If you have been newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or have been suffering from the disease for years, you know the importance of keeping your blood sugar in control.
Hyperglycemia or high sugar levels can be caused by overconsumption of sugary meals, not following the right diabetes diet, not getting using enough insulin or medication, not exercising enough, or taking steroids. On the opposite spectrum, hypoglycaemia can occur when blood sugar levels fall due to fasting or starvation.
Symptoms, complications of blood sugar fluctuation
Lack of fluids and even heat can impact blood sugar levels. Falling short on fluids makes the sugar in your blood more concentrated. The high blood sugar will then cause you to urinate more often, resulting in dehydration.
Heat can also be a factor that affects blood sugar levels. “Some may see their blood sugar spike in hot days, because the unpleasant conditions put extra stress on their system. Others may experience the opposite effect where high temperatures cause blood vessels to dilate, which enhances insulin absorption and potentially leads to low blood sugar,” says Dr Roshani Gadge, Diabetologist consultant, Gadge Diabetes Centre.
There are certain risks and potential complications to having persistently high or low blood sugar levels. “Some of the common signs of high blood sugar are increased frequency of passing urine, frequent infections, tiredness, dry skin that can cause itching, and feeling thirsty more often. Low blood sugar levels cause trembling, dizziness, sweating, shaking, a feeling of intense hunger, and irritability,” says Dr Amrapali Patil, a weight management expert.
In type 1 diabetics, diabetic ketoacidosis may result from a lack of insulin. “It causes the sugar to stay in the blood, instead of going into the body cells for energy,” says Dr Gadge. High sugar levels can cause long-term health complications such as heart disease, nerve damage, kidney failure, blindness, damage to the feet leading to amputation, infections of the skin, and problems with the teeth and gums, adds Dr Gadge.
Here are some lifestyle changes that can help you control blood sugar:
• Eat a healthy and balanced diet: Dr Patil suggests that carbohydrate consumption be reduced while sugary drinks and foods be avoided completely. Opt for a balanced diet. “There should be no late-night snacking. Opt for a complete fast once in every 15 days, and you can also go on a fruit diet or juicing once a week to keep sugar levels in check,” she says.
• Limit alcohol and smoking: The liver normally releases stored sugar to counteract falling blood sugar levels. “But if your liver is busy metabolising alcohol, your blood sugar level may not get the boost it needs from your liver. If you smoke, your chance of getting heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and kidney disease is higher,” says Dr Gadge.
• Exercise regularly: “An active lifestyle helps you control diabetes by bringing down your blood sugar. It also lowers your chances of getting heart disease. Plus, it can help you lose extra pounds and ease stress,” says Dr Gadge. Opt for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise like walking, jogging, or swimming 5 days a week. You can also break up the exercise in chunks of 10 minutes, she suggests.
• Manage your stress: When you’re stressed, the hormones your body produces in response to prolonged stress may cause a rise in blood sugar levels, says Dr Gadge. Stress may make it tougher to follow your usual diabetes management routine.
• Go for regular check-ups: Regular check-up can decrease your chances of having complications.
• Get enough sleep: “Make you don’t stay up late in the night. Get an adequate 7-8 hours of sleep every night,” says Dr Patil.