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 >>
Why Does My Sugar Go Up After Exercise?
Why Does My Sugar Go Up After Exercise? Answer: why does my sugar go up after exercise ? If an inadequate amount of insulin is present in the blood allowing the BG to rise to about 250 to 300 mg/dl, then exercise may cause a further rise in BG rather than the expected drop. Low insulin coupled with physical activity stimulates the secretion of several other hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol, glucagon, and growth hormone. Collectively these hormones trigger the liver to release glucose into the blood, thereby increasing the BG rather than decreasing it. The hormones also increase the breakdown of fat but limit the uptake of fat by muscle cells. The liver converts some of the fats to strong acids called ketones. The ketones may build up in the blood producing a state called ketoacidosis. This event is far more likely to occur in people with type I diabetes. To prevent the problem the BG should be checked before exercise and if the level exceeds 250, then exercise should be delayed until it decreases well below 250. The urine should be checked for ketones and if they are present, exercise at this time will exacerbate the problem. A second cause why does my sugar go up after exercise ? is highly vigorous exercise. The more intense exercise is, the greater the secretion of glucose from the liver. During the strenuous session, stress hormones will be secreted in large quantities which will then stimulate the liver to release glucose. This is an interesting paradox: the more vigorous the exercise the more glucose released by the liver with a likely rise in BG rather than a fall. To make matters worse, the level of stress hormones in the blood may be elevated for several hours after intense exercise causing the liver to continue the outpouring of sugar. Thu Continue reading >>
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 >>
Why Does Blood Sugar Increase After Exercise For Diabetics?
Usually when you exercise, muscles need glucose to supply energy and hence, your liver pumps up glucose into your bloodstream. But due to irregularities in insulin levels in a diabetic patient, the glucose is not used by the muscles. So, glucose remains in the bloodstream causing higher blood glucose readings. You need to be very careful during exercise. Always consult your doctor and discuss your exercise program. Do not exercise if blood sugar levels are more than 400. Try joining a support group or online community to discuss your concerns, share experiences and get advises and tips from fellow patients and caretakers. I recently came across Beautiful Years and found the site very useful. Hope this information helps you. Continue reading >>
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 >>
Blood Sugar Control — During And After Exercise
WRITTEN BY: Christel Oerum Medical disclaimer: No adjustments to care should be done without consulting your medical team. If you are new to exercise, haven’t exercised in a while and/or haven’t seen your medical team in the last 3 months, it is advised to do so before engaging in any kind of physical activities. Exercising with diabetes can be tricky because you never know exactly how your blood sugar will react. However, there are some general rules that apply to all of us and when you know those rules, it becomes easier to recognize patterns, find your personal “formula” for food and insulin, and exercise with fewer blood sugar headaches. In this article, I’ll walk you through three different types of exercise, and what you usually can expect from a blood sugar perspective. I also suggest strategies for managing your blood sugar during and after each type of exercise. Types of exercise Steady-state cardio Interval training Resistance training Blood sugar management during and after steady state cardio The general rule for steady-state cardio (where your heart rate stays moderately elevated for the duration of your workout) is that it will make your blood sugar decrease if you have any insulin on board (IOB). Some people don’t start to see the effect until 20 minutes into a workout, and some will only see the effect during specific types of workouts. What happens during steady-state cardio is that you increase the body’s use of blood glucose. So, if you have high levels of IOB during your cardio session, the muscles will take up more blood glucose and the risk of low blood sugar increases. This risk is not only increased during the cardio session, but also up to 48 hours after you’re done. Strategies for preventing low blood sugar during and after stea Continue reading >>
Physical Activity & Blood Glucose
