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Can Being Dehydrated Raise Your Blood Sugar?

Tips For Managing Glucose Levels

Tips For Managing Glucose Levels

Upswing: Caffeine There are many different ways blood sugar (glucose levels in the blood) can be affected and cause problems with sugar control in people with diabetes. Each person reacts differently to various items that influence blood sugars. There are some compounds individuals with diabetes may want to examine to see how they influence their own blood sugar levels. For example, blood sugar levels can rise after drinking coffee, black tea, and some energy drinks due to the presence of caffeine. There are other compounds that may alter blood glucose levels and methods people with diabetes can use to see what compounds and actions influence their own blood sugar levels. Upswing: Sugar-Free Foods A number of foods claim to be "sugar-free," but these foods raise blood sugar levels because many of them contain carbohydrates in starches, fats, and even fiber. Sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and xylitol add sweetness to foods but still may have enough associated carbohydrates to raise blood sugar levels. Foods with high levels of carbohydrates are likely to raise blood sugar levels very high, and eventually may cause organ damage over time in people with diabetes. Upswing: Chinese Food Foods high in fat can cause blood sugar to stay higher for longer periods of time. Pizza, French fries, and most fried foods are high in carbohydrates and fat. It's a good idea to check your blood sugar about two hours after you eat such foods to see how your blood sugar levels are affected. Upswing: A Bad Cold Dehydration can elevate your blood sugar so it is wise to stay well hydrated. If you are sick, diarrhea and vomiting for more than two hours, or illness longer than a few days may alter your blood sugar. Moreover, blood sugar rises as your body tries to fight any type of illness. Medi Continue reading >>

High Blood Sugar Emergencies

High Blood Sugar Emergencies

Blood sugar levels that are too high (hyperglycemia) can quickly turn into a diabetic emergency without quick and appropriate treatment. The best way to avoid dangerously high blood sugar levels is to self-test to stay in tune with your body, and to stay attuned to the symptoms and risk factors for hyperglycemia. Extremely high blood sugar levels can lead to one of two conditions—diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS; also called hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic coma). Although both syndromes can occur in either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, DKA is more common in type 1, and HHNS is more common in type 2. Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) Ketoacidosis (or DKA) occurs when blood sugars become elevated (over 249 mg/dl, or 13.9 mmol/l) over a period of time and the body begins to burn fat for energy, resulting in ketone bodies in the blood or urine (a phenomenon called ketosis). A variety of factors can cause hyperglycemia (high blood glucose), including failure to take medication or insulin, stress, dietary changes without medication adjustments, eating disorders, and illness or injury. This last cause is important, because if illness brings on DKA, it may slip by unnoticed, since its symptoms can mimic the flu (aches, vomiting, etc.). In fact, people with type 1 diabetes are often seeking help for the flu-like symptoms of DKA when they first receive their diagnosis. Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis may include: fruity (acetone) breath nausea and/or vomiting abdominal pain dry, warm skin confusion fatigue breathing problems excessive thirst frequent urination in extreme cases, loss of consciousness DKA is a medical emergency, and requires prompt and immediate treatment. A simple over-the-counter urine dipstick test (e.g., Keto Continue reading >>

Why Does Diabetes Cause Excessive Thirst?

Why Does Diabetes Cause Excessive Thirst?

