Even if you’re in good shape, your blood sugar levels tend to fluctuate depending on your diet. Your body is built to withstand these changes. Before your body makes use of the food you eat for energy, it transforms it into glucose. When this happens, your pancreas is prompted to secrete a hormone called insulin. It’s insulin’s job to extract glucose from your bloodstream as a way to regulate your blood sugar levels.
This may be a normal process, but a sudden spike in blood sugar can be dangerous for someone with diabetes. It’s important for someone with this condition to monitor his/her blood sugar levels carefully as it can cause complications. A person with diabetes has either developed a resistance to insulin or can no longer produce a healthy amount of the hormone to regulate blood sugar levels.
If you aren’t suffering from diabetes, this doesn’t mean you can constantly overload on sugary foods. If your blood sugar levels are consistently high, it can put you at risk for various health problems such as nerve damage, kidney problems, vision deterioration, as well as an increased risk for heart disease.
What Causes Blood Sugar Spikes?
There are several factors that contribute to a sudden spike in blood sugar levels. If you want to keep it under control, you have to understand what causes it. Below are some of the most common contributing factors.
It’s no secret that smoking is not the healthiest habit. In fact, it’s one of the worst things you can do to your health. It interferes with your body’s normal functions in a way that makes you susceptible to deadly diseases. This includes making it harder for your body to keep your sugar levels within a healthy range.
As mentioned earlier, your body derives glucose from the food you eat. However, the type of food you consume can make or break your health. Foods that are high in simple carbohydrates (refined sugars, sweetened drinks, processed food) are more likely to cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. This factor is very crucial. In fact, the medical community has developed a way for us to track how badly a certain food type can affect our blood glucose by way of measuring it through it’s GI or glycemic index ranking.
Even light physical activity such as walking can help lower your blood sugar levels by improving your body’s sensitivity to insulin. Not moving around as much as you should factor into rising blood sugar levels.
Chronic stress can have a negative effect on how your body metabolizes sugar. Not getting enough sleep can have the same effect as well.
These are just some of the most common factors that can negatively impact your body’s ability to manage your glucose levels. When left unchecked, bad habits can lead to serious consequences. Having high sugar levels or hyperglycemia can be one of them. And like other types of diseases and conditions, the symptoms won’t normally manifest until your blood sugar levels have been consistently and excessively high.
Be on the lookout for the earliest signs of having abnormally high sugar levels, which may include:
- Blurred vision
- Frequent urination
- Excessive Thirst
These minor symptoms can be easily ignored, leaving blood sugar levels unchecked. And if blood sugar levels continue to rise, ketones can start to build up in your blood and urine. When this happens, the following symptoms may appear:
- Weakness or lethargy
- Dry mouth
- Shortness of breath
- Fruity-smelling breath
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes already, it is highly crucial that you keep your sugar levels below the limit that your doctor prescribed.
What to Do in Case of a Blood Sugar Spike
Thankfully, there are various steps you can do to prevent your blood sugar levels from spiking. To keep it within the normal range, try to engage in at least regular moderate exercise. It’s also important that you gradually ease yourself into a new exercise routine if you’re not used to doing much physical activity. If you exert too much effort too soon, you put your body into a state of physical shock, which can also trigger an abnormal crash in blood sugar levels.
Another thing you can do is to stay hydrated and drink lots of water after eating. This is particularly helpful after you’ve consumed huge servings of starchy carbs. If you can, it would be best to lay off eating simple carbs altogether to keep your blood sugar levels at a normal level.
Depending on the severity of their condition, diabetic patients can also be prescribed to use an insulin injection. This should be used according to the doctor’s prescription (dosage and frequency) as too much insulin can lead to gravely low blood sugar levels, or hypoglycemia, which can lead to its own set of complications.