Blood Sugar Balancing Act: How Exercise Tips The Scales
Difficulty Time Required Long (2-4 weeks) Prerequisites Informed consent must be obtained from participants in this experiment (parental consent must be granted for minors). The experimental design (including consent forms) must be approved by your fair's Scientific Review Committee (SRC). Material Availability A blood glucose monitoring system is required to do this science project. See the Materials list for details. Cost Average ($40 - $80) Safety Follow all safety precautions when using the blood glucose monitoring kit and when handling blood, as described in the Procedure. If somebody who has diabetes wants to participate in this science project, review the safety notes at the beginning of the Procedure before starting. Abstract You are probably very familiar with the fact that over time, exercise changes your muscles, your lungs, your bones, and even your mindset; but did you know it has an immediate effect on your body's biochemistry? You can see this in the amount of glucose (a type of sugar your body uses for fuel) circulating in your blood. Blood glucose levels change as you exercise. For most people, this is not a big deal. But for top-level athletes in the middle of intense exercise (like a marathon), or for diabetics who need to tightly control their blood sugar levels, the stakes are higher. This is because too much glucose or too little glucose is harmful for our bodies and in the case of diabetics, it can even be lethal. So what does happen to blood sugar levels during exercise? Does the amount of circulating glucose rise or fall? In this science project, you will answer this fundamental question and investigate how blood sugar levels can be stabilized, even during exercise. Objective Investigate how blood glucose (sugar) levels change with exercise, and Continue reading >>
Why Do I Have Low Blood Sugar After Exercise?
It’s one of the many ironies of insulin-dependent diabetes: Exercise helps manage it by helping our cells become more efficient, but exercise also can cause our blood sugar levels to plunge. What’s with that? To understand this, we must first look at what happens when we make the radical decision to foist ourselves off the couch, violating Newton’s first law of motion, which states that a body at rest will remain at rest. To propel that body into motion takes a tremendous amount of energy, which will first come from stored carbohydrates, and then from our body’s stored fats. If we keep going, as our energy reserves are depleted, our glucose levels diminish as the exercising body dips repeatedly into its energy well. This is true even for people who don’t have diabetes. But for those of us who do, the threat of hypoglycemia (generally defined as blood glucose levels dropping to around 4.0 mmol/L or 80 mg/dL) is something we must take seriously and counter-attack, with vigilant monitoring and planning of pre- and post-exercise snacks. It’s important to note that the effect of exercise on glucose levels depends on what kind of exercise we’re doing. Blood sugar diminishes during moderate-exertion, sustained activities such as running or swimming for an hour or more. Our glucose levels can actually increase during short bursts of strenuous activity, such as weightlifting, tennis, or kickboxing – which is especially problematic for me. The risk of hypoglycemia, however real, is no excuse for any of us to lead a sedentary life. I’m a triathlete who was diagnosed T1 at age 3, and despite the challenges of diabetes, I can out-run, out-cycle and out-swim most people who’ve never had an insulin deficiency in their lives. In fact, having diabetes probably makes Continue reading >>
Diabetes And Exercise: When To Monitor Your Blood Sugar
Exercise is an important part of any diabetes treatment plan. To avoid potential problems, check your blood sugar before, during and after exercise. Diabetes and exercise go hand in hand, at least when it comes to managing your diabetes. Exercise can help you improve your blood sugar control, boost your overall fitness, and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. But diabetes and exercise pose unique challenges, too. To exercise safely, it's crucial to track your blood sugar before, during and after physical activity. You'll learn how your body responds to exercise, which can help you prevent potentially dangerous blood sugar fluctuations. Before exercise: Check your blood sugar before your workout Before jumping into a fitness program, get your doctor's OK to exercise — especially if you've been inactive. Talk to your doctor about any activities you're contemplating, the best time to exercise and the potential impact of medications on your blood sugar as you become more active. For the best health benefits, experts recommend at least 150 minutes a week of moderately intense physical activities such as: Fast walking Lap swimming Bicycling If you're taking insulin or medications that can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), test your blood sugar 30 minutes before exercising. Consider these general guidelines relative to your blood sugar level — measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L). Lower than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L). Your blood sugar may be too low to exercise safely. Eat a small snack containing 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates, such as fruit juice, fruit, crackers or even glucose tablets before you begin your workout. 100 to 250 mg/dL (5.6 to 13.9 mmol/L). You're good to go. For most people, this is a safe pre-exercise 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 >>
The Ultimate Guide To Biohacking Your Blood Sugar Levels (and Why Sugar Sometimes Isn’t Bad).
