bloodstream. Body Needs Insulin However, in order to use the glucose, your body needs insulin. This is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin helps transport glucose into the cells, particularly the muscle cells. People with type 1 diabetes no longer make insulin to help their bodies use glucose, so they have to take insulin, which is injected under the skin. People with type 2 diabetes may have enough insulin, but their body doesn't use it well; they're insulin resistant. Some people with type 2 diabetes may not produce enough insulin. People with diabetes may become hyperglycemic if they don't keep their blood glucose level under control (by using insulin, medications, and appropriate meal planning). For example, if someone with type 1 diabetes doesn't take enough insulin before eating, the glucose their body makes from that food can build up in their blood and lead to hyperglycemia. Your endocrinologist will tell you what your target blood glucose levels are. Your levels may be different from what is usually considered as normal because of age, pregnancy, and/or other factors. Fasting hyperglycemia is defined as when you don't eat for at least eight hours. Recommended range without diabet Continue reading >>

Treating Low Blood Sugar

Treating Low Blood Sugar

You are at risk of having a low blood sugar reaction if you: Skip or delay a meal or snack Take too much insulin or eat too few carbohydrates Exercise Drink alcohol, especially without eating carbohydrates Check your blood sugar if you have any of these symptoms: Weakness and/or fatigue Headache Sweating Anxiety Dizziness Shaking Increased heartbeat If your blood sugar is less than 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl): Eat 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate (sample foods listed below) Wait 15 minutes and then recheck your blood sugar If your blood sugar is still less than 100 mg/dl, take another 15 grams of carbohydrate and retest your blood sugar in another 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary. Important: If you have frequent low blood sugars speak to your doctor. You may need changes in your medication and/or meal plan. Quick Carbohydrate Guide for Treating Low Blood Sugars If your blood sugar is less than 70 mg/dl, you need 15 to 30 grams of a quickly absorbed carbohydrate, like the ones listed below. Each of the following servings provides 15 grams of carbohydrate. Candies and Other Sweets 5 small gum drops 12 gummy bears 6 large jelly beans 5 Life Savers 15 Skittles 1 Tablespoon honey, jam or jelly 1 Tablespoon sugar in water 4 Starburst Beverages 1/2 cup apple juice 1/2 cup orange or grapefruit juice 1/2 cup pineapple juice 1/2 cup regular soda (not diet) 1/3 cup grape juice 1/3 cup cranberry juice 1/3 cup prune juice 1 cup fat free milk Fruits 1/2 banana 1 small apple 1 small orange 1/2 cup applesauce 2 tablespoons of raisins 15 grapes Other 3 to 4 glucose tablets 1 tube glucose gel Note: The foods listed above are easily absorbed and will raise blood sugar levels quickly. Foods that contain protein or fat — such as chocolate, candy bars, ice cream, cookies, crackers and Continue reading >>

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