When you have diabetes, either the pancreas doesn't generate enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or the body has developed a resistance to it or the insulin isn't working properly anymore (type 2 diabetes), causing problems with blood sugar regulation.


To ensure that their blood sugar levels stay within a reasonable range, people with diabetes must carefully control their food, exercise, and medication regimens.

But occasionally, blood sugars can rise too high. People with diabetes will frequently be able to swiftly drop blood sugar on their own in these situations by taking additional insulin.

Other times, though, they can require a trip to the hospital for emergency care.

Here are some tips on determining if your blood sugar is too high and how to bring it down swiftly.

Why Does Blood Sugar Spike?

Numerous factors can affect how and why blood sugars rise. Some people may need to take insufficient insulin or forget to deliver the recommended quantity throughout the day if they are preoccupied.

Others may create excessive amounts of glucose because they have diabetes and can't fully utilize the energy contained in food.

Some people's causes might not be as obvious. For instance, it might have to do with how a person manages their nutrition and lifestyle or how their body responds to stress. Both short-term and long-term approaches to controlling high blood glucose are available.

What is Excessive Sweating?

Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) is a term that describes extreme, abnormal sweating that is usually unrelated to body temperature or exercise.

Diabetic people tend to sweat more excessively in the upper body than in the lower body. You may experience underarm, neck, chest, and facial sweating that could soak through your clothes or drip off your hands. It is more worrisome when this happens on a chilly, snowy day or at night when you are engaged in little or no physical activities.

Although profuse sweating can be a strong indicator of diabetes, there are a few other causes that aren't due to underlying disease. Examples include rigorous exercise, a sauna session, a hot environment, or a response to emotional stress.

The two major causes of unusual sweating in people with diabetes are low blood sugar levels and diabetic nervous system damage.

When low blood sugars hit as low as 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl), your sweat hormones are forced to produce more sweat. When your blood glucose levels stay high for too long, your nerve functions could be affected, leading to diabetic neuropathy.

Unfortunately, over 50% of diabetic people are affected by nerve damage which can ultimately affect sweat glands' nerves, causing them to sweat too much or too little when they ordinarily shouldn't.

Types of Excessive Sweating

Diabetes-related sweating can come in various forms, such as hyperhidrosis, Gustatory sweating, and night sweats.

Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis is a general term for profuse and constant sweating without influence from factors like exercise or extreme temperatures.

The two types of hyperhidrosis include,

  • Primary hyperhidrosis
  • Secondary hyperhidrosis

Primary hyperhidrosis is a sort of excessive sweating unrelated to any known underlying cause. In contrast, secondary hyperhidrosis is a symptom of other health conditions or a side effect of certain foods or drugs.

Diabetic people who sweat uncontrollably, have bladder control problems, have unusual heart rates, or have blood pressure issues may also have autonomic neuropathy - nerve damage that impairs automatic body functions. Obese diabetics are also at a higher risk of showing hyperhidrosis symptoms.

Night sweats

Night sweats are episodes of very heavy sweating that repeatedly occur during sleep. They are severe enough to soak your pajamas and bed sheets.

Although night sweats can be primary, they signify low blood glucose at night (nocturnal hypoglycemia). This situation is common among diabetic people taking insulin or diabetes medications classified as sulfonylureas. Low blood sugar in its extremity can trigger excess adrenaline production, which causes profuse sweating.

When you have night sweats, you may wake up in a pool of your sweat, even when the weather is neither too hot nor are you sleeping under too many blankets.

Your healthcare provider can help manage night sweats related to blood glucose levels by recommending a tweak in your lifestyle, diet, and medications.

Gustatory sweating

The term "Gustatory" has to do with the sense of taste. Gustatory sweating is characterized by severe sweating during or just after food ingestion. It can happen for no apparent reason in some people. But in most cases, it's due to an underlying condition like diabetes complications, Parkinson's disease, and viral infections affecting the face, such as shingles or Bell's palsy.

