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Brittle Diabetes: Cause For Blood Sugar Fluctuations

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The most tedious aspect a diabetic or non-diabetic person could have is unexplained fluctuation or spikes in blood glucose levels. These fluctuations or swings in blood glucose levels are known as glycemic variability. The condition, also known as unstable or labile diabetes, is typically diagnosed in people with type 1 diabetes. Untreated out-of-range blood glucose levels can have severe short and long-term health consequences. Brittle diabetes, or fluctuations in blood sugar levels, can occur for various reasons. However, it eventually leads to hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels).

Insulin and glucagon are hormones secreted by the pancreas that regulate blood sugar levels. The human body requires blood glucose levels to remain within an ideal range, which gets regarded as an essential parameter for overall health. However, achieving and maintaining healthy glucose levels is difficult for people with diabetes. In addition, unexplained fluctuations in blood sugar levels might lead to severe health complications, including chronic kidney diseases, visual impairment, peripheral neuropathy, and more.

The HealthifyPro, with its 5-stage support, can provide excellent assistance. It allows you to understand your lifestyle, track your daily intake of calories, and make real-time changes to achieve optimal performance. The Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) continuously monitors glucose levels and fluctuations. Furthermore, highly qualified experts analyse this data and provide personalised diet recommendations. As a result, the HealthifyPro will help you manage your blood sugar levels more effectively.

Glucose Homeostasis: Regulation of Blood Glucose Level

Carbohydrate-rich foods, such as bread and pasta, contribute significantly to blood glucose levels. Glucose fuels the cells that provide energy for movement, thought, learning, and breathing. The cells in the body, particularly the brain cells, use half of all energy from glucose stored in the body.

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas. It is responsible for moving sugar into cells to fuel them as energy cells, ensuring glucose homeostasis. However, if your body does not produce enough or use insulin correctly, your blood sugar level can become too low or too high, resulting in serious health problems.

According to studies, smaller fluctuations in blood sugar levels are normal because they vary throughout the day due to activity, diet, and other factors. But, non-diabetics typically experience fewer spikes than people with diabetes because the sugar level in the blood gets carefully regulated by the body’s natural function and insulin secretion.

Diabetic Chart: Normal Blood Glucose Range

It is crucial to monitor blood sugar levels daily to treat the condition early and avoid long-term health complications.

The normal glucose values include:

  • Non-diabetic individuals: Fasting (70-99 mg/dl) and 1 to 2 hours of meals (<140 mg/dl)
  • Diabetes patients: Fasting (80-130 mg/dl) and 1 to 2 hours after a meal (<180 mg/dl)

Note: Normal blood sugar might vary due to a person’s age, weight, gender, and other factors.

Symptoms of Unstable Blood Glucose Level

Listed below are some early signs and symptoms that indicate an unexplained increase or decrease in blood glucose level.

  • Dizziness or feeling light-headedness
  • Extreme weakness
  • Irritability
  • Excess hunger or increased thirst
  • Anxiety
  • Dry skin or other skin problems
  • Troubled sleeping pattern
  • Severe headaches
  • Frequent urination
  • Uncontrollable or involuntary trembling of hands
  • Blurred vision
  • Seizures
  • Clumsiness or coordination issues
  • Nausea or vomiting

The HealthifyMe Note

Out-of-range blood glucose levels that go untreated can have severe short and long-term health consequences. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels occur due to various defined or unknown causes, eventually resulting in either hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. Blood glucose levels in the human body must remain within an ideal range, which gets regarded as an essential parameter for overall health. The HealthifyPro can provide excellent assistance in helping you to manage your blood sugar levels more effectively.

Significance of Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Regular exercise, eating meals on time, and eating complex carbohydrate food sources like whole grains will help maintain a healthy blood glucose level. 

