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Startup Invents Device That Warns You When You’re Eating Too Much Sugar

Startup Invents Device That Warns You When You’re Eating Too Much Sugar



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Especially in today’s day and age, when sugar is hiding in even the most benign-seeming products, you might wish you had a monitor on your sleeve — something that just told you when to put down your fork. Thanks to a group of innovators in Silicon Valley, you might soon have access to a device that does just that.

Ashwin Pushpala, the founder of San Francisco-based health and tech startup Sano, has been working on creating this tool that would track your blood sugar continuously, alerting you to significant fluctuations as they’re happening. Using the device, you’d be able to tell which foods send your blood sugar over the limit and which foods help to calm it down.

People with diabetes monitor their glucose regularly, pricking their fingers to get regular readings. These scheduled check-ins are tedious and often painful — the average diabetic pricks their fingers between 40,000 and 100,000 times in their lifetime.

But diabetics aren’t the only ones who might benefit to know when their blood sugar is out of whack. This device could be an affordable and simpler option to give insight those without diabetes, too.

Instead of needing to prick your finger again and again, you could just wear this device instead. It looks like a small adhesive bandage and attaches to your skin with many smaller needles that don’t dig in as deep as a typical finger prick.

Fitbit has invested in Sano to continue its research on the product. Using the readings, people could discover the effects of specific foods on their blood sugar. After they eat a slice of cake, for example, they might find that their glucose levels don’t spike like they thought they would. After eating spaghetti, they might see a huge jump in their numbers.

Every person reacts to specific foods differently — which is why this device could prove to be really helpful.

However, you don’t necessarily need a device like this to tune in to whether you should slow down your sugar consumption. Your body sends you more than a few signals on its own when you’re eating too much.


6 Things That Can Cause Your Blood Sugar to Spike or Drop

While roller coasters can be thrilling at amusement parks, they’re not so great when it comes to your blood sugar levels. Also known as glucose, blood sugar is a critical source of energy for your body, according to the Mayo Clinic. When it’s either too high or too low, you can feel pretty terrible—especially if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

You absorb sugar from food and beverages into your bloodstream, where insulin (a hormone from your pancreas) helps it gets into your cells to provide energy, according to the Mayo Clinic. As a backup of sorts, your liver also makes and stores its own glucose to help keep your blood sugar within a normal range.

“In general, when you don’t have diabetes, your body does a good job of regulating … glucose levels,” Amisha Wallia, M.D., an endocrinologist at Northwest Memorial Hospital, tells SELF.

But if you have type 1 diabetes, which typically appears in childhood or adolescence, your pancreas produces little or no insulin to help glucose get into your body’s cells, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). That can allow too much sugar to build up in your bloodstream (hyperglycemia). If you have type 2 diabetes, which usually develops in adults, you experience high blood sugar because your pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or your body can’t use insulin properly, according to the NIDDK. When your blood sugar gets over 200 milligrams per deciliter, it can cause symptoms like headaches, fatigue, increased thirst, and frequent urination, per the Mayo Clinic.

On the flip side, problems managing your diabetes can also result in glucose levels that swing in the opposite direction and become too low (hypoglycemia). This is marked by blood sugar of 70 milligrams per deciliter or less and can cause symptoms like feeling shaky, tired, anxious, hungry, irritable, sweaty, or having an irregular heartbeat, according to the Mayo Clinic.

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes might check their blood sugar several times a day at home, depending on what their treatment plan involves. This is often done with a portable electronic glucose meter that measures sugar levels with a small drop of blood, according to the Mayo Clinic, though other testing devices are available, too.

If you don’t have diabetes, you can still feel like crap if your blood sugar spikes or drops, Vinaya Simha, M.D., an endocrinologist specializing in metabolism and diabetes at the Mayo Clinic, tells SELF. It’s just unlikely to actually be dangerous to your health the way it can be to a person who has diabetes. Left untreated, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia can both be life-threatening, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Clearly you want to avoid major blood sugar spikes or dips. But there are some things that can affect basically anyone’s blood sugar, and there are others that are mainly a concern for people who have diabetes.

Eating or drinking a bunch of sugary stuff at once can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Simha says. That might confuse you if you didn’t consume a ton of obviously sugary things like cookies and candy, but carbohydrates in foods like white bread and rice also convert to glucose in your body and affect your blood sugar.

Eating or drinking too much sugar-heavy food or drink at once can lead to high blood sugar symptoms like headaches and feeling tired, Dr. Simha says. And if you have diabetes, these symptoms can occur with smaller amounts of sugary food, Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF. So, while someone without diabetes may feel terrible after eating a whole bag of cookies, it may only take one or two for someone with the condition to feel awful.

Making sure to have protein and fat with your sugar helps lower the odds that it will skew your blood sugar as much. Both nutrients can slow your body’s absorption of sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. They can also help fill you up, decreasing the chances you’ll eat too much sugar to feel sated, Dr. Stanford says.

Beyond that, if you have diabetes, make sure to follow your medication plan, especially if you know you’re eating something with more sugar than usual, Dr. Wallia says. You should be checking your blood sugar as often as prescribed by your doctor, and if you’re having a lot of trouble controlling it, talk to a medical professional. They may have dietary or medication recommendations, or they might even provide a supplement of short-acting insulin to bring down a high blood sugar level ASAP, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you’ve gone too long without eating, your liver can only produce so much glucose before your blood sugar drops and you start to feel shaky, weak, or get a headache, Dr. Stanford says. How long is too long between meals varies from person to person, but in general, it’s a bad idea to go more than five hours without eating, even if you don’t have diabetes, Dr. Stanford says. Some people with more sensitive cases of diabetes may need to eat every three hours or so to avoid hypoglycemia, Dr. Stanford says. If you’re not sure how often you should be eating to control your diabetes, check in with your doctor.

If it’s been hours since you last ate something and you’re feeling the symptoms of low blood sugar, you need to at least have a snack ASAP. If you don’t have diabetes, you have a bit more freedom to snack on whatever’s readily available (though you’ll want to avoid something carb-heavy to send your blood sugar to the other extreme), Dr. Wallia says. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the Mayo Clinic recommends having 15 to 20 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate like ½ cup orange juice, then having another snack after your blood sugar levels have stabilized. In this situation, someone with diabetes wouldn’t want to reach for a snack that’s high in fat and protein, because those would actually slow their body’s absorption of sugar.

Some forms of alcohol, like beer and hard cider, contain a lot of carbohydrates, which can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Wallia says. Drinking heavily without eating can also block your liver from releasing stored glucose into your bloodstream and cause low blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you don’t have diabetes, your body will generally do a pretty good job of fixing this on its own, Dr. Wallia says, although eating a well-balanced meal can help get your blood sugar levels back to a normal range more quickly. If you have diabetes and you’re experiencing a blood sugar crash after drinking you may need a fast-acting carbohydrate like fruit juice to bring up your blood sugar levels. Prevention is really everything here. “With patients with diabetes, we generally tell them not to overly consume alcohol and to make sure to eat a small snack if they’re going to drink alcohol,” Dr. Wallia says.


