There is no permanent cure for diabetes. However, diabetic patients can manage the disease effectively and stay healthy by continuous monitoring of blood sugar levels.
Elevated blood sugar levels in the body (known as hyperglycaemia) and low blood sugar levels (hypoglycaemia) can damage the internal system leading to a host of various health problems.
Hence, it is important to manage blood sugar levels in the body. As mentioned, regular monitoring of blood sugar can help diabetic patients to keep the diabetes in check.
However, before they start to manage their disease, diabetic patients should know about factors that affect their blood sugar levels.
- Food and hydration
When you are diabetic, you need to know the effect of food and hydration on blood sugar levels.
- Consumption: you may consume diet drinks and artificial sweeteners assuming it is safe for diabetic patients. On the contrary, studies have shown that consuming diet drinks and artificial sweeteners often cause increased blood sugar and insulin levels.
- Hydration: Dehydration results in high blood sugar levels due to the concentrated sugar in the system. But for a diabetic patient, this can also work in reverse; increased blood sugar can lead to excess urination thus making the person dehydrated.
Diabetic patients are advised to manage blood sugar levels by consuming unsweetened drinks and drinking 8 cups of water every day.
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- Physical activity and exercise
Regular physical exercise can help the body to utilize insulin effectively. However, a diabetic person should stay away from strenuous workout sessions which may lead to low blood sugar levels resulting in Hypoglycaemia.
People with diabetes can still reap the benefits of exercising by sticking to light and moderate physical activities. Diabetics should also try to avoid using the hot tub or sauna soon after the workout sessions. If possible, they should avoid working out in late evenings.
Over the counter drugs that are used to treat common cold and other ailments can make the blood sugar levels fluctuate. Some of the drugs are:
- Few diuretics
- Birth control pills
These drugs can increase the blood sugar level. A few other drugs can also decrease the blood sugar level. To avoid fluctuations in blood sugar levels, diabetic patients are advised to consult with their doctors before taking a new medication.
Studies have shown that sleepless nights can induce severe stress on the body, and this can lead to a spike in blood sugar level. “Sleep is restorative” in nature, and getting enough sleep and rest can help diabetic patients to keep their blood sugar levels in check.
- Menstruation and Menopause
- Diabetes can be very difficult for women. Along with uncomfortable cramps and PMS, a woman’s blood sugar level can be affected by hormones released during the premenstrual phase. These hormones can render some women insensitive to insulin thereby increasing their blood sugar levels.
- Similarly, hormonal changes during menopause can affect blood sugar levels in unpredictable ways.
Sufficient amount of physical exercise can help women in diabetes management.
- Weather conditions
- Extreme variations in temperatures can affect diabetes management. On a hot day, a diabetic person may experience increased levels of blood sugar which can induce stress on the system.
- Diabetic patients who are taking insulin can experience low blood sugar due to the dilated blood vessels which increase insulin absorption.
Long flights and travels can tire down anyone. For a diabetic patient, long travels interfere with diabetes management.
A long journey can cause jet lag and disruption in the patient’s normal routine in areas such as food habits and sleep patterns. This often causes blood sugar levels to fluctuate.
It is very important to keep monitoring the blood sugar levels during such journeys.
When a person is ill, the body releases certain hormones that can fight off the illness. These hormones can play a role in increasing the blood sugar levels.
A person who is ill cannot eat as per the routine or sleep well. Any fluctuation in the normal routine can also cause changes in the blood sugar levels for a diabetic person.
To facilitate effective diabetes management, a diabetic patient should stick to a proper meal plan and should have enough rest.
Diabetes management can be extremely tricky as one need to constantly monitor their blood sugar levels to keep the disease in check. However, diabetic patients should understand the triggers that affect their blood sugar levels.
Awareness about such peculiar phenomena to diabetes that affect blood sugar levels can help the patients to manage diabetes effectively.