Factors that affect Blood Sugar Levels
As a diabetic patient, your blood sugar levels become your only priority in your lifestyle. And thanks to modern technology like highly accurate blood glucose monitors and blood sugar test strips, this job of daily monitoring becomes very easy.
With your day to day life keeping this baseline normal is of utmost importance.
But we need to get the basics right and know that your blood glucose might not always be too normal, it can go high and low pretty quick.
In this article we will talk about high and low blood sugars, factors causing and how the ones reading this can manage this effectively.
So, what’s Blood Sugar?
In simple terms, the food we eat has carbohydrates, a simple form of sugar that is broken down into a usable energy form called glucose sugar. The glucose sugar enters the blood and a hormone called insulin is released which helps move it into our cells. Insulin is like a mediator which lowers the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. So in diabetes, there is a fluctuation in blood sugar levels as insulin is not getting produced or absorbed properly into the cells called insulin resistance.
Now, if your blood sugar is too high it is known as hyperglycemia which is around 180 mg/dL and if too low it’s known as hypoglycemia which if below 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) can harm you and if below 54 mg/dL (3.0 mmol/L) needs immediate medical attention here blood sugar monitors and test strips can gauge your current sugar levels accurately.
Keep in mind, over time if your blood sugar is at unhealthful levels can damage small and large blood vessels in several organs and systems, leading to serious consequences like blindness, ulcers, infections, heart attacks, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, a condition where blood flow to the limbs is reduced and damage to the nervous system.
So what are the normal blood sugar levels?
As per health organizations guidelines like American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fasting plasma glucose level should be below 100 mg/dL. After meal / 2-hour plasma glucose blood glucose level below 140 mg/dL. HbA1C should be less than 5.7%
Factors that can cause high blood sugar (Hyperglycemia) and how to bring it down?
- Consuming a larger meal with high carb content
- Missing out on insulin or oral diabetes medication based on diet and activity levels
- Not exercising
- Not staying hydrated
- Illness, stress, and pain (both short-term and long-term)
- Menstrual periods
- Side effects from medications like steroids or antipsychotics
Managing Hyperglycemia: Insulin therapy is the initial choice for managing patients presenting with hyperglycemia and catabolic symptoms. There is no quick fix as such, if your blood sugar is over 250 mg/dL notify your healthcare provider immediately for instructions and medications. And till the time medical help reaches, make sure the patient is drinking plenty of water and relax the patient's body in a sleeping position.
Factors that can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and how to bring it back to normal?
- Missing a meal or snack
- Reducing the amount of carbohydrates you normally eat
- High alcohol consumption
- High insulin or oral diabetes medication dosing
- Over Exercising
Managing Hypoglycemia: In hypoglycemic situations 15g of carbohydrates to bring your blood sugar levels up. Carry fast-acting glucose sources like glucose tablets, Chocolates, juice or soda, four or five crackers, to bring your levels back to normal immediately. Test your blood sugar again in about 20 minutes to see if it’s back to more acceptable levels.
Plan your diet well with food containing a low carb diet and low glycemic content with your Dr and Nutritionist to avoid such occurrences in future, along eating balanced meals and snacks at regular times throughout the day is a big part of maintaining normal blood glucose levels.
Other things to follow for both Hyper and Hypoglycemia are
- Monitor blood sugar levels closely several times a day
- Having a daily exercise routine
- Controlling your portion size
- Keeping your stress levels in check
- Getting enough sleep
In diabetes management, maintaining balance is always the key, we hope the article helps you determine the factors causing and help manage hyper and hypo conditions of diabetes effectively.