Managing diabetes is not an impossible task. There are several ways in which you can keep your sugar levels under control. Through the right lifestyle and dietary changes, you can prevent the situation from aggravating and lead a happy and healthy life. There are times where no matter how much you try to maintain a normal sugar level, it ends up being high or low. Let us try to understand what are high and low blood sugar levels and what are their possible effects and treatments.
What are High and Low Blood Sugar Levels?
Low Blood Sugar Levels
Low blood sugar levels or hypoglycemia occur when there are low glucose levels in the blood, which makes it difficult for the body to function normally.
Low blood sugar causes primarily include diabetes-related side effects. But could also be due to:
- Eating less after taking diabetes medication
- Exercising more than normal
- Rare chances of tumour which produces extra insulin
- Endocrine disorders
Effects of low blood sugar levels include both short term complications such as confusion, dizziness etc, and long term complications like coma or even death.
If your blood sugar is below 70 mg/dL, you should treat yourself right away.
High Blood Sugar Levels
High blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia occur when people have high blood sugar levels in their bloodstream.
- Blood glucose levels higher than 7.0 mmol/L (126 mg/dl) when fasting.
- Blood glucose levels higher than 11.0 mmol/L (200 mg/dl) 2 hours after meals.
Causes of Hyperglycemia include:
- Inadequate usage of insulin or diabetes medication
- Not eating a proper diabetes diet
- Being inactive
- Having an infection or illness
Short term effects of hyperglycemia include nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, dry mouth, among others. Long term effects of hyperglycemia include cardiovascular diseases, nerve damage, kidney damage, blindness, etc.
Which One is More Dangerous?
BeatO Health Coach Madhuparna Pramanick says “The brain cells stop working without glucose, thus making hypoglycemia more dangerous than hyperglycemia & it needs immediate intervention. A person with diabetes must always carry sugar sachets/ glucose tabs with him all the time for immediate response. Also, a band may be tied on one’s wrist to signify that person has diabetes. This can help in an emergency.”
Some people fear low blood sugar levels and some fear high blood sugar levels. If the range is not normal, it is risky no matter if you have a low blood sugar range or high.
Low blood sugar symptoms are intense as they act like an emergency alarm our body produces to help save itself. Low blood glucose levels in the absence of ketones can prove to be deadly.
Effects of high blood sugar result in long term vascular damage and the presence of high levels of ketones can also lead to deadly ketoacidosis.
Should You Consider Taking Insulin?
Most blood sugar reactions are managed by eating meals on time, taking diabetes medicine, and testing blood sugar more often.
For type 2 diabetics there is not enough insulin production by the pancreas; therefore they might need to consider additional insulin boosts to maintain blood sugar levels. It is advisable to talk to your doctor or health coach (diabetes educator) to guide you regarding the same.
High and Low Blood Sugar Levels Monitoring
Blood sugar management can get difficult at times. Keeping a glucometer will prove beneficial for blood sugar monitoring and controlling diabetes better. A glucometer is a device that helps you take a sugar reading comfortably, from wherever you are. The ones which connect via a smart app allow you to share readings with your doctor and also help keep track of your past readings.
For the right advice, you should always consult your health coach. They give you advice based on your age, lifestyle and medication. They are especially helpful during an emergency.
It is only when you know whether your sugar level is high, low or in the controlled range that you will be able to optimise your diet and lifestyle.