6 Things That Can Cause Your Blood Sugar to Spike or Drop

While roller coasters can be thrilling at amusement parks, they’re not so great when it comes to your blood sugar levels. Also known as glucose, blood sugar is a critical source of energy for your body, according to the Mayo Clinic. When it’s either too high or too low, you can feel pretty terrible—especially if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

You absorb sugar from food and beverages into your bloodstream, where insulin (a hormone from your pancreas) helps it gets into your cells to provide energy, according to the Mayo Clinic. As a backup of sorts, your liver also makes and stores its own glucose to help keep your blood sugar within a normal range.

“In general, when you don’t have diabetes, your body does a good job of regulating … glucose levels,” Amisha Wallia, M.D., an endocrinologist at Northwest Memorial Hospital, tells SELF.

But if you have type 1 diabetes, which typically appears in childhood or adolescence, your pancreas produces little or no insulin to help glucose get into your body’s cells, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). That can allow too much sugar to build up in your bloodstream (hyperglycemia). If you have type 2 diabetes, which usually develops in adults, you experience high blood sugar because your pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or your body can’t use insulin properly, according to the NIDDK. When your blood sugar gets over 200 milligrams per deciliter, it can cause symptoms like headaches, fatigue, increased thirst, and frequent urination, per the Mayo Clinic.

On the flip side, problems managing your diabetes can also result in glucose levels that swing in the opposite direction and become too low (hypoglycemia). This is marked by blood sugar of 70 milligrams per deciliter or less and can cause symptoms like feeling shaky, tired, anxious, hungry, irritable, sweaty, or having an irregular heartbeat, according to the Mayo Clinic.

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes might check their blood sugar several times a day at home, depending on what their treatment plan involves. This is often done with a portable electronic glucose meter that measures sugar levels with a small drop of blood, according to the Mayo Clinic, though other testing devices are available, too.

If you don’t have diabetes, you can still feel like crap if your blood sugar spikes or drops, Vinaya Simha, M.D., an endocrinologist specializing in metabolism and diabetes at the Mayo Clinic, tells SELF. It’s just unlikely to actually be dangerous to your health the way it can be to a person who has diabetes. Left untreated, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia can both be life-threatening, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Clearly you want to avoid major blood sugar spikes or dips. But there are some things that can affect basically anyone’s blood sugar, and there are others that are mainly a concern for people who have diabetes.

Eating or drinking a bunch of sugary stuff at once can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Simha says. That might confuse you if you didn’t consume a ton of obviously sugary things like cookies and candy, but carbohydrates in foods like white bread and rice also convert to glucose in your body and affect your blood sugar.

Eating or drinking too much sugar-heavy food or drink at once can lead to high blood sugar symptoms like headaches and feeling tired, Dr. Simha says. And if you have diabetes, these symptoms can occur with smaller amounts of sugary food, Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF. So, while someone without diabetes may feel terrible after eating a whole bag of cookies, it may only take one or two for someone with the condition to feel awful.

Making sure to have protein and fat with your sugar helps lower the odds that it will skew your blood sugar as much. Both nutrients can slow your body’s absorption of sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. They can also help fill you up, decreasing the chances you’ll eat too much sugar to feel sated, Dr. Stanford says.

Beyond that, if you have diabetes, make sure to follow your medication plan, especially if you know you’re eating something with more sugar than usual, Dr. Wallia says. You should be checking your blood sugar as often as prescribed by your doctor, and if you’re having a lot of trouble controlling it, talk to a medical professional. They may have dietary or medication recommendations, or they might even provide a supplement of short-acting insulin to bring down a high blood sugar level ASAP, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you’ve gone too long without eating, your liver can only produce so much glucose before your blood sugar drops and you start to feel shaky, weak, or get a headache, Dr. Stanford says. How long is too long between meals varies from person to person, but in general, it’s a bad idea to go more than five hours without eating, even if you don’t have diabetes, Dr. Stanford says. Some people with more sensitive cases of diabetes may need to eat every three hours or so to avoid hypoglycemia, Dr. Stanford says. If you’re not sure how often you should be eating to control your diabetes, check in with your doctor.

If it’s been hours since you last ate something and you’re feeling the symptoms of low blood sugar, you need to at least have a snack ASAP. If you don’t have diabetes, you have a bit more freedom to snack on whatever’s readily available (though you’ll want to avoid something carb-heavy to send your blood sugar to the other extreme), Dr. Wallia says. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the Mayo Clinic recommends having 15 to 20 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate like ½ cup orange juice, then having another snack after your blood sugar levels have stabilized. In this situation, someone with diabetes wouldn’t want to reach for a snack that’s high in fat and protein, because those would actually slow their body’s absorption of sugar.

Some forms of alcohol, like beer and hard cider, contain a lot of carbohydrates, which can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Wallia says. Drinking heavily without eating can also block your liver from releasing stored glucose into your bloodstream and cause low blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you don’t have diabetes, your body will generally do a pretty good job of fixing this on its own, Dr. Wallia says, although eating a well-balanced meal can help get your blood sugar levels back to a normal range more quickly. If you have diabetes and you’re experiencing a blood sugar crash after drinking you may need a fast-acting carbohydrate like fruit juice to bring up your blood sugar levels. Prevention is really everything here. “With patients with diabetes, we generally tell them not to overly consume alcohol and to make sure to eat a small snack if they’re going to drink alcohol,” Dr. Wallia says.


6 Things That Can Cause Your Blood Sugar to Spike or Drop

While roller coasters can be thrilling at amusement parks, they’re not so great when it comes to your blood sugar levels. Also known as glucose, blood sugar is a critical source of energy for your body, according to the Mayo Clinic. When it’s either too high or too low, you can feel pretty terrible—especially if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

You absorb sugar from food and beverages into your bloodstream, where insulin (a hormone from your pancreas) helps it gets into your cells to provide energy, according to the Mayo Clinic. As a backup of sorts, your liver also makes and stores its own glucose to help keep your blood sugar within a normal range.

“In general, when you don’t have diabetes, your body does a good job of regulating … glucose levels,” Amisha Wallia, M.D., an endocrinologist at Northwest Memorial Hospital, tells SELF.

But if you have type 1 diabetes, which typically appears in childhood or adolescence, your pancreas produces little or no insulin to help glucose get into your body’s cells, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). That can allow too much sugar to build up in your bloodstream (hyperglycemia). If you have type 2 diabetes, which usually develops in adults, you experience high blood sugar because your pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or your body can’t use insulin properly, according to the NIDDK. When your blood sugar gets over 200 milligrams per deciliter, it can cause symptoms like headaches, fatigue, increased thirst, and frequent urination, per the Mayo Clinic.

