The most prevalent disease these days is diabetes. 3 in 4 adults have been diagnosed with this condition according to recent statistics. While the stats are alarming, they are not surprising. It is not uncommon to hear about the diagnosis of diabetes. Ever-so-often, we hear members in our own families talking about some relative who has been diagnosed with it. Diabetes is much more common than we think it is. Not only has the prevalence increased but also the age range that is affected has lowered significantly. Type 1 diabetes or T1D was primarily prevalent in children. Due to the dysfunctional pancreas, sometimes even since birth, young infants have to face the shocking consequences of this disease. Type 2 diabetes (T2D) on the other hand is considered a lifestyle disease primarily occurring in adults after the age of 35, although the global average is now shifting towards 32. Let us understand how to reduce blood sugar level.
How this disease works is that the islet cells of the pancreas do not produce sufficient insulin or produce no insulin at all. Insulin is the hormone that breaks down the glucose molecules in the bloodstream thus keeping the parameters in check. As and when we eat, the carbohydrates break down in the form of glucose molecules which are then bound to the insulin that is secreted. Due to insufficient insulin, there is excess glucose in the blood which increases the blood sugar.
Therefore, if you have diabetes, the first and most direct consequence that any doctor will warn you about would be - blood sugar. How to reduce blood sugar level is a task that you would have to learn to manage efficiently. There are several risks to fluctuating blood sugar levels. The normal range that is the universal average is 90-150 mg/dl. This range can be subjective from person to person, depending on their weight, other comorbidities, fitness, stress levels, hormonal changes, etc, due to which there may be a slightly different average.
There can be several reasons due to which blood sugar levels can fluctuate –
Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar (mostly above 170mg/dl), has several potential risks. Even if in the short term it may not seem very potent or disturbing and all you may have to do is take your correction doses to feel better, the long-term effects of this issue can be fatal. From cardiovascular issues to neuropathy or retinopathy to kidney damage – hyperglycemia can present itself differently in different people.
Similarly, hypoglycemia, or what is dangerously low blood sugar, below 60-70 mg/dl has even more devastating consequences. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, this is what you need to be on the lookout for. Doctors always warn against the potential symptoms and consequences of low blood sugar levels. While they can be common, you need to work hard towards preventing them as, in certain cases, they can also lead to seizures and damage to the nervous system. While hypoglycemia can have long-term effects, it can also have life-threatening symptoms every time it occurs.
To learn more about your blood sugar values and affecting factors, checkout our blog 101 Guide - Healthy Blood Sugar Ranges.
Asking your endocrinologist how to reduce blood sugar level would receive an answer which would tell you to put a lot of attention and focus on your diet. This is because the carbs, maida, and sugar content in the diet have a direct impact on increasing blood sugars. Without a healthy diet, all the efforts that you may be putting in in terms of working out or regular walks, or even meditation and insulin, would be futile.
Carbohydrate molecules break down and turn into glucose in the bloodstream. This is the reason why higher carbs could directly lead to an increase in blood sugar. If you have been newly diagnosed, you might be tempted to reduce your carbs in their entirety. This happens to most new diabetics before they learn to regulate their food intake. Stopping carbs or reducing them a lot suddenly could be what causes low blood sugar in many people. Manage your carb intake by focusing on low-carb snacks, reducing the consumption of refined wheat flour, not eating sweets and candies, bread, biscuits, etc.
For diabetics, any food that has a low glycemic index would be ideal. Such food categories do not rapidly spike the blood glucose levels giving the external insulin time to work. Fibrous foods, therefore, are the best option. Pairing a low GI diet with a (moderately) high one could also be done. This would result in the satisfaction of the cravings and also help maintain a balanced diet. Fruits, salads, leafy vegetables, sprouts, etc are the food items you should be targeting. To know more, check out our blog on Benefits of Resistant Starch on Blood Sugar Management and Weight Loss.
Physical activity and regular movement of body muscles can be another helpful aspect if you are learning how to reduce blood sugar level. If you have been newly diagnosed, or know someone who is just starting, it would be primitive that they check their levels before and after working out. When you are still figuring things out, a high-intensity workout or even a regular one can have effects and can cause dangerously low blood sugar. If you are a diabetic and you have ever felt dizzy, nauseous, unusually breathless, or super tired during your workouts, it would be vital to use your glucometer rather than simply rely on your judgment. Some exercise options could be – aerobics, yoga, swimming, sports, or if you are not into any of these, going for a brisk walk would also do the trick.
Controlling sugar levels with weight control would help in better absorption of the insulin that you are taking extraneously. If you weigh more than the required amount concerning your height and age, it can cause you to take extra insulin. Additionally, it can also cause lethargy and other related issues that may affect glucose levels. Weight, even though underrated, is a very important aspect of sugar control.
Drinking water up to 2-3 liters for an average adult diagnosed with diabetes is important. The benefits that you may reap out of this would be that these water molecules would carry oxygen to your cells, they would help in smoothening and cushioning the joints, it would protect the tissues and organs, and would also get rid of the toxins and ketones in case of high blood sugar.
Remember that this is a learning process, you will have to spend some time and energy trying to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. Diabetes is a complex disease and it can be different for different people. What may work for someone in your family may not be the same for you. Use the methods of trial and error and master this roller-coaster of disease to the best of your capabilities.
If you are someone who is diagnosed with diabetes, you know how tough it can get to manage & control your blood sugar levels. Here are a few ways you can achieve this important goal - Monitoring levels regularly for any hypo and hyperglycemic symptoms, Maintain a healthy diet, checking water intake,keeping a tab on weight and many more. Read our elaborate guide to know more
A blood sugar level that is below 70 mg/dL is considered a warning sign to immediately take steps to increase it. If your blood sugar level further drains to 50mg/dL it can lead to severe complications. Symptoms like dizziness, trembling, etc. If immediate action is not taken to improve the blood sugar level then it might cause a person to lose consciousness.
Low sugar levels can be spiked up immediately by consuming fruits like bananas, oranges, grapes, pineapple, etc. It is vital to consume the right proportion of these fruits. Having one teaspoon of sugar diluted in water might also help to increase blood sugar levels. However, if natural techniques do not show results immediately then you should consider taking medications that boost blood sugar levels.
Diet is an important part to lower the blood sugar levels of the body. A diet that included food items like broccoli, pumpkin seeds, okra (bhindi), nuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, berries, avocados, citrus-rich fruits like lemons, and oranges, etc. in the correct proportion can help you to lower your blood sugar levels.
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