If there’s one diet that’s continued to grow in popularity, especially among people with diabetes, it’s the ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet. The relationship between diabetes and the keto diet is one topic that researchers have had their lenses on over the years. Namely, many studies and research look into the diet’s benefits and how it helps people with diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA), the national institution concerned with the complications and control of diabetes, has suggested various means of effectively managing diabetes, and the keto diet is one of the recognized approaches.

The ADA isn’t the only professional entity that supports the implementation of the keto diet to control the symptoms and effects of diabetes. Physicians and other health institutions also see the ketogenic diet as a great way to manage diabetes.

However, does any relationship genuinely exist between the ketogenic diet and type 1 diabetes, or is it simply a fallacy? How about keto and type 2 diabetes? This guide aims to consider the seemingly positive relationship between the keto diet and diabetes as well as its possible dangers.

What to Expect?

  • What’s the Keto Diet?
  • How Does a Low Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet Benefit Diabetes?
  • Types of Keto Diet
  • Research on the Benefits of Keto Diet and Diabetes
  • The Atkins Diet Similarity to the Keto Diet
  • Potential Dangers of the Ketogenic Diet
  • How to Improve the Keto Diet Effect

What’s the Keto Diet?

The keto diet is a low carbohydrate diet that helps people with diabetes gain the needed energy to carry out normal functioning and physical development without depending on carbohydrates. While the ketogenic diet is a low-carb diet, it’s incredibly high in fat which serves as an alternative energy source for the carbohydrates that are almost non-existent in keto meals.

While it’s evident that the last thing that a person with diabetes needs is fat-filled food, the keto diet reduces blood glucose levels drastically and doesn’t exactly increase weight at an alarming rate.

The thing about the ketogenic diet is that it’s not just a fat-filled meal. Instead, it’s a controlled diet plan with more good fats than carbohydrates to help control sugar rise, glucose concentration, and the eventual diabetes complications. More particularly, a keto diet is usually a small meal that majorly comprises good fats, a small amount of protein, and almost non-existent carbohydrates.

The relationship between keto and type 2 diabetes is highly positive. The diet doesn’t just aid blood sugar control; it also modifies how the body gets to store and use energy.

The only reason fat is a significant problem in regular food is because these types of food already have sugary carbs and too many unhealthy saturated fats. On the other hand, the ketogenic diet doesn’t include these two significant concerns as it’s majorly a good fat, small-serving diet.

How Does a Low Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet Benefit Diabetes?

The relationship between diabetes and the keto diet can be traced back to the 1920s, when it was targeted at epileptic persons. However, its success among people with diabetes made it extremely popular and one of the most trusted diets for preventing diabetes and preventing any more complications for those already diagnosed with the condition.

Being a low carbohydrate diet, the goal of the keto meal plan is to improve blood sugar and blood glucose level, which reduces the risk of diabetes. Diabetes stems from high blood sugar and doubles as one of the most severe cardiovascular risk factors. Thankfully, leaning towards a low glycemic index diet like the keto diet can help you avoid diabetes and its associated conditions in its entirety.

Unlike other low carbohydrate diets that still incorporate a mix of carbohydrates, the keto diet reduces it to the barest minimum. It’s more of healthy fats with a low glycemic index and won’t cause any severe weight gain typically associated with increased fat intake.

Some of the primary fats in a ketogenic diet include the following:

  • Fatty fish like salmon
  • Cottage cheese
  • Avocado
  • Olive oil and olive products
  • Nuts and nut-made butter
  • Seeds

Types of Keto Diet

There are different types of ketogenic diets, with each leading to significant weight loss. Let’s examine each of them individually.

Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)

The SKD comprises 70% fat. The other 30% is split between protein (20%) and carbs (10%).

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)

The CKD is simply a diet plan with consecutive keto days, followed by relatively shorter high-carb diet-focused days. An example is 6 consecutive keto diet days and 2 high-carb days.

Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)

The TKD is a special low blood sugar diet that leads to quick sugar loss and weight gain. It’s an excellent diet for short-term glycemic control as it leads to rapid weight loss and diabetes control in a relatively short time.

The issue, however, is that it has a low sustenance possibility. It’s almost 80% fat, 15% protein, and 5% carbs.

High-Protein Ketogenic Diet (HPKD)

The HPKD is high in fat and protein but extremely low in carbs. For reference, it comprises 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.

Research on the Benefits of Keto Diet and Diabetes

There have been several studies on diabetes and the ketogenic diet, especially on the ketogenic diet and diabetes type 2 relationship. The studies generally highlight positive results in that the ketogenic diet benefits people with diabetes and those vulnerable to the condition.

In this light, this section considers two significant studies to illustrate just how much people with diabetes stand to gain from the keto diet plan.

A 2008 study titled “The Effect of a Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet (LCKD) Versus a Low-Glycemic Index Diet (LGID) on Glycemic Control in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus” showed the ketogenic diet helps with glycemic control and improves diabetes symptoms. The results were quite beneficial to the extent that participants reduced their diabetes medications to prevent hypoglycemia.

The study lasted for 24 weeks and involved 84 obese diabetic subjects. The participants were randomly shared into two groups — the LCKD group (first set) and the LGID group (second set).

The first set of 42 participants was given a ketogenic diet which consisted of less than 20 grams of carbohydrates daily. On the other hand, the second set of 42 participants was offered a low calorie and glycemic reduced diet with up to 500 calories daily.

The chosen diet plan given to the second set was an established weight maintenance diet designed to improve the condition of a type 2 diabetes patient.

Both sets were subjected to the same routine, including types of exercise, prep talks, and the same sleeping schedule. The main goal was to see if there would be any significant difference in glycemic control, determined by the hemoglobin A1c levels.

Only 49 participants were able to complete the study. After the hemoglobin A1c measurement, both sets were observed to experience significant improvement. Also, there were improvements in weight loss, fasting glucose, and fasting insulin.

However, the first set’s results were far better as they had better hemoglobin improvement, weight loss, and other factors. In summary, the results achieved are outlined as follows:

ParameterFirst Set (LCKD Group)Second Set (LGIDGroup)
Hemoglobin A1c-1.5%-0.5%,
Bodyweight-11.1 kg-6.9 kg
High-density lipoprotein cholesterol+5.6 mg/dl0 mg/dL
Diabetes MedicationMedication was drastically reduced or eliminated in 95.2% of participants in this set.Medication was drastically reduced or eliminated in 62% of participants in this set.

Based on the research outcome, the keto diet was seen to control risk factors of diabetes better than the proven management plan.

Another more recent study conducted in 2017, “An Online Intervention Comparing a Very Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations Versus a Plate Method Diet in Overweight Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” also established similar results. All participants subjected to the ketogenic diet were found to enjoy better improvements in blood glucose level, A1c, overall weight loss, and triglyceride levels.

The Atkins Diet Similarity to the Keto Diet

Source: Healthline

The keto diet is one of the most popular in the world when dealing with diabetes. The diet has undergone different changes over the years, which has led to different plan varieties being developed, as explained already. There’s, however, an entirely different diet that has on many occasions been mixed up with the ketogenic diet — the Atkins diet.

The Atkins diet focuses on a low-carb diet plan that replaces carbohydrates with other energy sources, just like the keto diet. However, it’s significantly different from the ketogenic diet, focusing on high protein instead of fats.

The Atkins diet was created by Robert Atkins, a Doctor in the 1970s, as a modification to the keto diet but was never considered an evolution of a high-fat diet. The Atkins diet plan aims to tackle diabetes significantly with a lower risk of body fat gain.

Doctors also recommend the Atkins diet as an excellent means of cutting excess carbs. The only issue with the Atkins diet is that it’s challenging to keep up with it for a long time, implying poor sustenance. This is simply because fat can serve as a better alternative energy source to protein. Moreover, keeping up with a high-protein food for a long time may induce specific mental symptoms and increase fatigue.

However, the Atkins diet plan is suggested as a good choice, especially if the goal is to keep blood sugar normal and shred fat as quickly as possible. Like the ketogenic diet, the Atkins diet plan can also lead to low blood sugar if consistently adhered to without constant blood sugar monitoring.

Potential Dangers of the Ketogenic Diet

As good as the keto diet may appear, it does have its certain downsides. Let’s examine the major ones.

Diabetes Ketoacidosis Risk Factor: Ketones Increase

While a low carbohydrate diet is perfect for you to lose weight, the high-fat content associated with the ketogenic diet increases your risk of high ketone levels.

High ketone levels predispose you to diabetes ketoacidosis, a more complicated form of diabetes. Therefore, if you plan to adopt this low-carb diet to control diabetes, it’s imperative you monitor how its effects progress so it doesn’t become counterproductive.

A Paradoxical Weight Gain

The keto diet fights off weight when it’s consistently followed through. However, this is where many people have an issue.

In the beginning, you could get carried away in the euphoria of losing weight through the ketogenic diet. However, it’s not all roses, as studies indicate that most people on the keto diet don’t maintain weight loss past the first few months.

After sticking to the keto diet for a while, many are highly likely to lose their will and return to their former diet. However, such relapse comes with a serious cost. For one, there’s a high chance your body will start holding on to sugary contents owing to consistent sugar starvation during your keto journey.

Also, there’s an associated psychological effect that makes you desire and eat sugary food more than usual due to the lack of it during your keto diet-focused period. Most people at this point are likely to gain all the weight they lost before the ketogenic diet and even more.

The Yo-Yo Phenomenon

One issue associated with keto dieting is the yo-yo phenomenon. This phenomenon is characterized by a lack of consistency in dieting — a person follows a diet plan, gives up, and starts again to form a cycle of inconsistency like a yo-yo.

The yo-yo phenomenon usually sees a person with diabetes lose weight, gain them, and lose them again in a continuous circle. The keto diet is one of the common causes of this phenomenon as it’s highly restricting. The worst thing about the yo-yo phenomenon is that it leads to unhealthy spikes and dips in blood sugar, resulting in further complications.

How to Improve the Keto Diet Effect

The keto diet is good, but it can be better. Consider incorporating the following into your daily routine to optimize the results you derive from a keto meal plan.


Simply put, exercise augments the effects you derive from a keto diet. As the 2008 research study in this article revealed, the participants were all subjected to moderate exercise despite being on a diet, and the results were outstanding.

