Easy Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar, Say Physicians
High blood sugar—also known as hyperglycemia—happens when the body has too little insulin. Closely linked to diabetes, untreated hyperglycemia can lead to heart attack, stroke, and nerve damage. "The basic defect in all patients with diabetes is the decreased ability of insulin to induce cells of the body to remove glucose (sugar) molecules from the blood," says James Norman, MD, FACS, FACE. "Whether this decreased insulin activity is due to a decreased amount of insulin produced (type 1 diabetes), or from the insensitivity of the cells to a normal amount of insulin (type 2 diabetes), the results are the same: blood glucose levels which are too high." Here are five easy ways to lower your blood sugar, according to doctors. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Changing Your Diet Can Change Your Blood Sugar
If you want to lower your blood sugar fast, eating a healthy, balanced diet is a no-brainer. "A healthy diet and proper meal planning can help you avoid hyperglycemia," says Amy Hess-Fischl, MS, RD, LDN, BC-ADM, CDCES. "This includes eating often, watching intake of sugar and carbohydrates, limiting use of alcohol, and eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit and whole grains. If you are having difficulty planning meals, talk to your doctor or dietitian."
Did you know stress can prevent your blood sugar from staying at a healthy range? "For people with diabetes, stress management isn't just about finding ways to relax, it's also about managing blood glucose levels," advises the American Diabetes Association. "Your body makes stress hormones when under stress. These hormones can make your blood glucose go up, making diabetes harder to manage. Stress can also affect your blood glucose numbers in other ways: it can make it harder to focus on your diabetes care. You may eat too much or not enough, avoid exercise, or forget to take your medicines. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your blood glucose levels don't stay in your target range. You're not alone."
There is plenty of evidence showing that losing weight can positively impact blood sugar—and for diabetics, the more weight lost, the higher the chance of diabetes remission (one study showed 86% remission for those who lost more than 33 lbs!). "Our findings suggest that even if you have had type 2 diabetes for 6 years, putting the disease into remission is feasible," says Michael Lean, MD. "In contrast to other approaches, we focus on the need for long-term maintenance of weight loss through diet and exercise and encourage flexibility to optimize individual results."
"Regular exercise is important (even if you don't have diabetes)," says Hess-Fischl. "Maintaining a healthy level of activity can help you keep your blood glucose level in a normal range. However, if you develop hyperglycemia and/or ketones are present in your urine, don't exercise. Hyperglycemia and/or ketones in the urine mean exercise will cause your blood glucose to rise higher."
Monitor Blood Sugar Levels
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, it is important to keep track of your blood sugar levels. "For people with diabetes, a major goal of therapy is to keep the blood sugar close to the normal range. This helps to prevent symptoms and complications, prolong life, and improve quality of life," says Robert H. Shmerling, MD. "The development of CGM [continuous glucose monitoring] devices that can frequently and easily monitor blood sugar levels without finger sticks has revolutionized care for millions of people with diabetes. Besides providing results of blood sugar levels, some devices have alarm settings that alert the user, or other people, if blood sugar becomes dangerously low or high. And some systems can transmit results directly to the user's doctor, if desired." And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.