It can be extremely mind boggling to experience alarmingly high blood sugar levels even when you are being mindful of your diet, doing regular exercise and consuming your diabetes medications on time. There are many sneaky lifestyle habits and everyday things that can cause our blood sugar levels to spike alarmingly high.
Living with type 2 diabetes can be extremely challenging, and doctors strongly advised their patients to gain greater control over regulating their blood sugar levels in order to effectively manage their symptoms. Keeping your blood sugar levels healthy and normalized is the best strategy to effectively manage your symptoms and lead a healthy life.
In order to manage your diabetic symptoms and blood sugar levels in the long-run, it is best to create a preventive care regime, which will also help you ward off complications caused by diabetes. These complications include kidney damage, eye damage, nerve damage, heart stroke, high blood pressure, nerve damage and other skin conditions.
Consuming a diet excessively rich in carbohydrates is one of the biggest culprits of high blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates turn into glucose upon being digested, and some carb-rich foods, such as sugary beverages, cheeseburgers, French fries, and white bread, can raise your blood sugar levels to an alarming extent.
Majority of the diabetic patients experience complications and blood sugar spikes after consuming processed goods that are brimming with added sugars, which cannot be detected. However, enjoying a diabetes-friendly diet, establishing a regular exercise regimen, taking your medications on time, and regularly examining your blood sugar levels can help you bring your disease under control.
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There are multiple triggers that can cause your blood sugar levels to spiral out of control, and many of these triggers are very sneaky and hard to grasp. For instance, if you are suffering from a seasonal cold or flu, your blood sugar levels can increase alarmingly, and the same is true for menstruation, stressful situations and even after consuming a heavy meal before going to bed. These triggers make it extremely challenging to manage your blood sugar levels, especially when you think you’re doing all the right things.
Here, take a look at the 11 common reasons that cause blood sugar spikes:
1. Artificial Sweeteners
Majority of the type 2 diabetic patients believe that only regular soda and sugary drinks are their enemies, but what about diet soda? A recently conducted study reveals that consuming zero-calorie artificial sweeteners, which are also found in diet sodas, and commonly consumed in coffee, tea and desserts, can trigger a glucose intolerance, alongside increasing blood sugar levels. Moreover, these artificial sweeteners can also increase your risk for suffering from type 2 diabetes.
While one cannot rely on a single study, there is a plethora of other research that has revealed mixed findings on the consumption of artificial sweeteners. Medical experts and researchers on diabetes have claimed that diet soda consumption can help diabetic patients reduce their consumption of sugar drinks.
Diet soda may be healthier than regular soda, however, it is important to note that moderation is essential and in the long-run, you must focus on eliminating soda from your life altogether. Instead, enjoy healthier beverages, such as freshly squeezed fruit juices and smoothies.
2. Fatty Foods
Carbohydrates are the most notorious food group that can harm patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. However, carbs are not the only one to blame, as patients with this disease also need to be mindful of fatty foods. Food items that are rich in fat don’t cause a direct increase in blood sugar levels, instead, they trigger the body to build an insulin resistance. Since fatty foods require a long time to digest, they can impact the timing of the increases in blood sugar levels.
It is healthy to consume fat-rich meals in moderately mindful portions, however, it is important to be aware that consuming large quantities of fat-filled meals, more than 40 grams, can cause serious complications in managing blood sugar levels.
Often, a food that we believe is absolutely harmless can cause grave harm to our blood sugar. Therefore, it is instrumental to be mindful of the impact of each food and ingredient you consume. Keeping track of your consumption is essential for effectively managing your blood sugar levels.
3. Skipping Breakfast
Breakfast happens to be most important meal of a day, and this meal is much more important for a patient suffering with type 2 diabetes. A study examined the food consumption of 22 patients suffering from type 2 diabetes, along with their blood sugar levels for a period of two days. The only difference between the two days was that one morning, the patients consumed breakfast, and the next day, they skipped it.
The results revealed that on the day the patients missed their breakfast, they experienced blood sugar spikes throughout the day. The researchers concluded that missing the first meal of the morning can have a negative impact on the functions of the pancreatic beta cells, which are responsible for producing insulin.
