Our Best Blood Sugar Tips!
People with diabetes share the strategies for outsmarting blood sugar highs and lows.
Preventing and treating blood sugar dips (hypoglycemia) and spikes (hyperglycemia) is one of the first things you learn when you’re diagnosed with diabetes. Thing is, it’s not an exact science, because everyone’s different. How you react to food, activity and stress, for example, is unique to you. If you need a hand, check out these go-to strategies from diabetes vets, and ask your doctor or diabetes educator if it’s a good idea for you to give them a try.
How to beat blood sugar lows
- Diabetes is not predictable—test often. “There are times when I feel sweaty and hungry, and I know I’m low. Then there are times I feel perfectly normal, test and find out my blood sugar is 62!” says Marie Smith, who blogs about diabetes at Joy Benchmarks.
- Monitor blood sugar before and after you work out. “I swim every morning and have had problems with lows,” says Harvey Ebright, who takes insulin for his type 2 diabetes. “So now I test my blood sugar before and after my swim. It lets me know if I need to adjust my insulin dose or eat some peanut butter crackers.”
- Be prepared for emergency lows. “Make sure you have a non-expired glucagon kit or two in your house at all times—and most important of all, make sure your spouse, roommate or children know where it is and how to use it!” says Catherine Price. “I tape mine to the inside of a cabinet door so it’s easy to find and always in the same place.”
- Have a CGM? Put the receiver in a glass by your bedside. “Sometimes those alarms [built into continuous glucose monitors] that tell you when you have a low are not loud enough for deep sleepers,” says Lizmarie Collazo, who has type 2 diabetes. “If you put the receiver in a glass, the rattle should wake you so you don’t sleep through a low.”
- Don’t use a low as an excuse to overindulge. “After treating a severe low with some juice one night, this little voice in the back of my head started to whisper You can get more sugary treats if you want. I grabbed some apple slices and caramel dip…and entered heaven! Needless to say, I woke up with high numbers and had to correct until things were back under control!” says Daley Kinsey.
- Try peanut butter before your morning workout. “It has a little bit of sugar so it provides some carbs for my body to use during the workout, but the fat and protein slow the absorption so that it doesn’t affect my blood sugar too quickly,” says Catherine.