Highs & Lows 1, 2 & 3


When you have diabetes, you should keep your blood glucose levels as smooth as possible, avoiding high peaks and low troughs. Realistically however, this may not be possible all the time. You need to find out what affects your levels and take the appropriate steps to manage them. The only way to do this is through regular blood glucose testing with an effective and reliable meter. Here are some additional tips to guide you along.

When Your Blood Glucose is Too High

If you have too much glucose in your blood, you can become hyperglycaemic or “hyper”. You may feel thirsty, tired, need to use the toilet frequently or have blurred vision.

What Can Raise Blood Glucose Levels?

  • Mismatch of food and medication
  • Illness
  • Stress (this can have the opposite effect on some people ie. it lowers their levels)
  • Exercise (if you do not have enough insulin available)
  • Smoking

How to Avoid Hyperglycaemia

  • Take your medication as prescribed by your health care provider.
  • Follow a diabetes meal plan.
  • Monitor your blood glucose regularly as you may need to adjust your insulin dose or tablets.
  • Depending on your physical activity level and blood sugar test results, discuss with your health care professional if you should adjust your medication.

When Your Blood Glucose is Too Low

If your blood glucose level is too low, you can become hypoglycaemic or “hypo”. You may feel dizzy, shaky or sweaty.

  • Eat or drink something sugary immediately to bring up your sugar level.
  • Take a carbohydrate snack, such as a biscuit or sandwich.

What Can Lower Your Blood Glucose Levels?

  • The insulin you inject
  • Some diabetes tablets
  • Exercise
  • Missed or delayed meals
  • Alcohol

How to Avoid Hypoglycaemia

  • Eat on time.
  • Monitor your blood glucose regularly as you may need to adjust your insulin dose or tablets.
  • Do extra tests if you are concerned, for example at night and before and after exercise.
  • Teach your friends and relatives how to recognise a hypo and help you when that happens.
References:1 Joslin’s Diabetes Mellitus, 14th Edition 2005, New York Ovid Technologies. 2 National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Mol. NIDOK. 3 Kronenberg: Williams Textbook of Endocrinology 11th Edition 2008.

People diagnosed with diabetes with elevated blood ketone levels should seek medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before making any changes.