7 0 We’ve written before about the signs and symptoms of diabetes. While there are a lot of sources about what symptoms diabetes causes, and even some good information about why they’re bad for you, what you don’t often get are the “whys”. And while the “whys” aren’t necessarily critical for your long-term health, they can help you to understand what’s going on with your body and why it acts the way it does. That, in turn, can help with acceptance and understanding of how to better treat the symptoms, which in turn can help you stay on a good diabetes management regimen. In short, you don’t NEED to know why diabetes causes excessive thirst, but knowing the mechanism behind it can make your blood glucose control regimen make more sense and help you stick to it. So why DOES diabetes cause thirst? First, we’d like to start by saying that excessive thirst is not a good indicator of diabetes. For many people, the symptom creeps up so slowly that it’s almost impossible to determine if your thirst has noticeably increased (unless you keep a spreadsheet of how much water you drink, in which case you also probably get tested pretty regularly anyway). It’s also a common enough symptom that a sudden increase in thirst can mean almost anything. Some conditions that cause thirst increases include allergies, the flu, the common cold, almost anything that causes a fever, and dehydration caused by vomiting or diarrhea. So while excessive thirst is one of those diabetes symptoms that happens, and needs to be addressed, it’s not always a great sign that you should immediately go out and get an A1C test. Why does diabetes cause thirst? Excessive thirst, when linked to another condition as a symptom or comorbidity, is called polydipsia. It’s usually one of the Continue reading >>

10 Surprising Causes Of Blood Sugar Swings You Probably Didn’t Know

10 Surprising Causes Of Blood Sugar Swings You Probably Didn’t Know

1 / 11 What Causes Blood Sugar to Rise and Fall? Whether you were recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or have been living with the disease for several years, you know how fickle blood sugar levels can be, and how important it is that they stay controlled. Proper blood sugar control is key for helping ward off potential diabetes complications, such as kidney disease, nerve damage, vision problems, stroke, and heart disease, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). If you keep your levels in check on a daily basis, it will help you stay energized, focused, and in a good mood. You’ll know if your diabetes is poorly controlled if you experience symptoms such as frequent urination, sores that won’t heal, blurred vision, and unexplained weight loss. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), proper medication, effective meal planning, regular exercise, and use of a blood glucose meter to track your numbers routinely can all help you keep your levels within a healthy range. The ADA recommends blood glucose be 80 to 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) before meals, and below 180 mg/dL two hours after the start of a meal. Furthermore, the organization recommends getting an A1C test, which measures your average blood glucose over the past two to three months, at least twice per year if your levels are stable and you are meeting treatment goals. Learning how different habits can cause your blood sugar to fluctuate can help you better predict how your levels will swing. You may be more likely to experience hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar if you have advanced-stage diabetes, according to the ADA. Meanwhile, high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, may be caused by factors such as not using enough insulin or other diabetes medication, not following a prop Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Dehydration: A Dangerous Combination

Diabetes And Dehydration: A Dangerous Combination

When you experience vomiting, nausea, fever, diarrhea, or any form of infection, you should immediately contact your physician. I can’t really emphasize enough the importance of getting treatment and getting it fast. To drive home this point, I’ll share the following experience. Some years ago, I got a call from a woman at about four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon. She wasn’t my patient, but her diabetologist was out of town for the weekend with no backup for emergencies. He had never taught her what I teach my patients — the contents of this chapter. She found my Diabetes Center in the white pages of the phone book. She was alone with her toddler son and had been vomiting continuously since 9:00 a.m. She asked me what she could do. I told her that she must be so dehydrated that her only choice was to get to a hospital emergency room as fast as possible for intravenous fluid replacement. While she dropped off her son with her mother, I called the hospital and told them to expect her. I got a call 5 hours later from an attending physician. He had admitted her to the hospital because the emergency room couldn’t help her. Why not? Her kidneys had failed from dehydration. Fortunately, the hospital had a dialysis center, so they put her on dialysis and gave her intravenous fluids. Had dialysis not been available, she would likely have died. As it turned out, she spent five days in the hospital. Clearly, a dehydrating illness is not something to take lightly, not a reason to assume your doctor is going to think you’re a hypochondriac if you call every time you have one of the problems discussed in this chapter. This is something that could kill you, and you need prompt treatment. Why is it, then, that diabetics have a more serious time with dehydrating illness th Continue reading >>

