For persons with diabetes, the day usually begins with a test of their fasting blood sugar levels, a self-administered blood test that is taken with the aid of a small hand-held glucose-testing device. Knowing the blood sugar levels before breakfast enables the individual diabetic person to adjust their dietary food intake if required. It is especially helpful to do so because foods can have the most immediate impact on blood sugar levels and some foods act more swiftly and to a greater degree than do other foods.
The target for the early morning levels is to be between 70 and 130 mg/dL and while most diabetics who have good control of their diabetes can achieve that target level, there are some who find that even though they were within a safe range the previous evening, next morning their blood test readings are much higher.
This well-known condition that affects only some people with diabetes is referred to as the dawn phenomenon. There is also another similar but more rare condition called the Somogyi Syndrome. The higher blood sugar levels are the result of the body's own production and release of glucose from its stores of glycogen that occurs if a lowering of normal blood sugars is detected during the night. A series of hormonal activities take place and the liver responds in order to maintain a constant source of glucose needed by the brain and the body's cells.
A simple solution to counter the higher readings
Some people with diabetes may not be aware that a simple way to avoid the higher fasting blood sugar levels is to consume a small snack before bedtime. A snack that includes one or two servings of carbohydrate and a serving of protein will usually be effective, a slice of whole-grain bread with low-fat cheese or peanut butter and a glass of milk or soymilk for example. Some diabetics include an amount of cooked chicken or turkey, others have suggested low-fat yogurt or a bowl of cereal, it's really a matter of finding what meets personal preferences while consuming a small amount of food to provide a constant supply of glucose that counters the need for the liver to call for more.
Everyone with diabetes must be cared for and treated by a doctor but the day-to-day actions to manage and control the diabetic condition, such as taking the above steps if necessary, are the responsibility of the individual. The person with diabetes has a lot to deal with to combat the many complications that can be caused by this serious disease.