How To Tell If Blood Sugar Is Low

How To Tell If Blood Sugar Is Low – Symptoms vary depending on whether you have hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. Learn to recognize the warning signs and stabilize your glucose.

The highs and lows can make you feel broken and in some cases lead to urgent health problems. Fortunately, they are largely preventable.iStock

How To Tell If Blood Sugar Is Low

One of the challenges in managing diabetes is maintaining a constant blood sugar (glucose) level. Even with care, some situations can lead to high blood sugar or hyperglycemia, while others can lead to low blood sugar or hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia 101: What You Need To Know

After all, it’s not just your carbohydrate intake that affects the amount of glucose flowing through your bloodstream when you have type 2 diabetes. Emotional stress and certain medications can raise blood sugar levels, and increased activity can cause them to drop, he says. Megan O’ Neill, CDCES, medical science liaison for diabetes care at Abbott Health in Monterey, California. Sometimes people experience a spike in blood sugar early in the morning due to the “dawn effect,” a temporary surge in hormones that occurs as the body prepares to wake up, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

“For people with diabetes, managing blood glucose levels is especially important,” says O’Neill. “Levels that are too low or too high can cause complications that affect the kidneys, heart and vision, reduce quality of life, require expensive interventions and are even fatal.”

The more willing you are to notice the signs of highs and lows, the better you’ll be able to quickly and easily get them back into the desired range and stay healthy.

What is the right range for you? The answer is a little different for everyone, and your doctor can help you determine yours. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) generally recommends trying to stay within these blood sugar goals:

Low Blood Sugar Symptoms And Treatment

The first step to staying within these ranges and correcting the highs and lows along the way is to monitor your blood sugar with a glucose meter.

Clinical guidelines published in January 2017 in Diabetes Care, the ADA journal, recommend that everyone taking insulin test their glucose at least four times a day and up to 12 times a day. Those who are pregnant or have trouble maintaining healthy blood sugar levels should also check their blood sugar more often. Factors that increase the ideal frequency of testing include type of insulin, past levels of glucose control, and symptoms, O’Neill says. Some people with diabetes may benefit from continuous glucose monitoring, a device that gives you a reading without pricking your finger every five minutes, he says.

High glucose occurs when the body doesn’t have enough insulin or can’t properly use the insulin it has to transport glucose from the bloodstream to the body’s muscles, organs and tissues for fuel, O’Neill says. As a result, the amount of sugar in the blood accumulates.

Hyperglycemia usually occurs when you eat more carbohydrates or larger portions of food than usual; if you are taking too little insulin or other diabetes medicines as prescribed; and if you reduce your level of physical activity, he says. Increased stress levels can also increase blood sugar levels. Non-diabetic medications known to raise blood sugar include steroids, beta blockers, birth control pills and many mental health medications, he explains.

How To Manage High And Low Blood Sugar Levels

Signs of high blood sugar include frequent urination, fatigue, dry or itchy skin, feeling thirsty, more frequent infections, and eating more food but not gaining weight as usual, says Dr. Athena Phyllis-Tsimikas, vice president of the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute in La Jolla, California.

According to the Mayo Clinic, high blood sugar can cause these symptoms through a variety of mechanisms. High blood sugar, for example, damages blood vessels and nerves throughout the body. They can also deplete the organs of energy and can cause fluid to build up in the eyes. And in an effort to bring your blood sugar to a healthier level, your body will often increase urine output.

A blood sugar reading above 180 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) is considered abnormal and can cause these symptoms, although it’s possible to have high blood sugar without symptoms, says Dr. Phyllis-Tsimikas.

A reading above 300 mg/dL can be dangerous, according to the University of Michigan, which recommends notifying your doctor immediately if you have two or more readings of 300 mg/dL in a row. In severe cases, very high blood sugar levels (up to 300 mg/dL) can cause coma. If you experience mental confusion, nausea, or dizziness, go to the emergency room.

Proven Tips & Strategies To Bring High Blood Sugar Down (quickly)

Low blood sugar occurs when there is not enough glucose in your bloodstream to continue fueling your organs, muscles, and tissues. It most often occurs when you don’t eat enough food, especially foods that contain carbohydrates, given your blood sugar-lowering medications and your level of physical activity, O’Neill says. The level may decrease gradually or suddenly.

When the amount of glucose in the bloodstream drops too low, the body responds by releasing epinephrine, also called adrenaline, or the fight-or-flight hormone. Epinephrine increases the heart rate and can cause sweating, tremors, anxiety, and irritability. If not enough glucose reaches the brain, problems with concentration, confused thinking and slurred speech can result. In extreme cases, a lack of glucose in the brain can lead to seizures, coma and even death, he says.

People with low glucose levels (less than 70 mg/dL) can use the ADA’s “15-15 rule,” which advises people to eat 15 g of carbohydrates, wait 15 minutes, and recheck their levels. If the number is still low, repeat until you reach at least 70 mg/dL.

Once your glucose levels return to normal, the ADA suggests eating your next scheduled meal or snack, which will help prevent your glucose levels from dropping again.

How To Manage Low Blood Sugar Level & How It Is Dangerous

However, if symptoms persist, call your doctor or seek medical attention. If you have more than two blood sugar readings below 70 mg/dL per week, tell your doctor and review your treatment plan.

Taking an active and mindful approach to your blood sugar levels is critical to your quality of life and overall health, says O’Neill. Avoiding blood sugar levels that are too high or too low will help you avoid negative symptoms and health complications, and staying within your target range can allow you to feel your best and do what you want to do in life, he says.

Measure your blood sugar regularly, listen to your body and never hesitate to see a doctor.

Make breakfast perfect. These simple ideas will keep your blood sugar stable and your day moving quickly.

Low Blood Sugar: Causes, Signs, And Treatment

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What Is Hypoglycemia? Diabetes And Risk Of Too Low Blood Sugar

A good night’s rest is important for everyone, but not getting enough sleep can raise your blood sugar if you have type 2 diabetes. These tips can help you catch … Every cell in your body needs energy to function. The main source of energy may surprise you: it is sugar, also known as glucose. Blood sugar is necessary for the proper functioning of the brain, heart and digestive system. It even helps maintain healthy skin and eyesight.

When the blood sugar level falls below the normal range, it is called hypoglycemia. There are many recognizable symptoms of low blood sugar, but the only way to know if you have low blood sugar is to have a blood glucose test.

Learn more about the symptoms of low blood sugar and the long-term effects on the body.

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas can no longer produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body cannot use it properly. Too much insulin or oral diabetes medications can lower blood sugar levels, causing hypoglycemia.

High Blood Sugar At Night: Causes, Symptoms, And Prevention

However, contrary to popular belief, low blood sugar is not exclusive to diabetes, although it is rare. It can also happen if your body produces more insulin than it should.

Another possible cause of low blood sugar is drinking too much alcohol, especially over a long period of time. This can interfere with the liver’s ability to store glucose and then release it into the bloodstream when

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