One of the most effective strategies to manage type 2 diabetes is through exercise. It improves the way your cells utilize insulin and can help keep your blood sugar in a healthy level. It also aids in the absorption of sugar by your cells.
However, if you use insulin or other diabetic drugs, a workout might cause your blood sugar levels to drop too low, a condition known as hypoglycemia. Take the following procedures to keep it within a safe range.
What to know
Before working out
Before a workout, check your blood sugar. It's generally considered safe if it's between 100 and 250 mg/dl. You'll need a snack if the temperature falls below 100. If you're planning a 2-hour or longer workout, wait until your reading is above 100.
Check your urine for ketones if it's more than 250. They are formed when your body uses fat for fuel rather than sugar. If you have them, don't exercise. Your blood sugar level could rise much higher, resulting in ketoacidosis, which could lead to a coma or death.
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During the workout
Unless you want to work out for 2 hours or longer, you won't need to check throughout exercise. You should then check it every hour.
If you have a low reading (70 mg/dl or below), take a break and eat a snack of 15-20 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates. A small piece of fruit, 1 cup of light yogurt, or 1 granola bar are all good options. Check back in 15 minutes. If it isn't back up to 100, repeat the therapy and test again in 15 minutes.
Yes, if you're competing, this can throw off your rhythm or mess up your time. However, if you continue, your blood sugar will continue to plummet and you may reach a dangerous low.
After your workout
When you're finished, double-check your work. This will demonstrate how exercise impacts your diabetes. It'll also tell you if you need to eat anything right immediately (if it's less than 100 mg/dl) or if you can wait until your next meal or snack.
Your levels may decline for up to 24 hours after a moderate or strenuous exertion, so test at your normal times as well.
Treatment in an Emergency
Keep a quick-acting sugar source close at hand.
These are effective:
Tablets or gels containing glucose
Regular (non-diet) soda or juice
1 teaspoon of sugar
Read the labels to find out how much you need to eat or drink to get 15 grams of carbohydrates.
Other Methods to Avoid Lows
When you exercise, here are a few tips to help you avoid lows:
Don't exercise when your insulin levels are at their highest.
Finish at least 2 hours before going to bed.
Avoid drinking alcohol before or immediately after working out.
After exercising, avoid hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms.
Get some exercise once or twice a day.
Are there any symptoms?
No, not always. When you're working out, it's easy to overlook the warning signals of low blood sugar. Alternatively, they can be misinterpreted as indicators of a good workout, such as perspiration, a rapid heartbeat, fatigue, and hunger.
Check your sugar if you notice anything weird while you're at it, especially if the symptoms aren't generally associated with exercise, such as:
Disorientation or delirium
Vision blurred or impaired
Lips or tongue tingling or numbness
A low may feel different during exercise than it does at night, or if you do not eat enough to compensate for the insulin you take at meals. When in doubt, double-check.
If You Continue to Have Exercise Lows
You'll need to make a few adjustments. Consult your doctor about choices such as:
Changing your insulin or meds (this is preferable if you're attempting to lose weight)
Eating more before working out
Changing the type of workout you do or the length of time you do it