The thing is, any form of exercise is a great way to control the stomps and complications of diabetes, so you can never go wrong with this option. There are different types of exercise that you can go for to support your keto diet, and they’re generally divided into three:

Moderate Exercise

This exercise includes consistent activities that make the heart beat a tad faster than usual and can trigger sweat. These include:

  • brisk walking,
  • moderate jogs,
  • climbing up and down staircases, and
  • every specifically targeted effort that triggers a more than average speed and sweat build-up.

This form of exercise is ideal for beginners who aren’t used to more intensive workouts like running. Also, you can scale up to more endurance-dependent routines over time.

Intense Exercise

This style of exercise includes:

  • running,
  • cycling,
  • swimming, and
  • resistance training.

Intense exercise works quite well for overweight people that want significant results in the healthiest way possible. However, your body must be able to tolerate this form of exercise to circumvent potential injuries.

Intermittent Fasting

The keto diet is great; however, coupling it with intermittent fasting can help you reduce blood sugar levels and other diabetes symptoms even faster.

Intermittent fasting is a weight-loss procedure that sets time windows on when you should and shouldn’t eat. Namely, it helps people quickly adapt to a two-square meal plan, eliminating hunger and late-night eating.

The most common intermittent fast plan is the 16:8 window. This implies that you’ll need to stay away from food for 16 hours and can only have your regular two- or three-square meals within the 8-hour window you’re allowed to eat.

Some common 16:8 windows are:

  • 10 am to 6 pm
  • 12 pm to 8 pm
  • 1 pm to 9 pm

For example, the 12 pm to 8 pm window means that you’ll eat your earliest meal by 12, which could be brunch, and eat your latest meal at 8 pm. As such, your body will have enough time to utilize the food before falling asleep.


While the keto diet is great for diabetes control owing to a minimal carbohydrate intake, it’s equally important you monitor your progress to avoid surprisingly low blood sugar levels. Simply put, a low-calorie diet like the keto meal plan implies a lower sugar level and potentially heightened insulin sensitivity that could lead to hypoglycemia and other complications. Hence finding a balance is vital.

Truth be told, combining the keto diet and diabetes is realistically possible for only a short period. You’ll also need to balance out with a calorie meal. However, with proper guidance from our diabetes management meal app, you don’t necessarily have to return to a poor diet. This virtual caregiver helps you gradually incorporate healthy meals into your diet, eliminating the risk of gaining back all the weight you lost.

Diabetes causes many complications when not properly managed, and one of them is high blood sugar at night. People with diabetes usually experience night high blood sugar in three phases — before they sleep, when they sleep, and after they wake up.

Also, apart from established diabetics, people can experience a blood sugar spike at night if they’re vulnerable to developing diabetes or do things that could increase their blood sugar levels just before they sleep.

The good thing about elevated blood sugar levels at night is that you can prevent it, or at the very least, reduce it with the proper management tips. This article/guide examines how to successfully maintain low blood sugar at night by throwing light on the cause of the blood sugar spikes at night, the kind of people susceptible to it, and the solutions to live healthier.

What to expect?

  • Which Set of People Have High Blood Sugar at Night?
  • The Different Stages of Night-Influenced High Blood Sugar Level
  • High Blood Sugar at Night: Symptoms
  • How to Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes at Night

Which Set of People Have High Blood Sugar at Night?

Source: CDC

High blood sugar at night is a serious complication and no different from other sugar highs. Blood spikes can affect any individual during the night and aren’t just limited to people with diabetes. In other words, while people with diabetes are the major population that suffers from blood sugar increase, other people can still experience the phenomenon.

According to a research article on PLOS Biology titled Glucotypes Reveal New Patterns of Glucose Dysregulation, high blood sugar spikes are just as common in people without diabetes as those with diabetes. The 2018 study, which involved 57 healthy respondents, showed that people who have never suffered from diabetic symptoms also experience blood sugar rise at night. The findings were contrary to the prior belief that glucose dysregulation was diabetes-related symptoms.

Healthy people suffered from a range of sugar rise with the severity ranging from low to medium to high variability. The primary cause of the spikes in healthy people was their food choice. However, the healthy respondents’ beta cells could produce enough insulin to reduce the consequences of abnormal glucose production.

It was, however, predicted that consistent high sugar consumption in healthy people will overwhelm their insulin production and leave them open to a range of conditions common with diabetes, like cardiovascular diseases.

Another set of people who’re also open to blood sugar increases at night are those with prediabetes. Prediabetic people aren’t precisely diabetic but have poor glucose tolerance. When these people eat sugary food, they experience a consistent rise in blood sugar levels due to insulin resistance.

Suppose people with prediabetes don’t adopt a health management plan and constantly consume high sugary foods. In that case, glucose will end up building in their bloodstreams, resulting in devastating blood sugar rise. People with prediabetes are at a high risk of progressing into type 2 diabetes; as such, they must follow a strict health plan.

The Different Stages of Night-Influenced High Blood Sugar Level

Source: Diabetes Self-Management

Common questions among people with diabetes or those who easily suffer high blood sugar levels include:

  • Why does blood sugar go up at night?
  • When does it happen?
  • What can I do to stop it?

There are three stages of blood glucose levels rising at night — the pre-sleep stage, the sleep stage, and the post-sleep stage.

Pre-Sleep Stage

One of the major periods when people with diabetes or those susceptible to the condition experience a high blood sugar level is the time just after dinner and before going to sleep. The majority of people who suffer from blood glucose rise at this stage barely have a diabetes management plan and don’t pay a lot of attention to the kind of meal they eat.

Blood sugar rises aggressively when there’s too much carb and sugary food in a diet, and it gets worse when such meals are taken at night — when the body is less functional and active. People with such habits may experience blood sugar rises in as little as one hour after such meals following a check with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) — this is much worse in those that don’t engage in physical activity.

Pre-stage sleep blood sugar high can lead to many complications in people with diabetes and those already susceptible to it. Therefore, it’s best to avoid the intake of foods that may lead to blood sugar spikes at night before sleeping.

Sleep Stage

While poor meal choices and inactivity cause pre-sleep high blood glucose levels in the earlier part of the day, blood sugar rise during sleep is influenced by many factors.

Poor meal choices could ensure consistent high blood sugars from the time before sleeping up to when you fall asleep. Even if you have a management plan that helps you control your food choices, poor adherence to your diabetes medication could also trigger a rise in your blood sugar at night when sleeping.

While the two reasons already mentioned lead to a rise in blood sugar levels, another major cause of high blood sugar levels at night is if you consistently have poor night rest. Poor sleep affects your mood, glucose metabolism, appetite, and your body response to sugar. Notably, your body loses its ability to control and prevent rebound hyperglycemia, and you may fall at risk of developing diabetes conditions such as diabetic ketoacidosis.

It could also lead to more severe issues such as heart disease that develops from the damage of the coronary arteries, obstructing the proper flow of blood and nutrients. In addition, cardiovascular conditions like stroke could also be one of the after-effects of consistent blood rise at night.

Although a healthy person will generally have enough insulin sensitivity to control blood sugar spikes during sleep, people with diabetes don’t have such luxury. As such, blood rise during the sleep stage may become consistent and lead to many complications.

Post-Sleep Stage

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) explicitly outlines the effect of post-sleep stage blood sugar high, also known as early morning hours high blood sugar condition. Most diabetics experience this stage of blood sugar rise.

High blood sugars in this stage can either occur independently or could be an extension of what happens at the sleep stage. The following sections examine the three major causes of blood rise in the sleep stage.

The Dawn Phenomenon

The dawn phenomenon, also known as the dawn effect, occurs during the early hours of a new day, around 3 a.m. up to 8 a.m. The phenomenon is characterized by an increase in blood level and occurs when the body releases hormones that your body needs to wake up. These hormones increase glucose production in the process.

For healthy people, their pancreatic beta cells produce and release insulin to counter the glucose and ensure proper balance. However, diabetics usually suffer from insulin resistance or insufficient insulin production, resulting in unhealthy blood sugar increases during this period.

Waning Insulin

Unlike the dawn phenomenon, waning insulin isn’t independent of the other stages of night blood sugar high. It’s generally an extension of the effects from the pre-sleep and sleep stages.

Waning insulin could occur if you don’t take enough long-acting insulin that should last over sleeping hours up to the new day. This lack of adequate insulin leads to hyperglycemia which may be maintained up to the morning.

Consistent hyperglycemia holds lots of consequences both medically and psychologically. Namely, uncontrolled hyperglycemia may lead to sudden mood swings, depression, and long periods of downtime that could trigger poor decisions.

Somogyi Effect

The Somogyi effect is a rare cause of post-sleep blood sugar high, but it does happen. The effect occurs due to the hyperactive response of the body to produce high blood glucose levels following too many insulin medications.

If you use an insulin pump to keep blood sugar at a very low rate, it may respond to the low glucose level by producing excessive amounts at night, sporadically increasing blood sugar levels to unhealthy ranges.

Thankfully, you can prevent the Somogyi effect by following your health and management plan religiously and not attempting to take more insulin than necessary, especially at night. Also, the condition isn’t exactly a common occurrence and is mainly triggered by unusually high insulin intake.

High Blood Sugar at Night: Symptoms

There are various indications of high blood sugar at night that you can easily watch out for if you suspect you may have the condition. You should note that you can experience high blood sugar risk even if you undergo diabetes management.

Human errors can sometimes cause people to make several mistakes that lead to sugar rise at night. In such instances, knowing the symptoms to watch out for can help them adjust better. If you experience symptoms like the following, there’s a high chance that you have high blood sugar at night:

  • Increased urination
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increased thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability and sudden mood swings
  • Change in appetite
  • Headache

These symptoms become commonplace when you experience spikes at night. Also, when they become continuous, you may experience different health complications. The best way to prevent such is to tackle the cause of the high blood sugar rise at night, and this is what the next section focuses on.

How to Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes at Night

Source: NutriSense

Detecting that you experience high blood sugar at night is one thing; knowing how to prevent it or manage it is another. Here, we throw light on excellent measures to avoid devastating increases in your blood sugar levels at night.

Insulin Pump 

If you have impaired glucose tolerance that gives you blood sugar spikes, an insulin pump may be an ideal measure to control your blood glucose. An insulin pump makes up for insulin sensitivity and can be used at night if you find it difficult to wake up at night. In addition, you can opt for a CGM that automatically pumps insulin to keep glucose levels in check.