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetic Gustatory sweating results from nerve function damage, which makes you sweat at the sight, smell, or taste of food. This is similar but NEVER the same as sweating when you eat hot, spicy foods. With Gustatory sweating, barely thinking about food makes you sweat uncontrollably.

Some typical symptoms of Gustatory sweating include redness of the face while eating any food (whether hot, cold, spicy, or not) and sweating in the face, forehead, scalp, cheeks, lips, neck, and chest.

What is Anhidrosis?

Anhidrosis is the inability of the body to produce sweat due to damage to the nerves that control the sweat glands. This condition causes your sweat glands not to receive the signal to produce sweat, even in situations that trigger sweating.

Type 1 diabetes causes more upper-body sweating and a drier lower body. However, as the disease progresses, the whole body may be unable to sweat due to severe nerve damage. This inability to sweat and dry skin condition can result in overheating or heatstroke.

What Are the Symptoms of High Blood Sugar?

A dangerously high amount might cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and trembling. If the condition worsens quickly, you can also experience shock or breathing issues. As soon as feasible, call 911, start an IV in the arm (if available), and give insulin intravenously until the patient's blood glucose level falls below 200 mg/dL.

The most typical signs of hyperglycemia include:

  • Increased hunger or thirst
  • Distorted vision
  • Often urinating (peeing)
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

Complications Related to High Blood Sugars

Many issues associated with diabetes can be avoided by maintaining blood sugar levels in a safe range. Chronic consequences of untreated hyperglycemia include: Cardiovascular disease

  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • Diabetic nephropathy, which causes kidney damage, or kidney failure
  • Feet issues brought on by damaged nerves or poor blood flow can cause significant skin infections, ulcerations, and, in some extreme situations, amputation; 
  • Feet issues brought on by damaged nerves or poor blood flow can cause significant skin infections, ulcerations, and, in some extreme situations, amputation; 
  • Joint and bone issues
  • Gum and tooth infections

Emergency Complications

Two dangerous illnesses can develop from very high blood sugar levels or untreated high blood sugar levels.

Diabetic ketoacidosis

Occurs when your body doesn't produce enough insulin, which can develop. This prevents glucose from supplying energy to your cells. Your body starts to break down fat for energy when your blood sugar level rises.

The poisonous chemicals known as ketones are created when fat is broken down by the body to produce energy. In the blood, ketones build up and finally leak into the urine. Diabetes ketoacidosis, if left untreated, can result in a diabetic coma, which can be fatal.

Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic condition

When the body produces insulin, yet the insulin doesn't function effectively, this disease develops. Without ketoacidosis, blood glucose levels can rise to over 600 mg/dL (33.3 mmol/L). If you get this illness, your body won't be able to burn either fat or glucose for energy.

The subsequent conversion of glucose to urine results in increased urination. Diabetes-related hyperosmolar hyperglycemia can cause serious dehydration and coma if left untreated. It's crucial to seek medical attention for it immediately away.

Best Ways to Lower Blood Sugar Levels

High blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) can be lowered promptly by using rapid-acting insulin. Exercise is your best choice for lowering high blood sugar levels if you are not on insulin.

You can also use stress-reduction techniques, take any missing medications, and drink lots of water to drop your blood sugar levels quickly.

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, maintaining normal blood sugar levels is crucial. But at a certain point, reducing blood sugar becomes urgently required to prevent possibly fatal complications.

Insulin

Take your insulin as directed. Even with a consistent insulin regimen and blood glucose management strategy, your blood sugar might still surge at any time, necessitating an insulin correction dose. It should return to normal blood sugar levels as a result of this.

Exercise

Exercise may not always be the most secure or efficient method to lower blood sugar. For glucose to enter the cells and be digested, insulin must be present for exercise to be effective, whether naturally occurring or administered artificially.

Your body will begin utilizing fat for energy if there is no insulin, which could result in the deadly condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis. If they have hyperglycemia, people with type 1 diabetes should not exercise.

For most diabetics, exercise can drop blood sugar, but it shouldn't be done in an emergency.