On the flip side, problems managing your diabetes can also result in glucose levels that swing in the opposite direction and become too low (hypoglycemia). This is marked by blood sugar of 70 milligrams per deciliter or less and can cause symptoms like feeling shaky, tired, anxious, hungry, irritable, sweaty, or having an irregular heartbeat, according to the Mayo Clinic.

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes might check their blood sugar several times a day at home, depending on what their treatment plan involves. This is often done with a portable electronic glucose meter that measures sugar levels with a small drop of blood, according to the Mayo Clinic, though other testing devices are available, too.

If you don’t have diabetes, you can still feel like crap if your blood sugar spikes or drops, Vinaya Simha, M.D., an endocrinologist specializing in metabolism and diabetes at the Mayo Clinic, tells SELF. It’s just unlikely to actually be dangerous to your health the way it can be to a person who has diabetes. Left untreated, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia can both be life-threatening, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Clearly you want to avoid major blood sugar spikes or dips. But there are some things that can affect basically anyone’s blood sugar, and there are others that are mainly a concern for people who have diabetes.

Eating or drinking a bunch of sugary stuff at once can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Simha says. That might confuse you if you didn’t consume a ton of obviously sugary things like cookies and candy, but carbohydrates in foods like white bread and rice also convert to glucose in your body and affect your blood sugar.

Eating or drinking too much sugar-heavy food or drink at once can lead to high blood sugar symptoms like headaches and feeling tired, Dr. Simha says. And if you have diabetes, these symptoms can occur with smaller amounts of sugary food, Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF. So, while someone without diabetes may feel terrible after eating a whole bag of cookies, it may only take one or two for someone with the condition to feel awful.

Making sure to have protein and fat with your sugar helps lower the odds that it will skew your blood sugar as much. Both nutrients can slow your body’s absorption of sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. They can also help fill you up, decreasing the chances you’ll eat too much sugar to feel sated, Dr. Stanford says.

Beyond that, if you have diabetes, make sure to follow your medication plan, especially if you know you’re eating something with more sugar than usual, Dr. Wallia says. You should be checking your blood sugar as often as prescribed by your doctor, and if you’re having a lot of trouble controlling it, talk to a medical professional. They may have dietary or medication recommendations, or they might even provide a supplement of short-acting insulin to bring down a high blood sugar level ASAP, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you’ve gone too long without eating, your liver can only produce so much glucose before your blood sugar drops and you start to feel shaky, weak, or get a headache, Dr. Stanford says. How long is too long between meals varies from person to person, but in general, it’s a bad idea to go more than five hours without eating, even if you don’t have diabetes, Dr. Stanford says. Some people with more sensitive cases of diabetes may need to eat every three hours or so to avoid hypoglycemia, Dr. Stanford says. If you’re not sure how often you should be eating to control your diabetes, check in with your doctor.

If it’s been hours since you last ate something and you’re feeling the symptoms of low blood sugar, you need to at least have a snack ASAP. If you don’t have diabetes, you have a bit more freedom to snack on whatever’s readily available (though you’ll want to avoid something carb-heavy to send your blood sugar to the other extreme), Dr. Wallia says. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the Mayo Clinic recommends having 15 to 20 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate like ½ cup orange juice, then having another snack after your blood sugar levels have stabilized. In this situation, someone with diabetes wouldn’t want to reach for a snack that’s high in fat and protein, because those would actually slow their body’s absorption of sugar.

Some forms of alcohol, like beer and hard cider, contain a lot of carbohydrates, which can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Wallia says. Drinking heavily without eating can also block your liver from releasing stored glucose into your bloodstream and cause low blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you don’t have diabetes, your body will generally do a pretty good job of fixing this on its own, Dr. Wallia says, although eating a well-balanced meal can help get your blood sugar levels back to a normal range more quickly. If you have diabetes and you’re experiencing a blood sugar crash after drinking you may need a fast-acting carbohydrate like fruit juice to bring up your blood sugar levels. Prevention is really everything here. “With patients with diabetes, we generally tell them not to overly consume alcohol and to make sure to eat a small snack if they’re going to drink alcohol,” Dr. Wallia says.


6 Things That Can Cause Your Blood Sugar to Spike or Drop

While roller coasters can be thrilling at amusement parks, they’re not so great when it comes to your blood sugar levels. Also known as glucose, blood sugar is a critical source of energy for your body, according to the Mayo Clinic. When it’s either too high or too low, you can feel pretty terrible—especially if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

You absorb sugar from food and beverages into your bloodstream, where insulin (a hormone from your pancreas) helps it gets into your cells to provide energy, according to the Mayo Clinic. As a backup of sorts, your liver also makes and stores its own glucose to help keep your blood sugar within a normal range.

“In general, when you don’t have diabetes, your body does a good job of regulating … glucose levels,” Amisha Wallia, M.D., an endocrinologist at Northwest Memorial Hospital, tells SELF.

But if you have type 1 diabetes, which typically appears in childhood or adolescence, your pancreas produces little or no insulin to help glucose get into your body’s cells, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). That can allow too much sugar to build up in your bloodstream (hyperglycemia). If you have type 2 diabetes, which usually develops in adults, you experience high blood sugar because your pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or your body can’t use insulin properly, according to the NIDDK. When your blood sugar gets over 200 milligrams per deciliter, it can cause symptoms like headaches, fatigue, increased thirst, and frequent urination, per the Mayo Clinic.

On the flip side, problems managing your diabetes can also result in glucose levels that swing in the opposite direction and become too low (hypoglycemia). This is marked by blood sugar of 70 milligrams per deciliter or less and can cause symptoms like feeling shaky, tired, anxious, hungry, irritable, sweaty, or having an irregular heartbeat, according to the Mayo Clinic.

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes might check their blood sugar several times a day at home, depending on what their treatment plan involves. This is often done with a portable electronic glucose meter that measures sugar levels with a small drop of blood, according to the Mayo Clinic, though other testing devices are available, too.

If you don’t have diabetes, you can still feel like crap if your blood sugar spikes or drops, Vinaya Simha, M.D., an endocrinologist specializing in metabolism and diabetes at the Mayo Clinic, tells SELF. It’s just unlikely to actually be dangerous to your health the way it can be to a person who has diabetes. Left untreated, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia can both be life-threatening, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Clearly you want to avoid major blood sugar spikes or dips. But there are some things that can affect basically anyone’s blood sugar, and there are others that are mainly a concern for people who have diabetes.

Eating or drinking a bunch of sugary stuff at once can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Simha says. That might confuse you if you didn’t consume a ton of obviously sugary things like cookies and candy, but carbohydrates in foods like white bread and rice also convert to glucose in your body and affect your blood sugar.

Eating or drinking too much sugar-heavy food or drink at once can lead to high blood sugar symptoms like headaches and feeling tired, Dr. Simha says. And if you have diabetes, these symptoms can occur with smaller amounts of sugary food, Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF. So, while someone without diabetes may feel terrible after eating a whole bag of cookies, it may only take one or two for someone with the condition to feel awful.

