Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when excess glucose in the bloodstream leads to a spike in blood sugar levels in the body. It is a highly sneaky disease. You can only tell if you have it once you experience a wide range of symptoms ranging from frequent thirst, need to pee frequently, fatigue, blurred vision, unintentional weight loss and recurrent infections. The key is to keep blood sugar levels in check and refrain from doing things that can directly or indirectly affect the metabolism of glucose.
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Factors that contribute to a blood sugar spike
Speaking with the OnlyMyHealth editorial team, Dr Somashekara Reddy, Consultant-Diabetology & Endocrinology, Fortis Hospitals, Cunningham Road, Bangalore, sheds light on the various factors that contribute to a rise in blood sugar levels in the body. She says, "Diabetes is a chronic condition where the body either doesn't produce insulin completely or incompletely, resulting in excess glucose in the blood. As a result, people with any type of diabetes can experience spikes in their blood sugar levels." Some of the factors that trigger these spikes include:
Consuming food or fruits high in simple sugars or carbohydrates
When it comes to managing our blood sugar levels, diet plays a vital role. By adding fibre-rich, wholesome vegetables to our diet and avoiding foods and fruits high in simple sugars and carbohydrates, we can ensure healthy blood sugar levels in the body. Research suggests simple carbs are more quickly digested and absorbed than complex carbs, which is why simple carbs can increase your blood glucose levels faster and higher.
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Stress can impact blood sugar levels in the body. According to Diabetes UK, Stress can cause your body to release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which make it difficult for insulin to work correctly, also called insulin resistance. Therefore, when the energy cannot reach the cells, it can cause blood sugar levels to rise.
Dr Reddy thinks that intense exercise can raise blood sugar levels. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests that most forms of aerobic and cardiovascular exercise can lower your glucose levels. However, activities such as high-intensity training and weightlifting can raise blood sugar.
Lack of sleep
Research suggests insufficient and irregular sleep can lead to glucose intolerance, impacting blood sugar levels. In addition, lack of sleep is said to directly affect how the body makes other hormones that affect blood sugar.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares that managing diabetes is challenging, and smoking can worsen things. According to the US health body, nicotine increases blood sugar levels and makes them hard to manage.
Certain medications like steroids
There are several ways medications like steroids can affect blood sugar levels. For example, they can cause the liver to release more glucose; they can stop glucose from being absorbed from the blood and reduce the body's sensitivity to insulin, shares Diabetes UK.
How to manage blood sugar levels?
Dr Reddy says, "Blood sugar spikes can be detected through regular blood sugar monitoring using a glucometer or preferably through continuous monitoring of blood glucose."
"These spikes can be reduced by consuming more fibre, less simple sugar and refined carbohydrates, and more low glycemic index foods. In addition, engaging in moderate regular exercise, drinking sufficient water to avoid dehydration, and improving sleep and lifestyle habits can also help reduce blood sugar spikes," he adds.