The central aspect of diabetes medication and management is controlling blood sugar levels in the body. In keeping the blood sugar levels low for a diabetic, this can help manage the cell and organ degeneration that accompanies diabetes as it ravages the body.
Even with diet control and exercise, the body’s blood sugar still rises because of the body’s autonomic responses. These are some of the instances that blood sugar spikes occur in the body.
1. The Food You Eat. One of the most effective ways to manage diabetes is by having the proper diet specially suited for diabetics. But what you eat is not the complete story as how much you eat and the time you eat is also a factor in the increase of blood sugar in the body. Here are some of the factors that come into play as a result of the food you eat and its consequent blood sugar spikes.
· The amount of food you eat is major consideration as the more food you eat, the higher the blood sugar levels would be. This is because so much more glucose is extracted from the food and ends up in the bloodstream.
· The blood sugar level is highest an hour after you eat as this is the amount of time that the glucose is extracted from the body. This time is also the time you feel drowsy after a heavy meal as the body focuses on the processing of the glucose as a full time job.
· Eating too many carbohydrates would surely result in a blood pressure spike. So keeping carbohydrate intake at an even keel would definitely keep your blood sugar levels the same throughout the day. When digested, carbohydrates become glucose and excessive carbohydrate intake results in spikes in the blood sugar levels.
· The amount of food and the intake of medication also is a factor to consider in blood glucose levels. Too little food may lead to hypoglycemia while too much food would result in hyperglycemia. So to be able to properly manage the blood sugar levels, eating properly in the right amounts is the key to keep blood glucose levels balanced.
2. Exercise also affects blood sugar levels. As you exercise, the demand for glucose as an energy source increases throughout the body. Thus by working out, the glucose level on the body is burned up and thus insulin levels need not be too high to maintain the proper and healthy glucose levels. But the problem is that even if the exercise regimen is done, the blood sugar levels are high since there is no insulin to taper down the glucose levels from workout mode to regular mode. This results in the increase of the glucose levels in the bloodstream.
3. Other Illnesses influence the blood sugar levels. When there is an infection in other parts of the body, the body reacts by producing hormones to help in combating the infection and recuperation of the body. These hormones raise your blood sugar level by negating the effect of insulin on the level of blood sugar level. Though there is a path towards healing, but affects the diabetes management regimen in the long run.
4. Alcohol Ingestion. The liver stores excess glucose in the bloodstream. When the body’s blood sugar level decreases to low levels, the liver releases the stored glucose. So when your body has to metabolise the alcohol in the bloodstream, the liver has to release the stored glucose thus causing the blood sugar levels to spike dramatically.
5. Stress increases blood sugar levels. When stress overwhelms the individual, the individual would tend to exercise less, eat with abandon or even ingest greater amounts of alcohol. These unhealthy practices results in hormonal imbalance in the body leading to increased sugar levels in the blood.
6. The Dawn Phenomena. This is a natural bodily phenomenon that occurs in the body while one is asleep. When in deep sleep, the body does not require insulin to regulate and metabolise glucose in the blood. Then, by the time you are about to awake for the new day, the body floods the body with stored glucose to be used during the day. It is also at this time that insulin inhibitors are produced to negate the effect of insulin on the body. Thus, the dawn phenomena are the body’s own way of increasing glucose in preparation for the day ahead.
7. The Somogyi Effect. This is also called rebound hyperglycemia. Like the Dawn Phenomena, high blood sugar levels are caused by high carbohydrate intake the night before. This is mainly due to the activities prior to bedtime, such as eating before bedtime or not having much to eat at bedtime. In both cases, the body floods the system with insulin to counteract the increased glucose in the body prior to bedtime. This results in low blood sugar while at rest and then the dawn phenomena kicks in. On the other hand, too little to eat inhibits the presence of insulin making for the higher and more significant spike in the blood sugar levels at the onset of the Dawn Phenomena.
The Rise and Fall of Blood Sugar Levels
As can be seen, the blood sugar level rises and falls due to many factors. Some are caused by the diabetic’s own actions or the body’s autonomic functions. So what can be done to keep blood sugar levels from rising or spiking? Only those causes that are actively performed can be controlled. These include eating right, regular blood glucose level checks and avoiding alcohol. Other externalities such as stress and infection need also be managed properly to prevent blood sugar spiking. As for the Dawn Phenomenon, immediate checking of the blood sugar level upon waking up can help in keeping the blood sugar spike in check. As for the Somogyi effect, you would need to review what you eat before going to bed to keep the danger of blood sugar increases from occurring.