8 Tips To Avoid Blood Sugar Dips And Spikes
If you have type 2 diabetes and your blood sugar levels are racing up and down like a roller coaster, it's time to get off the ride. Big swings in your blood sugar can make you feel lousy. But even if you aren't aware of them, they can still increase your risk for a number of serious health problems. By making simple but specific adjustments to your lifestyle and diet, you can gain better blood-sugar control. Your body uses the sugar, also known as glucose, in the foods you eat for energy. Think of it as a fuel that keeps your body moving throughout the day. Blood Sugar Highs and Lows Type 2 diabetes decreases the body’s production of insulin, which is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Without enough insulin, sugar builds up in the blood and can damage nerves and blood vessels. This increase of blood sugar also increases your risk for heart disease and stroke. Over time, high blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, can lead to more health problems, including kidney failure and blindness. "Keeping blood sugar stable can help prevent the long-term consequences of fluctuations," says Melissa Li-Ng, MD, an endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Dr. Li-Ng explains that high blood sugar can cause a number of symptoms that include: Fatigue Increased thirst Blurry vision Frequent urination It's also important to know that you can have high blood sugar and still feel fine, but your body can still suffer damage, Li-Ng says. Symptoms of high blood sugar typically develop at levels above 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). "You can have high blood sugar that's between 150 and 199 and feel perfectly fine," Li-Ng says. Over time, your body can also get used to chronically high blood sugar levels, so you don’t feel the symptoms, she says. On the flip side, if you Continue reading >>
What Is A Normal Blood Sugar Level?
The aim of diabetes treatment is to bring blood sugar (“glucose”) as close to normal as possible. What is a normal blood sugar level? And how can you achieve normal blood sugar? First, what is the difference between “sugar” and “glucose”? Sugar is the general name for sweet carbohydrates that dissolve in water. “Carbohydrate” means a food made only of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. There are various different kinds of sugars. The one our body uses most is called “glucose.” Other sugars we eat, like fructose from fruit or lactose from milk, are converted into glucose in our bodies. Then we can use them for energy. Our bodies also break down starches, which are sugars stuck together, into glucose. When people talk about “blood sugar,” they mean “blood glucose.” The two terms mean the same thing. In the U.S., blood sugar is normally measured in milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood (mg/dl). A milligram is very little, about 0.00018 of a teaspoon. A deciliter is about 3 1/3 ounces. In Canada and the United Kingdom, blood sugar is reported in millimoles/liter (mmol/L). You can convert Canadian or British glucose levels to American numbers if you multiply them by 18. This is useful to know if you’re reading comments or studies from England or Canada. If someone reports that their fasting blood glucose was 7, you can multiply that by 18 and get their U.S. glucose level of 126 mg/dl. What are normal glucose numbers? They vary throughout the day. (Click here for a blood sugar chart.) For someone without diabetes, a fasting blood sugar on awakening should be under 100 mg/dl. Before-meal normal sugars are 70–99 mg/dl. “Postprandial” sugars taken two hours after meals should be less than 140 mg/dl. Those are the normal numbers for someone w Continue reading >>
Controlling Blood Sugar In Diabetes: How Low Should You Go?
