Dealing with blood sugar spikes

My experience with sudden high blood sugar has, fortunately, been minimal. When my doctor noticed elevated blood sugar levels in a blood test associated with my annual physical, he sent me for a glucose tolerance test at a local lab. The solution I drank quickly shot my blood sugar up over 300 mg/dL, and I experienced nausea, headache, and clamminess. In fact, I had to go to a back room in the lab and lie down until the level dropped. It was not a pleasant experience. Fortunately, that was the one and only time that I can recall my blood sugar being that high.

Causes of blood sugar spikes

When I was first learning to control my carbohydrate intake, I had a few instances of sudden blood sugar spikes after meals, but nowhere near the 300 mark. I could usually correlate the numbers on the glucose meter to the type and amount of food I had consumed. It was a good feedback mechanism. Other instances have occurred due to illness or medication. Steroids, in particular, tend to raise the blood sugar, as I found out when I was hospitalized with pneumonia. I also had cortisone injections in my knees on a few occasions, and they always caused my blood sugar to spike.

When I took diabetic education classes, I learned that illness and stress can also cause sudden rise in blood sugar. The instructor recommended more frequent testing during an illness in order to keep the numbers in the proper range. The body is a complex mechanism, and diabetes just adds another obstacle to keeping it running right. When you are under stress, your body triggers a number of responses: adrenaline production, tightening of the muscles, and elevated blood sugar for explosive energy if needed. By reducing stress through relaxation exercises I learned years ago from a biofeedback practitioner, I have been able to keep stress from causing my sudden rises in blood sugar.

My advice to anyone who experiences blood sugar spikes is to avoid carbohydrates that the body absorbs rapidly. Balance your meals with protein and fiber, both of which slow the rate of digestion and allow the blood sugar to rise slowly so that your medication or natural insulin production can keep up with it. Avoid stress, and keep a close watch on your blood sugar when you are ill or taking a new medication.

About Roger Diez

Roger Diez was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in September 2008. He subsequently lost 40 pounds and is now happy to share he is off medication and controls his diabetes through diet and exercise.

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