However, it is important to note that you cannot have just any food item for breakfast and experience healthy blood sugar-regulating effects. It is important to be mindful of what you eat for breakfast. Experts strongly recommend diabetic patients to avoid sugary cereals and orange juice that comes out of a box. It is important to pack up your body with a healthy blend of nutrients in the morning, and avoid taking carbs. For instance, you can have some eggs with mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach, or even a bowl of oatmeal with nuts and berries.
4. Eating a Heavy Dinner
The human body naturally has a better glucose tolerance in the morning as compared to the night. A recently conducted 8-day study reveals that the body’s natural clock, medically termed as the circadian rhythm, has a profound impact on our blood sugar levels. The researchers examine the eating patterns of 14 healthy participants after they were made to eat a meal at 8 in the morning, and another meal at 8 in the night.
The participants were examined on “normal days” when they consumed their first meal at 8am, and their last meal at 8pm before sleeping at night. Then, the participants were examined on days when their eating schedules were reversed, making them eat their first meal at 8pm and their last meal at 8am, making them sleep through the day.
The results revealed that the meals consumed at 8pm coincided with blood sugar levels, which were 17% greater than the levels measured after the meals consuming at 8am, regardless of if the meals were the same, and the sleeping schedule of the participants. The researchers revealed that it’s not just the items we consume, but also the timings when we consume that has a detrimental influence on our ability to manage our blood sugar levels.
This basically means that carbohydrates and other food items that increase blood sugar levels should be consumed for breakfast as opposed to dinner. The researchers also explained that the circadian rhythm has a significant impact on blood sugar, which reveals why shift workers with disturbing schedules tend to be at a greater risk to suffer from type 2 diabetes.
Another study conducted in 2014 also revealed similar results on the impact of dinners. Subjects who consumed a heavy breakfast of around 700 calories in the morning, and a mindful dinner of no more than 200 calories were able to effectively manage their blood sugar levels, as opposed to subjects who consumed a small breakfast of 200 calories and a large dinner of 700 calories.
It is important to note that blood sugar levels can also increase very early in the morning, during the period between 4am to 5am, which is known as dawn phenomenon. Patients suffering from type 2 diabetes can effectively manage this dawn phenomenon by consuming their dinner a bit earlier in the evening.
Menstruation is one of the prime causes of temporary mood swings and disturbed dietary habits amongst women, however, what many women don’t know is that their menstrual periods can also increase in their blood sugar levels. Menstruation causes fluctuations in the hormone levels present within the body, and while you are having your period, there is a possibility of a temporary insulin resistance to develop within your body, which can trigger an increase in your blood sugar levels.
Even though majority of the women experience blood sugar spikes in the days just before their period, however, many women also experience a reduction in blood sugar levels. Experts believe that women who are headed towards menopause are more likely to experience unpredictable blood sugar levels during menstruation.
If you feel that your menstrual period is influencing fluctuations in your blood sugar levels, you can always examine your blood sugar readings to identify a monthly pattern. This pattern will help you identify any changes in your blood sugar levels, and then, you can consult your doctor on a suitable treatment to treat blood sugar increases or drops during your period.
6. Lack of Exercise
Regular exercise is crucial to effectively manage the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Exercise and physical activity will help you lose weight, alongside maintaining a healthy weight, which will in turn, reduce your risk for suffering from heart disease, or a heart stroke. Physical activity will also boost insulin sensitivity in your body, along with aiding your cells in eliminating glucose from the bloodstream and utilizing it to generate energy. Experts believe that an energetic workout can reduce your blood sugar levels for more than 24 hours.
On the other hand, being physically inactive can lead to severe increases in blood sugar levels. A research conducted in 2012 revealed that the blood sugar levels of physically active and healthy participants increased alarmingly within just three days of reduced physical activity. However, it is not always possible to stay physically active.
For instance, patients who have to undergo a serious surgery will not be able to maintain the activity levels of people who have not undergone surgery. Such patients need to be extra mindful about maintaining their blood sugar levels. When planning your exercise regime, bear in mind that experts strongly advise type 2 diabetic patients to keep a watch out for symptoms of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels while exercising. If your blood sugar levels fall low, be sure to attend to it instantly.