Diabetes is an ancient disease, but the first effective drug therapy was not available until 1922, when insulin revolutionized the management of the disorder. Insulin is administered by injection, but treatment took another great leap forward in 1956, when the first oral diabetic drug was introduced. Since then, dozens of new medications have been developed, but scientists are still learning how best to use them. And new studies are prompting doctors to re-examine a fundamental therapeutic question: what level of blood sugar is best? Normal metabolism To understand diabetes, you should first understand how your body handles glucose, the sugar that fuels your metabolism. After you eat, your digestive tract breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugars that are small enough to be absorbed into your bloodstream. Glucose is far and away the most important of these sugars, and it's an indispensable source of energy for your body's cells. But to provide that energy, it must travel from your blood into your cells. Insulin is the hormone that unlocks the door to your cells. When your blood glucose levels rise after a meal, the beta cells of your pancreas spring into action, pouring insulin into your blood. If you produce enough insulin and your cells respond normally, your blood sugar level drops as glucose enters the cells, where it is burned for energy or stored for future use in your liver as glycogen. Insulin also helps your body turn amino acids into proteins and fatty acids into body fat. The net effect is to allow your body to turn food into energy and to store excess energy to keep your engine running if fuel becomes scarce in the future. A diabetes primer Diabetes is a single name for a group of disorders. All forms of the disease develop when the pancreas is unable to Continue reading >>
7 Ways To Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Enjoy Mediterranean meals iStock/Thinkstock According to studies involving 140,000 people, the odds of developing diabetes are 21 percent lower for those who follow a Mediterranean diet—building meals around plant-based foods, including fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, and olive oil. Fish and chicken are eaten regularly but not red meat, butter, or sweets. Phytonutrients and fiber in the plant foods help with blood sugar control, and the olive oil might reduce inflammation. Go blue iStock/Thinkstock Eating more anthocyanins—the nutrients that give grapes and berries their bright red and blue colors—was linked to better blood sugar control in a new British study. One portion a day of grapes or berries can have the same impact on blood sugar as a one-point reduction in your body mass index, says researcher Aedin Cassidy of Norwich Medical School. Don't skip breakfast If you frequently miss a morning meal, you'll be more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Eating breakfast may help stabilize blood sugar throughout the day. Prepare a healthy blend of protein, complex carbs, and fat—yogurt mixed with fruit and nuts, for example. Starting the day with lots of simple carbs (such as a bagel and OJ) is just as bad for your blood sugar as skipping the meal, according to experiments at the University of Minnesota. Sweat and strengthen iStock/Thinkstock Women who did both cardio (at least two and a half hours) and strength training (at least one hour) every week had the lowest diabetes risk—about one third less than that of non-exercisers. After an exercise session, your muscles take up more glucose from the bloodstream. As you become more fit over time, cells become more sensitive to insulin. Step away from the desk (and the TV) Hemera, iStock, Photodisc/ Continue reading >>
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Normal Regulation Of Blood Glucose
The human body wants blood glucose (blood sugar) maintained in a very narrow range. Insulin and glucagon are the hormones which make this happen. Both insulin and glucagon are secreted from the pancreas, and thus are referred to as pancreatic endocrine hormones. The picture on the left shows the intimate relationship both insulin and glucagon have to each other. Note that the pancreas serves as the central player in this scheme. It is the production of insulin and glucagon by the pancreas which ultimately determines if a patient has diabetes, hypoglycemia, or some other sugar problem. In this Article Insulin Basics: How Insulin Helps Control Blood Glucose Levels Insulin and glucagon are hormones secreted by islet cells within the pancreas. They are both secreted in response to blood sugar levels, but in opposite fashion! Insulin is normally secreted by the beta cells (a type of islet cell) of the pancreas. The stimulus for insulin secretion is a HIGH blood glucose...it's as simple as that! Although there is always a low level of insulin secreted by the pancreas, the amount secreted into the blood increases as the blood glucose rises. Similarly, as blood glucose falls, the amount of insulin secreted by the pancreatic islets goes down. As can be seen in the picture, insulin has an effect on a number of cells, including muscle, red blood cells, and fat cells. In response to insulin, these cells absorb glucose out of the blood, having the net effect of lowering the high blood glucose levels into the normal range. Glucagon is secreted by the alpha cells of the pancreatic islets in much the same manner as insulin...except in the opposite direction. If blood glucose is high, then no glucagon is secreted. When blood glucose goes LOW, however, (such as between meals, and during Continue reading >>
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How To Maintain Normal Blood Sugar