Eat Healthily

Your diet plays a crucial role in helping you stay healthy and ensure complete glucose control. If you love snacks, consider opting for only those containing healthy fats.

However, it’s best if you stay away from all types of snacks and eliminate excess carbs from your diet before bedtime. Using a diet management app is one of the best ways to always eat healthily.

Physical Activity

Exercising late in the afternoon or at night can help stabilize your glucose level and reduce your chances of increased blood sugar level at night. You could incorporate moderate and high-intensity exercise depending on your strength and capability. Exercises as simple as brisk walking can go a long way in helping out.


People with diabetes are more vulnerable to the consequences of high blood sugar spikes due to the inability of their bodies to produce more insulin, which helps regulate glucose production. However, almost anyone can have blood spikes at night, and a consistent rise can lead to healthy people developing similar conditions as diabetics.

An excellent management plan is one of the best ways to counter high blood sugar rise at night. You could meet your doctor for advice and expert input on the best diabetes management plan that can help you prevent blood sugar spikes. You should also look into the preventive measures listed in this guide to help you effectively reduce high blood sugar increase before, during, and after sleep.

In addition, using a diabetes diet management app like Klinio, can also go a long way in helping you select the proper meal to take at night and throughout the whole day. It’s also an intuitive and supportive virtual caregiver that provides you with customizable no-equipment beginner workouts as well as educational content to help you understand your condition better and how best to manage it.

Diabetes management plans have proven to be one of the best ways people with diabetes effectively maintain low blood sugar. However, there are certain times when these plans may not be efficient for ensuring healthy blood sugar levels, and one of these times is in the morning.

Experiencing a blood sugar high in the morning is a normal occurrence that happens to every human and ordinarily should not cause any complication. However, for people with diabetes, high morning blood sugar could spell danger as their bodies find it difficult to decrease highs to the normal range.

Generally, diabetics that keep a strict management plan shouldn’t have a problem with occasional, minimal morning highs. However, consistent morning high blood sugar should trigger concerns. It negatively affects the A1C reading—a test that measures your average blood glucose/sugar levels over the last three months—and could push it to a dangerous zone.

The good thing is that you can reduce blood glucose level rise with the right approach. In this guide, you’ll learn what causes blood glucose levels to increase and how to reduce their effect to ensure you maintain low blood sugar levels, or rather a healthy range.

What to Expect?

  • Why Is My Blood Sugar High in the Morning?
  • How to Lower Blood Sugar In The Morning

Why Is My Blood Sugar High in the Morning?

Source: MyNetDiary

Most people with diabetes that keep to their management plan and eliminate a carb-studded diet before sleeping often wonder why they have high morning blood sugars. According to the American Diabetes Association, there are several reasons why blood sugar increases in the morning.

The organization outlines two major factors as the reason for the morning highs. They include:

  • The dawn phenomenon: This is responsible for most blood sugar spikes that people with diabetes experience.
  • Waning insulin: This is generally responsible for abnormally high blood sugar levels.
  • The Somogyi effect: This is an extremely rare factor responsible for high blood sugar in the morning.

The Dawn Phenomenon

The dawn phenomenon, as already stated, is the primary cause of blood sugar rise in the morning. It’s so-called because the increase in blood glucose levels starts in the early hours of a new day.

Hormones such as cortisol and growth hormone alert the liver to increase glucose production to help you wake up. This triggers the pancreatic beta cells, alerting them to release insulin to ensure a proper balance of the blood sugar levels. This balance helps keep the sugar level in the right proportion.

However, if you have diabetes, your insulin level may be too low to control your blood glucose, or you could suffer insulin resistance, making it impossible to counter blood sugar level increase. This lack of balance in your system causes you to have a blood sugar level by the time you wake up.

Whether you’re suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you get to experience the dawn phenomenon. However, how bad it gets depends on the consistency of occurrence, which could be on the high side if you frequently consume food with excess sugar.

Waning Insulin

People with diabetes may also suffer from a rise in sugar level if they experience a drop in insulin level the night before. Many factors could lead to this drop. The commonest is when the insulin pump that increases insulin provides little basal insulin or if your insulin dose, necessary for boosting insulin level, is too low.

Another reason that could lead to waning insulin in the morning is dependent on how long your drug works and when you inject your long-acting insulin. Whichever may be the case, a lack of enough insulin the night before would automatically lead to waning insulin that cannot keep blood sugar under control.

The Somogyi Effect

The Somogyi effect is a rare cause for morning highs but still triggers it nonetheless. The effect is named in honor of Michael Somogyi, a Ph.D. scientist that described the term in the early 90s.

The Somogyi effect happens when the human body responds to low blood glucose levels at night.

For example, suppose a person with diabetes misses dinner, which could increase their blood sugar level a little or take too much insulin to keep their blood glucose at a low range. In that case, their body automatically compensates for the imbalance by releasing glucose during sleep. As such, the person experiences a rise in blood level the following morning.

Since the Somogyi effect is quite rare, most diabetics don’t get to experience it while managing their condition.

Whatever may cause your blood sugar spikes in the early morning hours out of the three factors mentioned above, you must identify it and find a way to prevent future recurrence. Consistent spikes, as already stated, will affect your overall sugar level, which could predispose you to a worsened diabetic state and comorbidities.

How to Lower Blood Sugar In The Morning

Knowing how to prevent blood sugar spikes in the morning is critical to maintaining sound health. This section discusses various approaches on how to lower morning blood sugar.

Gather the Right Information

If you have a working diabetes management plan that you’re committed to, you don’t have to worry about morning highs, except you’re sure that you do experience them. Hence, you must ask yourself some questions to determine if you experience morning spikes and if they’re a concern.

Some of the questions that you should ask yourself include:

  • Do I experience a spike in the morning?
  • Why is my sugar high in the morning, OR why is my glucose high in the morning?
  • Is it consistent enough to cause concern?

If your answer to the three questions above tends to be positive, it’s essential to know how to get to the root cause of your problem. To do this, you have to establish some routine patterns.

Check your blood sugar levels just before you go to sleep, and also repeat the same in the middle of the night. When you wake up in the morning, repeat the process also.

This three-way blood sugar check will help you understand the pattern of your condition, its cause, and if it’s consistent enough to affect your average A1C reading.

However, if you find it difficult to wake up and monitor your blood sugar levels at these three different moments, you should use a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM). This device gathers all the data you need without you having to wake between periods of sleep.

Identifying the Root Cause

The readings you establish after your three-way glucose check will help you and your health care provider narrow your spikes to any of the three factors that generally trigger a high.

If You Experience a High Just Before You Go to Sleep

If your glucose checks just before you go to sleep reveal that you experience a spike just before you sleep, the biggest culprit is food. The type of diabetes medication you take could also be responsible for the high.

The bottom line is that high blood sugar levels in the night will generally cross over to the morning, and you could ignorantly blame it on the dawn phenomenon when it’s apparently not the case.

Large foods with lots of carbs or a dinner made of snacks will increase your blood sugar levels and put you in a dangerous zone all night, subsequently increasing your A1C reading. Your diabetes medication’s dose could also be responsible for a high sugar level just before you sleep without you knowing.

Therefore, you must take just enough insulin to put your blood sugar levels in a healthy range. In that case, even if your blood glucose level experiences an increase during sleep, it won’t trigger a lot of concern.

If You Experience a Spike in the Wee Hours of the Morning

If your blood check shows that you suffer a rise in blood glucose levels in the early hours of dawn or between 3 a.m. to 8 a.m., then the dawn phenomenon is likely the more probable cause of your condition.

For those that experience an increase in the early hours of dawn, your doctor may recommend that you reduce your dependence on long-acting insulin as it could be an enhancer of the dawn phenomenon.

While an increased insulin dose brings your highs to the normal range and triggers significant blood sugar drops, your relief will only last for a while because your body will react and try to provide the lacking glucose. Hence, you’ll have an increased blood sugar level when you wake up in the morning.

One of the primary ways to tackle the dawn phenomenon is to use an insulin pump. During dawn, you can program your pump to enhance insulin sensitivity and trigger a blood sugar drop. This will consistently keep your condition in control and help you establish better glucose control in the morning.

Meal Plan

Your meal plan plays a vital role in whether you’ll experience a high in the morning or not. The fact is that evening carbs aren’t great in any way for diabetes, and this is especially so for morning highs. Hence, you should look for a way to cut it off your diet.

You can incorporate a better diet high in fiber and low in fat. Snacks aren’t advisable, but if you get to take them, they must be extremely low in fat and should not be eaten in the evening before sleeping.

There are certain good snack choices and food that you can add to your menu, and some of them are listed below:

  • Vegetables and fruit
  • Fat-free yogurt (or low-fat yogurt)
  • Fat-free popcorn
  • Low-fat granola
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Sugar-free frozen popsicle
  • Reduced-fat cheese and small apple
  • Turkey sandwich (half size)

Generally, it’s best if you eat your last meal at least three hours before sleeping to help reduce the effect of morning highs.


Source: EndocrineWeb

Exercise is excellent for many things, and helping to control a morning high in blood sugar level is one of them. You must take exercise seriously if you suffer from consistent morning highs as physical activity increases insulin sensitivity which helps steady blood glucose levels.

Exercising in the afternoon can offer a lot of benefits. You get a hyped metabolism, and the effect can help keep blood sugar at a minimum, especially if you incorporate high-intensity interval training into your program.

Consult Your Doctor for The Right Diabetes Medications

While an adequate diabetes management plan significantly helps reduce diabetes, getting the best medication for controlling blood sugar high in the morning is much trickier. However, there are some things that you could do for positive effects concerning your blood sugar. Here are some of them:

  • Adjust your insulin pump to control morning highs.
  • Check your blood sugar before sleeping to know if the cause is the dawn phenomenon or your diet.
  • Take basal insulin.


Blood sugar level spikes in the morning is an event that people with diabetes experience occasionally or more frequently, depending on the effectiveness of their applied solutions. When it happens occasionally, the consequences are extremely low. However, in cases where it’s much more frequent, patients could experience an increased average blood sugar level.

Morning spikes hold as much consequence as any other form of diabetic spikes, and you should treat it as such. This article outlines many important steps to help people who experience morning highs effectively handle their condition and live better.

Also, using our Klinio app could go a long way in helping you manage your morning highs. It’s an excellent dietary app that helps determine the best food necessary for keeping your blood glucose levels at an optimal range in the early hours of the morning. It also offers no-equipment beginner workout ideas to ensure you get the best out of your exercise sessions, necessary for keeping morning highs at bay.

