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Diabetes-Related High and Low Blood Sugar Levels - Home Treatment

Manage your blood sugar level

When you have diabetes, whether it is type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes, one of the most important skills you will learn is how to manage your blood sugar level.

Following your doctor's instructions on the use of insulin or diabetes medicines, diet, and exercise will help you avoid blood sugar problems. You will learn to recognize the symptoms and distinguish between high and low blood sugar levels. It may be hard for a parent of a young child to distinguish the difference between high and low blood sugar symptoms in a child.

When you have learned to recognize high or low blood sugar levels, you can take the appropriate steps to bring your blood sugar level back to your target blood sugar levels.

People who keep their blood sugar levels under control with diet, exercise, or oral diabetes medicines are less likely to have problems with high or low blood sugar levels. Do not drink alcohol if you have problems recognizing the early signs of low blood sugar.

Learn how to deal with high blood sugar levels

Be sure to know the steps for dealing with high blood sugar and how fast your insulin medicine will work to bring your blood sugar down. Some insulins work very fast while regular insulin takes a little longer to bring the sugar level down. Knowing how fast your insulin works will keep you from using too much too quickly.

Learn how to deal with low blood sugar levels

Because you have diabetes and can have low blood sugar levels, you need to keep some type of food with you at all times that can quickly raise your blood sugar level. These should be quick-sugar foods (about 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrate) that puts glucose into your bloodstream in about 5 minutes. Any quick-sugar food on this list will raise your blood sugar about 30 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) in about 15 to 20 minutes. Be sure to check your blood sugar level again 15 minutes after eating a quick-sugar (carbohydrate) food to make sure your level is getting back to your target range. When your blood sugar gets to 70 mg/dL or higher, you can eat your normal meals and snacks.

Foods to help raise blood sugar1, 2, 3
FoodAmount
Glucose tablets 3–4 tablets
Glucose gel 1 tube
Table sugar 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons)
Fruit juice or regular soda pop ½–¾ cup (4–6 ounces)
Fat-free milk 1 cup (8 ounces)
Honey1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons)
Jellybeans10–15
Raisins 2 tablespoons
Gum drops 10
Candy like Life Savers5–7 pieces
Hard candy (like Jolly Rancher)3 pieces

It is important to know that sugar foods like a candy bar or ice cream do not help raise low blood sugar levels quickly, because these foods also have fat and protein. So the body can't use the sugar (carbohydrate) in these foods quickly to raise the blood sugar level.

1|2

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 15, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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