SHARE RATE★★★★★ Because diabetes a disorder that affects the way your body processes glucose, when you engage in physical activity you need to be especially aware of changes in blood glucose levels as your body burns extra glucose for energy. This can help you avoid problems like low blood glucose (hypoglycemia). Being aware of changes in blood glucose during physical activity is especially important if you take certain diabetes medications that increase risk for hypoglycemia, including insulin or diabetes medications that cause insulin secretion (called secretagogues), including sulfonylureas (glimepiride) and glinides (repaglinide and nateglinide).1 Should I avoid physical activity if my blood glucose is very high In general, if your blood glucose is very high (250 mg/dL) and you take insulin, you should avoid vigorous physical activity. However, if your blood glucose is mildly elevated and you feel well, you may exercise safely. Remember, make sure to drink water so that you are adequately hydrated before, during, and after any physical activity. Dehydration can affect your blood glucose.2 How should I monitor blood glucose during exercise? Even if you do not use insulin or a diabetes medications called secretagogues that increase secretion of insulin (this includes sulfonylureas [glimepiride] or glinides [repaglinide and nateglinide]) to control your diabetes, you may still want to use a blood glucose monitor to find out how your exercise routine affects your blood glucose level. Physical activities of long duration and low intensity typically cause blood glucose to decrease, but not to a problematic level. Try monitoring before, during, and after training several times so that you understand and anticipate exercise-related changes in blood glucose. Althou Continue reading >>
Don’t Sweat It! Exercise And Type 1 Diabetes
The benefits of exercise are wide ranging. Regular physical activity can help people manage their weight, sleep better, reduce the risk of some diseases, including type 2 diabetes (T2D) and heart disease, and improve overall quality of life—among other proven benefits. People with type 1 diabetes (T1D) can gain the same benefits from exercise as anyone else. Yet studies show that many people with T1D do not engage in regular physical activity owing to a fear of hypoglycemia, or dangerously low blood-glucose levels. Exercise scientists and athletes with T1D alike say that people with T1D can exercise safely and effectively. It’s a matter of observing how your body responds to exercise, learning to balance insulin, food, and physical activity, and using research-supported strategies to minimize the risk of hypoglycemia during and after exercise. Managing hypoglycemia associated with exercise Sheri Colberg-Ochs, Ph.D., professor of exercise science at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, has both professional and personal interests in understanding the risks and benefits of exercise for people with T1D. As an exercise physiologist, Dr. Colberg-Ochs studies the relationship of exercise to diabetes and lifestyle management. She has also lived with T1D for 44 years, while staying fit and active. Dr. Colberg-Ochs notes that the risk of hypoglycemia during and after exercise can be managed. “There’s not a tried and true method that works for everyone. It’s very individual, based on the type of activity and your normal diabetes regimen,” she says, “but you can certainly reduce the frequency of hypoglycemia that’s associated with being physically active.” The risk of hypoglycemia is affected by the type, duration, and intensity of physical activity. Aerobic a Continue reading >>
How To Best Manage And Prevent Exercise Low Blood Sugars
If you take insulin or another blood glucose-lowering medication, you are at risk for low blood sugar (usually defined as blood glucose < 65 mg/dl), or hypoglycemia, which can occur during or following physical activity. Low blood sugar can cause trembling, sweating, dizziness, blurred vision, impaired thinking, and even seizures and loss of consciousness. Exercise presents its own special challenges for managing blood sugar. Since any activity increases your body’s use of blood sugar, hypoglycemia can develop more easily. The more you understand about what makes your blood sugars go down (or sometimes up) during exercise, the easier it becomes to control and the more confident you can be about doing activities and staying in control of your diabetes. Much of your blood sugar response has to do with how much insulin is in your bloodstream. If your insulin levels are high during a physical activity, your muscles will take up more blood glucose (since muscle contractions themselves stimulate glucose uptake without insulin) and you’re more likely to end up with low blood sugars. You can even end up with late-onset hypoglycemia, which can occur from right after to up to 48 hours after you exercise. What’s important is to do your best to prevent lows before, during and after exercise by taking the steps listed below. Prevent Lows Before, During and After Exercise Learn how your body responds to exercise by checking your blood sugar levels before, (occasionally) during, and after exercise. If your blood sugar is near or below 70 mg/dl before you exercise, bring it back within normal range before you begin by consuming some carbohydrates. Always be prepared to correct a low by carrying a rapid-acting carbohydrate with you during exercise. Don’t assume you’ll be able Continue reading >>
Type 2 Diabetes And Exercise