Blood Glucose And Dehydration

Blood Glucose And Dehydration

In the past, I assumed that the only association between diabetes and dehydration was that severe hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) would cause dehydration as one of the symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). However, over the years I’ve noticed the occasional unexpected high blood sugar when I was mildly dehydrated due to exercise without consuming enough water. I figured that was anecdotal and never gave it serious thought as a health issue worth pursuing. When I did consider the possibility, it seemed logical to me that since diabetics are told to drink water to help bring down high blood glucose, perhaps the absence of hydration would cause blood sugar to rise. Maybe? Last week summer came to San Diego in one hot wave We moved to northeast San Diego in April, so this was our first experience of the inland heat in our non-air-conditioned house. We’ve been sweaty and uncomfortable, especially while home most of the weekend. During this stint, I noticed my blood sugars were running high despite healthy eating, normal insulin doses, and plenty of activity. A nagging thought kept occurring to me, "Am I dehydrated?" I tend to be better about drinking water when I’m at work during the week, sitting at my desk. I certainly wasn’t drinking enough to maintain hydration during this hot spell. I got online and goggled, "dehydration and blood sugar" to see if I could locate information to confirm my suspicions. Oh, wonderful internet! I found dozens of articles and posts that explained that, in fact, dehydration can contribute to hyperglycemia. It’s actually pretty straightforward. Basically, when we’re dehydrated (even mildly) there is less liquid in our blood which means that the concentration of glucose (and other nutrients) is higher. As the heat and humidity Continue reading >>

Everyday Dehydration Is Having A Major Effect On Your Blood Sugar Levels

Everyday Dehydration Is Having A Major Effect On Your Blood Sugar Levels

Stop and think for a second: Are you dehydrated right now? Are you sure? According to the Institute of Medicine, 75 percent of Americans live with a condition called chronic dehydration. This means that even though you’re drinking fluids throughout the day, your body still isn’t getting the amount it needs to thrive. In fact, chronic dehydration is so common that our bodies get used to it. That’s why you may not feel thirsty, even when your cells are craving some much-needed H2O. People with diabetes are especially prone to daily dehydration. As glucose builds up in the bloodstream, your kidneys are forced to work extra hard to filter out the excess sugar. If they can’t keep up, that sugar is flushed out of your system through urine. High blood sugar can also cause your body to pull fluids from important tissues, such as the lenses of your eyes, muscle tissue, and brain tissue. If left untreated, everyday dehydration can take a pretty serious toll on your blood glucose levels. When your body is lacking fluids, it creates a hormone called vasopressin, which causes your kidneys to retain as much fluid as possible. By keeping in those liquids, your kidneys are also hoarding unwanted glucose. On top of that, high levels of vasopressin in your bloodstream can also cause the liver to produce additional blood sugar. Over time, this can lead to consequences like insulin resistance and chronic hyperglycemia. The good news is that dehydration is one of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest health problems to overcome: Just drink more water! Most people are familiar with the 8×8 rule–everyone should drink eight ounces of water, eight times a day. However, experts at the Mayo Clinic say it isn’t so simple. The amount of water your body needs depends on a variety of factor Continue reading >>