Your blood glucose levels can fluctuate throughout the day due to your meals or exercises. However, extreme fluctuations or swings in blood glucose levels may result in physical ailments such as chronic kidney diseases, hypertension, and even diabetic coma. Furthermore, it will cause emotional disturbances, including depression, agitation, irritation, lack of energy, fatigue, and uncontrollable temper or anger. Continuous fluctuation also causes oral problems, such as cavities, breaking of teeth into small pieces, gum infections, and severe tooth loss.

Discussing the daily diet and medications with the healthcare professional will effectively aid in tackling any new factors causing a notable spike in blood glucose levels. In addition, expert nutritionists can provide you with a well-crafted diet plan to help manage diabetes and prevent fluctuations. But, before getting into treatment and prevention, it is vital to understand the causes of blood glucose fluctuations.

12 Reasons for Blood Sugar Swings and Fluctuations

Several factors influence blood glucose levels, including the type of food consumed. As a result, to avoid unnecessary complications, it is critical to investigate the factors that cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels. 

1. Stress

According to a survey, stress is a significant cause of blood sugar swings and fluctuations. Stress causes the body to produce cortisol, a hormone that increases breathing and heart rate. When the body gets subjected to chronic stress, it produces more cortisol, and the higher serum cortisol levels cause the body to secrete less insulin. Besides acute stress, long-term mental health issues such as anxiety and depression complicate insulin and blood sugar attribution.

2. Alcohol

Research shows that alcohol can contribute to diabetes, weight gain, or obesity in some people. Alcohol can impair the liver’s ability to release glucose into the bloodstream. As a result, the initial spike will be significantly low, causing hypoglycemia in people with insulin-controlled diabetes.

3. Medications

Other than diabetes medications, certain medications can raise blood sugar levels. For example, taking prescribed medicines for a cold might increase the sugar levels further due to sugar and alcohol. In addition, corticosteroids, used to treat inflammatory diseases, can cause blood sugar and blood pressure to rise. At the same time, the consumption of antidepressants and antihistamines will affect body weight, ultimately raising blood sugar levels.

4. Hormones

Your hormones also play a role in blood sugar imbalance. For example, women experience sudden and short-term spikes in blood glucose levels due to hormones released during menstruation or pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is the condition of having high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. 

5. Irregular Blood Sugar Test

Fluctuation in blood glucose levels can often go unnoticed. Hence, it becomes challenging to detect an unhealthy state before it gets late. Therefore, regular blood glucose monitoring is crucial to managing blood glucose fluctuations. Consider keeping a regular log of your blood glucose levels. It will provide a more comprehensive picture of the blood sugar than a single reading.

6. Illness

Acute illnesses such as colds, flu, and infections are physical stressors that cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Physical stress, use of medications, the impact of illness, and other aspects such as lack of sleep, improper diet, and hydration also contribute to varying blood glucose levels.

7. Artificial Sweeteners

According to reports, many sugar-free soft drinks harm insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels. It’s because of artificial sweeteners commonly found in soft drinks or beverages. Though these sweeteners do not have an immediate effect on blood glucose levels, regular and excessive consumption may have an impact on glucose metabolism.

8. Caffeine

Coffee may be beneficial in preventing diabetes. However, excessive caffeine intake significantly raises glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Although the subject requires more research, it is best to limit caffeine consumption.

9. High GI Foods

The glycemic index determines how quickly a food raises our blood sugar levels. The food gets measured on a scale of zero to 100. Foods with a high glycemic index, or GI, digest and absorb quickly, resulting in a rapid rise in blood sugar. These high-GI foods are frequently (but not always) high in processed carbohydrates and sugars.

Foods high in glycemic index cause rapid blood sugar spikes. Hence, eating high-GI foods like potatoes, sugary beverages, sweets, white rice, refined products, white bread, sweetcorn, carrots, etc., increases a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes and other health concerns. 