When you have type 2 diabetes, physical activity is an important component of your treatment plan. It’s also important to have a healthy meal plan and maintain your blood glucose level through medications or insulin, if necessary. If you stay fit and active throughout your life, you’ll be able to better control your diabetes and keep your blood glucose level in the correct range. Controlling your blood glucose level is essential to preventing long-term complications, such as nerve pain and kidney disease. Exercise has so many benefits, but the biggest one is that it makes it easier to control your blood glucose (blood sugar) level. People with type 2 diabetes have too much glucose in their blood, either because their body doesn’t produce enough insulin to process it, or because their body doesn’t use insulin properly (insulin resistant). In either case, exercise can reduce the glucose in your blood. Muscles can use glucose without insulin when you’re exercising. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you’re insulin resistant or if you don’t have enough insulin: when you exercise, your muscles get the glucose they need, and in turn, your blood glucose level goes down. If you’re insulin resistant, exercise actually makes your insulin more effective. That is—your insulin resistance goes down when you exercise, and your cells can use the glucose more effectively. Exercise can also help people with type 2 diabetes avoid long-term complications, especially heart problems. People with diabetes are susceptible to developing blocked arteries (arteriosclerosis), which can lead to a heart attack. Exercise helps keep your heart healthy and strong. Plus, exercise helps you maintain good cholesterol—and that helps you avoid arteriosclerosis. Additionally, there ar Continue reading >>
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Blood Sugar Spikes After Exercise
When someone with diabetes exercises, often the concern is about making sure they have enough energy to complete their program. That energy is in the form of glucose or "blood sugar" that comes from food and drink. Without adequate amounts of glucose, they may experience something called "low blood sugar" or when it's more serious, "hypoglycemia." Effects can range from mild dysphoria to more serious issues such as seizures or even unconsciousness. Here's how things normally work. When we exercise, our muscles use blood sugar for energy throughout the workout. The longer and more intense the program, the more blood sugar you need to make it through. That's why we always suggest clients eat 1-2 hours before a training session, so they have the energy or blood sugar to finish. But that's not what happened to a recent client. After his workout, he took a reading of his blood sugar and discovered it was much HIGHER than when he started his session. He hadn't eaten or drank anything except water during his exercise, so what was causing the elevated reading? The culprit turned out to be adrenaline. During particularly intense strength training sessions or while performing intervals, our bodies can release large amounts of the hormone adrenaline. When adrenaline is detected by the pancreas, that's a signal that we need more energy. So the pancreas produces a hormone called glucagon, which then triggers the liver into releasing stored sugars. It's those sugars that give us more energy to complete the task. It's part of the primitive "fight or flight" response in our bodies. When we're going through periods of acute stress, like a particularly tough workout, our bodies want to make sure we have enough energy to survive. The adrenaline starts a chain reaction that ultimately rais Continue reading >>
How Does Eating Affect Your Blood Sugar?
Part 1 of 8 What is blood sugar? Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, comes from the food you eat. Your body creates blood sugar by digesting some food into a sugar that circulates in your bloodstream. Blood sugar is used for energy. The sugar that isn’t needed to fuel your body right away gets stored in cells for later use. Too much sugar in your blood can be harmful. Type 2 diabetes is a disease that is characterized by having higher levels of blood sugar than what is considered within normal limits. Unmanaged diabetes can lead to problems with your heart, kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels. The more you know about how eating affects blood sugar, the better you can protect yourself against diabetes. If you already have diabetes, it’s important to know how eating affects blood sugar. Part 2 of 8 Your body breaks down everything you eat and absorbs the food in its different parts. These parts include: carbohydrates proteins fats vitamins and other nutrients The carbohydrates you consume turn into blood sugar. The more carbohydrates you eat, the higher the levels of sugar you will have released as you digest and absorb your food. Carbohydrates in liquid form consumed by themselves are absorbed more quickly than those in solid food. So having a soda will cause a faster rise in your blood sugar levels than eating a slice of pizza. Fiber is one component of carbohydrates that isn’t converted into sugar. This is because it can’t be digested. Fiber is important for health, though. Protein, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals don’t contain carbohydrates. These components won’t affect your blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, your carbohydrate intake is the most important part of your diet to consider when it comes to managing your blood sugar levels. Part 3 Continue reading >>
5 Tips For Exercise With Type 1