Making sure to have protein and fat with your sugar helps lower the odds that it will skew your blood sugar as much. Both nutrients can slow your body’s absorption of sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. They can also help fill you up, decreasing the chances you’ll eat too much sugar to feel sated, Dr. Stanford says.

Beyond that, if you have diabetes, make sure to follow your medication plan, especially if you know you’re eating something with more sugar than usual, Dr. Wallia says. You should be checking your blood sugar as often as prescribed by your doctor, and if you’re having a lot of trouble controlling it, talk to a medical professional. They may have dietary or medication recommendations, or they might even provide a supplement of short-acting insulin to bring down a high blood sugar level ASAP, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you’ve gone too long without eating, your liver can only produce so much glucose before your blood sugar drops and you start to feel shaky, weak, or get a headache, Dr. Stanford says. How long is too long between meals varies from person to person, but in general, it’s a bad idea to go more than five hours without eating, even if you don’t have diabetes, Dr. Stanford says. Some people with more sensitive cases of diabetes may need to eat every three hours or so to avoid hypoglycemia, Dr. Stanford says. If you’re not sure how often you should be eating to control your diabetes, check in with your doctor.

If it’s been hours since you last ate something and you’re feeling the symptoms of low blood sugar, you need to at least have a snack ASAP. If you don’t have diabetes, you have a bit more freedom to snack on whatever’s readily available (though you’ll want to avoid something carb-heavy to send your blood sugar to the other extreme), Dr. Wallia says. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the Mayo Clinic recommends having 15 to 20 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate like ½ cup orange juice, then having another snack after your blood sugar levels have stabilized. In this situation, someone with diabetes wouldn’t want to reach for a snack that’s high in fat and protein, because those would actually slow their body’s absorption of sugar.

Some forms of alcohol, like beer and hard cider, contain a lot of carbohydrates, which can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Wallia says. Drinking heavily without eating can also block your liver from releasing stored glucose into your bloodstream and cause low blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you don’t have diabetes, your body will generally do a pretty good job of fixing this on its own, Dr. Wallia says, although eating a well-balanced meal can help get your blood sugar levels back to a normal range more quickly. If you have diabetes and you’re experiencing a blood sugar crash after drinking you may need a fast-acting carbohydrate like fruit juice to bring up your blood sugar levels. Prevention is really everything here. “With patients with diabetes, we generally tell them not to overly consume alcohol and to make sure to eat a small snack if they’re going to drink alcohol,” Dr. Wallia says.


6 Things That Can Cause Your Blood Sugar to Spike or Drop

While roller coasters can be thrilling at amusement parks, they’re not so great when it comes to your blood sugar levels. Also known as glucose, blood sugar is a critical source of energy for your body, according to the Mayo Clinic. When it’s either too high or too low, you can feel pretty terrible—especially if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

You absorb sugar from food and beverages into your bloodstream, where insulin (a hormone from your pancreas) helps it gets into your cells to provide energy, according to the Mayo Clinic. As a backup of sorts, your liver also makes and stores its own glucose to help keep your blood sugar within a normal range.

“In general, when you don’t have diabetes, your body does a good job of regulating … glucose levels,” Amisha Wallia, M.D., an endocrinologist at Northwest Memorial Hospital, tells SELF.

But if you have type 1 diabetes, which typically appears in childhood or adolescence, your pancreas produces little or no insulin to help glucose get into your body’s cells, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). That can allow too much sugar to build up in your bloodstream (hyperglycemia). If you have type 2 diabetes, which usually develops in adults, you experience high blood sugar because your pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or your body can’t use insulin properly, according to the NIDDK. When your blood sugar gets over 200 milligrams per deciliter, it can cause symptoms like headaches, fatigue, increased thirst, and frequent urination, per the Mayo Clinic.

On the flip side, problems managing your diabetes can also result in glucose levels that swing in the opposite direction and become too low (hypoglycemia). This is marked by blood sugar of 70 milligrams per deciliter or less and can cause symptoms like feeling shaky, tired, anxious, hungry, irritable, sweaty, or having an irregular heartbeat, according to the Mayo Clinic.

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes might check their blood sugar several times a day at home, depending on what their treatment plan involves. This is often done with a portable electronic glucose meter that measures sugar levels with a small drop of blood, according to the Mayo Clinic, though other testing devices are available, too.

If you don’t have diabetes, you can still feel like crap if your blood sugar spikes or drops, Vinaya Simha, M.D., an endocrinologist specializing in metabolism and diabetes at the Mayo Clinic, tells SELF. It’s just unlikely to actually be dangerous to your health the way it can be to a person who has diabetes. Left untreated, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia can both be life-threatening, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Clearly you want to avoid major blood sugar spikes or dips. But there are some things that can affect basically anyone’s blood sugar, and there are others that are mainly a concern for people who have diabetes.

Eating or drinking a bunch of sugary stuff at once can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Simha says. That might confuse you if you didn’t consume a ton of obviously sugary things like cookies and candy, but carbohydrates in foods like white bread and rice also convert to glucose in your body and affect your blood sugar.

Eating or drinking too much sugar-heavy food or drink at once can lead to high blood sugar symptoms like headaches and feeling tired, Dr. Simha says. And if you have diabetes, these symptoms can occur with smaller amounts of sugary food, Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF. So, while someone without diabetes may feel terrible after eating a whole bag of cookies, it may only take one or two for someone with the condition to feel awful.

Making sure to have protein and fat with your sugar helps lower the odds that it will skew your blood sugar as much. Both nutrients can slow your body’s absorption of sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. They can also help fill you up, decreasing the chances you’ll eat too much sugar to feel sated, Dr. Stanford says.

Beyond that, if you have diabetes, make sure to follow your medication plan, especially if you know you’re eating something with more sugar than usual, Dr. Wallia says. You should be checking your blood sugar as often as prescribed by your doctor, and if you’re having a lot of trouble controlling it, talk to a medical professional. They may have dietary or medication recommendations, or they might even provide a supplement of short-acting insulin to bring down a high blood sugar level ASAP, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you’ve gone too long without eating, your liver can only produce so much glucose before your blood sugar drops and you start to feel shaky, weak, or get a headache, Dr. Stanford says. How long is too long between meals varies from person to person, but in general, it’s a bad idea to go more than five hours without eating, even if you don’t have diabetes, Dr. Stanford says. Some people with more sensitive cases of diabetes may need to eat every three hours or so to avoid hypoglycemia, Dr. Stanford says. If you’re not sure how often you should be eating to control your diabetes, check in with your doctor.

If it’s been hours since you last ate something and you’re feeling the symptoms of low blood sugar, you need to at least have a snack ASAP. If you don’t have diabetes, you have a bit more freedom to snack on whatever’s readily available (though you’ll want to avoid something carb-heavy to send your blood sugar to the other extreme), Dr. Wallia says. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the Mayo Clinic recommends having 15 to 20 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate like ½ cup orange juice, then having another snack after your blood sugar levels have stabilized. In this situation, someone with diabetes wouldn’t want to reach for a snack that’s high in fat and protein, because those would actually slow their body’s absorption of sugar.

