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Hyperglycemia (High Blood Sugar)

By Michelle May, M.D.
By Michelle May, MD and Megrette Fletcher, M.Ed., RD., CDE authors of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes

Do you know what your blood sugar range should be? If you are not sure, ask your health care provider to establish a target range for your blood sugar. One size does not fit all, however the American Diabetes Association has established a target blood sugar of 70-130 mg/dL before meals and 180mg/dL or below after cannot sleepeating. As you know, having elevated blood-sugar levels increases your risk for kidney disease, retinopathy, and neuropathy, and plays a role in heart disease, delayed healing, and infection. It can also cause you to feel fatigued.

How Mindful Eating Can Help

Be curious, not critical, if your blood sugar is above this target. The causes of high blood sugar can often be traced back to changes in eating, physical activity, and medication.  In addition, an injury, illness, infection, or stress can cause a sudden increase in blood sugar. More gradual changes may be from increasing insulin resistance, decreasing insulin production, and age-related changes.

Changes in eating. When your blood sugar is too high, the mindful eating cycle provides clues to possible causes, as you learned in “Don’t Miss the Lesson” in chapter 17.

Over treatment of hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can be an unpleasant experience, so you might be tempted to over treat it by eating until you feel better. But overeating doesn’t raise your blood sugar faster than eating 15 grams of carbohydrates or taking four glucose tabs, and it can raise your blood sugar higher than it needs to go.

Changes in physical activity. Less physical activity than normal can lead to a higher blood sugar than normal, as Mac discovered:

“My blood sugar was high when I woke up this morning. Then I remembered that I’d skipped my walk after work because it was raining. I looked through my blood sugar log and realized what a difference exercise makes.”

Changes in medication. Another possible cause of high blood sugar to consider is a missed dose or other changes to your medication.

Illness. Having a cold or flu is a stress on the body that can cause the blood sugar to rise. Additionally, being sick can change activity and eating patterns.

Medication side effects. Some over-the-counter and prescribed medications are known to raise your blood sugar, including cough syrup, certain antidepressants, inhalers, steroids (such as those taken for a flare-up of asthma or injections in your joints), and others. Make sure that all of your health care providers (including your pharmacist) are aware that you have diabetes.

Progression of diabetes. Diabetes is not a static disease; in other words, you can expect it to change over time. Keeping track of your blood sugar can help you notice these changes, giving you the information you need to make the necessary adjustments to your diabetes plan, so you can experience optimal health.

 

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About the author

Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yo-yo dieter and the founder of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs and Training. She is the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle , winner of seven publishing awards. She is also the author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating, and Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery. Michelle shares her compelling message and constructive keynotes with audiences around the country, offers workplace wellness programs, and has trained and licensed hundreds of health professionals to facilitate Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs worldwide. She has been featured on Dr. Oz, the Discovery Health Channel, and Oprah Radio, and quoted in Diabetic Living, Fitness, Health, Huffington Post, Parents, Self, USA Weekend, US News & World Report, WebMD and many others. Her personal success story was published in Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul. Michelle cherishes her relationships with her husband, Owen and grown children, Tyler and Elyse. She regularly enjoys practicing yoga and hiking near her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She and Owen, a professional chef, share a passion for gourmet and healthful cooking, wine tasting, photography, and traveling.

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