Who said managing diabetes was easy? Eating the right foods, taking exercise and checking blood sugar are essential for its effective management. But despite your commitment to managing the condition sometimes things just don’t add up.
Many factors impact our blood sugar and we might not even be aware it. So, the next time you’re left scratching your head keep the following factors in mind.
With a few simple adjustments you may be able to get yourself back on track:
A good night’s sleep has benefits for all of us but is particularly important for people with diabetes. A restful night helps us to regulate hormones and recharge.
Have you ever noticed that you’re hungrier after a bad night’s sleep? Your body needs to consume more food for energy and in turn this can cause blood sugars to spike.
Having a caffeine fuelled morning could be behind a rise in blood sugar. If you’re baffled by regular morning sugar spikes and coffee is part of your usual regime, try cutting it out.
Physical and mental stress can have an impact on blood sugar levels, causing changes to take place.
Not only can it affect the control of diabetes it can also contribute to the cause of stress. Being diagnosed with diabetes, the psychological pressure of having diabetes and learning how to manage a regular treatment regime can be overwhelming.
Illness can play havoc with your blood sugar. Not being able to eat or drink as much as usual can make blood sugar hard to manage.
When you’re feeling under the weather it’s important to test your blood sugar more regularly. Your body naturally releases hormones to guard off illness and this can also raise your blood sugar levels and therefore how much insulin you need.
It is particularly important to administer the correct amount of insulin because if you don’t have enough your body will begin to break down fat as a fuel producing ketones. If produced too fast ketones can lead to a life-threatening complication known as Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA).
You can test your blood ketones with GlucoRx HCT meter. If discovered, contact your GP straight away as it is likely you will need urgent hospital treatment.
It is important to follow the following steps when feeling ill even if your blood sugar is within normal range.
- Take your diabetes medication as usual
- Drink plenty of fluids and eat as normal
- Test your blood sugar every four hours
- Keep tabs on your weight, losing it can be a sign of high blood sugar.
A Strict regime for eating and taking medication at the right time is one easy way to keep blood sugar on track.
Taking medication too late can cause your blood sugar to rise and taking it too soon can lead to hypoglycaemia.
Creating a regular pattern of when to eat and take medication can be a useful way to keep your blood sugar in check.
Dawn phenomenon occurs when your body fails to produce enough insulin to match the early-morning rise in blood sugar, typically during the early hours before breakfast.
It is common for people with diabetes to notice higher than expected fasting blood sugars.
So if your blood sugars after dinner and before you go to bed are normal but you notice a spike in the morning, it’s a good idea to tell your GP.
Timing, dosing and the expiration of insulin are all important factors to take into consideration.
Insulin is mostly used by people with type 1 diabetes to manage blood sugar and prevent it from rising too high, however it is important to follow some rules to ensure it works effectively:
Check the date: Using unexpired insulin ensures your injection has the right potency.
Timing: It is important to take insulin with your meals and remember to take enough to cover what you are eating.
Dosing: Injecting insulin subcutaneously helps your body to absorb it and prevents blood sugar dropping too low.
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- Lane JD, et al. (2008). Caffeine increases ambulatory glucose and postprandial responses in coffee drinkers with type 2 diabetes.
- Managing sick days. (2020).
- O’Neal TB, et al. (2020). Dawn phenomenon.
- Schaper NC, et al. (2017). Timing of insulin injections, adherence, and glycemic control in a multinational sample of people with type 2 diabetes: A cross-sectional analysis.