If you are one of the millions of people who has prediabetes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome or any other form of “insulin resistance,” maintaining normal blood sugar levels can be challenging. Over the past several decades, these chronic disorders have swept through the U.S. and many other nations, reaching epidemic proportions and causing serious, but often preventable, side effects like nerve damage, fatigue, loss of vision, arterial damage and weight gain. Elevated blood sugar levels maintained for an extended period of time can push someone who is “prediabetic” into having full-blown diabetes (which now affects about one in every three adults in the U.S.). (1) Even for people who aren’t necessarily at a high risk for developing diabetes or heart complications, poorly managed blood sugar can lead to common complications, including fatigue, weight gain and sugar cravings. In extreme cases, elevated blood sugar can even contribute to strokes, amputations, coma and death in people with a history of insulin resistance. Blood sugar is raised by glucose, which is the sugar we get from eating many different types of foods that contain carbohydrates. Although we usually think of normal blood sugar as being strictly reliant upon how many carbohydrates and added sugar someone eats, other factors also play a role. For example, stress can elevate cortisol levels, which interferes with how insulin is used, and the timing of meals can also affect how the body manages blood sugar. (2) What can you do to help avoid dangerous blood sugar swings and lower diabetes symptoms? As you’ll learn, normal blood sugar levels are sustained through a combination of eating a balanced, low-processed diet, getting regular exercise and managing the body’s most important hormones in othe Continue reading >>
When Blood Sugar Is Too Low
en españolCuando la concentración de azúcar en sangre es demasiado baja No matter what we're doing — even when we're sleeping — our brains depend on glucose to function. Glucose is a sugar that comes from the foods we eat, and it's also formed and stored inside the body. It's the main source of energy for the cells of our body, and it's carried to each cell through the bloodstream. The blood glucose level is the amount of glucose in the blood. When blood glucose levels (also called blood sugar levels) drop too low, it's called hypoglycemia (pronounced: hi-po-gly-SEE-me-uh). Very low blood sugar levels can cause severe symptoms that need to be treated right away. People with diabetes can have low blood sugar levels because of the medicines they have to take to manage their diabetes. They may need a hormone called insulin or diabetes pills (or both) to help their bodies use the sugar in their blood. These medicines help take the sugar out of the blood and get it into the body's cells, which makes the level of sugar in the blood go down. But sometimes it's a tricky balancing act and blood sugar levels can get too low. People with diabetes need to keep their blood sugars from getting too high or too low. Part of keeping blood sugar levels in a healthy range is having good timing, and balancing when and what they eat and when they exercise with when they take medicines. Some things that can make low blood sugar levels more likely to happen are: not eating enough food at a meal or snack exercising longer or harder than usual without eating some extra food not timing the insulin doses properly with meals, snacks, and exercise Also, certain things may increase how quickly insulin gets absorbed into the bloodstream and can make hypoglycemia more likely to occur. For ex Continue reading >>
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How To Control Diabetes: 10 Tips To Maintain Blood Sugar Level
Living a diabetic life is a challenge. You need to constantly monitor your diet and ensure that your blood sugar level is well under control. One of the major diseases affecting millions and millions of people in the country today, diabetes is life-long and deadly. It is a condition when the hormone called insulin that is produced by the pancreas is unable to break down glucose into energy, and as such, the blood sugar level increases in the body. What one eats plays a crucial role for diabetics, and monitoring it constantly along with following regular meal schedule ca help tremendously. Physical activity is a must too to ensure that insulin is utilized by the body. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and looking for all sorts of ways to keep a check on your blood sugar level, here are some common and uncommon tips that can help you - 1. Lose Those Extra Kilos According to Dr. Shashank Joshi, Endocrinologist, Lilavati & Bhatia Hospital, "Being overweight causes insulin resistance and makes it difficult for the body to maintain appropriate blood glucose levels. For those who are overweight, dropping 5- 10 per cent of your weight can help. Work with your doctor to manage your weight and if necessary consult a dietician." 2. Follow a Balanced Diet with Complex Carbs According to Preeti Rao, Health and Wellness Coach, "Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean protein and good sources of fat. Foods to avoid are those rich in trans fats (also called hydrogenated fat), processed food, and sugar. Complex carbohydrates are rich in fiber and are not highly processed like refined carbohydrates. They take longer to digest and hence provide a sustained source of energy for a longer duration." 3. Benefits of Barley A recent study done by Lund University in Sweden states tha Continue reading >>
8 Ways To Balance Your Blood Sugar Naturally
