What is the Somogyi Effect?

What is the Somogyi Effect?

 

If you are using insulin to control your diabetes, you need to measure your blood sugar levels throughout the day to determine if you must take insulin. In some cases, you can just eat a quick snack to raise the levels. However, the Somogyi effect occurs when you take insulin before going to sleep. When you wake up, your blood sugar levels are high. 

The Somogyi Theory 

Why does your blood sugar level read high in the morning when you took insulin the night before? It is believed that the Somogyi Effect occurs when the insulin works to lower your blood sugar level too much. The rapid decline triggers a quick release of hormones that end up causing your blood sugar levels to increase. The Somogyi Effect seems far more common in type 1 diabetes sufferers than in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Although, science seems to maintain that the Somogyi Effect is nothing more than hearsay because they do not have the basis for hard evidence, so it remains nothing more than a difficult to explain occurrence and theory.

 

When to Call a Doctor 

Diabetes is a serious and often life-threatening medical condition. If you experience abnormal symptoms, then you must contact your physician right away. If you notice inconsistencies or changes in your blood sugar levels, you should reach out to your doctor and schedule a full exam.

Symptoms of the Somogyi Effect

The main symptom of the Somogyi Effect is that you wake up with high blood sugar. However, during the night, you might notice that you start breaking out in unexplained night sweats. 

Additional symptoms of the Somogyi Effect include: 

  • Increased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Blurred vision, 
  • Waking up with a headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision 
  • Thirst 

Possible Causes of the Somogyi Effect

If you suffer from diabetes, then you probably use insulin injections to help manage and maintain your blood sugar levels. If you enjoyed an excessive amount of insulin or you head to bed without eating your nightly snack, then your blood sugar will start to lower when you sleep. When your blood sugar lowers, it is called hypoglycemia. In response to hypoglycemia, your body quickly starts to work to release hormones like epinephrine and glucagon to help increase your blood sugar levels. This response is believed to be the underlying cause of the Somogyi Effect and is why many physicians refer to the phenomena as the ‘rebound effect.’ Interestingly, many diabetes sufferers report the Somogyi Effect to their doctors, but science appears to lack any concrete evidence that supports it. 

 

What is the Dawn Phenomenon?

Many people get confused and think that the Dawn Phenomenon is the same as the Somogyi Effect. It is true, both are similar, but they are quite different occurrences. All people experience the Dawn Phenomenon to varying degrees. It is your body’s natural reaction to the hormones that it creates as morning approaches. Hormones such as cortisol, catecholamine, and the growth hormone are all released by the body when it starts to sense that dawn is imminent. 

 

A non-diabetics body uses insulin to control the release of glucose. Still, if you have diabetes, then your body fails to make enough insulin to slow the release of glucose so your blood sugar levels will start to increase. 

Testing and Diagnosing the Somogyi Effect 

If you suspect that you are experiencing the Somogyi Effect, you will want to test it. It is going to take consistent testing for several nights consecutively. 

 

It is imperative that you test your blood sugar level before bed. Then you need to set the alarm, so you wake up at about 3 am to test your blood sugar level again. If you notice that your blood glucose level is low when you check it, then you are probably experiencing the Somogyi Effect

 

You might want to consult with your doctor about using a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system. Your physician will place a tiny glucose sensor right under your skin’s surface. It automatically sends information to a monitoring device that will then accurately track your glucose levels so you can see when they or high or low. This is a great way to keep an eye on the levels while you sleep so you can try to figure out if you are experiencing the Somogyi Effect.

How to Control the Somogyi Effect

The number one way to control and prevent the Somogyi effect is to gain control of your blood sugar levels, so they remain stable. This means that you will need to undertake an effective blood glucose management protocol. If you cannot seem to manage your blood sugar levels, then you will need to talk with your physician to figure out an effective treatment plan so you can gain control.

Treatment options include:

  • Lower the dose of insulin right before bed
  • Adjust the time that you administer your insulin. In some cases, you might need to reduce your insulin dose at night to prevent the Somogyi Effect
  • Use a different type of insulin
  • Eat a snack every evening while taking your insulin dosage
  • Reduce stress
  • Exercise
  • Makes sure that you are getting enough sleep, so you feel rejuvenated when you wake up

At Pip Lancets, we know your dedication towards monitoring your blood sugar levels and administering insulin when needed. We are here for you with a full line of insulin supplies so you can determine if you are suffering from the Somogyi Effect or something else. Please