If you enjoy the post you’re about to read, you may want to check out the free Diabetes Summit from April 18-25, 2016, in which 30+ experts (including me) share the best tips, strategies and secrets for controlling and reversing blood sugar issues, type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome… In one of my Quick & Dirty Tips articles last week, I mentioned that one “hack” I use to avoid experiencing big spikes in blood sugar from a big meal is to do some basic strength training with a dumbbell prior to eating that meal, which, as I explain in that article, activates specific sugar transporters responsible for taking up carbohydrate into muscle tissue, rather than partitioning those sugars into storage fat. Since my own personal genetic testing has revealed that I have a higher than normal risk for Type 2 diabetes (there are specific genetic variations associated with diabetes that you can check out here), hacking blood sugar levels to get them lower is a topic near and dear to my heart. This should also be a very important topic for you to educate yourself on, since not only are there are specific genetic variations associated with diabetes that you can check out here), hacking blood sugar levels to get them lower is a topic near and dear to my heart. This should also be a very important topic for you to educate yourself on, since not only are Type 2 diabetes rates rising, both in the United States and globally (even among athletes and so-called “healthy” people), but so are a host of other chronic disease, neural degradation and weight issues directly related to high blood sugar. Characterized by insulin resistance and chronic high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), type 2 diabetes can lead to both brain and metabolic dysfunction, and is also a sig Continue reading >>
Why Is My Blood Glucose High After I Exercise?
Exercise is virtually always helpful in managing diabetes, unless you are exercising in a way that is going to hurt you or you have some reason, such as untreated heart disease, that makes it dangerous to exercise. (Always check with your doctor before you begin an exercise program, and start at a comfortable level of exertion, working your way up at a safe pace.) Although you would expect exercise to help reduce blood sugar, its effect in the short term can be unpredictable. Your blood glucose is probably going up because of your epinephrine (also called adrenaline) output during exercise. Your adrenal glands manufacture epinephrine during exercise; the more vigorous the exercise, the greater the epinephrine production will be. Epinephrine causes an increase in heart rate, more forceful contraction of the heart muscle and better oxygen delivery from your lungs, all of which allow you to exercise more intensely. It also causes the release of glucose from your liver and the breakdown of glycogen into glucose inside your muscle cells. This is necessary to provide fuel for your workout. In some people, this results in higher glucose levels for up to several hours after exercise-but after this period has elapsed, the glucose tends to fall to lower levels than it would have without the exercise. In addition, the increased muscle mass you put on will help burn more glucose at rest, improving glucose control between bouts of exercise. A few extra bonuses: Strength training will keep your bones strong, improved cardiovascular fitness will cut your risk of heart disease, and increased physical activity will elevate your mood-all excellent reasons to keep exercising. Continue reading >>
Ketones And Exercise – What You Need To Know
A researcher on diabetes and exercise describes why exercise elevates risk of DKA for people with Type 1 diabetes. In a new set of guidelines for Type 1 diabetes and exercise, I and my fellow researchers warn that people with Type 1 diabetes need to monitor for elevated levels of ketones during exercise. If you have Type 1 and exercise regularly, testing for ketones could save your life. Ketones develop in our bodies when we mobilize fat as fuel. Fat is an important energy source that is used by the body at rest and during exercise. Ketones are a general term in medicine used to describe the three main ketone bodies that the liver produces – acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone. Read “Too Many with Type 1 Don’t Test for Ketones.” sponsor Ketone bodies help fuel the brain and skeletal muscle during times of prolonged fasting or starvation, so in a way ketones are very important for survival. We actually have enough stored fat to generate energy for days, but this can cause a number of metabolic problems, the most important of which is ketoacidosis. In Type 1 diabetes, ketone levels can rise even without starvation, if insulin levels drop too much and levels of other hormones like glucagon and catecholamines rise. This rise in ketone levels in diabetes can cause a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Read “How DKA Happens and What to Do About it.” The symptoms of ketoacidosis include: A lack of energy, weakness, and fatigue Nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, decreased appetite Rapid weight loss Decreased perspiration, foul or fruity breath Altered consciousness, mild disorientation or confusion Coma sponsor The reasons for developing high ketone levels in Type 1 diabetes include: Missed insulin injections Failure of insulin 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 >>
Exercise For Diabetes Control
By the dLife Editors In case you haven’t heard: Exercise is really good for people with type 2 diabetes. It helps control blood sugar levels, increases energy levels, improves heart health, and promotes emotional well-being. Barring other medical complications, the majority of people with diabetes can and should exercise for diabetes control and for better overall health and well-being. How does exercise lower blood sugar? Exercise lowers blood sugar in two ways: First, exercise increases insulin sensitivity. This means that your cells are better able to use available insulin to absorb sugar from the bloodstream to be used as energy for your body. Second, exercise stimulates another mechanism that allows your muscles to absorb and use sugar for energy, even without insulin. Not only does exercise lower blood sugar levels in the short term, but exercising over time also contributes to lower A1C levels over time. How important is exercise? Leading a sedentary (or inactive) lifestyle is one of the major risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes, and the high incidence of obesity and overweight among people with type 2 is also highly correlated with inactivity. Starting a workout program can lower body mass and consequently decrease the insulin resistance of type 2 diabetes; studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes who exercise regularly have better A1c profiles than those who don’t. Along with medical nutrition therapy, exercise is one of the first lines of defense in type 2 diabetes control. In addition, exercise is a key tool in preventing one of the leading complications of type 2 diabetes—cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that regular activity lowers triglyceride levels and blood pressure. How much exercise do you need? The American Diabetes 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 >>
