Blood sugar

Blood sugar spikes – signs and 6 lifestyle changes

“Your blood sugar is high and you need to change your lifestyle drastically.” These are the dreadful words many people hear from their doctors.

For some, it has reached the point where they depend on Metformin, insulin injection, extreme exercise, and a tasteless diet.

Other people who catch the blood sugar spikes long before a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, may or may not do something about it.

This article is for persons who wish to make changes to their lifestyle to prevent persistent high blood sugar levels which leads to the damaging effects of type 2 diabetes.

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Signs that your blood sugar may be high

Long before persons lose their legs or go into a diabetic coma, there are several signs that tell them something is wrong.

If you feel extremely thirsty all the time no matter how much liquids you drink then you should check your blood sugar regularly.

Blurry vision is another sign of high blood sugar so getting new glasses may not be necessary.

Gaining excessive weight is another very good reason to have your blood sugar tested throughout the day.

If you feel lazy, weak and tired all the time, then buy yourself a blood glucose self-monitor and see what is going on with you.

If your blood sugar is a little higher than it should be and you are not yet diagnosed as diabetic, then you should make a few lifestyle changes before it is too late.

Lifestyle changes to maintain proper blood sugar levels

Achieve your ideal Body Mass Index BMI

Know your weight and height, and calculate your ideal Body Mass Index (BMI) to start reducing your blood sugar levels. This is a person’s weight in kilogrammes (or pounds) divided by the square of height in metres (or feet). 

A high BMI can indicate high body fatness which can lead to high blood sugar levels and other health issues. For type 2 diabetes, this includes being overweight or obese (having a body mass index – BMI – of 30 or greater).

Obesity is believed to account for 80-85% of the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while recent research suggests that obese people are up to 80 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with a BMI of less than 22.

You can simply search the internet with your measurements along with the acronym BMI to see your ideal results. For example, you can search – BMI weight 120 lbs height 5’3″ – and the results will show your ideal BMI is 21.2.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Trusted Source categorises as follows:

  • A BMI of less than 18.5 suggests underweight.
  • A BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 suggests a healthy weight range.
  • A BMI of between 25 and 29.9 may indicate overweight.
  • A BMI of 30 or higher may indicate obesity.

However, the CDC also notes that BMI does not assess an individual’s body composition or their health. Use this a guide to make better life choices.

Eat less sugars and carbs, more proteins and veggies

Look at what you eat carefully and cut your sugars and carbohydrates in half. This means to eat less breads, pastries, rice, ground provisions, and use little or no sugar in your tea and drinks.

If you are accustomed to eating four slices of bread for breakfast, then try two slices but with more protein and fibre in the middle.

For lunch, try less rice or pasta with more peas, meats, and vegetables on your plate. By adding more legumes, protein and vegetables to your meals that have less carbohydrates, you can feel full while keeping your blood sugar right where it should be.

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Don’t over eat

Another trick to reduce your blood sugar daily is to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. It’s up to you to monitor your glucose levels one to two hours after eating to keep track of your body’s response to different foods.

Forget about eating three large meals and snacks in between. The advice to “eat less more often” or “cut out breakfast” is a persistent myth. While you are cutting your sugars and carbs in half for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can have snacks in between, but don’t overdo it.

Healthy snacks consist of crackers and cheese or peanut butter, yogurt, cereal, milkshake, and fruits. If you must have ice-cream, cake, cookies or anything with loads of sugar, then snack on a pinch of sugary foods per day and try diabetic recipes.

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Move your body more often than usual

Physical activity can lower your blood glucose up to 24 hours or more after your workout by making your body more sensitive to insulin.

Common activities to keep your body moving for 30 minutes straight are joining a gym, making laps around your block, or actively working out in front your TV or computer.

Some people may dread the term ‘exercise’ so they may do something that does not feel like exercise but moves your body more often than usual. They start a home garden, do some landscaping around the yard, learn to dance, or play a sport.

The more you move the less likely your blood sugar increases. The best part of moving your body more often is that you can actually eat and drink a pinch more of the sugary stuff that you wish to enjoy.

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Get quality sleep

Multiple studies have shown that repeated awakenings during the night, insufficient sleep, excessive sleep, and irregular sleep all promote glucose intolerance. Furthermore, if a person has prediabetes or diabetes, poor sleep will worsen the condition.

It is very common for persons to lack sleep when their busy schedules allow little time for proper rest. Making the lifestyle change to give yourself at least 8 hours of undisturbed quality sleep will improve your health drastically.

Talk to your family members about giving you some space. Take a warm bath. Make your surroundings clean, cool and comfortable. Play relaxing sounds with headphones if your environment is too noisy. Practise deep breathing. Get the quality sleep you deserve to keep your blood sugar low.

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Reduce stress to reduce blood sugar levels

Stress releases certain hormones, which can make it more difficult for insulin to work properly, resulting in a spike in blood sugar. If you have persistent high blood sugar levels, check your stress levels.

There is no standardised way to check your stress levels but there are signs that can tell you if you are stressed. You can monitor your blood pressure and heart rate levels for unusual readings.

You may find it hard to make decisions, concentrate, or remember things. If you constantly worry or have feelings of dread, snap at people, bite your nails, pick at or itch your skin, or grind your teeth or clench your jaw, then you may be stressed.

Maintain your blood sugar levels by reducing your stress levels. Practise deep breathing, do yoga, listen to music, meditate, sleep deeply, do something fun, get a massage, or change your response to the situation that is making you feel stressed.

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