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Reasons for Blood Sugar Swings

Posted by Alex Harris on

Glucose (blood sugar) is the body's main fuel source. You get glucose from the foods you eat, such as bread, rice, potatoes and even certain fruits. These foods are often a large source of glucose in the diet. The body breaks down these foods into glucose, taking the glucose to the cells through the bloodstream.

Even though glucose is needed for energy, too much of it in the blood can be unhealthy.

The hormone insulin, produced by the pancreas, controls the levels of glucose in the blood. Someone with diabetes has a problem however, because then the body does not make enough insulin, allowing too much glucose in the blood. Diabetes is associated with these rapid fluctuations in blood glucose. People with type 1 diabetes no longer make insulin to help their bodies use glucose. These people then have to take insulin through injections or such.

Becoming Hyperglycemic

People with diabetes may become hyperglycemic if their blood glucose level is not kept under control. This is not something to take lightly because with acute hyperglycemia, cognitive function is actually impaired. Chronic hyperglycemia is common in people with type 2 diabetes and it can interfere with your daily activities because of adverse effects on cognitive function and mood. 

There are complications for type 1 and type II diabetes because of a long-term rise in glucose or insulin levels. If these levels are allowed to vary outside of normal levels for a long time, inflammation results and complications thereafter, which include nerve damage, kidney disease, blindness and heart problems. Of course, dietary changes will be an absolute priority for diabetics.

It is important to recognize the symptoms of high blood sugar -

● fatigue and blurred vision
● increased thirst and increased urination
● rapid breathing
● confusion
● abdominal pain
● nausea and vomiting
● unconsciousness

Some of the reasons for blood sugar swings -

Stress

It is a buzzword today as our lifestyles become more and more hectic. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), emotional stress can cause blood sugar to spike dramatically. You need to find healthy ways to understand how stress affects you and to find healthy ways to cope. Stress triggers the body's fight-or-flight hormone levels and the body releases extra energy in the form of glucose and fat. People with diabetes cannot process that glucose because of resistance to insulin, and this is when glucose builds up in the blood. If the stress reaction is prolonged, this can have destructive effects on the systems of the body. Exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress. Also, eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet of foods rich in vitamins B, vitamins C and Zinc.

Sleep disorders

Sleep disorders which result in tossing and turning through the night can also raise blood sugars. Sleep is important to provide restoration both physically and mentally. Tips for a good night's sleep include going to bed and rising from bed at more or less the same time every day, exercising regularly, staying away from caffeine, nicotine and alcohol and dealing with the issues that are causing you anxiety.

Extreme Heat

Extreme heat can affect blood sugar levels. Higher temperatures cause the blood vessels to dilate and this can enhance insulin absorption and lead to low blood sugar. You sweat profusely and this can make you dehydrated which leads to a rise in glucose levels.

When You Are Fighting An Illness

Your blood sugar also rises if you are battling to fight off an illness. Certainly, an illness or infection such as a urinary tract infection can cause your blood sugar to rise. Drink plenty of fluid to stay hydrated.

Before Menstruation

Many women report higher blood glucose levels a few days before their menstrual period. Once menstruation begins, hyperglycemia can continue while some women experience a sharp drop in glucose levels. During menopause, blood glucose levels are less predictable.

Other Medications

Certain medications have an effect on diabetes control and prescribed medications used to treat other health issues can increase the blood sugar levels. 

 

Make Key Changes to your Diet

Key vitamins and minerals are needed to control blood sugar. All the chronic diseases of lifestyle in modern times are associated with malnutrition - under- and over-eating the wrong foods. Nutrition is one of the changeable risk factors for chronic diseases. Enjoy a variety of foods to get the full range of essential nutrients, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, use salt sparingly and drink plenty of clean, safe water.
 
The level of glucose in the blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin. After we have eaten, the amount of glucose in the blood rises and insulin is released to bring the levels back down to normal. If blood sugar rises too quickly, the body releases too much insulin and you end up feeling tired, hungry and irritated, and this is what is known as the blood sugar rollercoaster. 

Action Required

Blood glucose variability is very important to your health. Today there are all kinds of tools for anyone to check blood glucose levels and identify those times that you are out of the safe range. When blood sugar rises, there is damage occurring in the body and out of control blood sugar levels can lead to serious problems such as hypo- and hyperglycemia, and even diabetic ketoacidosis. It is vitally important to take action as soon as you are diagnosed with diabetes to prevent damage to your heart or kidney that cannot be reversed.

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References:

1. Harvard T.H Chan. School of Public Health. The Nutrition Source. Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar. Available at https://www.hsph.harvard.edu › The Nutrition Source › Carbohydrates

2. OnHealth. Avrom Simon, MD. 5/11/2016. Tips For Managing Glucose Levels. Available at http://www.onhealth.com/content/1/blood_sugar_swings_diabetes


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