Jeanette Terry was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 11 years old, and she has since lived with diabetes through difficult life transitions, including the teenage years, college, and having children. She addresses the day-to-day struggles of living with diabetes—going beyond medical advice—to improve overall adherence and management.
Extremely high blood sugar levels can be dangerous, and they can cause lasting health complications. Remember: if you ever have blood sugar readings that remain high for more than 24 hours without coming down (and after an effort has been made to lower them), you need to be addressed by a doctor.
That being said, we've all had those days when we get a random high blood sugar reading and we are not sure what caused it…or we forget to give insulin, or we eat a delicious dessert without realizing how much sugar is actually in it.
For whatever reason, those out of the ordinary high blood sugar readings happen and need to be treated. No need to rush to the doctor for every high blood sugar reading though. There are some simple steps you can take to lower blood sugar fast.
Watch for signs of high blood sugar
You know the feeling: extreme thirst, sluggishness, nausea, blurred vision, a downright sick feeling. And your family or friends may tell you that extreme irritability is a major sign you need to check your blood sugar to see if it is high. The best thing to do is to catch it before it gets really high, or it will be harder to bring down quickly, causing havoc on your blood sugar readings for days.
If you do not take insulin as a part of your treatment plan, these tips will show you how to lower your blood sugar fast. If you take insulin, you will first want to give the appropriate amount of insulin to correct the blood sugar. However, insulin still takes some time to take effect before bringing the blood sugar down. These tips will help you feel a bit better in the meantime.
3 tips to lower your blood sugar fast
1. Hydrate. The more water you drink, the better. Drink at least two glasses of water, one right after the other. Water helps flush out your system and stabilize the glucose in the bloodstream.
2. Exercise. Exercise is a good way to get better blood sugar control and keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range as a part of your routine diabetes management. But exercise can also help lower blood sugar when it is excessively high by getting your heart pumping and the blood flowing, which uses up the glucose in your bloodstream faster.
It will also get your endorphins going, which will help your body start to feel better, too. Try to keep your heart rate up for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Check your blood sugar intermittently to prevent it from rebounding too low in your attempt to stabilize it. (Note: If your blood sugars have been so high that you have high ketones in your blood—a condition called DKA or diabetic ketoacidosis—do not exercise as it may drive your blood sugar even higher.)
3. Eat a protein-packed snack. Protein acts as a blood sugar stabilizer and can slow the absorption rate of glucose. One of the symptoms of high blood sugar is increased hunger, so this can help satisfy that craving while helping lower the blood sugar at the same time.
Don't grab a snack that has a lot of sugar along with the protein, or you will be defeating the purpose of it. Good sources of protein include a tablespoon of no-sugar-added peanut butter or an ounce of cheese. But don’t overdo it.
The most important thing you can do for your health and your diabetes is to pay close attention to how you feel. Whenever you feel like something is out of whack, it probably is—so test your blood sugar and do something about it. In the long run, it is easier to do your best to keep your blood sugars tightly controlled than to live with the consequences of not doing so.