Living with a long-term illness like diabetes can impact your quality of life and others’ lives too. Your physical, mental, and social well-being plays an important role in how well you manage blood glucose levels and how highly you place your diabetes care. The relationships you have with others can also influence your choices, increasing or decreasing the risk factors associated with this disease. The social impact of diabetes goes beyond yourself to affect families, friends and even our communities.

Diabetes can also affect your mental health, coloring the way you see yourself and the world around you. The demands of managing diabetes can affect your relationships as well as increase your risk of depression and social anxiety. However, with a little planning and some healthy choices, the social impact of diabetes can be reduced so you feel in control of your health outcomes and can improve your quality of life.

Take control to reduce the social impacts of diabetes

Although it can seem that your social life revolves around food and drink, it doesn’t have to. There are plenty of activities you can do with friends and family that don’t include eating and drinking. Try suggesting activities that you can enjoy with friends and make it easier to manage diabetes. We’ve made some suggestions below to get you started.

Exercise together

Bike rides, walks along nature trails, even taking a jog is more fun when you have a friend along. Regular exercise helps with managing diabetes and protects from cardiovascular disease. Aerobic exercise can lower blood sugar levels and help with diabetes by increasing blood flow and insulin sensitivity. The social impact of diabetes is lessened when you spend quality time with friends.

Meet for breakfast

Not all food-related activities need to be banned from your social life. They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and this couldn’t be more true for diabetics! Choosing to eat earlier can help you with your diabetes care as well opting for nutritious food for your first meal of the day. There are plenty of delicious breakfast options that are healthy choices too – whether meeting at yours or that funky cafe everyone has been talking about. 


Mindfulness is a great way to manage the ups and downs of living with diabetes. Healthcare research shows it can reduce risk factors for depression, anxiety, and stress. Mindfulness retreats and meditation courses are another way to take care of your mental health while spending time with friends. Learning different mindfulness techniques can help you stay balanced, sleep better and manage the ups and downs of diabetic life with more ease, lessening the social impact of diabetes on your life.

Be prepared

Keeping a spare diabetes kit ready to go can bring some spontaneity back to your social life. Being in control and having what you need to see the day through with balanced blood sugar – no matter what you choose to do – will help you avoid diabetes complications and reduce the social impacts of diabetes.

The mental health impact of diabetes

The structure needed for keeping on top of high blood sugars can take a toll on diabetic patients’ mental health. While the constant monitoring and adherence to a healthy diet and lifestyle ultimately support better mental and emotional health, the initial diagnosis is often a shock. The social impact of diabetes can ripple through all aspects of your life and eventually lead to other complications.

For some, diabetes-related stress can emerge weeks, months, or even years after being diagnosed with this disease. Dealing with chronic disease is one of the risk factors for developing depression and anxiety. The road to improved health and diabetes management can be a rocky one.

It’s important not to be too hard on yourself when learning to manage diabetes. Start off by focusing on the things you can control. Lean on community health centers or your health care team as you learn to navigate challenges. Take small steps towards managing the change that diabetes care brings to your life. We’ve noted some key steps for managing diabetes along with your mental health below.

Improve your health literacy

Understanding diabetes is a huge part of learning how to manage it and live comfortably with it. Arm yourself with knowledge about diabetes and don’t be afraid to ask your health care team LOTS of questions. The internet, diabetes forums, and health care workers are all great sources for your diabetes healthcare research. Being proactive will help you to remain positive about your diabetes.

Take control of your diabetes

Diabetics who feel in control of their condition have fewer hypos and less depression and anxiety over their health disparities. Take time to get to the reasons behind fluctuating glycemic levels so you can better avoid the emotional and energetic rollercoaster that accompanies erratic high blood sugar and crashing lows.

Eat well

Learning which are healthy and unhealthy foods not only helps to even out high blood sugar but can also improve your mood. Diabetics can find their diabetes status can put them at higher risk of other conditions too, such as reduced immune system function. Part of choosing a healthy life means choosing nutritious food that boosts your mood, keeps blood sugar stable, and supports your immune system function too.

Seek the support of others

The support of someone who has walked in your shoes and knows exactly what you’re going through can be invaluable. Relationships with other diabetics can reduce your diabetes distress, support you to build healthy lives, and give you the encouragement you need when things get tough. The social impact of diabetes is instantly lessened when you have more friends in the same boat as you!

The diabetes impact on society

Diabetes doesn’t just impact individuals, there is a wider impact on society too. More than 1 in 10 Americans has diabetes. It’s a number that is growing along with the social and economic impact, which was calculated to be $327 billion in 2017. The economic costs include both direct medical costs and a reduction in productivity caused by this chronic disease.

The additional medical costs that need to be covered by people with diabetes can become burdensome for families and diabetes patients. Health insurance coverage doesn’t always cover newly diagnosed diabetes. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention states diabetes is the most expensive chronic disease for Americans, costing $237 billion each year in medical costs alone. A further $90 billion is lost in reduced productivity.

Diabetes mellitus of all types is a serious condition and public health issue in both western cultures and lower-income societies. Diabetes self management interventions can go some way toward reducing the social impact diabetes has on communities, however prevention is always a better option.

The World Health Organization view on diabetes

According to the world health organization commission, diabetes prevalence is higher in low and middle-income nations. This pattern remains true for western societies too – lower socioeconomic status has been associated with a higher prevalence of diabetes.

To support the prevention and disease control in low to middle income countries, the World Health Organization are building awareness of the social impact of diabetes and encouraging preventive services by marking World Diabetes Day each November 14th. This and other work aims to reduce the 1.5 million deaths directly caused by diabetes each year and improve health outcomes for diabetics.

But the social impact of diabetes goes well beyond dollars and cents. Poor health outcomes caused by the mismanagement of diabetes adversely affect the quality of life for diabetes patients, their families and put pressure on community health systems too.

Adverse outcomes such as eye, nerve, and kidney diseases are very real risks for people who neglect to control their blood glucose levels. The risk of cardiovascular disease is also heightened for diabetics. Early diagnosis and proactive management of the condition are key to reducing diabetes’ impact on society. Friends and family can help reduce the risk of diabetic complications and the social impact of diabetes if they understand the disease better.

Enlisting friends and family in your diabetes care

Just as there’s a social impact of diabetes, relationships can help or hinder medication adherence and how well you manage your condition. Friends and family are the biggest influencers of our health. From choosing nutritional food to how often we exercise, our immediate circle of support can push us towards a healthy life or put us at higher risk of poor health outcomes.

Enlisting the support of friends and family for diabetic patients has been shown to improve health outcomes substantially. When it comes to the social impact of diabetes, discussing the changes you need to make to maintain a good level of diabetes care is a great place to start. Family life is easier when we share or concerns and friends are sure to want to help reduce health disparities between you.

Being open about fears of diabetic complications like cardiovascular disease, liver diseases, or kidney failure, will impress the importance of support and health care utilization on friends and family. Explaining the cost of  managing this condition can lead to assistance in looking for the right health insurance coverage or managing finances.

The social impact of diabetes has repercussions for individuals, their relationships with family and friends and even the communities they are part of. Diabetes prevalence is growing and mismanagement of the disease leads to increased risk to individuals and increased cost to society. Tools like Klinio can  improve health outcomes for diabetics, and reduce health disparities between their loved ones and their communities.

Heart disease is one of the most common and severe conditions that affect adults globally. It’s a real medical concern due to its many risk factors. Diabetes has been confirmed to be one of the significant causes of heart disease, and the correlation between the two conditions is very high.

According to credible CDC reports, people with diabetes are twice more likely to develop heart disease—and at a much younger age—than those who don’t have the condition. It’s, however, not doom and gloom for diabetics as the risk factors for heart disease can be effectively reduced and controlled with the right changes to lifestyle and eating habits.

Many heart disease and diabetes health professionals have continued to provide diabetics with expert tips and therapies for managing their condition and reducing the risk of heart disease. Apart from independent medical providers, national institutes such as the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have continued to educate people with diabetes on how they can live healthily to reduce the risks of a heart attack.

What to Expect?

  • What Is Heart Disease?
  • Types of Heart Diseases
  • What Causes Heart Disease in People With Diabetes?
  • How People With Diabetes Can Detect Heart Disease Warning Signs
  • Important Lifestyle Changes to Manage Diabetes and Secure a Better Heart Health

What Is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is an umbrella term for all kinds of health complications that affect the heart. While it’s commonly confused with cardiovascular disease, they’re very different.

Cardiovascular disease comprises heart disease, blood vessels disease, and stroke. On the other hand, heart disease can happen for many reasons, but one of the major causes is diabetes.

Diabetes and heart failure are closely related, and most diagnoses of heart problems have been highly associated with people diagnosed with diabetes or high blood sugar.

According to data drawn on people with diabetes by the American Heart Association, 65% of diabetics are likely to die from heart attacks and other forms of heart disease and stroke. Also, while all people with diabetes have a higher chance of suffering from heart disease, the frequency is higher with those with type 2 diabetes.

Medical practitioners generally emphasize that patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes manage their health and prevent other risk factors that could develop heart disease. This is logical since heart disease is the major cause of death for people with type 2 diabetes.

Types of Heart Diseases

Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine

Let’s examine the various forms of heart diseases and how they differ.


While many forms of heart issues are associated with diabetes, the commonest is coronary artery disease (CAD), also known as atherosclerosis. The disease develops when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries walls — the blood vessels that supply oxygen and blood to the heart.

The plaques that build up in the wall of the blood vessels are formed from cholesterol deposits. They force the arteries’ thinning and hardening, which subsequently decrease the rate at which blood flows to the heart. This hardening process is known as atherosclerosis.


While arrhythmias are not as popular as atherosclerosis, it’s also one heart disease that people with diabetes are susceptible to. This condition is characterized by an irregular heartbeat caused by structural alteration or damage.

The damage disrupts the heart’s electrical activity responsible for the heart’s rhythmic beats. At the early stage, arrhythmias may not seem like a serious problem. However, as it advances, it stops blood flow to the heart, leading to serious complications such as heart attack and death.

Heart Failure

Heart failure is one of the later stages of heart disease, and it’s a severe condition that could lead to death. Heart failure doesn’t mean that the heart has stopped beating. Instead, the heart becomes so weak that it can no longer pump blood as it should.