Blood Sugar Spikes: Causes, Symptoms, And Prevention

Blood Sugar Spikes: Causes, Symptoms, And Prevention

Diabetes is a disease that causes a person's blood sugar to become too high. This can lead to various complications. A person with diabetes must be careful to keep their blood sugar levels under control. Glucose comes from the food we eat. It is the main source of energy for the body. The pancreas secretes substances, including the hormone insulin, and enzymes. Enzymes break down food. Insulin makes it possible for body cells to absorb the glucose we consume. With diabetes, either the pancreas is unable to produce insulin to help the glucose get into the body cells, or the body becomes resistant to the insulin. The glucose stays in the blood instead. This is what raises blood sugar levels. High blood sugar is known as hyperglycemia. Contents of this article: Causes of blood sugar spikes People with diabetes have to be especially careful about keeping their blood sugar levels under control. There are several reasons why blood glucose levels may spike. These are: Sleep: A lack of sleep can be especially bad for people with diabetes, because it can also raise blood sugar levels. One study performed on Japanese men found that getting under 6.5 hours of sleep each night increases a person's risk for high blood glucose levels. Prioritizing healthy sleep and promoting sleep hygiene are good habits for everyone, but especially for people with diabetes. Stress: When under a lot of stress, the body produces hormones that make it difficult for insulin to do its job, so more glucose stays in the bloodstream. Finding a way to keep stress levels down, such as yoga or meditation, is essential for people with diabetes. Exercise: Having a sedentary lifestyle can cause blood sugar levels to go up. In addition, exercise that is too difficult can cause stress and blood glucose levels to ri Continue reading >>

Shunning Water Linked To High Blood Sugar

Shunning Water Linked To High Blood Sugar

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who drink less than a couple of glasses of water each day may be more likely to develop abnormally high blood sugar, a new study suggests. When someone's blood sugar levels are high, but not high enough to fit the definition of diabetes, doctors often consider that person to have "pre-diabetes" -- which puts them at risk of developing the disease itself. In the new study, adults who drank only half a liter of water -- about two glasses -- or less each day were more likely to develop blood sugar levels in the pre-diabetes range, versus people who drank more water. But whether simply drinking water will cut your risk of blood sugar problems is still up in the air. The findings show a correlation between water intake and blood sugar, but do not prove cause-and-effect, said senior researcher Lise Bankir, of the French national research institute INSERM. Still, it is plausible based on biology, Bankir told Reuters Health in an email. A hormone called vasopressin is the potential missing link, according to the researchers. Vasopressin -- also known as antidiuretic hormone -- helps regulate the body's water retention. When we are dehydrated, vasopressin levels go up, causing the kidneys to conserve water. But research suggests that higher vasopressin levels may also elevate blood sugar. There are vasopressin receptors in the liver, the organ responsible for producing glucose (sugar) in the body, Bankir explained. And one study found that injecting healthy people with vasopressin caused a temporary spike in blood sugar. "There are good arguments to suggest that there could be a real cause-and-effect relationship in the association we have found," Bankir said, "but this is not a proof." The findings are based on 3,615 French adults who were bet Continue reading >>

Diabetes: Preventing High Blood Sugar Emergencies

Diabetes: Preventing High Blood Sugar Emergencies

Introduction High blood sugar in diabetes occurs when the sugar (glucose) level in the blood rises above normal. It is also called hyperglycemia. When you have diabetes, high blood sugar may be caused by not getting enough insulin or missing your diabetes medicine. It may also be caused by eating too much food, skipping exercise, or being ill or stressed. Unlike low blood sugar, high blood sugar usually happens slowly over hours or days. Blood sugar levels above your target range may make you feel tired and thirsty. If your blood sugar keeps rising, your kidneys will make more urine and you can get dehydrated. Signs of dehydration include being thirstier than usual and having darker urine than usual. Without treatment, severe dehydration can be life-threatening. Over time, high blood sugar can damage the eyes, heart, kidneys, blood vessels, and nerves. Watch for symptoms of high blood sugar. Symptoms include feeling very tired or thirsty and urinating more often than usual. As long as you notice the symptoms, you will probably have time to treat high blood sugar so that you can prevent an emergency. Three things can help you prevent high blood sugar problems: Test your blood sugar often, especially if you are sick or not following your normal routine. Testing lets you see when your blood sugar is above your target range, even if you don't have symptoms. Then you can treat it early. Call your doctor if you often have high blood sugar or your blood sugar is often above your target range. Your medicine may need to be adjusted or changed. Drink extra water or drinks that don't have caffeine or sugar to prevent dehydration. How do you prevent high blood sugar emergencies? Treat infections early Infections that aren't treated (such as urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and Continue reading >>