When you master your blood sugar, you'll feel full of energy, cravings will subside, your weight will be controlled, your mood will stabilize, your memory will be better and you will balance your hormones. Also, when you learn to balance your blood sugar you minimize your risk of blood sugar-related diseases, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and heart disease. Eating foods that release energy quickly can cause feelings of fatigue, hunger and irritation. Processed foods and those full of refined sugar cause a spike in your blood sugars — they release their glucose in a sudden rush. Blood sugar spikes rapidly, but it quickly crashes back to earth! We have a lovely hormone that comes to the rescue: insulin. Insulin helps the body absorb and process sugar effectively, but the excess is stored as fat! When this cycle happens over and over again, our cells become tired and stop listening to insulin, which leads to insulin resistance, an early warning sign of diabetes. So if you're moody, irritable, hungry, have cravings, experience poor concentration or gain weight? You need to balance your blood sugar! Below are a few natural, diet-based methods to do just that: 1. Eat foods low on the glycemic index. These foods release energy SLOWLY into the bloodstream. You can probably guess what they may be: vegetables, legumes, some fruits (berries and stone fruits are best), whole grains, nuts and seeds. 2. Include a snack in between main meals. This will allow you to stay nice and stable throughout the day. I always encourage a protein-rich snack. 3. Eat protein with each meal. This is especially important to do when you eat carbohydrates, in order to slow down the release of energy. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient, meaning it releases energy slowly, which helps signal to t Continue reading >>
Easy Tips For Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
By Dr Christiane Northrup Blood sugar imbalances are associated with a host of symptoms and health problems, including type II diabetes, unexplained fatigue, extra weight around the middle and mood disturbances. One of the reasons for the rampant rise in type-2 diabetes is that the range for normal blood sugar is too high (1). This explains why many people have symptoms, like extra weight around the middle and unexplained fatigue, for years before they are diagnosed. Now that I’ve shared this important information, I also want to offer ways for you to solve the puzzle. Before you make any changes, you have to know what you’re dealing with. (Of course this is true of any health concern.) Start By Checking Your Blood Sugar Start by checking your blood sugar with a glucometer for at least a few days and under different conditions. This will show the link between your lifestyle, your emotions, and your blood pressure. The glucometer then becomes a biofeedback device! (And you can’t kid yourself about what’s really happening.) Start by checking your blood sugar first thing in the morning, before you eat. If you find that it’s elevated to 100 mg/dL or so, then follow my “prescription” below. If your blood sugar is normal, start to incorporate the tips below, little by little, to avoid problems with sugar as you age. Here Are Some Useful Tips For Promoting Healthy Blood Sugar Levels: 1. Focus On Including Protein At Breakfast If you’re only going to do one thing, then make sure to eat some protein at breakfast every morning. Aim for at least 10 gms. If you’re in a rush, then a low-glycemic shake with protein, such as the Superfood Protein Blend is a good start. When you get protein first thing in the morning, it sets you up for “normal” blood sugar for th Continue reading >>
Blood Glucose Control (blood Sugar Levels)
Introduction to blood sugar levels Our blood glucose level, or blood sugar level, is the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. The amount of glucose in the blood is measured in millimoles per litre (mmol/l). Glucose levels are measured most commonly to diagnose or to monitor diabetes. It is also important to keep an eye on blood glucose levels during certain situations – for example: during pregnancy, pancreatitis and with increasing age. Normally, blood sugar levels stay within a narrow range during the day. A good level is between 4 to 8mmol/l. After you consume food, your blood sugar level will rise and after you have had a night’s rest, they will usually be lowest in the morning. Diabetes is a common disease in our society, affecting 2-5% of the general population, with many more people unaware that they may be affected by this condition. Diabetes results from a lack of insulin, or insensitivity of the body towards the level of insulin present. Thus if you have diabetes, your blood sugar level may move outside the normal limits. Why is controlling blood sugar levels so important? Carbohydrate foods are the body’s main energy source. When they are digested, they break down to form glucose in the bloodstream. If you make sure you eat regular meals, spread evenly throughout the day, you will help maintain your energy levels without causing large rises in your blood sugar levels. It is also important to maintain a stable and balanced blood sugar level, as there is a limited range of blood sugar levels in which the brain can function normally. Regular testing of your blood sugar levels allows you to monitor your level of control and assists you in altering your diabetes management strategy if your levels aren’t within the expected/recommended range. Long term c Continue reading >>
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What To Eat To Keep Your Blood Sugar In Check
You need to eat wisely to keep your diabetes in check. The key is to choose healthy foods and portion sizes so that you can control both your weight and blood sugar levels. The first step: Learn what’s good for you, says diabetes educator Emmy Suhl, RD, CDE, of Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. “There’s no such thing as a diabetes diet,” Suhl says. “The best diet for someone with diabetes is your basic, healthy diet.” Every diet should include some carbs, which provide energy to help power your body. But look for healthy carbs that won’t cause your blood sugar to spike. “A lot of carbohydrates are very healthy, such as fruits, vegetables, milk, yogurt, and legumes,” Suhl says. “Try to avoid as much as possible refined and/or heavily processed carbohydrates.” Suhl’s quick tips: Eat whole grains like barley and brown rice rather than white rice and white-flour pasta. Look for packages that say 100% whole grain. Eat fruits rather than drink fruit juice, even if it’s 100% juice. Your body needs protein to build and maintain bone, muscles, and skin, and to perform a host of other functions. As with carbs, make a point to choose healthy sources of protein. “Your best choices are lean meats like chicken, low-fat dairy, and fish and shellfish,” Suhl says. “All are much healthier than proteins from four-legged animals.” Skip steaks and other meats you can eat rare -- they have more fat than other meat. Salmon’s a great choice, but all fish pack protein. Milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products provide protein, calcium, and other nutrients, but they can also have a lot of fat. “I would recommend 1%,” Suhl says. “You want some fat in your diet, but you don’t want dairy fat. You want fat from healthier sources.” Greek yogurt has m Continue reading >>
