Coping with a Blood Sugar Spike
Are you or any of your loved ones suffering from diabetes? Was there any time when you experienced a blood sugar spike and didn’t know what to do? Here are some things you should know about blood sugar spikes and how to cope with them.
There are many causes of a blood sugar spike. A few of them are missed medications or insulin shots, insulin going bad (if not stored properly) and binges. It really is not that important to know what the causes are, what’s more important is how you deal with it.
Blood sugar is considered high if it’s value is anything over 140 mg/dl (7.5 mmol/l) and anything over 180 mg/dl (10 mmol/l) is definitely a spike. If the results of your test show 180 mg/dl or higher, here’s what you should do.
For Type I patients:
If your sugar level is at least 250 mg/dl you must test yourself for ketones. Ketones are the toxic by-products of burning fat for energy instead of sugar and they are detected using urine test strips. If the tests are positive, it is imperative that you do not try lowering your blood glucose level by exercising. Exercising will worsen your current situation as exercise produces more ketones. Ketones are present in your body because insulin can’t be produced; meaning your body cannot process sugars.
As a first aid treatment, drink lots of water and do not eat anything. Call your doctor at once and inform him/her of your situation, your ketone and blood sugar level and ask them how much insulin you need to take. If your situation is worsening, he or she may also want you to go to the nearest medical facility.
Extremely high ketone levels can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Its symptoms include a flushed appearance, dehydration, exhaustion, shock, and eventual unconsciousness. If you or your family member is experiencing these symptoms, go to the nearest medical facility ASAP.
If, on the other hand, your blood sugar is within 140 mg/dl and 250 mg/dl, the first thing you should check is the time of your last meal. If more than two hours have passed since your last meal, call your doctor and ask for how much corrective insulin you should take. If it has not been 2 hours since your meal, just drink a glass of water and check your blood sugar again later.
If you are type II:
For type II patients, one of the most important piece of information they should know is there is such a thing as super-high blood glucose levels above 500-600 mg/dl (28-33 mmol/l). This is called the “hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state” (HHS). It’s symptoms are similar to DKA and it can lead to coma and death.
The most striking difference of HHS from DKA is that it is not caused by blood sugar spikes. HHS is a result of blood sugar building up over time, increasing the blood sugar levels everyday or even weeks. HHS is easily prevented as most diabetes patients are required by their doctors to test their blood sugar levels at least once a day. DKA is also not a major concern of Type II diabetics. This is because most patients are actually capable of producing small amounts of insulin which can prevent fat-burning for energy and its ketone by-products.
If in case your blood sugar level does spike to 500-600 mg/dl, you should call your doctor at once. He or she will probably advice you to go to the hospital at once. If, on the other hand, your blood sugar level is between 350 mg/dl and 500 mg/dl two hours after eating, call the doctor and ask if you should take any medication or insulin for it.
Lastly, if your blood sugar is just above 180 mg/dl here are the steps you must take:
First of all, do not exercise. You will give your liver a harder time because they will have to release the extra glucose you produce back into the bloodstream increasing your blood sugar levels. Instead of exercising, drink plenty of water to aid your kidneys and liver.
If you are experiencing blood sugar spikes frequently, keep them in accurate records and advice your doctor of this situation.
Disclaimer: The statements on this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Please consult your physician before starting any nutrition regimen.