Drink Water

You could urinate a lot as your body tries to get rid of the extra glucose when you have high blood sugar. Losing this fluid can exacerbate the symptoms of hyperglycemia and lead to dehydration.

When you have hyperglycemia, it's crucial to consume water to stay hydrated and aid your body in regulating and lowering blood sugar. However, increasing your water intake won't always result in lower blood glucose levels.

Avoid large meals

Your blood sugar levels rise due to your body converting carbohydrates into glucose. Therefore, consuming fewer carbohydrates can help with blood sugar regulation.

You must monitor your intake to control how your body responds to insulin. To avoid accidentally overeating, try using smaller dishes and bowls. Start with smaller portions of high-carb meals like bread, pasta, rice, etc., until you know how your body reacts to them.

People with diabetes who have diabetes can control their blood sugar levels by eating specific meals and avoiding others. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can provide several advantages. Both sweet and starchy foods can increase blood sugar levels.

Medication

To maintain your blood sugar levels in a reasonable range, your doctor may have recommended additional drugs. Make sure you don't skip a dosage.

If you don't "double up" on your prescription, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. This means you shouldn't take both doses at once if your missed dose was several hours ago and your next dose is in an hour.

Adding two doses together can have negative effects on some medications. Just take your subsequent dose as prescribed in its place.

When to See a Doctor?

Consult your doctor if you have any concerns regarding high blood sugar signs. They can provide guidance and consolation.

If your blood sugars are continuously high, consult a doctor. These symptoms include:

  • Recurring high blood sugar levels
  • Frequent urination, 
  • Increased thirst
  • High urine sugar levels

Find out from your doctor how frequently to monitor your blood sugar and the acceptable ranges.

Foods That Help to Bring Down Blood Sugar

While no single food can magically prevent you from getting diabetes, several foods have been shown to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels over time. By reading on, you learn how to lower blood sugar immediately, what meals can help, and what foods to consume when your blood sugar is higher than you'd want.

Broccoli and broccoli sprouts

Isothiocyanates, such as sulforaphane, can lower blood sugar levels.

When broccoli is diced or chewed, glucoraphanin, a glucosinolate molecule, and myrosinase, an enzyme abundant in broccoli, react to form this plant chemical.

Studies in test tubes, animals, and people have revealed that sulforaphane-rich broccoli extract has potent anti-diabetic properties that help improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar and oxidative stress markers.

When taken as a powder or extract supplement, broccoli sprouts have been demonstrated to help enhance insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels in persons with type 2 diabetes because they contain concentrated sources of glucosinolates such as glucoraphanin.

Consuming cruciferous vegetables has also been associated with a reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes.

Remember that eating raw or gently steamed broccoli and broccoli sprouts, as well as adding active sources of myrosinase, such as mustard seed powder, to cooked broccoli, are the greatest ways to increase the availability of sulforaphane.

Seafood

A valuable source of protein, good fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, seafood, including fish and shellfish, may help control blood sugar levels.

For the regulation of blood sugar, protein is necessary. It aids with sluggish digestion, avoids blood sugar surges after meals, and heightens feelings of satiety.

Additionally, it might aid in preventing overeating and encouraging the elimination of extra body fat—two outcomes crucial for maintaining stable blood sugar levels.

It has been demonstrated that eating fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, can help regulate blood sugar.

According to one study, post-meal blood sugar levels significantly improved in 68 persons with overweight or obese who ingested 26 ounces (750 grams) of fatty fish per week compared to those who consumed lean fish.

Seeds of pumpkin and pumpkin

The vibrantly colored, fiber- and antioxidant-rich pumpkin is a fantastic option for controlling blood sugar levels. Numerous nations like Iran and Mexico use pumpkins as a traditional diabetes cure.

Pumpkin has a lot of polysaccharides, which are carbohydrates with the capacity to control blood sugar levels. Both human and animal research has demonstrated a considerable reduction in blood sugar levels following treatments with pumpkin extracts and powders.

