By Diane Hwang
Monitoring Your Blood Sugar When You Have Diabetes
Regulating blood sugar is the primary function of all diabetes management plans. Hyperglycemia, also known as high blood sugar, affects individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes and is a significant concern. Educating a person about what to do when blood sugar is high is the first step in successfully managing diabetes.
Know What the Triggers Are
The following conditions can trigger high blood sugar:
- You forget to take your insulin or medication
- You have eaten too many carbohydrates
- You have an infection in your body (sinus, respiratory)
- You are experiencing stress
- You haven’t been exercising regularly
- You exercised too strenuously
Know the Symptoms
Knowing the symptoms of high blood sugar is key to knowing what to do when your blood sugar is high. Symptoms of high blood sugar include:
- Feeling distracted
- Vision becomes blurry
- Frequent urination
- Feeling tired or physically weak
- Unexplained weight loss
- Your glucose monitor indicated your blood sugar more than 180 mg/dL
Diabetes Management for Prevention
Regulating your blood sugar is essential to avoid health complications, in addition to following the treatment plan as prescribed by your doctor. Doing so can help you avoid potential skin infections, vision issues, delayed healing for wounds, nerve damage, chronic constipation or diarrhea, or kidney damage.
Working with Your Doctor When Your Blood Sugar is High
While each person’s situation is unique, your doctor may recommend any of the following treatments to help with regulating blood sugar:
1. Drink more water.
Drinking more water or zero-calorie beverages helps to remove excess sugar through your urine and keeps you hydrated.
2. Exercise more.
Regular exercise of at least 20 minutes every day will help lower blood sugar. However, it’s essential to work with your doctor to determine what kinds of activity are suitable for your individual health needs.
3. Change what you’re eating.
Your doctor may suggest working with a registered dietitian to help you develop healthy meal plans. People with diabetes need to reduce their carb intake while increasing fiber.
Eating lean protein, green, leafy vegetables, and whole grains are usually good choices.
4. Reduce stress wherever possible.
Stress can elevate your blood sugar levels. Fortunately, exercising and relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation for stress reduction may also help with regulating blood sugar and lead to overall better mental and physical health.
5. Improve your sleep quality
One key thing to do when your blood sugar is high is assess the quality of your sleep. Poor sleeping habits, such as going to bed too late or napping too frequently throughout the day, can affect blood sugar levels.
Aim to improve both the quality and quantity of sleep you experience each night.
6. Maintaining a healthy weight with high blood sugar.
Maintaining a healthy weight also promotes stable blood sugar levels. In addition to checking your weight, it’s also important to routinely measure your waist. A waist measurement greater than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men has been shown to increase the risk of developing high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes. Everybody is different, so this is another area where working with both a nutritionist and a doctor may benefit your long-term diabetes management plan.
Regardless of your blood sugar levels, It’s important to talk honestly and openly with your doctor about your health concerns, especially if you are contending with diabetes. If your family has a history of diabetes, if you’re exhibiting high blood sugar signs, or if you’re concerned that you might be pre-diabetic, you must start an individualized treatment plan as soon as possible. It can save your life and help to maintain your health.