How to reduce blood sugar as experts say even normal levels are a heart risk | The Sun

EVEN normal blood sugar levels could be a risk for heart attack and stroke, a study suggests.

Researchers said the “lower the better” after studying almost half a million Brits.

When you eat food, the hormone insulin helps carry the sugars in your bloodstream and into the cells of your body, where it can be used for energy.

If there is not enough insulin, or it does not work properly (diabetes), sugar stays in the bloodstream.

This causes “high blood sugar” and over time it can lead to damage of the blood vessels, coronary heart disease, kidney disease and diabetic eye disease.

Blood sugar levels naturally change over the day. They rise after eating, and are lower if you haven’t eaten for a while.

Read more on heart health

Common heartburn drugs taken by millions ‘linked to brain eating disease’

The cancer symptom that masks itself as heartburn – 5 other signs to know

People with diabetes, who have to work harder to keep their blood sugar levels down, are more at risk of a number of health issues, including those that affect the heart.

The new study added more evidence of this, while also warning that those on the cusp of diabetes are also at risk.

Published in The Lancet Regional Health, it analysed UK Biobank data from 427,435 UK people with varying blood sugar levels.

Findings show that men and women with raised blood sugar levels have a 30 to 50 per cent increased chance of developing cardiovascular diseases (CVD) even when these levels are below the threshold for diabetes.

Most read in Diet & Fitness


Here’s how many calories are in your favourite Chinese takeaway order


2 exercises that are a waste of time for a flat tummy – and 3 that WILL work


You CAN eat your favourite carbs and still lose weight – thanks to clever hack


From bad sleep to thin hair & brittle nails – 7 signs you must eat MORE protein

They also discovered evidence that for blood sugar levels within the normal range, it was a case of the lower the better in protecting against CVDs, which include heart attacks and strokes.

Compared with people with normal blood sugar levels, those with the lowest levels had a 10 per cent lower risk of developing any form of CVD.

According to the findings, the risks were as much as doubled in those with diagnosed diabetes.

Lead author Dr Christopher Rentsch, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), said: "What we discovered is that those risks are not only confined to people with diagnosed diabetes, that men and women with prediabetes are also significantly affected.

"Our team also uncovered compelling evidence that within the 'normal' blood sugar range, a lower level appears to be better for protecting against heart disease."

The research found that more men than women used high blood pressure medications and statins.

The researchers say a study focusing on the factors behind this gap is needed.

Dr Lucy Chambers, head of research communications at Diabetes UK, said: "The research is also an important reminder that having higher than normal blood sugar levels over long periods damages blood vessels, increasing risk of cardiovascular diseases, and that this effect can be seen not only in people with diabetes but also prediabetes."

How to reduce your blood sugar levels

There are ways that people with diabetes lower their blood sugar.

These include:

  • Avoiding eating too much sugary or starchy food
  • Finding ways to manage stress
  • Exercising regularly
  • Losing weight (if overweight)
  • Taking medication

For people who want to reduce or keep their blood sugar levels down, many of these rules still apply.

Blood sugar spikes occur naturally after eating at different rates depending on each individual.

If these spikes are large, a crash may follow, causing symptoms of lethargy and hunger. 

Over time, the body may not be able to lower blood sugar effectively, according to Healthline, therefore it's worthwhile looking at daily diet and exercise habits.

To prevent large changes in blood sugar levels, nutritionist Jess Hillard previously told The Sun:

1. Don't skip meals

Jess, who is the in-house nutritionist at sports nutrition brand Warrior, said it is "essential" to eat at key meal times to keep energy levels consistent.

"By not eating at key mealtimes, your body will find it difficult to stabilise blood sugar levels and will leave you feeling famished."

2. Have snacks

If you find that you get the shakes during the day, it is important to carry snacks with you at all times, Jess advised, as it may mean you suffer blood sugar dips.

"Having healthy snacks on you at all times are key to preventing you from getting to the ‘hangry’ point and feeling dizzy," she said.

3. Exercise

Exercise helps control blood sugar spikes by increasing the sensitivity of your cells to the hormone insulin, Healthline reports.

"To avoid experiencing dizzy spells or feeling faint after exercise, you should ensure you have a high carbohydrate snack or meal shortly after finishing," Jessica said.

4. Sleep regularly

A poor sleep routine sleep can have an impact on blood sugar levels, and even one night of sleep deprivation can increase insulin resistance, which can impact your blood sugar, Jess said.

She advised that you should allow yourself at least one hour before you intend to sleep to unwind, with no screen time.

5. Stay hydrated

Jessica said that many people overlook the importance of drinking enough water (at least eight glasses per day) when it comes to managing blood sugar levels.

She said that sufficient hydration can not only support – but even lower blood sugar.

"This is because water not only prevents dehydration, which can elevate blood sugar levels due to a higher concentration of glucose in the bloodstream, but it also helps flush out excess sugar through urine."

6. Watch your carb and sugar intake

Carbohydrates are broken down into sugars when eaten. They are the main cause of blood sugar rises.

Evidence shows low-carb diets can be safe and effective in helping people with type 2 diabetes manage their weight, blood sugar levels and risk of heart disease in the short term.

For those who do not have diabetes, they don't necessarily need to count their carbohydrates.

But it is worth remembering that each meal should consist of protein, fats and carbohydrates.

Some carbohydrates release sugar into the bloodstream at a slower rate, for example brown rice, oats and quinoa.

Refined carbohydrates, like white bread, white rice, white pasta and cereal, release sugar into the bloodstream fast.

7. Eat more fibre

Fibre can help control blood sugar spikes because it is helps to slow the absorption of carbohydrates.

Read More on The Sun

I tried Wilko’s closing down sale for bargains & got home essentials for £1.80

Katie Price reveals adorable new puppy after seven pets died in her care

Soluble fibre, including oats, nuts, legumes, apples, blueberries and vegetables, is particularly helpful.

Evidence shows that dietary fibre can also help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

What are normal blood glucose levels?

Blood sugar levels are measured in molar concentration (millimoles per litre).

For non-diabetics, the normal level is around 5.5 mmol/L, but this fluctuates throughout the day.

People with diabetes should keep their levels between 7.2 mmol/L before meals, and never more than 10 mmol/L after meals.

Eating meals (especially those with a high carbohydrate content) cause the blood glucose level to rise, and in between meals, it tends revert to normal.

Drinking alcohol causes it to increase and then fall, and taking drugs also affects blood sugar levels.

Source: Read Full Article