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Diabetes-Related High and Low Blood Sugar Levels - Prevention

Take steps to control your blood sugar level

Although high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) have very different symptoms and treatments, they are both caused by blood sugar and insulin imbalances. The steps you take to control your blood sugar level will help prevent both high and low blood sugar levels.

Be sure to have identification that says you have diabetes, such as a medical alert bracelet camera.gif, with you at all times. This will help other people take steps to care for you if you are not able tell them about your medical condition.

You can take steps to prevent high and low blood sugar emergencies.

  • Follow your treatment plan.
  • Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly to detect early changes before an emergency develops. Treat your symptoms of high or low blood sugar quickly to prevent more problems.
  • Control your stress to actionset.gif prevent your blood sugar level from increasing slowly over several days.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink. Do not drink alcohol if you have problems recognizing the early signs of low blood sugar.
  • Take precautions when you are driving and do not drive if your blood sugar is below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

Monitoring and controlling blood sugar levels

Use home blood sugar tests to determine whether your blood sugar is in your target range. Work with your doctor to set your individual treatment goals. If you can consistently maintain this level of control, you will have very few blood sugar level emergencies.

Parents can help their actionset.gif child learn how to prevent low blood sugar levels and actionset.gif high blood sugar levels.

Control stress

No matter how skilled you are at monitoring and controlling your blood sugar levels, you are still at risk for high or low blood sugar levels that are brought on by stressful situations. Stress can affect your body's blood sugar levels in two ways:

  • It changes the way your body uses insulin, which is mostly a problem for people with type 2 diabetes.
  • It can cause you to change the way you take care of yourself, a problem for all people with diabetes.

Stress can be both mental and physical. Some examples of stress include an illness, a bad day at work, and a tough problem at home. When you are under stress, your blood sugar levels change. For more information, see the topic Stress Management.

Blood sugar levels and exercise

You can keep your blood sugar levels under control when you exercise, so that you do not become too hungry or make your blood sugar level drop. There are two ways to keep your blood sugar levels under control:

  1. At the meal before your planned exercise, you can take less insulin, OR
  2. Before you exercise, eat some carbohydrate.

Keep a quick-sugar food with you during exercise in case your blood sugar level drops low.

Vaccinations

Your doctor may recommend that you get vaccinations, such as a flu(What is a PDF document?) vaccine or pneumococcal vaccine, to prevent you from those illnesses.

Other places to get help

The American Diabetes Association has a lot of information on diabetes and can link you to support groups. For more information, call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or see the organization's website: www.diabetes.org/home.

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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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