How To Stabilize Your Blood Sugar
Life with type 2 diabetes can sometimes seem like an hourly or even minute-by-minute effort to stabilize your blood sugar. All of the recommendations and drugs you’ve been given as part of your type 2 diabetes treatment plan are intended to help you reach — and keep — healthy blood sugar levels most of the time. But doctors are learning that to control type 2 diabetes well, better information about why blood sugar matters and how to manage it is essential. The Facts About Diabetes and Blood Sugar As the American Diabetes Association (ADA) explains, your body needs sugar (glucose) for fuel, and there’s a fairly complicated process that makes it possible for your body to use that sugar. Insulin, which is made by the pancreas, is the hormone that enables the cells in your body to take advantage of sugar. Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body isn’t able to remove sugar from your blood. This can happen if your body stops being sensitive to insulin or if it starts to respond in a delayed or exaggerated way to changes in your blood sugar. Diabetes is signaled by an elevated blood sugar level of more than 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) for a fasting blood test, or more than 200 mg/dL at any time during the day. It can also be indicated by a hemoglobin A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher, a measure of the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin in the blood during the past two to three months. (Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body. So an A1C of 6.5 means that 6.5 percent of your red blood cells have sugar attached to them.) Unchecked high blood sugar gradually damages the blood vessels in your body. Over the long term, this slow, progressive harm can lead to a dangerous loss of sensation in your legs and fe Continue reading >>
Type 1 Diabetes: How Is It Treated?
KidsHealth / For Teens / Type 1 Diabetes: How Is It Treated? en espaolDiabetes tipo 1: Cul es el tratamiento? Your teachers follow a lesson plan that outlines what you'll study each day. Your parents may have a plan to help you pay for college. And your weekend social plans determine whether you're seeing a movie, heading to a concert, or playing basketball at the gym. People with type 1 diabetes need to follow a different type of plan. A treatment plan, also called a diabetes management plan, helps people to manage their diabetes and stay healthy and active. Everyone's plan is different, based on a person's health needs and the suggestions of the diabetes health care team. The first thing to understand when it comes to treating diabetes is your blood glucose level, which is the amount of glucose in the blood. Glucose isa sugar that comes from the foods we eat and also is formed and stored inside the body. It's the main source of energy for the cells of the body, and is carried to each cell through the blood. Glucose gets into the cells with the help of the hormone insulin . So how do blood glucose levels relate to type 1 diabetes? People with type 1 diabetes can no longer produce insulin. This means that glucose stays in the bloodstream and doesn't get into the cells, causing blood glucose levels to go too high. High blood sugar levels can make people with type 1 diabetes feel sick, so their treatment plan involves keeping their blood sugar levels within a healthy range, while making sure they grow and develop normally. To do that, people with type 1 diabetes need to: eat a healthy, balanced diet and stick to a diabetes meal plan check their blood sugar levels several times a day Following the treatment plan can help a person stay healthy, but it's not a cure for diab Continue reading >>
Print Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often appear suddenly and are often the reason for checking blood sugar levels. Because symptoms of other types of diabetes and prediabetes come on more gradually or may not be evident, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has recommended screening guidelines. The ADA recommends that the following people be screened for diabetes: Anyone with a body mass index higher than 25, regardless of age, who has additional risk factors, such as high blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle, a history of polycystic ovary syndrome, having delivered a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds, a history of diabetes in pregnancy, high cholesterol levels, a history of heart disease, and having a close relative with diabetes. Anyone older than age 45 is advised to receive an initial blood sugar screening, and then, if the results are normal, to be screened every three years thereafter. Tests for type 1 and type 2 diabetes and prediabetes Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. This blood test indicates your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. It measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells. The higher your blood sugar levels, the more hemoglobin you'll have with sugar attached. An A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates that you have diabetes. An A1C between 5.7 and 6.4 percent indicates prediabetes. Below 5.7 is considered normal. If the A1C test results aren't consistent, the test isn't available, or if you have certain conditions that can make the A1C test inaccurate — such as if you're pregnant or have an uncommon form of hemoglobin (known as a hemoglobin variant) — your doctor may use the following tests to diagnose diabetes: Random blood sugar Continue reading >>