Common questions about fluctuations in blood sugar,, and what these spikes mean.
Tami Ross, RD, LD, a certified diabetes educator based in Lexington, Ky. and current president of the American Association of Diabetes Educators answers some frequently asked questions about blood sugars spikes, what they mean, and when they may be cause for concern.
A spike in a person’s blood sugar after eating, known as post-meal hyperglycemia, is not uncommon and typically not dangerous.
Unless directed by the doctor, people with diabetes don’t have to check their blood sugar after every meal. Taking note of these spikes, however, can help you better manage meals and keep your blood sugar steady.
Several factors contribute to post-meal hyperglycemia, including what you eat, how much, and the timing of insulin injections.
The American Diabetes Association, recommendation say your blood sugar should be less than 180 milligrams per deci liter of blood within one to two hours after eating, but your doctor may set different blood sugar goals specific to you.
Women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant should be very focused on keeping their blood sugar as close to normal as possible. This will help get the best possible outcome for your pregnancy. Women with uncontrolled blood sugar are at risk for birth defects, miscarriage, and your baby growing too large. If you are taking insulin, your needs for insulin will also increase, particularly in the last months of pregnancy.
Those looking to improve their A1C blood glucose levels [average blood glucose over the last couple of months] should pay more attention to their post-meal blood sugar.There are short-term and long-term effects of a post-meal blood sugar spike.
In the short-term, you’ll feel tired after eating, so tired that you could just sit down in a chair and fall asleep. You might have blurry vision and just overall not feel well.
In the long-term, if you consistently have these spikes after eating, it’s going to raise your A1C level. Individuals who have an elevated A1C over time have a greater risk of complications such as heart disease.
If your blood sugar is out of range, it can be an opportunity to learn by doing post-meal checks and guiding your decisions about eating and meal planning moving forward.
Diabetes is very individualized. How people respond to different foods and how their bodies manage different foods is unique to each person. There probably aren’t any foods which will tell you to never eat again. You might instead eat a different portion size.
Activity plays into what foods you can choose too. If you’re going to be more active, that can impact your blood sugar. Exercising on a consistent basis lowers your blood glucose and can help keep your A1C stable.
The glycemic index measures how a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood sugar. But you’re probably not ever going to stop eating foods with a high glycemic index, and you don’t really need to as long as you’re watching portions and counting carbs