The potential health benefits of the whole pumpkin, such as those associated with eating it roasted or steamed, will require further study.

Pumpkin seeds are a great option for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels because they contain protein and good fats.

Eating 2 ounces (65 grams) of pumpkin seeds decreased post-meal blood sugar by 35%.

Nut butter and nuts

According to research, nutrition consumption has been linked to potential benefits for controlling blood sugar levels.

A low-carb diet, including peanuts and almonds throughout the day, lowers fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Compared to a control diet, type 2 diabetics' fasting blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), a marker of long-term blood sugar control, were significantly lower on diets that prioritized tree nuts at an average daily intake of 2 ounces (56 grams).

Okra

A fruit that is frequently used as a vegetable is okra. It is a high source of antioxidants and polysaccharides, which reduce blood sugar.

Due to their effective blood sugar-lowering abilities, okra seeds have been used as a natural cure for diabetes for a long time in Turkey.

The primary polysaccharide in okra, rhamnogalacturonan, has been discovered to possess potent anti-diabetic properties. Okra also contains the flavonoids isoquercitrin and quercetin 3-O-gentiobioside, which work by inhibiting specific enzymes from lowering blood sugar.

Okra appears to have potent anti-diabetic activity in animal trials, but further human study is required.

Flax seeds

Flax seeds are renowned for their high fiber content and beneficial fat content. Flax seeds, in particular, might lower blood sugar levels.

In an 8-week research, 57 participants with type 2 diabetes who ate 7 ounces (200 grams) of 2.5% fat yogurt with 1 ounce (30 grams) of flax seeds daily saw substantial drops in their HbA1c levels compared to those who ate plain yogurt.

Additionally, ingesting whole flax seeds significantly improved blood sugar regulation, according to a study of 25 controlled research.

Legumes and beans

Protein, fiber, and minerals like magnesium, abundant in beans and lentils, can help reduce blood sugar levels.

They include high levels of resistant starch and soluble fiber, which might assist in slow digestion and enhance blood sugar response to meals.

Rice alone is not as effective in lowering blood sugar levels after meals as consuming rice with black beans or chickpeas.

Numerous other studies have demonstrated that eating beans and lentils can help regulate blood sugar and may also help prevent the onset of diabetes.

Leafy greens

Leafy greens can be readily added to smoothies, omelets, salads, and other dishes. They are a great source of fiber and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Additionally, as we've already mentioned, diets with more fiber assist in maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels.

Apples, grapes, and blueberries

The idea that persons trying to regulate their blood sugar shouldn't consume fruit is one of the major blood sugar control myths that persist. However, the truth is that a diet rich in fruit can assist in managing diabetes that already exists and protect against the onset of type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. According to a study, increased consumption of grapes, blueberries, and apples is specifically linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Avocados

Avocados are not only delicious, but they also include a lot of fiber and plant-based lipids. These nutrients encourage a continuous flow of energy to the bloodstream and slow down the absorption process, also known as blood sugar balancing.

In addition to the foods described above, numerous other foods can gradually lower blood sugar levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

What time is blood sugar the highest?

The phrase "dawn phenomenon," sometimes known as the "dawn effect," is used to describe an abnormal early-morning rise in blood sugar (glucose) in people with diabetes, typically between 2 and 8 a.m.

Can apple cider vinegar lower blood sugar immediately?

Short-term blood glucose levels significantly improved in those taking apple cider vinegar 30 minutes after consumption. But after this period, there was less difference between the vinegar and control groups.

Conclusion

The development of a daily diabetes management strategy that keeps glucose in a normal range in the first place is even more critical than learning the symptoms and what to do if your blood sugar is too high.

Although mild hyperglycemia is not immediately dangerous, it can result in long-term diabetic complications such as nerve damage, visual issues, heart problems, and kidney problems.

About the Author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville and I am the founder of Diabetic & Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996 I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world. I am currently using a Medtronic Guardian 4 and a Minimed 780G insulin pump with Humalog.

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