Diabetes Can Send You Warning Signs - Listen To Your Body

Low Blood Sugar

Hypoglycemia, also called low blood sugar, occurs when the level of glucose in your blood drops well below your fasting level. For many people with diabetes, that means a level of 3.9 mmol/L or less.

Symptoms

  • Shaky or jittery
  • Sweaty
  • Hungry
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Tired or weak
  • Dizzy or lightheaded
  • Confused or disoriented
  • Irritable or nervous
  • Fast heart beat

Causes

  • Skipped or delayed meals
  • Diabetes medication taken too much or too often than required/instructed
  • More physical activity than usual  
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Medication side effects

How To Manage? 

When blood sugar drops below 3.9 mmol/L, there are simple ways to bring it back into a safer range. Immediately eat one of the items below. Each one has about 15 g of carbohydrates.

  • ½ cup (4 oz) of fruit juice or regular (not diet) soft drink
  • 8 oz of milk
  • 5 to 7 pieces of hard candy 
  • 1 tbsp of sugar or honey

After 15 minutes, check your level again. If it’s still below 3.9 mmol/L eat another one of the items listed. This should be repeated until your level is above 3.9 mmol/L.

High Blood Sugar

Hyperglycemia, or high fasting blood sugar, occurs when the level of glucose in your blood is too high, usually 10 mmol/L or higher.

Symptoms

  • Thirsty
  • Tired or weak
  • Headache
  • Urinating often
  • Blurred vision

Causes

  • Large meals
  • Not enough diabetes medication or insulin
  • Low physical activity
  • Not drinking enough liquids, like water
  • Medication side effects
  • Illness or injury
  • Stress

How To Manage?

High blood sugar is influenced by diet, physical activity, and medication. If your blood sugar is frequently high, work with your healthcare team to adjust your current regimen.

Check with your medical care team about what levels are too low or too high for you.

Take Control Of Diabetes Management

Besides practicing a healthy diet, eating small, frequent meals at the same time every day do help to manage your blood glucose level. Start your day off right by eating breakfast. Then space meals about 4 to 5 hours apart with a healthy snack in between. Healthy snacks between meals can help you avoid hypoglycemia. Never skip meals!

While managing blood sugar is important, maintaining or improving quality of life is essential to wellbeing. By learning about the role of food and nutrition in diabetes management, individuals can help empower themselves to improve their dietary freedom. It can be as simple as making healthy food swaps or building healthy habits. For example, using brown rice instead of white rice, drinking water instead of soda or simply cutting down portion sizes. Many respected diabetes associations, like the American Diabetes Association also endorse the use of diabetes-specific formulas (DSF) as meal replacements to help diabetes management.

  • DSF is a nutritious drink that supports diabetes management and provide complete and balanced nutrition for people with diabetes.
  • Slowly digestible carbohydrates in DSF help promote satiety and increase secretion of Glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1)1 which encourages insulin secretion to support better glucose control.2
  • Scientific studies have shown that myo-inositol helps to improve insulin sensitivity, leading to better glucose control. 3-5

Reference:

  1. Devitt AA, et al. Journal of Diabetes Research & Clinical Metabolism 2012;1:20.
  2. Lim GE, et al. Diabetes 2006;55(Suppl. 2):S70-S77.
  3. Fraticelli F, et al. Acta Diabetologica. 2018;55:805-812. 
  4. Guo X, et al. J Diabetes Complications. 2018;32(3):342-348. 
  5. Pintaudi B, et al. Int J Endocrinol. 2016;2016:9132052.

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MAL.2020.9474.GLU.1