Having an exhausting workload with a sensitive deadline, dealing with the loss of a loved one, or being stressed about a looming mortgage payment can cause your blood sugar levels to rise at an alarming pace. Stress is one of the greatest catalysts that increase blood sugar levels, and it does so by increasing the secretion of cortisol, the hormone responsible for our fight-or-flight response.
When the cortisol levels increase, the body becomes less sensitive to its own production of insulin, and to the effects of insulin injections. Stress doesn’t always have to be emotional or mental, it can also manifest physically, in the form of an injury. It is also important to note that even certain positive changes to your lifestyle, for instance a vacation or a new, more demanding job, can also lead to sudden increases in your blood sugar levels.
The most effective strategy is to de-stress your mind and body, and bring your hormones under control. Many people often attempt to achieve this by consuming their favorite comfort foods, which can never be helpful for a diabetic patient. However, you can acquire new stress-busting and stress management strategies. There are many techniques that you can adopt and use when your tension and anxiety is at its peak, tempting you with the uncontrollable urge to scream.
You can take out some time for a 10 minute walk, practice some yoga moves that you can perform at your desk or office, have a cup of soothing green or chamomile tea, or even practice some breathing exercises. In order to form an effective preventive regime, be sure to develop a regular exercise regime, and a mediation and yoga habit.
8. Health Conditions & Ailments
Whenever we are attacked by an infection or suffer an illness, the body secrets certain hormones to fight off the illness or infection. While that is a sign of good health, amongst type 2 diabetes, it can cause damage by increasing blood sugar levels alarmingly. In case of a serious illness, it can even lead to a life-threatening coma amongst some patients.
Therefore, it is important for diabetic patients to plan ahead for every illness or infection. It is crucial to make sure your body is always well-hydrated, and be extremely mindful about the foods and beverages you add to your daily diet. If your infection or ailment seems grave, be sure to consult your doctor on whether you should increase the dosage of your diabetic medicines.
Experts believe that it is highly advisable to consult a certified diabetes educator or your doctor to plan ahead for sick days, in order to understand your action plan for days when you fall sick. You must also consult your doctor or educator on how often you must examine your blood sugar levels, how to identify red flags, signs or symptoms that should prompt you to consult a doctor, and understanding the medicines you should take in case of an infection. Be sure to also consult the professional on whether you should examine the ketone levels present in your urine.
9. OVC & Prescription Medicines
Many health conditions and ailments can cause our blood sugar levels to increase, however, the same is also true of certain medications we consume to fight these ailments.
There are multiple prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OVC) medications, even certain supplements and vitamins, which have been revealed to increase blood sugar levels.
These include birth control pills, some acne-treating medications, asthma medications, corticosteroids, and certain classes of antidepressants. Therefore, before a doctor prescribes you any medications, be sure to inform him/her of any over the counter drugs or prescribed medications you are already taking.
10. Lack of Sleep
There is a plethora of research that associates lack of sleep or poor sleep quality with a multitude of health ailments. Research reveals that diabetes is also linked with lack of sleep, which can trigger sudden increases in the blood sugar levels. For instance, one study revealed that individuals who only slept for four hours per night for six days can significant reductions in their glucose tolerance levels.
Experts believe that this association between diabetes and lack of sleep is caused by the reduction in the activities of the nervous system, and a decrease of cortisol in the body, which occurs when the body goes to sleep. These two activities also allow the body in regulating blood sugar levels. Therefore, it is important to get enough quality sleep, along with being mindful of your blood sugar levels on nights you can’t get sufficient hours of peaceful slumber.
11. Dental Health Complications
Medical science has identified gum disease as one of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, and research also reveals that unhealthy gums can trigger an increase in blood sugar levels. Dental experts explain that the germs of infected gums can travel through the bloodstream, triggering the body on high alert in order to fight off these germs.
This causes the body to generate certain molecules that can cause unprecedented damages across the body, including sudden blood sugar spikes. Dentists strongly recommend patients suffering from type 2 diabetes to take preventive measures and be extra mindful of the health of their gums.
It is important to brush at least twice a day, and be sure to book regular appointments with your dentist to get your gums examined.