Blood sugar can make all the difference.
Sugar sometimes gets a bad rap, but it’s not always bad.
Blood sugar—or blood glucose—is an important number when it comes to diabetes management.
Many foods break down into blood sugar, which is used for energy to fuel our brain, heart and muscles. Blood sugar either comes from the food we eat or is made by the liver, and is found in the blood stream (as it is carried to all of our organs and cells) and inside the cells (where it is changed into energy). Learn about how food impacts your blood sugar.
If you're struggling to manage your blood sugar levels, you’re not alone.
The good news is, with the latest tools and strategies, you can take steps to manage your blood sugar, prevent serious complications and thrive.
What can make my blood sugar rise?
Hyperglycemia is the technical term for high blood sugar (“highs”). It happens when the body has too little insulin or when the body can't use insulin properly. Here are a few of the causes:
- Too much food, like a meal or snack with more carbohydrates than usual
- Not being active
- Not enough insulin or oral diabetes medications
- Side effects from other medications, such as steroids or anti-psychotic medications
- Illness, stress, menstrual periods or short- or long-term pain (these all cause your body to release hormones which can raise blood sugar levels)
The good news is, there are things you can do to avoid highs—and to treat them when you get them.
What can make my blood sugar fall?
Hypoglycemia is the technical term for low blood sugar (“lows”). It’s when your blood sugar levels have fallen low enough that you need to take action to bring them back to your target range. Here are a few of the causes:
- Not enough food, like a meal or snack with fewer carbohydrates than usual, or missing a meal or snack
- Alcohol, especially on an empty stomach
- Too much insulin or oral diabetes medications
- Side effects from other medications
- More physical activity or exercise than usual
Don’t worry: There are things you can do to avoid lows. Be sure to learn the symptoms, and how to treat them when you get them.
What about A1C?
Your blood sugar isn’t the only number that tells you how your diabetes management is doing—your A1C is important, too. So what is A1C?
This relatively simple blood test can tell you a lot—it will give you a picture of your average blood sugar level over the past two to three months. The higher the levels, the greater your risk of developing diabetes complications. Your doctor will tell you how often you need the A1C test, but usually you’ll have the test at least twice a year if you’re meeting your treatment goals.