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The Highs and Lows of Blood Sugar

11/9/2018

Blood sugar is the amount of glucose in your blood. Glucose comes from the foods you eat, and your body uses this glucose as energy. Insulin is used to maintain normal glucose levels. When you have diabetes, your body is resistant to the effects of insulin or does not produce enough.

Keeping blood sugar levels within a healthy range is an important part of managing diabetes. This is done through checking your blood sugar at home, balancing your diet, exercising and taking medications, if prescribed. Everyone experiences fluctuations in their blood sugar levels. When you have diabetes, it is important to know what affects those levels and what you should do when they happen. Have a plan and let your family and friends know.

High Blood Sugar

Low Blood Sugar

High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, occurs when you have too much glucose in your blood (higher than your target level). Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, is when the glucose levels in your blood are too low.
Feeling very thirsty or hungry, urinating more often than usual, tired or having blurred vision.

Symptoms

Sweating, dizziness, feeling weak, shaky, sleepiness, confusion or hunger.
Not taking your diabetes medicines, eating more than usual (especially sweets), not being active, stress, pain, dehydration and being sick.

Causes

Taking too much diabetes medication, not eating enough or skipping a meal, exercising harder than usual and drinking alcohol.
Taking medications as prescribed, regular exercise, balancing your diet, checking your blood sugar levels regularly. When high blood sugar is not treated, it can lead to complications in your eyes, feet, nerves and kidneys.

Treatment

Eating or drinking something such as ½ cup of regular fruit juice or soda (not diet), 4 glucose tablets, 4 pieces of hard candy, 1 tablespoon of sugar, jelly or honey. In 15 minutes, check your blood sugar level again. If it is still low, repeat the process until blood sugar is 70 or above.

If you have questions about diabetes or you are having trouble maintaining your blood sugar levels in a healthy range, you may need to make changes to your medicines or lifestyle. Talk to your doctor about what is right for you.

Sources: ADA, CDC and Mayo Clinic