Diabetic Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Syndrome

Diabetic Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Syndrome

What is diabetic hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome? Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome (HHS) is a potentially life-threatening condition involving extremely high blood sugar, or glucose, levels. Any illness that causes dehydration or reduced insulin activity can lead to HHS. It’s most commonly a result of uncontrolled or undiagnosed diabetes. An illness or infection can trigger HHS. Failure to monitor and control blood glucose levels can also lead to HHS. When your blood sugar gets too high, the kidneys try to compensate by removing some of the excess glucose through urination. If you don’t drink enough fluids to replace the fluid you’re losing, your blood sugar levels spike. Your blood also becomes more concentrated. This can also occur if you drink too many sugary beverages. This condition is called hyperosmolarity. Blood that’s too concentrated begins to draw water out of other organs, including the brain. Some possible symptoms are excessive thirst, increased urination, and fever. Symptoms may develop slowly and increase over a period of days or weeks. Treatment involves reversing or preventing dehydration and getting blood glucose levels under control. Prompt treatment can relieve symptoms within a few hours. Untreated HHS can lead to life-threatening complications, including dehydration, shock, or coma. Go to an emergency room or call 911 if you have symptoms of HHS. This is a medical emergency. HHS can happen to anyone. It’s more common in older people who have type 2 diabetes. Symptoms may begin gradually and worsen over a few days or weeks. A high blood sugar level is a warning sign of HHS. The symptoms include: excessive thirst high urine output dry mouth weakness sleepiness a fever warm skin that doesn’t perspire nausea vomiting weight loss leg Continue reading >>

Why Does High (or Low) Blood Sugar Give Me Headaches?

Why Does High (or Low) Blood Sugar Give Me Headaches?

Susan B. Sloane, BS, RPh, CDE, has been a registered pharmacist for more than 20 years and a Certified Diabetes Educator for more than 15 years. Her two sons were diagnosed with diabetes, and since then, she has been dedicated to promoting wellness and optimal outcomes as a patient advocate, information expert, educator, and corporate partner. Headaches can be debilitating, and patients with diabetes can get headaches from blood sugars dropping too low or climbing too high. As if we didn’t have enough to think about, right? There are many factors that can trigger headaches or even migraines, and blood sugar fluctuations are just one of those factors. The key to avoiding blood sugar-related headaches is keeping blood sugars from spiking or dropping too rapidly. For example, when you are treating a low blood sugar, don’t go on a high carbohydrate-eating binge, even though you may be ravenous. Eat a sensible meal with some protein as directed by your healthcare provider. When blood sugar is too low One of the suspected causes of low blood sugar-caused headaches has to do with the blood vessels in your brain. Your brain needs a readily available supply of glucose in order to function properly. If the brain senses it does not have enough sugar, blood vessels in the brain can spasm, triggering a headache. In the fasting state, stress hormones are also released which can cause vasoconstriction leading to headache. There is also a type of headache that can be seen in patients with diabetes that experience frequent low blood sugars, which are followed by rebound high blood sugars. This rebound phenomenon is often due to hormones that the body releases in response to a low blood sugar in an attempt to regulate itself. When blood sugar is too high High blood sugars can cause l Continue reading >>

