When you've been diligent about following doctor's orders for your diabetes and still have high blood sugar levels, it's time to do some investigation. Blood sugar levels that won't come down mean there are reasons that need to be uncovered.
5 Reasons Why Blood Sugar Stays High
Here are five reasons why your blood sugar levels may be too high:
- You forgot to take your medication.
- You are ill or have an infection.
- You're exercising less than usual.
- Your insulin levels are low, and you have been doing strenuous exercise.
- You ate too many carbohydrates and/or sugary foods or foods that are high Glycemic Index.
Immediate Things To Do When Blood Sugar Won't Come Down.
With Type 1 diabetes, high blood sugar levels, especially >250 mg/dl, mean it's time to test for ketones in the urine. Don't wait to take the test. If they are high, you are in ketosis. Call your doctor.
Exercising will not burn up the ketones. Drinking more water will help temporarily until you know what your doctor wants you to do. Continue taking blood sugar readings every half hour to inform your doctor of your progress.
Risks Of High Blood Sugar
When your blood sugar levels are too high for too long, the sugar deposits itself somewhere inside the body. If it deposits itself in your eye, your vision will worsen, as the sugar can form cataracts.
If some of the excess blood sugar deposits in your nerves, it will cause or worsen peripheral neuropathy. If the nerves to the penis are taking up some of that excess blood sugar, it will become more and more difficult to have erections, including morning erections.
The excessively high blood sugar levels will also interfere with your immune system because sugar feeds bacteria, viruses, and fungi that cause disease. This results in cuts and sores that seem to take forever to heal. You may also notice vaginal infections or urinary tract infections more often than usual.
While the high levels of sugar are circulating in your body, they are being filtered as best they can by your kidneys. However, the excess is putting far too much stress and strain on your kidneys and can damage them. When this happens, it may become possible for you to lose protein through your kidneys. This is seen in the urine on urine tests where there will be a 1+ or 2+ for protein in the urine.
Long Term Resolutions Doctor Might Suggest
Changing your diet is one of the best long-term resolutions to having high blood sugar levels. Your body actually wants to change and be healthy, and your cells cry out for help from you. Your body was made wonderfully and had the capability to reverse illnesses to a large degree – but you have to help it do this.
Limiting your carbohydrate intake to one starchy food (preferably not wheat) per meal such as ½ cup black beans or lentils, ½ cup yam, two small red potatoes (cold), 1/3 cup chickpeas, or ½ acorn squash is a big key to keeping blood sugar levels lower, yet not too low.
Of course, this starchy food is not your only food for the meal. It's balanced with 4-5 ounces of protein (depending on your meal plan) and a whole half plate of non-starchy vegetables with sugar-free dressing.
Option to Discuss with Your Physician
Some doctors that are integrated care practitioners or functional medicine specialists may recommend Type 2 diabetics add 1/8 to ¼ cup of nopal (cactus pad) at a meal. This is a recommendation that has been made at some First Nation hospitals for Native American Indians who are diabetic and have exceptionally high blood sugar levels. Cactus leaves are indigenous food for this population.
If you decide to do this, monitor your blood sugar levels more closely, as cactus is quite effective at lowering blood sugar level.
One study on the effect of nopal on blood sugar levels tested its effect on those with type 2 diabetes. The addition of the nopal to the meal lowered the need for insulin and also reduced the after-meal peaks of blood sugar at 30 and 45 minutes.
Korean scientists determined how cactus works in the body. Cactus inhibits glucose absorption from the intestine and enhances glucose uptake from insulin-sensitive muscle cells through the AMPK/p38 MAPK signaling pathway in the body.
If you add cactus to your meal, don't be overzealous about it.
Lopez-Romero, P., et al. The effect of nopal (Opuntia ficus indica) on postprandial blood glucose, incretins, and antioxidant activity in Mexican patients with type 2 diabetes after consumption of two different composition breakfasts. J Acad Nutr Diet 2014 Nov;114(11):1811-8.
Leem, K.H., et al. Hypoglycemic effect of Opuntia ficus-indica var. saboten is due to enhanced peripheral glucose uptake through activation of the AMPK/p38 MAPK pathway. Nutrients 2016 Dec 9;8(12).
Sobieraj, D.M., and Freyer, C.W. Probable hypoglycemic adverse drug reaction associated with prickly pear cactus, glipizide, and metformin in a patient with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Ann Pharmacother 2010 Jul-Aug;44(708):1334-7.
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