Research shows the beta cells of your pancreas are really sensitive to even slight increases in your blood sugar levels. There is also evidence that beta cell dysfunction may commence when your blood sugars spend as little as a few hours over 100 mg/dl (5.5 mmol/l). It has also been found these cells can survive and recover after they are exposed to lower levels… but only if that switch is made before a certain amount of time has passed.
So how do you lower your blood sugar level when it is out of your target range? Some of the strategies you can use to lower your level include:
1. Increase your activity level: exercise acts like an insulin shot… it lowers blood glucose. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that exercising after eating, when your blood sugars are at their highest, will lower these levels. And exercising after breakfast appears to make physical activity later in the day, even more powerful in keeping your blood glucose under control.
2. Drink additional fluids: often dehydration leads to high concentrations of sugar in your bloodstream. Drinking two to three quarts (two to three liters) of sugar free liquids each day helps prevent dehydration. When your blood sugars are high, drinking sugar free liquids helps to dilute it.
3. Eat less carbohydrates at the next meal: a basic guideline is to eliminate carbohydrates, or choose foods with a lower glycemic index until your blood sugar levels return to your target range. If you are working with exchanges, eliminating one starch exchange or fruit exchange, will lower your blood glucose by 30 mg/dl (1.67 mmol/l). If you are overweight or obese, just losing five to ten per cent of your total weight will dramatically lower your levels.
4. Identify infection and illness: high glucose levels make you prone to infection although the upsurge of glucose is part of the healing process.
5. Monitor your blood sugars two hourly: this allows you to treat and make adjustments as early as possible. This will show you whether the steps you are taking are effective in lowering your levels.
Please do not hesitate to contact your health care provider when your blood sugar levels remain higher than 250 mg/dl (13.9 mmol/l) for more than two days.