How To Manage Your Diabetes In Extreme Summer Heat

How To Manage Your Diabetes In Extreme Summer Heat

We often look forward to changes of season, but if you have diabetes, you need to be extra careful when temperatures climb dramatically. Extreme heat can affect your blood sugar control. If you use insulin or if your treatment of blood sugars is inadequate, this can put you at higher risk. Often, worsening blood sugar control is the main concern. Depending on the situation and your level of physical activity, low blood sugars are also possible. Extreme temperatures can also damage your medications and testing equipment. I always remind my patients to take precautions to protect themselves and their supplies during both winter and summer. If a patient’s blood sugars are mostly higher than 250 mg/dl, I recommend improving blood sugar control before engaging in heavy physical activity — regardless of the climate and the temperature, as recommended by the American Diabetes Association. How heat can affect you The extreme heat of summer affects blood sugar levels. How the heat affects your levels depends on what you’ve eaten, whether you’re well-hydrated and your activity level. If the heat and your activity make you sweat profusely, you may become dehydrated, leading to a rise in glucose levels. If you become dehydrated, your blood glucose levels will rise. This can lead to frequent urination, which then leads to further dehydration and even higher blood sugar levels — a kind of vicious cycle. Further, if the treatment includes insulin, dehydration reduces blood supply to the skin and, therefore, less absorption of injected insulin dosage. Adjusting your insulin dosage Most types of insulin can tolerate temperatures from 93 degrees F to 95 degrees F, but any higher than that and the medication will degrade rapidly. Attention should be paid to the insulin you are c Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

What Is It? Diabetic ketoacidosis is a potentially fatal complication of diabetes that occurs when you have much less insulin than your body needs. This problem causes the blood to become acidic and the body to become dangerously dehydrated. Diabetic ketoacidosis can occur when diabetes is not treated adequately, or it can occur during times of serious sickness. To understand this illness, you need to understand the way your body powers itself with sugar and other fuels. Foods we eat are broken down by the body, and much of what we eat becomes glucose (a type of sugar), which enters the bloodstream. Insulin helps glucose to pass from the bloodstream into body cells, where it is used for energy. Insulin normally is made by the pancreas, but people with type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent diabetes) don't produce enough insulin and must inject it daily. Your body needs a constant source of energy. When you have plenty of insulin, your body cells can get all the energy they need from glucose. If you don't have enough insulin in your blood, your liver is programmed to manufacture emergency fuels. These fuels, made from fat, are called ketones (or keto acids). In a pinch, ketones can give you energy. However, if your body stays dependent on ketones for energy for too long, you soon will become ill. Ketones are acidic chemicals that are toxic at high concentrations. In diabetic ketoacidosis, ketones build up in the blood, seriously altering the normal chemistry of the blood and interfering with the function of multiple organs. They make the blood acidic, which causes vomiting and abdominal pain. If the acid level of the blood becomes extreme, ketoacidosis can cause falling blood pressure, coma and death. Ketoacidosis is always accompanied by dehydration, which is caused by high Continue reading >>

14 Surprising Causes Of Dehydration

14 Surprising Causes Of Dehydration

Chris Ryan via Getty Images By K. Aleisha Fetters Your body is about 60 percent water. Lose even 1.5 percent of that H2O — the tipping point for mild dehydration — and your mood, energy levels and cognitive function all drop, according to research from the University of Connecticut. And while there are obvious reasons you can end up dehydrated — a sunny day, exercise or not drinking enough in general — other triggers are less obvious. Check out these 14 surprising causes of dehydration and how to prevent them. People with diabetes — especially people who don’t yet realize they have it — are at increased risk for dehydration. When levels of sugar in the blood are too high, the body tries to get rid off the excess glucose through increased urine output, says Robert Kominiarek, DO, a board-certified family physician in Ohio. All of those extra trips to the bathroom can be dehydrating. If you’re diabetic and suffer from frequent thirst or urination, talk to your doctor about how you can work together to improve your blood sugar control. And if you’re experiencing excessive thirst along with these other type 2 diabetes symptoms, it’s time to pay a visit to your doctor. Is it that time of the month? Drink an extra glass of water. Estrogen and progesterone influence your body’s hydration levels, and when the two are roller-coastering, like when you’re in the throes of PMS, you may need to increase your fluid intake to stay hydrated, Dr. Kominiarek says. What’s more, for some women who have excessively heavy periods, the amount of blood lost is enough to deplete fluid levels, says OB-GYN Marielena Guerra, MD, of Elite OB/GYN in Florida. If you think the latter might be you, start counting your tampons. If you have to change them more than once every tw Continue reading >>

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