Why is it that our bodies have glucose or sugar in our blood naturally, but we end up having to find ways on how to lower blood sugar levels?
Interesting question don’t you think?
I will try to answer that for you in the article below, in the clearest way I can.
When we have the right amount of sugar in our blood it is distributed to give energy to our organs and cells.
When we have an excess of this sugar, problems start to occur and this excess is referred to as hyperglycemia.
Do not confuse hyperglycemia (too much sugar in the blood), with hypoglycemia, which is when the blood sugar levels are too low.
It wasn’t all that long ago that most of us went around happily doing our daily bits, being totally oblivious to the effects that blood sugar levels had on our health.
Now, with the explosion of the type 2 diabetes epidemic, hearing more about it is becoming virtually unavoidable.
Hyperglycemia is becoming a problem for a lot of people, and is something that needs to be addressed and brought under control.
What Is High Blood Sugar - Hyperglycemia?
Hyperglycemia, is a terminology that is used to describe a condition of high blood sugar or glucose, in your blood.
If you have this condition and it continues to be persistent, or chronic, then it’s considered a sure sign of one of the forms of diabetes, either type 1, type 2 or prediabetes.
Just by having an occurrence of hyperglycemia does not necessarily mean a person has diabetes, but it is a good indicator, especially if any tests are showing readings of abnormally high blood glucose levels.
In some cases where hyperglycemia is showing, this could be because of some non-diabetes event, which may be related to various medications being taken.
There are some medicines which can create side effects in a limited number of people which include elevated blood sugar levels.
Severe illness, such as pancreatitis, certain tumours which secrete specific hormones, and Cushing's syndrome or Cushing's disease can also cause high blood sugar levels.
On the plus side, you can lower blood sugar levels with medication and lifestyle changes, as well as taking up smarter eating habits.
What are the Main Causes of Hyperglycemia?
Well without a doubt indulging in too many processed foods definitely makes you a lot more susceptible to having hyperglycemia.
This is basically down to the way junk food is made up.
Nearly all fast foods, processed foods and unnatural manmade foods are extremely high in simple carbohydrates.
When you introduce these into your digestive system, they break down really quickly and enter your bloodstream just as fast, in amounts your body can’t use straight away to utilize for its current energy requirements.
So basically it’s a case of “a bit too much, too soon”.
Because our systems can’t use all the sugar immediately, the body attempts to excrete it or in most cases store it up as fat. And then if we don’t work it all off, we have the added chance of becoming overweight or obese.
Our digestive system is not built to deal with such an assault; it has evolved over time to release its energy slowly, from eating proteins, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates, such as fresh vegetables and fruit.
Complex Carbs V Simple Carbs
When you eat complex carbs vs simple carbs the effects it has is more or less opposite. Complex carbohydrates are a lot more difficult for the body to break down.
Most complex carb foods are good for you, because they contain fibre, nutrients, minerals, enzymes and vitamins; these are foods such as fruits and vegetables.
Berries and nuts are also sources of complex carbs.
There are many foods you can eat and complex carb diet plans you can follow, but they are a whole subject on their own, and I will cover them in other upcoming articles.
6 Other Causes of High Blood Sugar
Apart from not eating the right diet, there are other things that can increase your blood sugar levels, so you need to be aware of these as well. Though you may find there are more causes that could have been added.
These are the most common ones:
Not Getting Enough Sleep
Most of us know that sleep is important for our health and wellbeing, but how much we sleep can also affect how well our body can break down and control our blood sugar.
Stress can contribute towards increasing your blood sugar levels, add the fact that when you are stressed you will be less inclined to monitor or take care of yourself. This can have a compounding effect on your health making things worse.
If You Get Sick
The stress of being ill, such as catching cold or having the flu can release hormones that are there to help fight the illness, but these hormones can in turn have an effect on your blood sugar levels as well.
If You Exercise Less Than Usual
Slacking off on your regular exercise program or stopping it altogether can change sugar levels for you.
If You Develop Any Infections
As with when you get ill, putting undue stress on your immune system will inevitably cause a spike in your blood sugar. More glucose is released into the blood stream as part of the body’s infection fighting defence mechanism.
Eating at the Wrong Times
Grabbing yourself a snack in between meals, especially the wrong kinds of food, will not do your sugar levels any favours to say the least.
How to Lower Blood Sugar Naturally - Without Medication
Whether you have got an existing diabetic condition, are pre-diabetic, or just have elevated blood sugar with no current medical conditions. It is still not good to have high blood sugar levels.
Here are some ways that you can use to help lower your blood sugar naturally:
Control Your Intake of Carbohydrates
Limit or cut out simple carbs, and try your best to replace them with complex carbs.
