Also known as hyperglycemia, high blood sugar is what occurs when there is too much sugar in the blood. There are a number of factors that can cause your blood sugar levels to peak; maybe you’ve been feeling more stressed than usual, or you’ve started a new medication. However, it tends to be most common in those with diabetes, or those who may be at risk of the condition.
If you are one of three people in the United States with prediabetes or one in ten American adults who have diabetes, chances are that you’re pretty clued in with the importance of keeping your blood sugar levels at a healthy level. Your blood sugar can become elevated from something as simple as your food choices or taking an insufficient dose of glucose-lowering medication. The good news? There are a number of lifestyle changes people with diabetes or prediabetes can make to help control, maintain and lower blood sugar levels, these include:
- Staying active
- Drinking plenty of water
- Being aware of portion sizes
- Monitoring stress levels
- Keeping an eye on your weight
- Choosing carbs wisely
- Incorporating fiber into your diet
See also: What Does High Blood Sugar Mean?
How to lower blood sugar levels
When it comes to controlling and lowering your blood sugar levels, physical activity is one of the best things you can do! 
In a nutshell, when your muscles are put to work, glycogen is released by the muscle tissue and used by the body - this helps to lower and control your overall blood sugar levels.
See also: What is HbA1c?
Drink plenty of water
Want to avoid increasing your blood sugars? Opt for water instead of sugary drinks . Not only will drinking plenty of water have a positive effect on your blood sugar levels, but it will also combat dehydration and control your appetite.
Be aware of your portion sizes
Body weight has a significant impact on blood sugar control, so portion size matters! 
Everybody’s nutritional needs are unique - your weight, gender, body composition, and activity levels all make a difference to how much you should consume. Being aware of your recommended portion sizes will help keep your blood sugars within the normal range.
Monitor your stress levels
Both physical and emotional stress play a role in your overall blood sugar level control .
If you find yourself living with high stress, cortisol - your fight or flight hormone, is released. High levels of circulating stress hormones can work in two ways:
High levels of circulating cortisol in the blood may lead to an imbalance in the delicate collaboration between insulin and glucose in the blood.
When we’re under a lot of stress, we tend to crave bigger portions, and sugary food, which naturally contributes to raising our blood sugar levels. The complete science behind this is largely unknown but it’s thought to be connected to the body’s reward centre in the brain.
See also: Is Diabetes Genetic, Hereditary or Both?
Keep an eye on your weight
If you’re overweight, there is a possibility that you could develop insulin resistance. The pancreas produces insulin to help keep our blood sugar under control. In cases of insulin resistance, the body does not respond to insulin in the same way.
If the body starts to ignore the signals that insulin is trying to send out, blood sugar levels may rise to high and uncontrolled levels.
For overweight type 2 diabetic patients, losing weight can have a significant impact on both blood sugar levels and health outcomes down the line. 
See also: What Is Insulin Resistance?
Choose carbs wisely
The wrong types of carbs have the ability to lead to sugar spikes and hence high blood sugar levels. 
The Glycemic Index is a ranking of how quickly carbohydrates in specific foods make your glucose levels rise after eating them. Foods that have a “high glycemic load” should be avoided if you have high blood sugar, these refined carbohydrates include:
- White bread
- White rice
See also: What Is DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis)?
Incorporate more fibre into your diet
Incorporating more fibre into your diet is not only good for regulating your digestion but it also has an impact in lowering and maintaining blood sugar levels. 
There are two types of fibre - soluble and insoluble. We particularly recommend soluble fibres for those who are trying to lower their blood sugar levels, some sources include:
- Beans (those that are bought in brine or water)
Testing your blood sugar levels on a regular basis gives you the best chance to know if the above steps are having an impact in decreasing your blood sugar levels.
LetsGetChecked offers a HbA1c test which provides insight into your blood sugar levels over the previous 3 months from the time of taking the test. Your online results will be available to you within 5 days and our medical team will be available every step of the way to answer any questions you may have.
You should consider taking a test if:
- You have diabetes type 1 or type 2
- You have a family history of diabetes
- You are presenting with symptoms of diabetes
See also: How do you Check for Diabetes From Home?
- Mayo Clinic Staff. Diabetes and exercise: When to monitor your blood sugar. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2018.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Manage Blood Sugar. Online: Cdc.gov, 2019.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Manage Blood Sugar. Online: Cdc.gov, 2019
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes and Mental Health. Online: Cdc.gov, 2018
- American Diabetes Association. Extra Weight, Extra Risk. Online: Diabetes.org.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes and Carbs. Online: Cdc.org, 2019
- M. F. Picco, MD. Nutrition and Healthy Eating. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2018