Some forms of alcohol, like beer and hard cider, contain a lot of carbohydrates, which can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Wallia says. Drinking heavily without eating can also block your liver from releasing stored glucose into your bloodstream and cause low blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you don’t have diabetes, your body will generally do a pretty good job of fixing this on its own, Dr. Wallia says, although eating a well-balanced meal can help get your blood sugar levels back to a normal range more quickly. If you have diabetes and you’re experiencing a blood sugar crash after drinking you may need a fast-acting carbohydrate like fruit juice to bring up your blood sugar levels. Prevention is really everything here. “With patients with diabetes, we generally tell them not to overly consume alcohol and to make sure to eat a small snack if they’re going to drink alcohol,” Dr. Wallia says.


6 Things That Can Cause Your Blood Sugar to Spike or Drop

While roller coasters can be thrilling at amusement parks, they’re not so great when it comes to your blood sugar levels. Also known as glucose, blood sugar is a critical source of energy for your body, according to the Mayo Clinic. When it’s either too high or too low, you can feel pretty terrible—especially if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

You absorb sugar from food and beverages into your bloodstream, where insulin (a hormone from your pancreas) helps it gets into your cells to provide energy, according to the Mayo Clinic. As a backup of sorts, your liver also makes and stores its own glucose to help keep your blood sugar within a normal range.

“In general, when you don’t have diabetes, your body does a good job of regulating … glucose levels,” Amisha Wallia, M.D., an endocrinologist at Northwest Memorial Hospital, tells SELF.

But if you have type 1 diabetes, which typically appears in childhood or adolescence, your pancreas produces little or no insulin to help glucose get into your body’s cells, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). That can allow too much sugar to build up in your bloodstream (hyperglycemia). If you have type 2 diabetes, which usually develops in adults, you experience high blood sugar because your pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or your body can’t use insulin properly, according to the NIDDK. When your blood sugar gets over 200 milligrams per deciliter, it can cause symptoms like headaches, fatigue, increased thirst, and frequent urination, per the Mayo Clinic.

On the flip side, problems managing your diabetes can also result in glucose levels that swing in the opposite direction and become too low (hypoglycemia). This is marked by blood sugar of 70 milligrams per deciliter or less and can cause symptoms like feeling shaky, tired, anxious, hungry, irritable, sweaty, or having an irregular heartbeat, according to the Mayo Clinic.

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes might check their blood sugar several times a day at home, depending on what their treatment plan involves. This is often done with a portable electronic glucose meter that measures sugar levels with a small drop of blood, according to the Mayo Clinic, though other testing devices are available, too.

If you don’t have diabetes, you can still feel like crap if your blood sugar spikes or drops, Vinaya Simha, M.D., an endocrinologist specializing in metabolism and diabetes at the Mayo Clinic, tells SELF. It’s just unlikely to actually be dangerous to your health the way it can be to a person who has diabetes. Left untreated, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia can both be life-threatening, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Clearly you want to avoid major blood sugar spikes or dips. But there are some things that can affect basically anyone’s blood sugar, and there are others that are mainly a concern for people who have diabetes.

Eating or drinking a bunch of sugary stuff at once can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Simha says. That might confuse you if you didn’t consume a ton of obviously sugary things like cookies and candy, but carbohydrates in foods like white bread and rice also convert to glucose in your body and affect your blood sugar.

Eating or drinking too much sugar-heavy food or drink at once can lead to high blood sugar symptoms like headaches and feeling tired, Dr. Simha says. And if you have diabetes, these symptoms can occur with smaller amounts of sugary food, Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF. So, while someone without diabetes may feel terrible after eating a whole bag of cookies, it may only take one or two for someone with the condition to feel awful.

Making sure to have protein and fat with your sugar helps lower the odds that it will skew your blood sugar as much. Both nutrients can slow your body’s absorption of sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. They can also help fill you up, decreasing the chances you’ll eat too much sugar to feel sated, Dr. Stanford says.

Beyond that, if you have diabetes, make sure to follow your medication plan, especially if you know you’re eating something with more sugar than usual, Dr. Wallia says. You should be checking your blood sugar as often as prescribed by your doctor, and if you’re having a lot of trouble controlling it, talk to a medical professional. They may have dietary or medication recommendations, or they might even provide a supplement of short-acting insulin to bring down a high blood sugar level ASAP, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you’ve gone too long without eating, your liver can only produce so much glucose before your blood sugar drops and you start to feel shaky, weak, or get a headache, Dr. Stanford says. How long is too long between meals varies from person to person, but in general, it’s a bad idea to go more than five hours without eating, even if you don’t have diabetes, Dr. Stanford says. Some people with more sensitive cases of diabetes may need to eat every three hours or so to avoid hypoglycemia, Dr. Stanford says. If you’re not sure how often you should be eating to control your diabetes, check in with your doctor.

If it’s been hours since you last ate something and you’re feeling the symptoms of low blood sugar, you need to at least have a snack ASAP. If you don’t have diabetes, you have a bit more freedom to snack on whatever’s readily available (though you’ll want to avoid something carb-heavy to send your blood sugar to the other extreme), Dr. Wallia says. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the Mayo Clinic recommends having 15 to 20 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate like ½ cup orange juice, then having another snack after your blood sugar levels have stabilized. In this situation, someone with diabetes wouldn’t want to reach for a snack that’s high in fat and protein, because those would actually slow their body’s absorption of sugar.

Some forms of alcohol, like beer and hard cider, contain a lot of carbohydrates, which can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Wallia says. Drinking heavily without eating can also block your liver from releasing stored glucose into your bloodstream and cause low blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you don’t have diabetes, your body will generally do a pretty good job of fixing this on its own, Dr. Wallia says, although eating a well-balanced meal can help get your blood sugar levels back to a normal range more quickly. If you have diabetes and you’re experiencing a blood sugar crash after drinking you may need a fast-acting carbohydrate like fruit juice to bring up your blood sugar levels. Prevention is really everything here. “With patients with diabetes, we generally tell them not to overly consume alcohol and to make sure to eat a small snack if they’re going to drink alcohol,” Dr. Wallia says.


6 Things That Can Cause Your Blood Sugar to Spike or Drop

While roller coasters can be thrilling at amusement parks, they’re not so great when it comes to your blood sugar levels. Also known as glucose, blood sugar is a critical source of energy for your body, according to the Mayo Clinic. When it’s either too high or too low, you can feel pretty terrible—especially if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

You absorb sugar from food and beverages into your bloodstream, where insulin (a hormone from your pancreas) helps it gets into your cells to provide energy, according to the Mayo Clinic. As a backup of sorts, your liver also makes and stores its own glucose to help keep your blood sugar within a normal range.

“In general, when you don’t have diabetes, your body does a good job of regulating … glucose levels,” Amisha Wallia, M.D., an endocrinologist at Northwest Memorial Hospital, tells SELF.

