Blood Glucose levels are not the most passive things in our body and can often be volatile and not in our control. Both low and high blood sugar levels are harmful to one's health. and result in undesirable symptoms and effects like nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, disorientation, blurred vision, seizures, unconsciousness, or even death.
In healthy non-diabetic adults, Glucose Homeostasis is best explained by looking at the blood glucose pattern that happens in our bodies post eating a meal. After a meal, we can see that the blood glucose first rises by around 40 mg/dl, and peaks at about 45 minutes post the meal. After an hour post the crest, it starts to steadily decrease and becomes stabilized without any swings or other variations until the next meal.
This stability of blood glucose is what distinguishes 'Not having' diabetes from having Type 2 diabetes. In Diabetes, there is a gradual but evident deterioration of glucose homeostasis from steady or stable to unstable, caused because of the decrease in insulin secretory reserve. This is essential to understand and avoid for individuals with diabetes but who may be at risk of getting it due to hereditary factors, being overweight or by other comorbidities like Hypertension and Cardiac issues.
The core of our metabolism and metabolic health is - Glucose! It is that player who is an all rounder and does it all; from converting the food you ingest into energy to build elements for your body, Using that energy and fresh building blocks to eliminate old cells, maintain existing cells, and make new ones.
With so much on the line, it's no surprise that anything and everything to do with glucose takes centre stage, including measuring, maintaining and investigating its impact on cells and stability levels. Research has shown that having rapid and repetitive rises and drops in blood sugar during the day puts stress on our metabolic health and increases the chances of developing several metabolic issues. Thus it is important for us to lower any metabolic stress by keeping blood sugar levels stable and relatively steady throughout the day.
Many people with diabetes choose diet drinks instead of ordinary soda or juices because they believe sugar-free beverages will not elevate their blood sugar. After all, artificial sweeteners may not be neutral and may lead to altered glucose homeostasis. Whether you consume a lot of diet soda, you should try cutting back to see if it affects your blood glucose levels.
Prescription and over-the-counter drugs used to treat conditions other than diabetes might cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate. Steroids, for example, (used to relieve severe illnesses, immunological disorders, and asthma), can cause blood sugar levels to skyrocket. Contraceptive pills, certain antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs, some diuretics, and nasal sprays may also cause higher-than-normal readings. At the same time, other medicines may drop blood sugar or make detecting hypoglycemia more difficult.
Is it possible for dehydration to create high blood sugar? Yes, and it turns out that the two are more closely related than you might think: a lack of liquids can lead to hyperglycemia, as the sugar in your blood gets more concentrated. To make matters worse, elevated blood sugar levels can cause you to urinate more frequently, leading to more dehydration. To stay hydrated and healthy, people with diabetes should drink enough water or other low caloric liquids throughout the day. If you find plain water difficult to swallow, consider garnishing it with lemon wedges, frozen fruit, cucumbers, or fresh mint sprigs. Sugar-free iced herbal teas are delicious, such as strawberry, cherry, or peach.
As if cramping, bloating, and mood swings weren't enough, hormonal fluctuations during a woman's PMS phase can cause her blood glucose to fluctuate. While the impact varies from person to person, some women with diabetes become less responsive to insulin a week or so before their period, resulting in higher-than-normal blood sugar levels.
Whether scorching hot or freezing cold, extreme conditions can wreak havoc on diabetes management. This is because the way people with type 2 diabetes respond to heat varies. Some people's blood sugar levels may rise on really hot days because the uncomfortable conditions impose extra strain on their body; others, particularly those on insulin, may suffer the opposite impact. Severely high blood sugar levels can impair the body's potential to modulate its temperature while also increasing fluid loss. The latter can raise blood sugar levels even further by raising the risk of dehydration. Stay inside during the hottest portion of the day, and keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels.
Restless nights are bad for more than just your mood and energy; they may also be bad for your blood sugar. Not getting enough sleep is a sort of chronic stress on the body, and any time you add stress to your life, your blood sugar levels will rise. Work on developing a consistent sleep habit in which you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to increase your sleep quality and duration.
Caffeine use of up to 400 milligrams (mg) per day is harmless for most people, but in people with diabetes, the chemical may change how insulin response, resulting in low or high blood sugar. All you can do is keep track of your blood glucose levels to see how caffeine affects you. If you have frequent blood sugar swings and drink a lot of caffeinated beverages (including diet soda, coffee, and tea), cut back to see if your glucose control improves.
Controlling the factors affecting blood sugar can be difficult and sometimes even beyond your control. Even if you keep a meticulous track of what you consume and do regularly, you will see some variability in your day-to-day levels. However, this does not mean you can't do anything to defend yourself from it. Understanding how different behaviours might influence blood sugar fluctuations can help you better understand and predict how your values fluctuate.