Sport And Blood Sugar Levels
Tweet When people with diabetes participate in sport, whether they are children or adults, it is quite possible that they will experience low or high blood sugar levels. If you are on blood glucose lowering medication (e.g. tablets or insulin) it is recommend to more frequently test your blood glucose levels during and after exercise to see how your sugar levels are responding. Be wary of hypos Low blood sugar, hypoglycemia, can occur during or after exercise when the body has used a high level of its stored sugar (glycogen). People taking glucose lowering medications should be aware of the risk of hypoglycemia that sport can present. Sport can cause the body to be more sensitive to insulin for up to 48 hours after exercising and people on insulin may need to take this account, particularly when next going to sleep after exercise to avoid hypos during the night. Hyperglycemia and sport High blood sugar, hyperglycemia, can also occur during exercise, particularly after short bursts of strenuous activity. Strenuous activity produces a stress response which sees the body producing glucagon to raise blood sugar levels to provide the muscles with energy in the form of glucose. Exercise is beneficial for the body but requires some care if you are at risk of hypos. If you take medication that can lead to hypoglycemia, it is important to test your blood glucose levels before, during and after exercise. People may respond in different ways to different types of exercise. Researchers have found that intensive exercise in people with type 1 diabetes can sometimes lead to an initial sharp rise in blood glucose levels. However, intensive and non-intensive exercise may often lead to low blood glucose levels in some people. It is important therefore to test your blood sugar levels at Continue reading >>
Sports And Exercise: The Ultimate Challenge In Blood Sugar Control
by gary scheiner, MS, CDE Sometimes, it amazes me how smart the pancreas really is. It always seems to know what to do to keep blood sugars in range, even under the most challenging circumstances. Having an argument with your partner? It churns out some extra insulin to offset the “fight or flight” response (make that flight only, if you’re smart). Upset stomach keeping you from eating the way you normally eat? Insulin secretion drops off a bit. Can’t resist the aroma of a fresh bagel (something that, in my opinion, was forged by the Diabetes Devil himself)? Pancreas cranks out just enough to cover it. Participation in sports and exercise presents a special challenge. That’s because physical activity can affect blood sugar in multiple ways. With increased activity, muscle cells become much more sensitive to insulin. This enhanced insulin sensitivity may continue for many hours after the exercise is over, depending on the extent of the activity. The more intense and prolonged the activity, the longer and greater the enhancement in insulin sensitivity. With enhanced insulin sensitivity, insulin exerts a greater force than usual. A unit that usually covers 10 grams of carbohydrate might cover 15 or 20. A unit that normally lowers the blood sugar by 50 mg/dl might lower it by 75. Some forms of physical activity, most notably high-intensity/short duration exercises and competitive sports, can produce a sharp rise in blood sugar levels followed by a delayed drop. This is due primarily to the stress hormone production or “adrenaline rush” that accompanies these kinds of activities. Let’s take a look at these two different situations in greater detail. aerobic activities Most daily activities and aerobic exercises (activities performed at a challenging but sub-m 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 >>
How Soon After Ingestion Of Food Does Blood Sugar Rise?
After eating, your blood sugar levels begin to rise within 15 to 30 minutes, but only if your meal or snack includes carbohydrates. The speed and level of the increase depend on the type of carbohydrates and other nutrients found in the foods you eat, as well as on your body's ability to manage your blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates are the main constituent of food that can raise your blood sugar levels. The amount and the type of carbohydrates you eat influence how quickly your blood sugar levels change after eating. Carbohydrates from liquids, such as juices and soft drinks, are usually digested more rapidly, while carbohydrates from solid foods, such as pasta and fruits, take a bit more time to break down. Foods that don't contain carbohydrates or only very little, such as non-starchy vegetables, butter, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, cheese and nuts, do not have the ability to significantly influence your blood sugar levels. Glycemic Index and Blood Sugar Only carbohydrate-containing foods have a glycemic index, which can be used to assess how quickly and how high your blood sugar levels will rise in response to different foods. Many high-glycemic foods can raise your blood sugar levels within as little as 15 minutes after eating, including white and whole-wheat bread, most breakfast cereals, rice, potatoes, french fries, scones and pretzels. Low-glycemic foods have a more modest effect on your blood sugar levels and it may take a bit longer to see a rise. The rise in your blood sugar levels is first seen in your venous blood, the blood drawn at the lab, and it takes a bit longer for the changes in your blood sugar levels to be measured in your capillary blood, the blood used when testing your blood sugars at home. Fat, Fiber and Mixed Meals Other foods you eat with car 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 >>