But if you have type 1 diabetes, which typically appears in childhood or adolescence, your pancreas produces little or no insulin to help glucose get into your body’s cells, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). That can allow too much sugar to build up in your bloodstream (hyperglycemia). If you have type 2 diabetes, which usually develops in adults, you experience high blood sugar because your pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or your body can’t use insulin properly, according to the NIDDK. When your blood sugar gets over 200 milligrams per deciliter, it can cause symptoms like headaches, fatigue, increased thirst, and frequent urination, per the Mayo Clinic.

On the flip side, problems managing your diabetes can also result in glucose levels that swing in the opposite direction and become too low (hypoglycemia). This is marked by blood sugar of 70 milligrams per deciliter or less and can cause symptoms like feeling shaky, tired, anxious, hungry, irritable, sweaty, or having an irregular heartbeat, according to the Mayo Clinic.

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes might check their blood sugar several times a day at home, depending on what their treatment plan involves. This is often done with a portable electronic glucose meter that measures sugar levels with a small drop of blood, according to the Mayo Clinic, though other testing devices are available, too.

If you don’t have diabetes, you can still feel like crap if your blood sugar spikes or drops, Vinaya Simha, M.D., an endocrinologist specializing in metabolism and diabetes at the Mayo Clinic, tells SELF. It’s just unlikely to actually be dangerous to your health the way it can be to a person who has diabetes. Left untreated, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia can both be life-threatening, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Clearly you want to avoid major blood sugar spikes or dips. But there are some things that can affect basically anyone’s blood sugar, and there are others that are mainly a concern for people who have diabetes.

Eating or drinking a bunch of sugary stuff at once can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Simha says. That might confuse you if you didn’t consume a ton of obviously sugary things like cookies and candy, but carbohydrates in foods like white bread and rice also convert to glucose in your body and affect your blood sugar.

Eating or drinking too much sugar-heavy food or drink at once can lead to high blood sugar symptoms like headaches and feeling tired, Dr. Simha says. And if you have diabetes, these symptoms can occur with smaller amounts of sugary food, Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF. So, while someone without diabetes may feel terrible after eating a whole bag of cookies, it may only take one or two for someone with the condition to feel awful.

Making sure to have protein and fat with your sugar helps lower the odds that it will skew your blood sugar as much. Both nutrients can slow your body’s absorption of sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. They can also help fill you up, decreasing the chances you’ll eat too much sugar to feel sated, Dr. Stanford says.

Beyond that, if you have diabetes, make sure to follow your medication plan, especially if you know you’re eating something with more sugar than usual, Dr. Wallia says. You should be checking your blood sugar as often as prescribed by your doctor, and if you’re having a lot of trouble controlling it, talk to a medical professional. They may have dietary or medication recommendations, or they might even provide a supplement of short-acting insulin to bring down a high blood sugar level ASAP, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you’ve gone too long without eating, your liver can only produce so much glucose before your blood sugar drops and you start to feel shaky, weak, or get a headache, Dr. Stanford says. How long is too long between meals varies from person to person, but in general, it’s a bad idea to go more than five hours without eating, even if you don’t have diabetes, Dr. Stanford says. Some people with more sensitive cases of diabetes may need to eat every three hours or so to avoid hypoglycemia, Dr. Stanford says. If you’re not sure how often you should be eating to control your diabetes, check in with your doctor.

If it’s been hours since you last ate something and you’re feeling the symptoms of low blood sugar, you need to at least have a snack ASAP. If you don’t have diabetes, you have a bit more freedom to snack on whatever’s readily available (though you’ll want to avoid something carb-heavy to send your blood sugar to the other extreme), Dr. Wallia says. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the Mayo Clinic recommends having 15 to 20 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate like ½ cup orange juice, then having another snack after your blood sugar levels have stabilized. In this situation, someone with diabetes wouldn’t want to reach for a snack that’s high in fat and protein, because those would actually slow their body’s absorption of sugar.

Some forms of alcohol, like beer and hard cider, contain a lot of carbohydrates, which can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Wallia says. Drinking heavily without eating can also block your liver from releasing stored glucose into your bloodstream and cause low blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you don’t have diabetes, your body will generally do a pretty good job of fixing this on its own, Dr. Wallia says, although eating a well-balanced meal can help get your blood sugar levels back to a normal range more quickly. If you have diabetes and you’re experiencing a blood sugar crash after drinking you may need a fast-acting carbohydrate like fruit juice to bring up your blood sugar levels. Prevention is really everything here. “With patients with diabetes, we generally tell them not to overly consume alcohol and to make sure to eat a small snack if they’re going to drink alcohol,” Dr. Wallia says.


6 Things That Can Cause Your Blood Sugar to Spike or Drop

While roller coasters can be thrilling at amusement parks, they’re not so great when it comes to your blood sugar levels. Also known as glucose, blood sugar is a critical source of energy for your body, according to the Mayo Clinic. When it’s either too high or too low, you can feel pretty terrible—especially if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

You absorb sugar from food and beverages into your bloodstream, where insulin (a hormone from your pancreas) helps it gets into your cells to provide energy, according to the Mayo Clinic. As a backup of sorts, your liver also makes and stores its own glucose to help keep your blood sugar within a normal range.

“In general, when you don’t have diabetes, your body does a good job of regulating … glucose levels,” Amisha Wallia, M.D., an endocrinologist at Northwest Memorial Hospital, tells SELF.

But if you have type 1 diabetes, which typically appears in childhood or adolescence, your pancreas produces little or no insulin to help glucose get into your body’s cells, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). That can allow too much sugar to build up in your bloodstream (hyperglycemia). If you have type 2 diabetes, which usually develops in adults, you experience high blood sugar because your pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or your body can’t use insulin properly, according to the NIDDK. When your blood sugar gets over 200 milligrams per deciliter, it can cause symptoms like headaches, fatigue, increased thirst, and frequent urination, per the Mayo Clinic.

On the flip side, problems managing your diabetes can also result in glucose levels that swing in the opposite direction and become too low (hypoglycemia). This is marked by blood sugar of 70 milligrams per deciliter or less and can cause symptoms like feeling shaky, tired, anxious, hungry, irritable, sweaty, or having an irregular heartbeat, according to the Mayo Clinic.

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes might check their blood sugar several times a day at home, depending on what their treatment plan involves. This is often done with a portable electronic glucose meter that measures sugar levels with a small drop of blood, according to the Mayo Clinic, though other testing devices are available, too.

If you don’t have diabetes, you can still feel like crap if your blood sugar spikes or drops, Vinaya Simha, M.D., an endocrinologist specializing in metabolism and diabetes at the Mayo Clinic, tells SELF. It’s just unlikely to actually be dangerous to your health the way it can be to a person who has diabetes. Left untreated, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia can both be life-threatening, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Clearly you want to avoid major blood sugar spikes or dips. But there are some things that can affect basically anyone’s blood sugar, and there are others that are mainly a concern for people who have diabetes.