One of the common symptoms of this condition is fluid retention in the lungs, which leads to heavy and short gasps. Other symptoms include swelling in the legs, which results from fluid retention.

When diagnosed early, heart failure can be successfully managed. However, as it gets worse, treatment may relieve symptoms, stop more damage to the heart, and, at worst, delay the condition’s progression if curing is not possible.

Diabetes and heart failure often go together. For most people, diabetes is majorly the cause of death in patients. The reality, however, is that diabetes won’t lead to death if properly managed and blood sugar levels are kept at the optimal.

On the other hand, when there’s a lack of an early diagnosis and treatment, diabetes leads to other complications such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. As heart disease advances, it leads to heart failure, which subsequently leads to death.

In summary, diabetes and heart failure are very different, and proper diagnoses will help a person with the former avoid the latter and lead a healthy life.

What Causes Heart Disease in People With Diabetes?

It’s clear that diabetes is a key risk factor for heart disease. However, which diabetes symptoms put you at risk of a cardiovascular disorder? We’ll gloss over these in the following sections. 

High Sugar Level

Diabetes and heart failure have an interesting relationship. As blood sugar levels rise over time, it could damage blood vessels and nerves controlling the heart.

Furthermore, having an unhealthy body weight doesn’t help reduce the risk of developing a heart condition as excessive fat levels cause a rise in blood glucose levels. Apart from high blood sugar causing diabetes, it also causes other diseases such as kidney disease.

High Blood Pressure

While high blood pressure (HBP) isn’t exactly a direct symptom of diabetes, people that suffer from the latter are likely to develop HBP due to poor psychological interaction with their condition. When this happens, they become more likely to develop heart disease.

High blood pressure causes an abnormal increase in blood flow through the arteries, easily damaging their walls and making them less functional. This alteration decreases the flow of blood and nutrients to the heart, increasing the risk of heart issues.

High LDL (“Bad”) Cholesterol

Low-density lipoproteins (LDL), also known as “bad” cholesterol, are a significant risk factor for coronary artery disease. Even for people that don’t have diabetes, high LDL generally increases their risk of developing heart problems. However, diabetics are extremely more likely to develop CAD due to high cholesterol consumption.

High Triglycerides Level

This is another type of cholesterol that’s not exactly LDL but also contributes as deposits that harden the arteries of coronary arteries. The major issue with high triglycerides is that it doesn’t have any visible symptoms until it’s at excessively high levels.

Other factors that could also cause heart disease include:

  • Smoking
  • Lack of enough physical activity
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Consistent consumption of alcohol
  • The intake of meals that are high in trans-fat, saturated fat, and sodium
  • Genetic ties such as family
  • History or family members that have experienced diabetes before

How People With Diabetes Can Detect Heart Disease Warning Signs

Having diabetes can be hard on some people to the extent that they don’t pay attention to subtle growing changes caused by heart issues at their earliest stage. Others may not even bother about getting a customized diabetes management program and may interpret emerging heart degradation symptoms as normal.

Without proper diagnosis of a heart condition and other important risk factors, most people with diabetes may miss the warning signs of heart disease risks at the early stage. This is one of the reasons why continuous diagnoses and consultation with a medical professional are crucial.

This section outlines some warning signs of heart diseases that patients with diabetes should see as a red alert.

The Early Symptoms of Heart Disease and Heart Attack

According to the American Association of Diabetes, people with diabetes should be medically conscious of cardiovascular disorder-related symptoms. If a patient experience any three of these symptoms in a week, then they are likely dealing with a heart complication in its early stages:

  • Shortness of breath: Once breathing becomes difficult and seems to come in gasps, it could be an alert for heart complications
  • Feeling faint, dizzy, or fatigued
  • Excessive sweating that’s both unusual and unexplained
  • Pains in different parts of the body, including the shoulder, left arm, jaw, chest, throat, back, neck, and upper abdomen
  • Numbness and excessive weakness in arms and legs
  • Nausea

When any of these symptoms occur, a diabetic patient shouldn’t hesitate to call a doctor and have a thorough diagnosis. While these are early symptoms of heart disease and diabetes complications, they don’t outrightly mean that the patient has developed heart disease. This is why a diagnosis is necessary to identify the condition properly.

If more symptoms are diagnosed, such as the one below, it’s most likely heart disease.

  • Fullness — this might feel like indigestion or heartburn
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting

Important Lifestyle Changes to Manage Diabetes and Secure a Better Heart Health

Source: diaTribe

The link between diabetes and heart disease is glaring, with the former increasing the possibility of cardiovascular disease. Health professionals generally advise that patients with diabetes can reduce the risk of heart attacks with proper management of their health condition.

There are various ways to manage diabetes and heart attack-related conditions. The kind of treatment, therapy, or lifestyle changes prescribed will depend on whether the patient seeks to prevent or manage the heart disease following diagnosis.

Get a Diabetic Management Plan Set Up

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) explains that the best way to maintain great heart health is to effectively manage your diabetes health. Setting up a diabetes management plan is extremely important in helping you reduce the risk of developing heart disease and living a healthier life with little interference with your diabetic condition.

To set up an effective diabetic plan, people with diabetes will need their doctor to help them set up a customized control plan that helps manage their condition according to their personalities. They will know exactly how to test their blood glucose level and always ensure it’s within the appropriate range. Also, they need expertly prescribed insulin and medications to prevent the risk of any health complications.

A good diabetes plan also helps patients with the right exercise to help them reach and sustain an ideal healthy weight for their optimal health. Notably, physical activity helps control their blood sugar levels and slashes the risk of heart disease.

People with diabetes could try to get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (e.g., brisk walking) weekly.

Another important lifestyle change that diabetics can incorporate from their diabetes management plan is to keep their sugar level normal through dieting.

The type of food that a person with diabetes consumes is extremely important when they have diabetes. To reduce the risk of developing a heart condition, people with diabetes will need to reduce the amount of cholesterol that they consume in their meals.

Too much consumption of “bad” cholesterols (LDL) or triglycerides will lead to deposits forming plaques in the coronary arteries. This will lead to a blockage in the blood vessels and subsequently increase the risk of CAD and heart failure.

By cutting off “bad” cholesterol from their diet, people with diabetes can improve the health of their heart and blood vessels that ensure healthy blood flow. Patients should also ensure that they test for diabetes to help them live healthy lives.

Pro-Heart Disease Management Plan

The outlined management is for managing heart disease when diagnosed.

Follow a Healthy Diet

People with diabetes will need to eat more vegetables, fresh fruits, lean protein, and whole grains. They should also avoid or drastically reduce processed foods such as sweets and fast foods. Finally, they must avoid trans fat and drink more water often instead of sugary drinks and alcohol.

Manage the ABCs

A Getting a regular A1C test to monitor average blood sugar over 2–3 months and try to remain in the target range

B Ensuring Blood pressure doesn’t go above 140/90 mm Hg or your doctor’s recommended target

C — Managing Cholesterol levels

s — Quit Smoking or don’t commence at all

Manage Stress

Stress causes a rise in blood pressure and can make you stick to unhealthy behaviors that include overeating excessive alcohol intake or overeating.

Rather than focusing on bad habits for treatments, people with diabetes should pay a mental health counselor a visit, adopt meditation and deep breathing, and exercise. They can also seek support from family and friends.


Diabetes and heart disease are serious concerns, and knowing the exact way to manage them is of paramount importance. Managing diabetes and reducing heart risk requires that patients know exactly all the dos and don’ts of living heart-healthy.

While all the information in this article can help diabetics live healthier, adding our Klinio app to your diabetes management plan will make it significantly easier to plan your diet properly. Notably, our app lets patients know all the right meals they can take without increasing their risk of getting heart disease.

Diabetes is a common problem in both youths and adults. In the United States alone, the annual stats on how many people have the disease continues to surge sporadically. According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020 by CDC, about 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes — a whopping 34.2 million. Similarly, around 1 in 3 American adults have prediabetes, which translates to 88 million US adults.

Many factors may cause diabetes, including genetic and environmental factors. However, the reality is that, regardless of the causative factor, all cases demand a high level of attention. There are several ways to successfully and effectively manage diabetes, and exercise is one.

The focus of this article is to help you harness the health benefits of aerobic activity for better diabetes management.

The Nature of Diabetes

blood sugar measurement

Source: Healthline

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) broadly defines diabetes as a condition that occurs due to excessively high blood glucose/sugar levels. Diabetes is highly likely to happen when there is a lack of enough insulin in the body, and a patient does not complement the shortage by taking insulin treatments or other solutions. It may also be due to the ineffective use of insulin by the body.

Diabetes, irrespective of the stage or type, is a severe condition that could lead to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, narrowing of the blood vessels, and many other damages. In the worst scenario, diabetes could lead to death.

Excessive carbohydrate intake and other non-genetic factors could trigger high blood pressure. Hence, you must regularly check your blood sugar levels to know the state of your condition and determine if you need blood glucose control.

Generally, if your body weight or body mass index (BMI) falls on the higher side of the scale, you must check your blood sugar to know if you already have diabetes or are at risk of having it.

To check your blood sugar level, it’s best to consult a professional health provider to carry out the test to ensure you are sure of the condition, the extent of damage and knows how to manage it with exercise or other means.

The Types of Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the three major types of diabetes are:

Type 1 diabetes primarily occurs in kids and young adults when the body produces very little to no insulin due to autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. Patients would need daily insulin injections for health sustenance and survival. Type 1 diabetes and exercise may not be an ideal combo as there isn’t enough insulin that would otherwise be exploited by healthy physical conditioning.

Type 2 diabetes is more common in middle-aged and older people and is due to environmental and genetic factors. In this case, the body produces insulin, but there’s inherent insulin resistance — the body can’t use insulin efficiently. Exercise and type 2 diabetes go hand in hand as aerobic activity is one of the established means of naturally managing the condition.

Gestational diabetes happens in some pregnant women but disappears following childbirth. However, women who have had this form of diabetes are more predisposed to developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

Exercise and Diabetes: An Overview

Diabetes and exercise are two terms that are commonly associated with each other since the latter can be successfully used to manage the former. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly for optimal diabetes management.

While you may be tempted to think that this applies to strictly aerobic exercise, the reality is that it’s not the only exercise program that you could opt for. Other programs offer significant health benefits for diabetics, including lower blood pressure and heart disease prevention. To determine the appropriate exercise for your condition, it’s essential to know the extent or nature of your diabetes by checking your blood sugar levels.

