How Do You Bring Down Your Blood Sugar?

Reviewed on 6/15/2022
A bowl of plain yogurt with berries and granola, which can help manage blood sugar
Lifestyle changes may help to lower blood sugar, including exercise, dietary management, not smoking, managing stress, getting adequate sleep, losing weight if overweight/obese, and adjusting insulin intake.

High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) happens when there are high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

High blood sugar affects people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, conditions in which the body has too little insulin or when the body doesn't use insulin properly.

High blood sugar is defined as: 

  • Fasting/upon waking and before meals: above 130mg/dL
  • After meals/before bed: above 180mg/dL

9 Ways to Lower Blood Sugar

Lifestyle changes are often the first-line treatment to bring down blood sugar. 

  • Exercise
    • If blood sugar levels are above 240 mg/dl, check the urine for ketones. If ketones are present, be cautious with exercise because this can cause blood sugar levels to rise even more. 
  • Dietary management
    • Cut back on the amount of food you eat/control portions
    • Manage carbohydrate intake
    • Eat foods low on the glycemic index (GI)
    • Increase fiber intake
    • Drink adequate amounts of water
  • Don’t smoke
  • Manage stress
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Lose weight if overweight/maintain a healthy weight
  • Adjust the amount of insulin used or the timing of when it’s taken 
    • Talk to your doctor before making any changes to your insulin dosing or regimen

Surgery may be indicated for cases that do not respond to medications.

  • Bariatric surgery to aid in weight loss for certain obese patients
  • Artificial pancreas, to replace the use of insulin injections and pumps and the need to manually test glucose levels

What Are Symptoms of High Blood Sugar?

Symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include:

What Causes High Blood Sugar?

Causes of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include:

  • Not taking enough insulin (type 1 diabetes)
  • Insulin not working as effectively as it should (type 2 diabetes)
  • Exercising less than planned
  • Eating more than planned 
  • Stress
  • The dawn phenomenon 
    • A surge of hormones the body produces daily around 4:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.

Risk factors for developing high blood sugar include: 

How Is High Blood Sugar Diagnosed?

High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) is diagnosed with the following tests:

  • Blood tests
  • Oral glucose tolerance test
  • Use of glucose monitor
Reviewed on 6/15/2022
Image Source: iStock Images