Diabetics often experience high blood sugar during the early hours of the day, and the effect is commonly seen after a fasting screen (FBS) or home glucose test has been performed. But this can raise concerns when high ranges are detected routinely. While individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes may not see normal ranges on a regular basis, they should be as close to healthy levels as possible.
Causes of High Blood Sugar in the Morning
The glucose peak experienced by individuals diagnosed with diabetes is caused by either the dawn phenomenon or Somogyi effect. But what are these conditions and what treatment is required?
The Dawn Phenomenon
Triggered by natural hormone changes in the body during sleep, this condition is caused by the inability of the body to regulate these functions and keep sugars at normal levels. Growth hormones, cortisol and catecholamines are released during the last few hours of sleep – and all of these molecules work against the action of insulin. Because the purpose of insulin is to lower glucose levels, the inability to complete this process results in high blood sugar.
The Somogyi Effect
Also called rebound hyperglycemia, it is most commonly seen in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Like the dawn phenomenon, this event is triggered during the morning hours – but in this case the body notices a drop in sugar levels, and responds as if it were entering a hypoglycemic state. In most cases this is not a natural occurrence, but is the result of an imbalanced treatment plan or mismanagement of the disease. Taking too much insulin before bedtime or not eating a balanced snack before sleep is the two most common causes.
Diagnosis of Morning High Blood Glucose
Healthcare providers will ask individuals to wake during their sleep cycle, perform a home test and record the results over the span of several nights. Results that detect a sugar low indicate the occurrence of the Symogyi effect, while normal or high results point to the dawn phenomenon.
Treating the Condition
After the results have been evaluated, healthcare providers will recommend a treatment plan best suited to the individual and cause. Some diabetes treatment options for high blood sugar in the morning include:
- Changing the type of insulin prescribed
- Choosing a different time to administer the last dose of insulin (when long-acting types are used), or altering the levels being administered by an insulin pump
- Following up with prescription alterations using the same method mentioned above if high blood sugar is still being experienced
Diabetics are faced with a unique set of challenges when it comes to treating diabetes and dealing with hyperglycemia on waking. However, this condition can be easily diagnosed and treated with the assistance and recommendations made by a healthcare provider.
In addition to following the close guidance of a doctor or healthcare provider you absolutely need to emphasize lifestyle changes on a daily basis. Every day you need to walk more and eat less. Dropping excess weight and satying physicaly active can help in both the short term and the long run especially while under the supevision of a doctor.