The philosophy behind physical activity and diabetes control is true. You can enjoy all the benefits that it brings in improving your wellbeing, reducing insulin insensitivity or insulin resistance, and ensuring a sustained diabetes management solution. We’ll throw more light on exactly how this works and the best exercise programs to engage in for optimal blood sugar levels.

Exercise and Diabetes: The Benefits of Physical Activity in High Blood Sugar Level Management

A significant benefit of physical activity in tackling diabetes is that it lowers the HbA1c (glycated hemoglobin) percentage point—a blood sugar marker—in people with the condition. This health benefit was confirmed to be true for every ethnic group. Remarkably, when paired with complementary diabetes management solutions such as dieting and autonomic therapy, patients who included exercise in their program presented better blood sugar control than those who didn’t.

Resistance exercise, aerobic exercise, or combined training (mix of aerobic exercise and resistant exercise) reduces insulin resistance in adults who had previously been recorded to be at risk of diabetes due to poor insulin creation.

People with diabetes who were recorded to have walked briskly or performed moderate exercise for up to 8 hours a week had lesser risks of heart disease. Those who exercised for the same time but with a higher intensity were found to have an even lesser chance of contracting heart disease.

Diabetic women who were recorded to have spent up to four hours a week on moderate exercise or vigorous activity were stated to have a 40% lesser risk of heart disease compared to those who did not do exercise at all. The results remained consistent despite adjustments in BMI and other factors.

Overall, exercise has proven beneficial in managing diabetes via various means. While it’s widely known as a natural method to lose weight, its benefits in complementing treatment options as well as an independent solution have helped people with diabetes better manage their situation.

In addition, people taking insulin with an incorporated exercise program are more likely to feel better faster as the body ensures there’s always enough insulin, irrespective of diabetes.

The Best Exercise Programs for People With Diabetes (High Blood Glucose Levels)

blood sugar management

Source: Fitness Index

Having considered the health benefits of exercise, we now look at the best ones you can harness to manage your situation. However, it’s important to note that the type of exercise you chose would most likely depend on your carbohydrate intake, high and low blood sugar levels, alongside other vital metrics.

Moderate Intensity Physical Activity

For those whose condition isn’t severe but are at risk of having diabetes, a mix of moderately intense physical activity and other diabetes management options is the best way to control and prevent the condition. If you’re fond of constant snacking or drinking artificial sugar-filled fruit juice, you may also need to reduce your intake.

This type of exercise usually includes brisk walking for not more than an hour, light jogs, and 15 to 20 minutes of exercise daily. The great thing about this exercise is that it prevents dehydration while controlling blood pressure and sugar level. For example, walking briskly not only helps control high blood sugar levels but also helps prevent low blood sugar levels since it keeps your heart pumping.

While most people with diabetes are focused on avoiding high blood sugar levels, low blood sugar levels are equally a severe health concern. If you’re under medical care such as insulin dose, cholesterol medications, Glyburide (glibenclamide), and other related treatments, low blood sugar could cause blackouts and worse consequences.

To maximally benefit from this exercise program, you may have to adjust your diet to one that keeps your body weight in the best condition. This includes drinking water, natural fruit juice, and eating food with more fiber than sugar.

High-Intensity Interval Training

High-intensity interval training exercise is simply a more extreme version of the moderate intensity program and could include running, sprinting, and using glucose tablets for energy. This program is great when you have a very high sugar level and desire weight loss. This kind of exercise can go for more than an hour but should not be so extreme that the body breaks down.

Resistance Exercise

Resistance exercise or resistance training is an excellent option for building muscle mass while ensuring you are physically active and fit. Unlike the first two programs that focus on the lower body while controlling sugar levels, resistance training complements them by developing the upper body.

This exercise helps lower blood sugar effectively when done right, so it’s a great option to go for. It includes tai chi training, weight lifting, and other muscle-developing skills.


The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has confirmed exercise to be an effective solution for managing diabetes. Moreover, with the help of human services (a trainer), you could harness the benefits that it offers to the maximum.

You should, however, be prepared before choosing any exercise program. Drinking water is essential to ensure a corrective relationship between diabetes and exercise, and you must also get comfortable athletic shoes for starters. You could also opt for a time and calorie counter to know how many calories you burn daily.

Our revolutionary app, Klinio, also makes your exercise routine more seamless by offering no-equipment beginner workouts with customizable activity levels, ability, and pace. It also provides a detailed weight loss progress and blood sugar levels tracker to help you get the best out of your exercise routines. In addition to that, it features an ever-evolving meal plan that can help you stick with the best diet suited for people with diabetes undergoing exercise.

Managing diabetes when ill is a serious concern among people with diabetes. Unlike other persons that could fall sick and focus on medications that help them get better, people with diabetes have to consider their underlying condition when treating an illness. Often, diabetics experience adverse reactions while getting health care or medical help for a different illness.

One of the significant concerns of sick days in diabetes is the issue of high blood sugar and ketone levels. People with diabetes run the risk of developing high blood sugar levels even if they only have a minor illness — as is with people working high-stress level jobs. Therefore, it’s essential you know how to ensure proper diabetes management when getting treatment.

The purpose of this article is to provide general guidelines for people with diabetes when sick. Adequate diabetes management on sick days is critical as it allows you to balance diabetes control while caring for the other ailment.

The Purpose of Planning Sick Day Rules for Diabetes

There are a lot of benefits of having well outlined sick day rules for diabetes, and most health institutions prioritize this preparedness. With appropriate planning, you’ll be able to ensure a low blood sugar level and avoid the adverse reactions that treatment for a different ailment could trigger. A sick day plan for diabetes comes with a carefully outlined plan, and in some cases, you may need professional help to ensure you get a well-outlined pattern for effective results.

Guidelines for Planning Effective Sick Day Rules for Diabetes

The following general guidelines will ensure you get the best out of your planning for sick days if you have diabetes.

Fix a Standby Appointment With Your Doctor for Sick Days

The very first rule for diabetes management during sick days is to have a planned appointment with your doctor for such a situation. Falling ill as a diabetic can be highly tasking as you may experience a surge in diabetes symptoms due to indirect and direct factors.

Generally, when you are ill, your body releases hormones to fight off the condition. While ordinarily, this situation will not lead to any complications, the reverse is the case for people with diabetes.

Hormones trigger high blood sugar levels, and you must have effective and efficient methods to restore your condition to normal. A doctor’s prescription would help you bring your condition under control by administering medicines that lower blood sugar.

Hence, when planning your sick day rules for diabetes, you should incorporate a series of medical appointments that give you the option to visit or call your doctor. This diabetes sick rule will help you get information on the best oral medication to prevent high blood sugar and cause further complications.

Set a Sick Day Plan With Rules

While fixing an appointment with a doctor for sick days is essential, you should also map out a sick day plan with your doctor to effectively manage diabetes when you get ill and have to take drugs. Sick day plan rules will help you balance taking diabetes medicines (such as an insulin dose) without a negative impact with a drug meant for treating the other ailment.

For example, when there could be poor reactions with other drugs, you may need to use an insulin pump to get more insulin into your body.

However, you must consult your doctor while making sick day plan rules. This offers you an expert understanding of how to check your blood sugar level, how and when to adjust your insulin, and how to recover quickly from a sickness.

Have a Kit at Hand for Sick Days

Another critical consideration for sick day planning is to have a kit nearby in case you fall sick. A good kit should have equipment that conducts urine tests and checks blood sugar levels to determine whether extra insulin would be needed.

Some kits also have standard diabetes medicines that help keep healthy low blood sugar levels without any risk factors to the infection or ailment being treated. Some other kits necessary for sick day management in diabetes may include cold or flu medications that won’t interact with your diabetes management.

However, you should get expert help/advice when getting a kit ready for sick days.

Keep High Sugar Food to the Minimum

Proper dieting is vital for handling diabetes during sick days — you would need to ensure that you are taking the right food and drinks when ill. What you eat or drink could increase your ketones levels and cause more diabetes complications. Hence, you must adopt healthy foods and beverages, including zero-sugar healthy fruit juice and fiber-focused meals.

Consumption of moderate or large amounts of foods or drinks with added sugars could cause a severe rise in blood sugar. If you have to consume sugary foods when ill, you must ensure that you keep them at a bare minimum. You should also endeavor to check your blood glucose level constantly to see how your food choices influence your blood sugar levels.

Handling Your Child’s Diabetes on Sick Days

sick child with diabetes

Source: Children with Diabetes

While diabetes may not be rampant in children, kids can have type 1 diabetes — an autoimmune disease once referred to as “juvenile diabetes.” A person with type 1 diabetes will need insulin injections to prevent a rise in ketone levels. Kids may run the risk of producing too many ketones, leading to diabetic ketoacidosis, if their body does not produce enough insulin.

You can customize the outlined diabetes sick day guidelines to manage a child’s diabetes condition, but you would need the help of an expert medical professional for best results. You can call your doctor for professional tips on successfully managing your kid’s or young relative’s condition and how to make the best use of sick day guidelines to limit the consequences of external acting factors.

Also, don’t hesitate to call your doctor if there’s a complication or increased symptoms such as dehydration, dizziness, gasping, and other related type 1 diabetes symptoms.

Proactive Precautionary Measures for Diabetes Management

klinio diabetes management

Source: North Country Hospital

Although it’s essential to always be prepared for sick days if you have diabetes, you should also know that it’s crucial to lead a healthy life even before falling ill. Diabetes as a condition has its challenges, and you must ensure that you make the right choices in terms of lifestyle and diet to reduce the reactions that sickness could cause. Here are a few:

  • Firstly, you should prioritize losing weight if you’re overweight to help better breathing. Obese diabetics are more likely to have trouble breathing when reacting to another drug or their condition.
  • You should also normalize taking insulin to prevent raising your ketone levels, which in turn increases blood sugar.
  • Try to drink more water and healthy extra fluids that ensure proper hydration. This is because dehydration generally worsens diabetes symptoms, increases your chances of fever, and worsens stress.
  • Another crucial tip to live by is to periodically check that your sugar level is in the target range.
  • Finally, you should always talk to your doctor for proactive tips on managing diabetes even before falling ill.


