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How to Lower Blood Sugar

written by: Bobby Mathew • edited by: lrohner • updated: 9/15/2010

Learning how to lower blood sugar is important for a healthy lifestyle, and can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Diabetics or pre-diabetics should know how to lower blood sugar levels to avoid a variety of serious medical issues.

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    Shoot for Lower Numbers

    Maintaining normal blood sugar levels is critical for good health. High blood sugar levels can lead to a variety of medical problems, including nerve damage, kidney problems, eye problems, heart disease, and stroke. Recent research has also demonstrated that high blood sugar may be linked to cancer. There are many factors that can cause blood sugar levels to rise, including insufficient insulin in the body, eating meals or snacks high in carbohydrates, physical inactivity, infection or illness, and stress.

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    Eat Better

    It probably doesn’t surprise you that if you want to lower your blood sugar you should avoid sugar. This is obvious, but it's worth exploring the implications that a diet with too much sugar can have on your health. Sugar-sweetened drinks, such as soda, sports drinks, and fruit drinks have been associated with the development of over 100,000 new cases of diabetes in the last decade. There is clearly a link between sugar in the diet and high blood sugar, which can eventually lead to diabetes.

    If you want to lower your blood sugar, sugar is not the only thing you should avoid. All forms of carbohydrates break down into glucose, the simplest form of sugar, so all carbohydrates have the potential to raise blood sugar levels. The extent to which these carbohydrates raise your blood sugar levels depends on the type of carbohydrate and its related rating on the Glycemic Index. Eating foods with a low GI rating (55 or lower) are absorbed into your system over a period of time, avoiding sharp rises in blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI rating are absorbed into the system very quickly, causing blood sugar levels to elevate. Find out what foods raise blood sugar and then avoid eating them.

    To help maintain normal blood sugar levels, eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. For example, if you need 2,000 calories per day, try to eat 5 to 6 small meals rather than three large meals. The ADA recommends that you eat 40 to 65 grams of carbohydrates per meal, or roughly 300 grams per day.

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    Exercise

    Exercising is an effective way to lower blood sugar levels. Recent research has concluded that intense or strenuous exercise may be more effective in lowering blood sugar levels than mild physical activity. Moderate exercise, like brisk walking, is also associated with a lowered risk of diabetes and lower blood sugar. The duration of the exercise is important as well. New research shows that you should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate exercise a day to maintain your weight. One thing is certain, any amount of exercise is better than no amount of exercise. Here is more on the effect of exercise on blood sugar.

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    Lose Weight

    The Office of the Surgeon General notes that losing weight can lower blood sugar in overweight or obese individuals. Losing weight can be the result of the combined effects of diet and exercise. Doctors often recommend weight loss to type 2 diabetics who need to lower their blood sugar levels, but the same effects can be seen in non-diabetics. Here is more information on how to lose weight.

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    Avoid Stress

    Are you worred? According to the American Diabetes Association, stress hormones may directly influence your blood sugar levels, either directly or as a result of the stress causing individuals to eat poorly and not exercise. Find ways to relax in order to lower your blood sugar level. However, you must also remember that lowered blood sugar is the result of repeated therapeutic interventions aimed at relaxing. Have a look at these stress relieving gadgets, learn to mediate, or do yoga.

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    Other Alternatives

    Sometimes diet, exercises, and lifestyle changes aren't enough to lower one's blood sugar. In thse cases, drugs are critical to maintain good health. One should consult with a physician to see whether insulin, oral medications, or a combination of both are necessary.

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    Always Remember

    Monitoring your blood sugar level helps to guide you in your diet, exercise and medication regimens. Most diabetics use home glucose meters to test their blood sugar levels several times per day. While daily monitoring tells you what your blood sugar levels are at the time of testing, quarterly A1C tests conducted by a physician monitor your average blood sugar levels over a period of time.

    If diabetes or pre-diabetes is suspected, your physician may choose to perform a fasting blood sugar test. Learn more about blood tests that indicate diabetes.

    Diet, exercises, and lifestyle changes are recommended for those trying to lower blood sugar levels. They are critical to people suffering from diabetes or pre-diabetes, but can also help before problems like high blood sugar arise. Preventative care is highly underrated.

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