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Using a Home Blood Pressure Monitor
Using a Home Blood Pressure Monitor

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Online learning resources for diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and nutrition.
Diabetes 101: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels, and your diet.
Diabetes 201: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugars, and your diet.
Asthma 101: Learn more about asthma and dealing with shortness of breath.
Hypertension 101: Learn more about hypertension and managing your blood pressure.
Nutrition 101: Learn more about improving your nutrition and diet

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Lesson #3

Getting off the seesaw

You've heard the lectures. Everyone keeps telling you how important it is to keep your blood sugar in the good range. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to keep your blood sugar in the range your doctor has advised, it can be too high or too low.

Blood sugar that is too high or too low can make you very sick. Here's more information on the causes and symptoms of high and low blood sugar and what you can do during these emergencies.

High blood sugar: What you need to know

If your blood sugar stays over 240, it is too high — sounds simple enough. But how does it happen and how can you tell?

High blood sugar usually comes on slowly. It happens when you don't have enough insulin in your body and can be caused by a number of factors. High blood sugar can happen if you:

  • miss a dose of your diabetes medicine
  • eat too much
  • don't get enough exercise

Sometimes, high blood sugar is caused by medicines you take for other problems. Having an infection or being sick or under stress can also make your blood sugar too high.

That is why it is very important to test your blood and keep taking your medicine (insulin or diabetes pills) when you have an infection or are sick.

Listen to your body

Only by testing your blood sugar can you get the hard numbers to gauge your levels. But, if your levels are off in a big way, your body will let you know by sending some unpleasant signals your way.

If you:

  • are very thirsty
  • are very tired
  • have blurry vision
  • are losing weight fast
  • have to urinate often

...there's a good chance your blood sugar is too high.

If you:

  • feel sick to your stomach
  • faint
  • throw up

...there's a good chance your blood sugar is very high.

While listening to your body provides important clues, there is no substitute for testing your blood sugar often, especially when you are sick.

How high is too high?

Blood sugar over 240 is too high, but if your level is over 300, there's cause for concern. Check it again. If it's over 300 two times in a row, it's time to call your doctor. You may need a change in your insulin shots or diabetes pills, or a change in your meal plan.

If you are not sick and do not have ketones in your urine, going for a slow walk or some other easy exercise could help lower your blood sugar.

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