Planning sick day rules for diabetes is an excellent way to effectively control blood sugar levels and ensure better health in cases when you’re ill. The tips outlined in this article, when employed appropriately, can provide effective sick day management in diabetes.

You can also use our Klinio app to aid your management plans and rules and incorporate proactive measures to prevent worsened diabetes sick days. Namely, you can plan the proper meals for days or weeks during the course of treating an ailment.

Additionally, Klinio’s comprehensive activity log allows you to keep track of your water consumption. At the same time, the progress tracker affords you an easy means of monitoring your weight loss progress.

Years back, people could just check food labels for the quantity of saturated fat and sugar to determine if they were buying healthy food that wouldn’t have any negative consequences when they eat. These days, food manufacturers try to influence these decisions by projecting their products as healthy foods since consumers are now bent on eating healthier foods and keeping their weight in check. Sadly, this has worked to a certain extent as people now eat and make poorly informed food choices.

These developments necessitate the need to accurately interpret and understand food labels. This guide aims to help packaged foods lovers make healthier choices in 2021 by introducing the essential and subtler nutrition facts labels carry. It also throws light on the updated nutrition facts label proposed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

How to Understand a Food Nutrition Facts Label

food label

Source: UNL

It’s safe to say that knowing how to read food labels is a significant challenge for some. However, here are some tips to help you differentiate between wrongly labeled products and genuine ones.

Beat the Trick

If there’s anything consumers must know about food labels, it’s that the hidden facts are never visible, and most, if not all, product brands will never talk about them. The truth is that manufacturers know that customers are now highly conscious about getting fewer calories, and their product may not be the best to eat.

They have also responded with higher censoring and sometimes outright trickery to retain brand loyalty among their many consumers and keep sales. In recent years, there have been subtle changes in some of the world’s biggest food brands. For example, brands known for unhealthy sugar-concentrated snack foods now claim their products are healthy to eat.

While these changes are always projected as accurate, the reality is that most are just tactical health claims (which are legal) to get customers. There may be several changes, but most modifications don’t significantly reduce the negative consequences posed on health.

The following sections highlight some of the recent food nutrition labels’ tricks companies adopt and how they prevent consumers from making healthy choices.

Ignore False Front Package Claims

package claims

Source: Naked Food

Food contributes to a person’s overall shape and health. Therefore, it’s not surprising that people try to know how many calories they are consuming and if they are getting enough vitamins (vitamin D especially and other good nutrients).

However, many manufacturers know that consumers can only tell if they are getting the right amount of total fat and not lacking a particular nutrient when they read the nutrition facts label of food products. As such, their primary strategy is to stop or at least dissuade them from doing so. One of the best ways to achieve their goal is by boldly presenting nutrient content claims on front packages.

Research proves that front package claims influence buyers’ choices significantly. According to a review by PubMed, the Multiple Light Tracking system—which involves using different color codings systems to identify the various variables (food nutrients)—helps consumers select healthier food options.

Still, customers are more likely to choose foods with stated health claims (in most cases, unproven nutrition facts) than the same food product with no health claims on its label. Research confirms that customers pay attention to claims about how products regulate health conditions and ignore nutrition information listed separately on the label.

The issue with these claims is that most are deceptive. For example, irrespective of how much a nutrient the so-called peak quality cocoa puffs now offer, its major nutrients include sodium and added sugars. These could increase cholesterol levels and cause health problems in the long run (e.g., heart disorders).

Hence, customers must always ensure they choose foods based on nutrition facts and not ambiguous written claims.

Ingredients Listing Is Extremely Important

A good way to avoid tricky food labels is to examine the ingredients list. In most cases, the ingredients are listed in a descending order (highest to lowest quantities). Hence, it’s always a good idea to glance through the first three ingredients as they indicate the bulk of the food’s contents.

Food products that have saturated fats, sugars, or refined grains among its first few products may imply an unhealthy food option.

Knowing How to Read Nutrition Facts on Food Labels

Knowing how to read a nutrition facts label is the basics of getting the best out of a product’s nutrition facts and creating better dietary guidelines.

Food labels examples generally have a pattern, and they are sometimes not self-explanatory. However, the foundational basics that customers must have are that two same products with alternative names or different brands can offer varying numbers of calories and nutrients based on equal serving sizes.

food label example

Source: HSPH

The above label will be used as an example for better clarification.

Servings per Container

The number of servings per container is stated to be four (4). This means that you’ll be able to use this food product on four occasions if you stick to the stated serving size.

Serving Size

The serving size on the above food label is stated as 1½  cup (280g). This is not the recommended amount you’re required to take; it’s only an indication of what the average person will take. Also, the number of servings per food product is calculated based on the stated serving size.

The Expected Calories

An excellent understanding of how to read food labels depends on your knowledge of calories.

The emboldened calorie value of 240 is the expected amount of calories for each serving. This means that the total calories in the container will be 240 x 4 = 960 calories. A higher calorie intake is associated with obesity. As a rule of thumb, the average human should stick to a 2,000-calorie daily diet.


The different nutrients contained in the food product are listed with their corresponding %DV. The nutrients listed first (e.g., total fat, cholesterol, sodium, etc.) are the major nutrients, while the others listed below (e.g., vitamin D, calcium, etc.) are the micronutrients.

Percent Daily Value (%DV)

The %DV is simply an indication of the daily value percentage for each nutrient based on the stated serving size. In other words, it implies how much each nutrient contributes to your total daily diet. A %DV of 5% or less is considered low, while a %DV of 20% or more is deemed to be high.

Ideally, you should aim for a higher %DV of beneficial nutrients like dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin D, potassium, and iron. On the other hand, you should aim for a lower %DV of nutrients like saturated fats, added sugars, and sodium since they’re linked to adverse health effects like cardiovascular disease.

The New Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Updated Label

various food labels

Source: Pinterest

The food labels examples above represent the old food labeling system and the currently updated FDA food label. In this section, we highlight the significant changes between the two.

Emboldened Calorie Counts

The calorie is made much more visible so consumers can easily read and know what to expect. Since calorie monitoring is a means to watch your weight, a larger font should make people more conscious of just how many calories they’re consuming.

Emboldened and Realistic Serving size

One of the tricks manufacturers used for labeling was an unrealistic serving size. Most did this to obscure just how much unhealthy fats customers may consume at once. Hence, rather than use a serving size based on how much the average person should consume, they are now based on just how much the average person realistically consumes.

To put things in perspective, one serving of ice cream was upgraded from ½ cup (66 g) to ⅔ cup (88 g). Also, the serving size is now more visibly stated and in bold fonts.

Added Sugars Included

Comparing the two food nutrition labels, it’s clear that the former label only showed the amount of sugar in a product (natural and artificial sugar). However, with the new updates, companies are obligated to separately outline the added artificial sugar added during processing alongside its %DV.

This modification is essential since added sugars are a risk factor for numerous health conditions like type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, etc.

Modifications to Micronutrients

Under the micronutrients, new additions such as vitamin D and potassium (alongside their respective %DV) have been included in the updated nutrition facts label due to their benefits for bone strengthening and regulating blood pressure, respectively.

Also, manufacturers are no longer mandated to include micronutrients like vitamins A and C. This is because their deficiency is rare, and a plethora of food sources offer these nutrients in abundant quantities.

Modifications to Fats

In previous labels, calories from fats were differentiated from other calories. The FDA believed that such differentiation would help people know which products to go for. However, research has shown that fats’ calories do not make any significant difference as it is still calories.

In addition, a study showed that the type of fat in a product is of more significant consequence than calorie counts. Hence, the FDA now calculates calories generally and ensures that the type of fats (saturated fats, trans fat, e.t.c.) in products are always stated.

Modifications to the Footnote

A modified footnote in the new FDA food label explains the %DV and its implications more explicitly. The old food label only indicated that the %DV is calculated in relation to a 2000-calorie diet. However, the updated food label emphasizes that the 2,000-calorie per day recommendation is only general nutrition advice.


There are so many unhealthy foods in the markets, and it has become increasingly difficult for customers to get healthy foods. However, understanding food labels and the changes that have been made in recent times is an excellent way to start. Moreover, certain fitness organizations use food labels to help their clients/user base live better and make healthier food choices.

Our amazing app, Klinio, is one of the top health and fitness reseources with an excellent reputation in helping consumers plan better meal serving. Namely, it provides users with tips on how to get the optimal %DV from a minimal number of servings.

That’s not all; Klinio also encourages users to make better food choices through nutrition information in a nutrition facts label and limit sodium and added sugars consumption. Finally, when you use Klinio, you stand to benefit from pro tips that guide you to consume food products with naturally occurring sugars and other nutrients great for health.

Maintaining your eating habits to be healthy and balanced is very important. That includes keeping track of your consumption of vitamins, carbs, proteins and… sugar. No matter how hard you try to avoid it  – it’s everywhere! And for diabetics it’s an additional headache: you have to put some extra work to investigate what you eat, because even bread, veggies and potatoes have sugar in them these days! 

So, we did an investigation for you and here’s a list of foods that usually contain hidden sugars.

Sauces, salad dressings & other condiments

The sad truth is, most of your favorite condiments, (such as BBQ sauce, pesto, ketchup, soy sauce or chili) contain a concentrated amount of sugar. It works well mixed with acid and salt, which evokes all sorts of taste palettes in sauces. Sugar will find its way by having pseudo-names such as corn-syrup, fructose and etc. It might contain 10-12 grams of sugar in 2tbsp!

What to do?

There are a few options. You can reduce the amount of gravies you pour on your dish OR you can try home-made sauces. That way you will be able to cut sugar from the recipe and put quantities of ingredients according to your taste.

Granola bars & dried fruits

If you fancy protein or granola bars and think that it’s a healthy and crunchy snack… Well, hate to break it to you, but they also contain sugar. Whole-grain, nuts and dried fruits are O.K. but sometimes honey, yogurt glaze or chocolate chips can fool you. Even raisins or other dried berries have some corn-syrup in them. Adding to that, we suggest avoiding canned fruits also. The amount of glucose in that fruit-soaking liquid is insane.

What to do? 

Thoroughly read the labels on the packages. Try eating organic bars made from clean ingredients. You will feel full, energized and less overpowered with sugar supplements.

Yoghurt, cereal & oatmeals

For most people cereal, yogurt or instant oatmeals are the main part of breakfast. However, little do we know that these morning starters and energy boosters contain sugar – sometimes more than we could imagine. Flavoured yoghurts, sweetened cereals and oatmeals have corn-syrup, agave syrup and other sneaky sugary ingredients that are difficult to track or inspect.