Increase Your Dietary Fibre
You can slow down the digestion of your carbohydrates as well as the absorption into the blood of sugars by adding fibre to your diet.
Drink Plenty of Water
You want to make sure you are always properly hydrated.
By drinking an adequate daily amount of water, you can help to keep your blood sugars within their healthy range.
An added benefit is keeping your waterworks flowing regularly, therefore helping to keep your kidneys working and also flushing out any excess amounts of blood sugar.
Try to Keep Calm
When I say keep calm, I am referring to keeping your stress levels low.
As I briefly mention earlier, stress can have an effect on your blood sugar levels.
When you become stressed, hormones like cortisol and glucagon are released and these can raise the sugar levels.
Make Sure You Get Enough Shut Eye
Sleep is essential for your overall health and wellbeing, as well as having the benefit of how you are going to start your next day.
I don’t know about you, but if I haven’t had at least 7 hours quality sleep, I am grumpy as anything the following morning.
Lack of sleep can increase the release of the hormone cortisol which as I mentioned above can increase blood sugar levels.
Shed a Few Pounds
If you are carrying a few extra pounds, it might be a good idea to see if you can lose some.
Keeping a healthy weight can not only help to improve your health, but it may also aid in preventing future health issues from occurring.
A healthy weight can also help to keep blood sugar in the healthy range, as well as cut down the risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
Monitor Blood Sugar Levels
It’s important to know whether or not your blood glucose levels are within their healthy range. So a test for blood sugar levels should be part of your monitoring strategy.
You can get a home test for blood sugar levels. Your doctor will be able to advise you on how often you should be doing the checks, and what your target ranges are.
Keeping a track of everything can help you to determine whether you need to make any adjustments to your diet, exercise plan or even medications.
Now you should have a reasonable idea of how to lower blood sugar levels when needed.
Can Exercise Lower Your Blood Sugar?
Exercise is highly recommended for helping to lower high blood sugar levels, yet many people seem to ignore the importance of this.
You even get people who complain about exercise as being a nuisance or a boring chore.
If you if have been told that you have diabetes or any illness that leads you to having a difficulty in controlling your blood sugar levels, exercise will or should be prescribed as part of your treatment plan.
You need to recognize that the exercise recommended is not for the reason of just getting fit, which some people may see no need for.
It really is a necessary process, combined with dietary improvements, that is essential for getting blood sugar down to below dangerous levels, and keeping them there.
Exercise is How to Lower Blood Sugar Fast
In most cases, an individual’s blood sugar level drops right after any exercise or physical activity.
This is in effect one way to answer a common question which is how to lower blood sugar fast.
And this can sometimes continue for up to the following 24 hours plus.
This post exercise hypoglycemia is referred to as the “lag effect”.
While you are exercising, your muscles will start to have an increased sensitivity to insulin while making the body more capable of absorbing glucose, so there will be less sugar left to circulate within the bloodstream.
The Effect on Your Body during Exercise
During your exercise session, the body’s free fatty acids and sugar will be utilized as fuel for generating the energy needed for your physical exertion.
The sugar that is being used as fuel comes from the liver, muscles and blood.
Glycogen is the term which is used to describe sugar that has been stored by the body in the liver and muscles.
The body uses glycogen within the first 15 minutes of exercise, but after 30 minutes the body will then start resourcing its fuel from the free fatty acids or “fats” for energy.
This is how exercise reduces the body’s sugar and glycogen stores, and how you get to have lower blood glucose readings after exercise.
How Your Body Reacts to Exercise
You should be aware of how your body reacts to exercise as the response will vary from one person to another.
Each different physical activity could have a varied effect on your blood glucose level.
The amount of time you spend on a certain physical activity is also another important factor to consider when measuring your blood glucose level.
Regular testing of your blood sugar levels before, during and after exercise will help you see the pattern of your blood glucose fluctuations.
You can then give this information to your doctor so they can determine the best exercise treatment plan to help you better manage your blood sugar levels.
Don’t Overdo it at the Start
It is important to check with your doctor before you start with any physical activity if you have any medical condition, or are taking any medications.
You can also consult with a fitness expert who can help you design a specific fitness program to suit your individual needs.
Always remember that whatever type of exercise you choose, you should not overdo it, especially at the start.
Exercising will mean doing more physical activity than you currently do.
If you have a sedentary lifestyle, you can just start with simple short walks.
If you are overweight you do not want to be putting any sudden stress on your system.
Aim to increase your heart rate but not so much as to become totally out of breath.
Begin slowly and then increase speed and distance as you are able.
Again, just to reiterate it is important to consult with your doctor if you have any doubt as to how your body responds to any treatment, including exercise.