Without question, one of the most important goals in treating diabetes mellitus is controlling glucose levels. This is one of the main reasons people suffering from this disease are asked to test their sugar levels regularly–at least once a day. Checking sugar levels, though, is not enough; you must also take appropriate measures, if you keep finding that the tested levels are unusually high. As for why the results you keep finding are too high, here are some possible reasons–most of which revolve around poor dietary choices but which also allow for immediate and long-term managing measures:
1. A diet too rich in carbohydrates. For some strange reason (sometimes encouraged by misinformed healthcare professionals), some diabetics regularly consume sugar-rich foods, even though sugar-free or no-added-sugar alternatives are readily available. Not only should diabetics not be fed any foods rich in sugar or with added sugar, but they should also be encouraged to stay away from foods with high amounts of calories (such as breads, pastas, cereals, and some carbohydrate-rich vegetables). Even fruits (which are very rich in fructose) should be consumed in very controlled moderation.
2. Too much stress. Diabetics are often exposed to more stress than is safe for them. This is perhaps one of the most under-estimated causes of glucose level spikes. Limiting how much stress a diabetic is exposed to should be an integral part of any sugar-levels controlling plans. Such “plans,” in fact, should include the identification of unnecessary daily stressors, as well as comprehensive and specific strategies for removing or greatly reducing these “stressors.”
3. Not getting enough insulin. Keep in mind that insulin levels, in general, need to be very carefully monitored and changed as the need arises. If a diabetic continues to show sugar levels that are too high, then more insulin should be administered by the attending physician, depending on the medical circumstances. Of course, too much insulin can be deadly; consequently, how much insulin a patient gets can be a very tricky thing to determine. While getting too much insulin is definitely a potential problem, though, continued high, apparently-out-of-control glucose levels should not be tolerated either.
4. Not getting enough exercise. Every diabetic, working closely with his healthcare providers, including physical therapists, should develop a comprehensive exercise program. This does not necessarily mean going out and playing formal sports or taking up potentially dangerous physically-demanding hobbies. It can be as simple as maybe getting low-weight bar and dumb-bells, going for short walks, and learning simple exercises that you can do while sitting down.
5. Not drinking enough water. Some people assume that, just because they consume lots of liquids, they meet this requirement. Certain “liquids,” though, such as alcohol, high-fat milk, high-sugar soft drinks, etc., are simply not as nutritious or as helpful (when it comes to controlling sugar levels) as plain water. Water helps to flush out and dilute sugar levels, albeit in a limited way. Care should be exercised, though, if the diabetic in question suffers from water-retention problems, as is seen in persons suffering from congestive heart failure. For most persons, drinking high amounts of water is ultimately a good thing and can aid in the fight to keep sugar levels under control.
6. Possibly suffering from another medical condition (other than diabetes). Unfortunately, diabetes is not the only condition that helps to abnormally raise glucose levels. Without question, diabetics need to be routinely monitored, since they have a tendency to develop a long list of medical problems as a result of being diabetic; then again, other medical glucose-elevating conditions (such as Cushing’s Syndrome, Chronic Pancreatis, Cystic Fibrosis, Cirrhosis, Impaired Glucose Tolerance, etc.) can develop which may be totally independent of diabetes. Persistent high glucose levels may be one of the symptoms that perhaps other concomitant conditions may exist or may be developing.
7. Eating too late at night. Although some people seem to need to eat a snack at night, it is generally not a good idea to eat after 9 pm at night or two hours before going to bed. As a general rule, eating provides calories for our bodies. We burn up those calories as we move about or exercise during the day. Eating and then going to bed, though, allows for possibly large numbers of calories to be entering our system for which the body may not have a need. Consequently, this can be one of the reasons for having high glucose readings during the night. If you must have a snack at night, try to consume only a small amount of food and make sure that the food is low in caloric content–preferably, not anything containing high amounts of sugar, such as fruit, candy bars, or high-sugar-containing cereals.
8. Not being given glucose-managing medications. Fortunately, there are now a number of medications which can help manage glucose levels, other than insulin. These medications (including Prandin, Januvia, Glyset, Avandia, Fortamet, Glucotrol, etc.) work in different ways, often helping the body to better absorb administered insulin, to better control glucose levels, or to reduce stress levels (one example being anti-anxiety pills). If your glucose levels continue to be abnormally high, speak to your doctor concerning the availability of medications that may better help to manage your glucose levels. Some doctors, concerned about the potential side effects of these medications, prefer to not use them at all, if they can help it, but the damage that uncontrolled glucose levels can create may far outweigh many of those feared “side effects.”
9. Not using glucose-controlling food supplements. There are some food supplements and vitamins (including cinnamon, chromium, zinc, salacia oblonga, etc.) out there which are believed to help control sugar levels–the main objection to these supplements being the fact that their benefits may not have been formally established through scientific studies. For your sake, you need to do your own research concerning some of these substances, some of which may be legitimate tools in the on-going fight against unnecessarily-high glucose levels. Be sure to weigh out the potential benefits and risks, making sure to discuss these with your doctor, before consuming any of these potentially-helpful substances.
10. Living too sedentary a life. This last item may be confused with item number four above but the reality is that “exercise” (i.e., bodily functions strategically designed to cause the heart to function at an accelerated pace, to help improve circulation, and to burn up high amounts of calories within a short time) should not be confused with everyday “motion.” Even if you have not worked out an exercise program, you should at the very least make sure that you do not spend too much time sitting and lying dying down. Whenever possible, diabetics need to move about–the more the better. Lack of motion, as it turns out, prevents the use of consumed calories, encourages the atrophy of muscles, and does unsavoury things for your circulation.