10. Exercise

Research reveals that exercise significantly benefits blood sugar levels because it keeps up with the circadian rhythm and natural energy level. While exercising, muscles use energy in the form of glucose. Therefore, exercise reduces the risk of high glucose levels or diabetes. It also burns calories and prevents its storage as fats in the body. As a result, it prevents obesity, which is also a cause of type 2 diabetes.

11. Sports or Energy Drinks

The primary benefit of sports or energy drinks is to hydrate individuals, especially athletes. However, these beverages are loaded with glucose to provide instant energy. It can benefit professional athletes because they burn calories due to constant physical activity. However, it is not healthy for people with limited physical activity. Even though sports drinks are suitable for workouts, people with diabetes should avoid them. Drinking plain water is preferable to a sports drink. In addition, patients diagnosed with diabetes can drink coconut water, a natural healthy sports drink.

12. Canned or Dried Fruits

Canned or dried fruits and vegetables are high in salt and sugar. These canned products are typically high in concentrated sugar. It increases the risks associated with diabetes. Dried fruits are very nutritious; however, diabetic patients should avoid them because they are high in sugar. People with diabetes must consume whole fresh fruits to manage blood sugar effectively.

The HealthifyMe Note

Several factors influence blood glucose levels. Therefore, it is crucial to examine the factors that cause blood sugar fluctuations in terms of minimising complications. Some factors that affect blood sugar fluctuations include chronic stress, excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, dehydration, and certain drugs and medicines. Moreover, canned products or dried fruits and vegetables contain excessive salt and sugar, which leads to high blood sugar. 

People who have diabetes must avoid energy or sports drinks. In addition, foods high in glycemic index and artificial sweeteners can lead to high glucose levels. Therefore, regularly monitoring blood glucose levels is vital, as it helps manage blood glucose fluctuations. 

Ways to Manage the Fluctuating Blood Sugar Levels

Uncontrolled or extreme fluctuations in blood sugar levels might affect an individual’s long-term well-being. Hence, it is vital to know the effective ways and precautionary measures to prevent blood glucose swings. 

  • Drink a lot of water to maintain the hydration level and to help the body get rid of excess glucose and toxins through urine.
  • Consume whole, low-GI, and low-sugar-containing foods that are processed to minimal levels to maintain an optimal glucose range.
  • Choose the right foods and the perfect portion sizes, filled with fruits, veggies, lean meats, and protein sources like beans, lentils, nuts, and more. 
  • Counting carbs in the diet and avoiding sugar is an effective tool for meal planning and keeping blood sugar levels within a healthy range.
  • Practice mindfulness through regular exercises, yoga, or medication to ensure a controlled blood sugar level. 
  • Regularly monitor blood glucose levels, and observe the fluctuations that occur in response to diet, exercise, and medications. Continuous monitoring of blood glucose levels will help prevent diabetic complications such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and many more. 
  • Exercise is a crucial factor in managing blood sugar levels. 
  • Maintaining a healthy weight will help in reducing the complications of diabetes. 
  • It is crucial to follow the instructions of a health professional.  

The HealthifyMe Note

Some effective ways and precautionary measures to prevent blood glucose fluctuations include drinking adequate water, consuming whole fruits and complex carbs, adhering to the rules of portion control, and cutting processed refined, sugary, and high-GI foods. Furthermore, monitoring blood glucose levels aids in better understanding and managing blood sugar fluctuations and preventing future complications. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and following a healthcare professional’s instructions all help improve blood glucose levels.

Summary

Diabetes is a growing health concern worldwide. The scale might baffle if the person is taking medications or dietary guidelines. However, experiencing such lows and highs for an extended period may lead to diabetes complications. Understanding the unknown causes of blood sugar fluctuations can help you make healthier choices. It also aids in the detection of warning signs.

Several factors influence your blood sugar levels. These factors include what you eat, when you eat, physical activity, stress, sleep, illness, etc. Therefore, a healthy diet and lifestyle modifications in daily life can aid in maintaining ideal blood sugar levels and effectively control unexpected fluctuations.

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