Eating or drinking a bunch of sugary stuff at once can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Simha says. That might confuse you if you didn’t consume a ton of obviously sugary things like cookies and candy, but carbohydrates in foods like white bread and rice also convert to glucose in your body and affect your blood sugar.

Eating or drinking too much sugar-heavy food or drink at once can lead to high blood sugar symptoms like headaches and feeling tired, Dr. Simha says. And if you have diabetes, these symptoms can occur with smaller amounts of sugary food, Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF. So, while someone without diabetes may feel terrible after eating a whole bag of cookies, it may only take one or two for someone with the condition to feel awful.

Making sure to have protein and fat with your sugar helps lower the odds that it will skew your blood sugar as much. Both nutrients can slow your body’s absorption of sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. They can also help fill you up, decreasing the chances you’ll eat too much sugar to feel sated, Dr. Stanford says.

Beyond that, if you have diabetes, make sure to follow your medication plan, especially if you know you’re eating something with more sugar than usual, Dr. Wallia says. You should be checking your blood sugar as often as prescribed by your doctor, and if you’re having a lot of trouble controlling it, talk to a medical professional. They may have dietary or medication recommendations, or they might even provide a supplement of short-acting insulin to bring down a high blood sugar level ASAP, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you’ve gone too long without eating, your liver can only produce so much glucose before your blood sugar drops and you start to feel shaky, weak, or get a headache, Dr. Stanford says. How long is too long between meals varies from person to person, but in general, it’s a bad idea to go more than five hours without eating, even if you don’t have diabetes, Dr. Stanford says. Some people with more sensitive cases of diabetes may need to eat every three hours or so to avoid hypoglycemia, Dr. Stanford says. If you’re not sure how often you should be eating to control your diabetes, check in with your doctor.

If it’s been hours since you last ate something and you’re feeling the symptoms of low blood sugar, you need to at least have a snack ASAP. If you don’t have diabetes, you have a bit more freedom to snack on whatever’s readily available (though you’ll want to avoid something carb-heavy to send your blood sugar to the other extreme), Dr. Wallia says. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the Mayo Clinic recommends having 15 to 20 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate like ½ cup orange juice, then having another snack after your blood sugar levels have stabilized. In this situation, someone with diabetes wouldn’t want to reach for a snack that’s high in fat and protein, because those would actually slow their body’s absorption of sugar.

Some forms of alcohol, like beer and hard cider, contain a lot of carbohydrates, which can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Wallia says. Drinking heavily without eating can also block your liver from releasing stored glucose into your bloodstream and cause low blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you don’t have diabetes, your body will generally do a pretty good job of fixing this on its own, Dr. Wallia says, although eating a well-balanced meal can help get your blood sugar levels back to a normal range more quickly. If you have diabetes and you’re experiencing a blood sugar crash after drinking you may need a fast-acting carbohydrate like fruit juice to bring up your blood sugar levels. Prevention is really everything here. “With patients with diabetes, we generally tell them not to overly consume alcohol and to make sure to eat a small snack if they’re going to drink alcohol,” Dr. Wallia says.


6 Things That Can Cause Your Blood Sugar to Spike or Drop

While roller coasters can be thrilling at amusement parks, they’re not so great when it comes to your blood sugar levels. Also known as glucose, blood sugar is a critical source of energy for your body, according to the Mayo Clinic. When it’s either too high or too low, you can feel pretty terrible—especially if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

You absorb sugar from food and beverages into your bloodstream, where insulin (a hormone from your pancreas) helps it gets into your cells to provide energy, according to the Mayo Clinic. As a backup of sorts, your liver also makes and stores its own glucose to help keep your blood sugar within a normal range.

“In general, when you don’t have diabetes, your body does a good job of regulating … glucose levels,” Amisha Wallia, M.D., an endocrinologist at Northwest Memorial Hospital, tells SELF.

But if you have type 1 diabetes, which typically appears in childhood or adolescence, your pancreas produces little or no insulin to help glucose get into your body’s cells, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). That can allow too much sugar to build up in your bloodstream (hyperglycemia). If you have type 2 diabetes, which usually develops in adults, you experience high blood sugar because your pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or your body can’t use insulin properly, according to the NIDDK. When your blood sugar gets over 200 milligrams per deciliter, it can cause symptoms like headaches, fatigue, increased thirst, and frequent urination, per the Mayo Clinic.

On the flip side, problems managing your diabetes can also result in glucose levels that swing in the opposite direction and become too low (hypoglycemia). This is marked by blood sugar of 70 milligrams per deciliter or less and can cause symptoms like feeling shaky, tired, anxious, hungry, irritable, sweaty, or having an irregular heartbeat, according to the Mayo Clinic.

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes might check their blood sugar several times a day at home, depending on what their treatment plan involves. This is often done with a portable electronic glucose meter that measures sugar levels with a small drop of blood, according to the Mayo Clinic, though other testing devices are available, too.

If you don’t have diabetes, you can still feel like crap if your blood sugar spikes or drops, Vinaya Simha, M.D., an endocrinologist specializing in metabolism and diabetes at the Mayo Clinic, tells SELF. It’s just unlikely to actually be dangerous to your health the way it can be to a person who has diabetes. Left untreated, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia can both be life-threatening, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Clearly you want to avoid major blood sugar spikes or dips. But there are some things that can affect basically anyone’s blood sugar, and there are others that are mainly a concern for people who have diabetes.

Eating or drinking a bunch of sugary stuff at once can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Simha says. That might confuse you if you didn’t consume a ton of obviously sugary things like cookies and candy, but carbohydrates in foods like white bread and rice also convert to glucose in your body and affect your blood sugar.

Eating or drinking too much sugar-heavy food or drink at once can lead to high blood sugar symptoms like headaches and feeling tired, Dr. Simha says. And if you have diabetes, these symptoms can occur with smaller amounts of sugary food, Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF. So, while someone without diabetes may feel terrible after eating a whole bag of cookies, it may only take one or two for someone with the condition to feel awful.

Making sure to have protein and fat with your sugar helps lower the odds that it will skew your blood sugar as much. Both nutrients can slow your body’s absorption of sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. They can also help fill you up, decreasing the chances you’ll eat too much sugar to feel sated, Dr. Stanford says.

Beyond that, if you have diabetes, make sure to follow your medication plan, especially if you know you’re eating something with more sugar than usual, Dr. Wallia says. You should be checking your blood sugar as often as prescribed by your doctor, and if you’re having a lot of trouble controlling it, talk to a medical professional. They may have dietary or medication recommendations, or they might even provide a supplement of short-acting insulin to bring down a high blood sugar level ASAP, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you’ve gone too long without eating, your liver can only produce so much glucose before your blood sugar drops and you start to feel shaky, weak, or get a headache, Dr. Stanford says. How long is too long between meals varies from person to person, but in general, it’s a bad idea to go more than five hours without eating, even if you don’t have diabetes, Dr. Stanford says. Some people with more sensitive cases of diabetes may need to eat every three hours or so to avoid hypoglycemia, Dr. Stanford says. If you’re not sure how often you should be eating to control your diabetes, check in with your doctor.

