Being that we're here to help people with type 2 diabetes eat well and be well, questions (and confusions) about blood glucose levels come up all the time!
Like many discussions we've had here before, we collect a bunch of questions and put them together to help you get a better understanding of what's happening in your body.
Of course, if you have your own questions after reading this, just leave your comments below and we'll chime in to answer them.
What are the correct blood glucose levels after you take blood in the morning and nights?
We have some great info over here along with a comprehensive printable chart, so check out that link!
The short answer is, you want to aim for blood sugars under 100 mg/dL (6 mmol/l) fasting and under 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/l) 2 hours after a meal.
My blood glucose went down to 5.1 mmol (~92 mg/dL). I was feeling shaky, nausea, and weak. Was this a hypo?
By definition, hypoglycemia is blood glucose under a value of 70 mg/dL (equating to 3.9 mmol), so at 5.1 mmol (~92 mg/dL) your blood sugar is in a healthy range.
However, that doesn’t mean you aren’t necessarily experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia at higher levels. The reason for this is that when people’s bodies become accustomed to much higher glucose levels, the body recalibrates a bit (so to speak). This can result in feeling poorly at numbers lower than you’re used to, even if they’re considered healthy levels.
If your levels are normally in a healthy range and you are at 5.1 (92), it doesn’t make sense that these would be symptoms of low blood sugar, but if you are often in the 200s (>11.1), it’s entirely possible that your body has adjusted to higher levels and needs to gradually get used to lower values. That's why goals for individual people may at first be set higher and you work your way toward normal levels.
If this is the case for you, try to keep your blood sugar levels as low as possible without experiencing hypo symptoms and have a small snack with a bit of healthy carbs (10-15 grams) and some protein or healthy fats. This might include a handful of blueberries with peanut butter, a quarter of a cup of yogurt, a quarter of cup of strawberries, and a few nuts.
Why does blood glucose change all the time?
Everything in your body is continually changing to keep you in a state of equilibrium and accommodate for the changing environment.
For example, if you step outside and it’s cold, your temperature drops, which causes your body to quiver a bit, which then helps raise your temperature once again.
If you see a mouse and are startled, your body releases epinephrine in a “fight or flight” response, which raises your blood pressure and blood sugar, pulling all energy away from resting tasks like digestion to deal with the mouse situation.
If you eat something salty, there is disequilibrium between cells, which begin dehydrating, so enzymes and hormones signal thirst. The same happens with your your body's pH levels.
The point being, the body is always adjusting, adapting and changing with the environment.
In terms of your blood glucose changing, there are certain things that make your blood sugar go up.
- intense exercise
- intense dreaming
And there are certain things that help your blood sugar to go down.
- moderate activity
- And the right food choices help you balance blood sugar better
Learning about all the things listed above can help you manage your blood sugar, but there will always be a degree of fluctuation. It's just the nature of the body, diabetic or not.
My blood sugar always high in morning and sometimes I get dizzy. Why?
In short, hormonal changes over the night can cause elevations in glucose levels. This is known as the Dawn Phenomenon. It’s also the case that poor dietary choices in the evening prior can impact your morning levels.
Dizziness can be caused by high blood sugar levels, but can also be caused by a number of other factors such as high or low blood pressure, medications, cardiac conditions, etc. I’d recommend discussing with your physician and keeping a log of when and how often this happens along with other possible associative factors.
Why does blood sugar go up at night?
Blood sugar can go up for a variety of reasons at any time during the day or night. Keeping a journal, diary or log of your sugar levels as well as diet, carb intake, exercise, medications, stress, sleep, etc, ca all can help pin down the problem.
That said, if your blood sugar is rising in the evening, the biggest suspects I would consider are the amount and type of carbohydrates you have for your evening meal, and when the last time you took your medication or insulin.
If you eat a meal that is high in carbohydrates, then naturally your glucose levels will rise. On the other hand, if you choose mainly non starchy vegetables and have a healthy low carb meal, your levels will rise fairly moderately. Be sure you are checking 2 hours after a meal for an accurate reading compared to goals.
In terms of meds, it may be the case that if you took your medication early in the day, it has run it’s course or that you took a non-diabetes medication that elevated blood sugars.
Please pin, tweet or share this info; then keep on reading.
When you eat set meal on time why the blood sugar results don't repeat likewise?
Meal timing is a very important factor to good blood sugar control, but as we've already pointed out above, it isn’t the only one. The more factors you keep consistent, the better your control will be. But keep in mind that there are some factors over which you may have no control over (ie. genetics, age, and certain hormonal responses).
Consistent daily exercise as well as stress management are also critical. And being sure your sleep schedule is regular are additional factors that can help you to see more consistent blood sugar results.
The best way to accomplish this is to keep a detailed log of all of those factors for several days and note patterns and variations so you can make decisions about what could be altered, tweaked or changed in your lifestyle to get better results.
What is the best exercise to lower blood sugar and weight?
In short, the one you will do!
There are some general guidelines I will list, but if you hate certain exercises or don’t have access to particular equipment, it doesn’t matter what we say, you're not going to do it!
Each person needs to figure out what is best for him/her based on practicality and preferences. We’ve written a much more detailed article on exercise here. I’d encourage you to read through that as it describes the basic types of exercise and examples.
I would advise avoiding very intense exercise, which can elevated blood sugar and is more likely to lead to injuries. Stick to a lot of moderate activity (walking, biking, hiking, swimming etc), aiming for a minimum of 30 minutes/day and add some strength training 2 days/week.
Be sure to stretch warmed up muscles and always exercise after eating something, not first thing in the morning. And it's always a good idea to check with your physician before initiating an exercise program.
How come the food I eat one day brings my blood sugar down and the very next day my blood sugar reading is higher?
Keep in mind that food in itself does not bring blood sugar down. It always makes it go up. But the rate it goes up is to varying degrees.
Certain foods (such as low carb foods) or times may make your blood sugar go up less than others, or elevate at different rates, but there isn’t any food that actually makes it go down. In saying that, eating a healthy low carb diet can help regulate blood sugar so you can less big spikes going up and down – you'll get a steadier daily reading.
Your blood sugar levels may go down with time or as a result or medication or exercise, and often it's easy to attribute this to food.
In terms of day to day variability, remember there are other factors than just food, all of which contribute to fluctuating blood sugar levels.
It may be the case that the fat that you’re consuming along with the carbs is slowing down the elevation of the rise. For example, if you eat a cinnamon roll (FULL of sugar and high in carbs), you may be surprised if it doesn’t spike within an hour or 2. BUT, don't be fooled because it may spike 6 hours or more later because the high fat content in that same cinnamon roll has just slowed down the rate of the elevation.
We often eat foods in combination so it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint problematic foods. In general, high carb foods will raise your levels higher but when eaten with other nutrients – protein and carbs – the effects can be altered.
What’s the best way to get blood sugar levels down without meds?
Avoid refined white flours and sugars including sweetened beverages and artificially sweetened beverages.
All of the above will get your blood sugar levels down.
While there is a time and place for medications, it’s always best to make sure you have all your lifestyle variables in check first since they hold only benefits and no side effects!
Please pin, tweet or share this discussion with others. Thanks.