A diabetes life coach shares her secrets for good blood glucose control while working out. Throughout July, we’re featuring excerpts from Ginger Vieira’s new book, Dealing with Diabetes Burnout. In this final edited excerpt from the book, the longtime life coach and diabetes advocate shares the lessons she’s learned from years of exercise with Type 1 diabetes. There is no doubt that exercising with diabetes is about one million times more challenging than exercising without diabetes, particularly if you take insulin. Low blood sugars and high blood sugars are major party-poopers in the middle of a walk, yoga, spinning class, tai chi, or strength-training. I’m here to tell you that it can be done and you can enjoy exercise, but it takes a little work, a little more effort, and a bunch of self-study. sponsor When I personally started to become really active and committed to exercising regularly, I was working really hard to balance my blood sugar during things like Ashtanga yoga, strength-training, and various forms of cardio like power-walking and the stairmaster. And it wasn’t easy, but at the very same time I was learning with the help of my trainer, Andrew, about what was literally going on in my body during different types of exercise. Learning about this basic science, taking a deep breath, and viewing my body as a science experiment is the only reason I am able to exercise happily and confidently today. Read “25 Facts to Know About Exercise and Type 1 Diabetes.” Here are five lessons I’ve learned on balancing blood sugars during exercise: 1. Understand What Type of Exercise You’re Doing Jogging and strength-training will both have very different impacts on your blood sugar, even though your heart rate may rise during both. Cardiovascular or aerobi Continue reading >>
Eat Before Or After Exercising To Prevent A High Rise In Blood Sugar
Exercising before or after eating helps to protect you from having a high rise in blood sugar after meals. Even light exercise before or after you eat can prevent a high rise in blood sugar and the damage it can cause (Topics in Clinical Nutrition, April/June, 2014;29(2):132-138). Healthy college students had their blood sugar levels measured for two consecutive days: • after fasting • 30 minutes after eating a Milky Way candy bar containing 35 grams of sugar, and • 60 minutes after eating the candy bar. On the third day, they walked at an easy pace for 30 minutes after eating the candy bar. Without the mild exercise these apparently-healthy young people spiked high blood sugar levels after eating. With walking afterwards, their blood sugars did not rise very much at all. These findings should be used by everyone, not just by diabetics. High rises in blood sugar can damage every cell in your body. How High Blood Sugar Damages Cells Cells are like little balloons full of fluid. When blood sugar levels rise too high, the sugar can stick to the outer membranes of all types of cells in your body. Once stuck on the outer surface membrane of a cell, sugar can never get off. It is eventually converted by a series of chemical reactions to sorbitol which destroys the cell. This is what causes damage in diabetics and even in pre-diabetics (metabolic syndrome) and those who are not diabetic. The damage can include: • heart attacks (Curr Mol Med, 2007;7(8):699–710) • aging (Exp Gerontol, 2007;42(7):668–675) • strokes (Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 1995;92(9):3744–3748) • dementia (Neurobiol Aging, 2011;32(6):763–767) • blood vessel damage (Circulation, 2006;114(6):597–605) • impotence, mood disorders, osteoporosis, cartilage damage, blindness, deafness, and Continue reading >>
Exercise Causes Blood Sugar To Go Down—most Of The Time
You can think of exercise as a great blood-sugar-lowering drug.(HEALTH/ISTOCKPHOTO) Exercise causes blood sugar to go downexcept when it doesn't. In some cases, blood sugar can temporarily increase with exercise. Maddening? Yes. Like so many aspects of type 2 diabetes, your body's response to exercise can be highly individual. The time of day you exercise may affect blood sugar Blake Holden, of Brooklyn, N.Y., finds his blood sugar can vary depending on the time of day he is exercising. "When I exercise in the morning, go for a run, my blood sugar spikes big time. I'm not sure why that happens. But in the evening, it doesn't; it drops." That's why it's crucial to monitor your glucose levels before and after your workout (after getting clearance from your doctor). Ideally, you should check your blood sugar each time you exercise, says Ann Albright, PhD, director of the Division of Diabetes Translation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. But, if that proves to be a huge barrier that keeps you from exercising, then it's probably OK to do it a few times when you first start or restart your exercise routine until you get a feel for how your blood sugar reacts to exercise, Albright says. Consistency is crucial Choose a regular exercise routine and stick to it as often as possible. This can result in consistently lower blood sugar (exercise can cause a drop in blood sugar for up to 12 to 24 hours). "It is really important to have a consistent exercise plan that you can do five days a week," says Virginia Valentine, a certified diabetes educator at the Diabetes Network, Inc., in Albuquerque, N.M. "If a person is a couch potato all week and tries to jump into a significant activity for a few hours on the weekend, it could cause blood glucose that is too Continue reading >>