If it’s been hours since you last ate something and you’re feeling the symptoms of low blood sugar, you need to at least have a snack ASAP. If you don’t have diabetes, you have a bit more freedom to snack on whatever’s readily available (though you’ll want to avoid something carb-heavy to send your blood sugar to the other extreme), Dr. Wallia says. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the Mayo Clinic recommends having 15 to 20 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate like ½ cup orange juice, then having another snack after your blood sugar levels have stabilized. In this situation, someone with diabetes wouldn’t want to reach for a snack that’s high in fat and protein, because those would actually slow their body’s absorption of sugar.

Some forms of alcohol, like beer and hard cider, contain a lot of carbohydrates, which can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Wallia says. Drinking heavily without eating can also block your liver from releasing stored glucose into your bloodstream and cause low blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you don’t have diabetes, your body will generally do a pretty good job of fixing this on its own, Dr. Wallia says, although eating a well-balanced meal can help get your blood sugar levels back to a normal range more quickly. If you have diabetes and you’re experiencing a blood sugar crash after drinking you may need a fast-acting carbohydrate like fruit juice to bring up your blood sugar levels. Prevention is really everything here. “With patients with diabetes, we generally tell them not to overly consume alcohol and to make sure to eat a small snack if they’re going to drink alcohol,” Dr. Wallia says.


6 Things That Can Cause Your Blood Sugar to Spike or Drop

While roller coasters can be thrilling at amusement parks, they’re not so great when it comes to your blood sugar levels. Also known as glucose, blood sugar is a critical source of energy for your body, according to the Mayo Clinic. When it’s either too high or too low, you can feel pretty terrible—especially if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

You absorb sugar from food and beverages into your bloodstream, where insulin (a hormone from your pancreas) helps it gets into your cells to provide energy, according to the Mayo Clinic. As a backup of sorts, your liver also makes and stores its own glucose to help keep your blood sugar within a normal range.

“In general, when you don’t have diabetes, your body does a good job of regulating … glucose levels,” Amisha Wallia, M.D., an endocrinologist at Northwest Memorial Hospital, tells SELF.

But if you have type 1 diabetes, which typically appears in childhood or adolescence, your pancreas produces little or no insulin to help glucose get into your body’s cells, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). That can allow too much sugar to build up in your bloodstream (hyperglycemia). If you have type 2 diabetes, which usually develops in adults, you experience high blood sugar because your pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or your body can’t use insulin properly, according to the NIDDK. When your blood sugar gets over 200 milligrams per deciliter, it can cause symptoms like headaches, fatigue, increased thirst, and frequent urination, per the Mayo Clinic.

On the flip side, problems managing your diabetes can also result in glucose levels that swing in the opposite direction and become too low (hypoglycemia). This is marked by blood sugar of 70 milligrams per deciliter or less and can cause symptoms like feeling shaky, tired, anxious, hungry, irritable, sweaty, or having an irregular heartbeat, according to the Mayo Clinic.

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes might check their blood sugar several times a day at home, depending on what their treatment plan involves. This is often done with a portable electronic glucose meter that measures sugar levels with a small drop of blood, according to the Mayo Clinic, though other testing devices are available, too.

If you don’t have diabetes, you can still feel like crap if your blood sugar spikes or drops, Vinaya Simha, M.D., an endocrinologist specializing in metabolism and diabetes at the Mayo Clinic, tells SELF. It’s just unlikely to actually be dangerous to your health the way it can be to a person who has diabetes. Left untreated, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia can both be life-threatening, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Clearly you want to avoid major blood sugar spikes or dips. But there are some things that can affect basically anyone’s blood sugar, and there are others that are mainly a concern for people who have diabetes.

Eating or drinking a bunch of sugary stuff at once can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Simha says. That might confuse you if you didn’t consume a ton of obviously sugary things like cookies and candy, but carbohydrates in foods like white bread and rice also convert to glucose in your body and affect your blood sugar.

Eating or drinking too much sugar-heavy food or drink at once can lead to high blood sugar symptoms like headaches and feeling tired, Dr. Simha says. And if you have diabetes, these symptoms can occur with smaller amounts of sugary food, Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF. So, while someone without diabetes may feel terrible after eating a whole bag of cookies, it may only take one or two for someone with the condition to feel awful.

Making sure to have protein and fat with your sugar helps lower the odds that it will skew your blood sugar as much. Both nutrients can slow your body’s absorption of sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. They can also help fill you up, decreasing the chances you’ll eat too much sugar to feel sated, Dr. Stanford says.

Beyond that, if you have diabetes, make sure to follow your medication plan, especially if you know you’re eating something with more sugar than usual, Dr. Wallia says. You should be checking your blood sugar as often as prescribed by your doctor, and if you’re having a lot of trouble controlling it, talk to a medical professional. They may have dietary or medication recommendations, or they might even provide a supplement of short-acting insulin to bring down a high blood sugar level ASAP, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you’ve gone too long without eating, your liver can only produce so much glucose before your blood sugar drops and you start to feel shaky, weak, or get a headache, Dr. Stanford says. How long is too long between meals varies from person to person, but in general, it’s a bad idea to go more than five hours without eating, even if you don’t have diabetes, Dr. Stanford says. Some people with more sensitive cases of diabetes may need to eat every three hours or so to avoid hypoglycemia, Dr. Stanford says. If you’re not sure how often you should be eating to control your diabetes, check in with your doctor.

If it’s been hours since you last ate something and you’re feeling the symptoms of low blood sugar, you need to at least have a snack ASAP. If you don’t have diabetes, you have a bit more freedom to snack on whatever’s readily available (though you’ll want to avoid something carb-heavy to send your blood sugar to the other extreme), Dr. Wallia says. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the Mayo Clinic recommends having 15 to 20 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate like ½ cup orange juice, then having another snack after your blood sugar levels have stabilized. In this situation, someone with diabetes wouldn’t want to reach for a snack that’s high in fat and protein, because those would actually slow their body’s absorption of sugar.

Some forms of alcohol, like beer and hard cider, contain a lot of carbohydrates, which can cause your blood sugar to spike, Dr. Wallia says. Drinking heavily without eating can also block your liver from releasing stored glucose into your bloodstream and cause low blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you don’t have diabetes, your body will generally do a pretty good job of fixing this on its own, Dr. Wallia says, although eating a well-balanced meal can help get your blood sugar levels back to a normal range more quickly. If you have diabetes and you’re experiencing a blood sugar crash after drinking you may need a fast-acting carbohydrate like fruit juice to bring up your blood sugar levels. Prevention is really everything here. “With patients with diabetes, we generally tell them not to overly consume alcohol and to make sure to eat a small snack if they’re going to drink alcohol,” Dr. Wallia says.