What to do?

Use non-flavoured yoghurt or greek yoghurt and put some fresh fruit in it. With cereals and oatmeals try searching for whole-grain, natural and, also, non-flavoured ones. You can garnish it by your own choice – with bananas, berries or nuts.

Bottom line

Nobody said that staying healthy will be easy! However, as long as you learn and start to track your consumption of sugar (by reading labels, swapping ingredients or cutting the portion sizes – sauces, dippings, syrups, etc.).

[1] American Diabetes Association. Understanding Food Labels.
[2] Fuhrman J. The Hidden Dangers of Fast and Processed Food.

Treating diabetes requires consistent commitment and management as each meal and other basic activities play a significant role in affecting blood sugar. However, one way to always keep your blood sugar under control is to carry out consistent tests on your blood sugar.

Blood sugar tests are one of the most effective management procedures that people with diabetes can take to keep their blood sugar from getting incredibly high or extremely low. Medical professionals usually advise patients struggling with diabetes to perform regular tests to help them know the state of their blood sugar. Top medical institutions maintain the same stance.

Performing a blood sugar test is extremely easy, and your blood sample is the primary requirement for the test. There are many benefits to a blood sugar test, and the major one is the prevention of further complications such as digestive and kidney diseases, cardiovascular disease, and coronary disease.

This guide provides complete information on all you need to know about a blood sugar test, when to perform it and how to go about it.

What to Expect?

  • What’s a Blood Sugar Test?
  • Who Should Have a Blood Sugar Test? — Risk Factors
  • When to Test Blood Sugar
  • How to Test Blood Sugar
  • Blood Sugar Test Result

What’s a Blood Sugar Test?

A blood sugar test is a test that measures your blood sugar level or blood glucose level. Usually, a medical professional determines if a patient needs the test, but this doesn’t always have to be the case as you can perform the test yourself.

Doctors usually add blood sugar tests as a part of a patient’s routine check-up to determine whether a person has prediabetes or if a diabetic patient has positive results from a chosen management plan.

The good thing about a glucose test is that the results are instant. Knowing your blood test can help you see if you need to apply some lifestyle changes in certain essential areas. These could include your diet and exercise routines, the two major determinants of your blood glucose level.

If you already have ongoing diabetic treatment, the test will help you know if it’s effective or doing more than necessary. Moreover, it’s a great way to help you and your doctor know if your management plan is great for the short and long term.

Another good thing about a blood sugar test is that it can be performed at home or in a doctor’s office. In most cases, your doctor may help you with suggestions on the best blood sugar tests to get.

Who Should Have a Blood Sugar Test? — Risk Factors

There are many reasons to perform a blood glucose test, and it’s not just about being a diabetic. A blood sugar test can be crucial even when you don’t have diabetes but have any of the risk factors:

  • You are up to 45 years old or more
  • You are on the overweight scale
  • You barely exercise
  • You’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure (HBP), low “good” cholesterol levels (or HDL), or high triglycerides.
  • You or a relative have experienced gestational diabetes
  • You are insulin resistant
  • You suffer from cardiovascular diseases or related conditions such as a stroke or hypertension
  • You share direct ethnicity with any of the following races: Africa, Asia, Pacific Island, Hispanic, or Native American
  • Your ancestry or relative has diabetes

Another reason why you need to perform the test is if you’re at risk of developing diabetic complications such as diabetes ketoacidosis, a dangerous condition that induces the release of ketones into your bloodstream and can lead to liver and kidney damage.

Diabetes ketoacidosis develops when you replace carbs with fatty foods. While the decision may lead to low blood sugar, it can also lead to ketoacidosis if your body strictly depends on fat for fuel. Other complications associated with a lack of blood sugar monitoring include heart disease and stroke.

Finally, if your body’s primary food source is sugar, then a blood test may become necessary to help you monitor blood glucose levels.

When to Test Blood Sugar

Source: Everyday Health

Knowing when to test blood sugar levels is critical as that would help you get the correct information on your blood glucose level and the appropriate steps to take afterward. Certain factors could influence when to take a blood sugar test, and they’re outlined below.

If You Have Type 1 Diabetes

A person with type 1 diabetes will need multiple heavy sustenances doses of insulin, which only makes testing blood sugar a priority. There’s often a thin line between having an optimal blood sugar level and a low blood sugar level if you need heavy insulin sustenance doses.

To ensure you always have the appropriate blood sugar level, you’ll need to conduct a blood sugar test according to the factors outlined below:

  • Before meals or snacks
  • Before or after you exercise
  • Before retiring for the night or having a nap
  • At night

You’ll need to test more frequently in the following scenarios:

  • When ill
  • When there’s a change in your daily routine
  • If you change your normal medication to something new
  • If subjected to stress or if you are performing a hectic activity like driving, arguing, or babysitting

If You Have High Blood Sugar or Type 2 Diabetes

If you experience high blood sugar and feel an increased urge to pee or suffer from dry throat and thirst, you should perform a test immediately. If the condition is consistent, then you should see your doctor and get a modified prediabetes management plan.

If you already have type 2 diabetes, you’ll need to perform your blood sugar test several times before a day runs out. It’s easy to determine how many tests you should perform a day based on your doctor’s recommendation and the type of insulin medication you use. If you use long-acting insulin, then testing severally is necessary, especially when you’re about to eat or going to bed.

For a person with type 2 diabetes, if you perform a blood sugar test and are in the normal range but still suffer high blood sugar symptoms, it could mean that you are only ill or stressed out and need rest. A blood test may not be necessary if you exercise constantly and your doctor deems you fit to not depend on diabetic medications.

If You Suffer From Low Blood Sugar

As stated, a blood sugar test isn’t only for people with high blood sugar. Diabetic treatments can lead to low blood sugar. When you experience any of the following symptoms as a diabetic or healthy person, then you should immediately run a blood sugar test:

  • Shakiness
  • Chillness or sweatiness
  • Impatience or irritation
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea and hunger
  • Sleepiness
  • Numbness or tingly sensation on the tongue or lips
  • Weakness
  • Anger, stubbornness, or sadness

Diabetics have low blood sugar when their dieting and insulin intake becomes excessive and negatively affect glucose production. It’s advised that people with diabetes get glucagon to help them treat low blood sugar symptoms.

If you take diabetes medication and experience low blood sugar more often, you should speak to your doctor for treatment modification.

If You’re an Expectant Mother

Pregnancy is a critical period for women with diabetes. Even healthy women may sometimes experience gestational diabetes when pregnant. Gestational diabetes occurs due to pregnancy-triggered hormones affecting insulin production, which inadvertently leads to sugar accumulation in the blood.

Pregnant women usually get to know if they have gestational diabetes during pre-delivery check-ups. If diagnosed with the condition, then a blood sugar test becomes highly paramount as it helps them keep their glucose level in the safe range.

Gestational diabetes is only temporary, and healthy women should no longer experience a surge in blood sugar levels after delivery. However, this form of diabetes can signify that the mother could be vulnerable to type 2 diabetes (about 50% chance) and should opt for a healthier lifestyle.

How to Test Blood Sugar

Knowing how to conduct a blood sugar test will help you perform the test yourself and as much as is needed or recommended by a doctor. Most blood sugar tests depend on the A1C test, which helps you know your average blood sugar level for the past three months.

The American Diabetes Association perfectly explains how the A1C test works. Namely, the test measures your blood sugar level by dividing it into three categories as highlighted below:

  • An A1C test reading of <5.7%: Normal
  • An A1C test reading of >5.7%: Prediabetic (or high blood sugar)
  • An A1C test reading of 6.5% and above: Diabetic

How to Administer a Blood Sugar Test

Below are the major blood sugar tests and how to perform them:

Home Glucometer Tests

While there are many home tests that you can use to test blood sugar, a glucometer is the most reputable choice you can go for. There are many types of glucometers, but their testing methods are quite similar. It generally involves pricking your finger. Not to worry, this process is almost painless, and you’ll only feel a dull sting that lasts for a second.

All glucometers have their specific instructions. Generally, you’ll need to place a drop of blood on a strip that comes with the device. The strip is usually inserted into the machine. Following this, the device analyzes your blood and reads out a result in 10–20 minutes.

You can trust the result of a glucometer as long as you buy from a reputable company specializing in diabetes care and management. Also, familiarize yourself with cautionary steps you should take before performing the test, including washing your hand and reading the testing equipment thoroughly.

Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM)

Source: Healthline

The continuous glucose monitoring system or continuous glucose monitor is an excellent alternative to the glucometer. It’s a kind of sensor that’s connected to the body and remains so for several days, up to a week. It still depends on a meter to produce blood sugar results.

The CGM isn’t exactly reliable for acute conditions and may not identify blood sugar levels. On the contrary, a home glucometer test is more reliable, and you should go for that for such conditions.

Blood Sugar Test Result

The result of your blood test for sugar levels depends on the severity of your condition and the particular timing. You can check your blood sugar readings immediately after eating or before you do.

You can also test it in the morning before breakfast. However, if you’re confused about when to test blood sugar after eating, some experts suggest having a two-hour gap between meals and the test.

The table below shows you how to read your result after performing a test based on certain circumstances.

TimeNon-DiabeticsPeople With Diabetes
Before breakfastUnder 70–79 mg/dL80–130 mg/dL
Before lunch, dinner, and snacksUnder 70–79 mg/dL80–130 mg/dL
Two hours after eatingUnder 140 mg/dLUnder 180 mg/dL

In addition to adequate blood sugar testing, people with diabetes need to implement a lifestyle—including appropriate diet plans and exercise routines—that helps control blood sugar. This will prevent their condition from developing into diabetes mellitus if they’re diabetic or further diabetes complications if you have been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus.


Knowing how to test blood sugar is a great way to live a healthier life. A blood sugar test will help you determine if you have high or low blood sugar levels more often. This will help you know some crucial decisions that you can take to improve your health, such as incorporating healthy lifestyle routines.

Improving blood sugar levels depends on many factors, one of which is dieting. Knowing the proper meal to go for is extremely important in helping you control your blood sugar after a blood test. Our digital diabetes meal planner, Klinio, can go a long way to help you make healthier choices on the types of meals to go for.

More specifically, a meal planner will help you stick with only healthy foods that are beneficial to your condition and overall health.